The Second Disc

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Speaking Words of Wisdom: “Let It Be…Naked” Comes to iTunes

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One of the most significant catalogue-era releases by The Beatles – the newly-mixed Let It Be…Naked, a stripped-down version of the band’s final album – makes its debut on iTunes today.

The story of Let It Be is by now the stuff of music legend. Bassist Paul McCartney proposed an LP that stepped away from the complex, overdub-heavy works of their 1968 self-titled album (better known, of course, as “The White Album”). Provisionally titled Get Back, the sessions featured plenty of new songs overseen by longtime producer George Martin but plenty more tension as well; guitarist George Harrison temporarily quit the band during this time, and as a planned documentary by Michael Lindsay-Hogg captured, the once-blossoming collaboration between John Lennon and McCartney was nearly nonexistent.

The band ultimately shelved the sessions as compiled by engineer Glyn Johns and recorded Abbey Road, released in 1969. The resultant album, released in May of 1970, five months after Lennon’s unannounced departure and one month after Paul announced his departure and issued his own solo album, was still full of great works, including singles “Get Back,” the title track and “The Long and Winding Road” as well as “Across the Universe” and “Two of Us.”

LetItBeNakedBut, as McCartney would remind audiences consistently, one of his sorest contentions with the album was the decision to have producer Phil Spector remix the tracks for the finished album. Thus, in 2002 McCartney and a team of engineers at Abbey Road Studios restored, remastered and remixed the album into a fashion that hewed closer to Paul’s original vision. Released in 2003 to divisive reviews, Let It Be…Naked is nonetheless a captivating alternate account of the legendary band’s swan song.

And now, following the release of the band’s full studio album discography on iTunes, as well as the Love soundtrack and the Anthology seriesLet It Be…Naked will make its debut on the digital music service as a paid download and free streaming album. The set will feature a digital booklet replicating the physical album’s liner notes as well as the full contents of the “Fly on the Wall” bonus disc included with first pressings of the album. featuring a 22-minute sound collage of in-studio rehearsals and chatter. Videos for the “Naked” versions of “Get Back” and “Don’t Let Me Down” are also available.

Let It Be…Naked (released as Apple 07243 595714 2 3 (U.K.), 2003)

  1. Get Back
  2. Dig a Pony
  3. For You Blue
  4. The Long and Winding Road
  5. Two of Us
  6. I’ve Got a Feeling
  7. One After 909
  8. Don’t Let Me Down
  9. I Me Mine
  10. Across the Universe
  11. Let It Be
  12. Fly on the Wall (bonus)

Original versions from Apple LP PXS 1 (U.K.), 1970

Written by Mike Duquette

April 3, 2013 at 11:21

4 Responses

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  1. Booooo! Down with i-tunes!


    April 3, 2013 at 12:50

  2. I appreciate the notice that this is available on iTunes, but I think people who buy it on iTunes are stupid. You get a 256 kbps MP3 file for $12.99, or you can buy a used copy of the uncompressed CD on Amazon Marketplace for $8.47 with shipping.

    Why exactly do people download albums in that case? You get lower quality and no physical media for 55% higher cost! I guess I can see the possibility in being a minimalist and not wanting to deal with an actual disc and case, but even then buy it used online, burn it as a FLAC file or at 320 kbps, and then throw the disc, case and booklet out. Or even at 256 kbps if you prefer a crappier sound! At least save the money!

    “But I want it now” might be the response. The flipping album came out in November 2003. You waited 9 1/2 years to get it. You can’t wait a few more days?

    Unless they are significantly cheaper than the physical media version of it, I just don’t get downloads.


    April 3, 2013 at 13:51

  3. Found this for around $5 a few weeks ago at my favorite used record shop. Glad I finally got to hear it. And, just a suggestion, instead of throwing out the disc, case and booklet, take it to a nearby used record store and get some store credit or donate it to a local thrift store.

    Mark Bumgardner

    April 3, 2013 at 14:28

    • Agreed on both counts (resell or donate). I was just trying to think of an extreme example of what a minimalist can do for the least hassle!

      It’s like how when my wife tells me to buy something at the grocery store and there’s a buy-one-get-one-free sale so I come home with two. When she says, “We only needed one,” I say, “Fine, throw the other one out. It was free.” Which we never actually do, of course.


      April 3, 2013 at 14:49

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