The Beatles’ chart-topping 1970 album Let It Be will be released worldwide in a range of beautifully presented Special Edition packages on October 15 by Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol/UMe. Three tracks from the newly remixed and expanded edition make their digital release debuts to coincide with today’s (26) preorder launch. They are “Let It Be” (2021 Stereo Mix), “Don’t Let Me Down” (first rooftop performance), and “For You Blue” (Get Back LP Mix).
Let It Be has been newly mixed by producer Giles Martin and engineer Sam Okell in stereo, 5.1 surround DTS, and Dolby Atmos formats. The new Special Edition follows the universally acclaimed remixed and expanded anniversary editions of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in 2017, The BEATLES (‘White Album’) (2018), and Abbey Road (2019).
All the new Let It Be releases will feature the new stereo mix of the album, as guided by the original “reproduced for disc” version by Phil Spector. It has been sourced directly from the original session and rooftop performance eight-track tapes. The physical and digital Super Deluxe collections also feature 27 previously unreleased session recordings, a four-track Let It Be EP, and the never-before-released 14-track Get Back stereo LP mix which was compiled by engineer Glyn Johns in May 1969.
Let It Be Special Edition is joined by the greatly anticipated new documentary series The Beatles: Get Back, directed by three-time Oscar-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson; and the hardcover book also titled The Beatles: Get Back.
For 21 days from January 2, 1969, cameras and tape recorders documented almost every moment as John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr gathered on a cavernous soundstage at Twickenham Film Studios in London, and then at their own Apple Studio, where Billy Preston joined them on keyboards. This was where The Beatles started rehearsals for a project designed for them to “get back” on stage, rehearsing brand new originals and jamming on older songs, all captured live and unvarnished.
On January 30, the cameras and recorders filmed The Beatles, with Preston, staging what was to be their final concert on the chilly rooftop of their Savile Row Apple Corps headquarters. They performed for a small assembly of family and friends, and any others who were within wind-carried range of their amplifiers. The midday performance brought London’s West End to a halt, as necks craned skyward from the streets, and the windows of neighboring buildings were flung open for better vantage. A flurry of noise complaints drew police officers to the rooftop, shutting the concert down after 42 minutes.
In April and May, Glyn Johns worked to compile an album to be called Get Back, in a version that included false starts, banter between songs, early takes rather than later, more polished performances. It even featured “I’ve Got A Feeling” falling apart with John explaining, “I cocked it up trying to get loud.” The Beatles decided to shelve the project’s copious tapes, film reels, and photos, in order to record and release their LP masterpiece, Abbey Road.
From the tapes made in January 1969, plus some sessions which preceded and followed those recordings, The Beatles’ final album Let It Be was eventually issued on May 8, 1970, and ten days later in the US, to accompany the release of the original Let It Be film. The sessions that led to the album and film were the only time in The Beatles’ career that they were documented at such great length while creating music in the studio.
More than 60 hours of unreleased film footage, more than 150 hours of unreleased audio recordings, and hundreds of unpublished photographs have been newly explored and meticulously restored for three complementary and definitive Beatles releases this fall.
The raw sources that have been explored for the new projects have revealed that a more joyous, benevolent spirit imbued the sessions than was conveyed in the 80 minutes of the 1970 Let It Be film. “I had always thought the original film Let It Be was pretty sad as it dealt with the break-up of our band, but the new film shows the camaraderie and love the four of us had between us,” writes Paul McCartney in his foreword for the Let It Be Special Edition book.
“It also shows the wonderful times we had together,” he continues, “and combined with the newly remastered Let It Be album, stands as a powerful reminder of this time. It’s how I want to remember The Beatles.”
Let It Be Special Edition (Super Deluxe): 57 tracks
* 5CD + 1Blu-ray (album’s new stereo mix in hi-res 96kHz/24-bit; new 5.1 surround DTS and Dolby Atmos album mixes) with 105-page hardbound book in a 10” by 12” die-cut slipcase
* 180-gram, half-speed mastered vinyl 4LP + 45rpm 12-inch vinyl EP with 105-page hardbound book in a 12.5” by 12.5” die-cut slipcase
* Digital Audio Collection (stereo + album mixes in hi res 96kHz/24-bit / Dolby Atmos)
Let It Be (new stereo mix of original album): 12 tracks
Previously unreleased outtakes, studio jams, rehearsals: 27 tracks
Previously unreleased 1969 Get Back LP mix by Glyn Johns, newly mastered: 14 tracks
Let It Be EP: 4 tracks
Glyn Johns’ unreleased 1970 mixes: “Across The Universe” and “I Me Mine”
Giles Martin & Sam Okell’s new stereo mixes: “Don’t Let Me Down” & “Let It Be” singles
The Super Deluxe CD and vinyl collections’ beautiful book features Paul McCartney’s foreword; an introduction by Giles Martin; a remembrance by Glyn Johns; insightful chapters and detailed track notes by Beatles historian, author, and radio producer Kevin Howlett; and an essay by journalist and author John Harris exploring the sessions’ myths vs. their reality.
The book is illustrated, scrapbook style, with rare and previously unpublished photos by Ethan A. Russell and Linda McCartney, as well as never before published images of handwritten lyrics, session notes, sketches, Beatles correspondence, tape boxes, film frames, and more.
Let It Be Special Edition (Deluxe): 26 tracks
* 2CD in digipak with a 40-page booklet abridged from the Super Deluxe book
Let It Be (new stereo mix of original album): 12 tracks
Previously unreleased outtakes, studio jams, rehearsals: 13 tracks
Previously unreleased 1970 mix for “Across The Universe”
Let It Be Special Edition (Standard): 12 tracks
* 1CD in digipak (new stereo mix of original album)
* Digital (album’s new mixes in stereo + hi res 96kHz/24-bit / Dolby Atmos)
* 180-gram half-speed mastered 1LP vinyl (new stereo mix of original album)
* Limited Edition picture disc 1LP vinyl illustrated with the album art (new stereo mix of original album)
When The Beatles arrived at Twickenham in January 1969, their self-titled album (also known as ‘The White Album’) was still topping charts around the world following its November 1968 release. They had an ambitious plan in mind for a project that would include a stage performance for a “TV spectacular” and a live album. Michael Lindsay-Hogg was hired to direct the concert and document the rehearsals with unfettered “fly-on-the-wall” filming and mono audio recording on two camera-linked Nagra reel-to-reel tape machines.
Ethan A. Russell was brought in for exclusive all-access photography. Beatles producer George Martin and engineer Glyn Johns supervised the sound. Johns remembers, “Paul told me he had this idea to do a live concert and he wanted me to engineer it, because I had a reasonably good track record of making live albums.” Impressed by the band’s day-to-day progress with their slate of new songs, Martin later recalled, “It was a great idea, which I thought was well worth working on. A live album of new material. Most people who did a live album would be rehashing old stuff.”
After 10 days on the soundstage, The Beatles and the film crew later moved to the band’s more intimate and cozy Apple Studio. There, Johns manned the controls of borrowed equipment from The Beatles’ old stomping ground, Abbey Road Studios, to record on eight-track tape. Billy Preston was invited to play keyboards with the band at Apple, lifting the sessions with his boundless talent and buoyant bonhomie.
‘The guys were really kind to me’
In April 1969, The Beatles rush-released their worldwide number one single “Get Back”/“Don’t Let Me Down.” Promoted as “The Beatles as nature intended” and “as live as can be, in this electronic age,” both sides of the disc were credited to “The Beatles with Billy Preston.” “The greatest surprise was when the record came out,” Preston remembered in 2002. “They didn’t tell me they were going to put my name on it! The guys were really kind to me.”
The “Let It Be” single produced by George Martin, released March 6, 1970, is different from the album version “reproduced” by Phil Spector. Exemplifying Spector’s signature Wall of Sound production style on the Let It Be album is his orchestral overdub on “The Long and Winding Road,” which became The Beatles’ 20th US No.1 single.
Directed by Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings trilogy, They Shall Not Grow Old), The Beatles: Get Back takes audiences back in time to the band’s intimate recording sessions during a pivotal moment in music history. Because of the wealth of tremendous footage Jackson has reviewed, which he has spent the past three years restoring and editing, The Beatles: Get Back will be presented as three separate episodes. Each episode is approximately two hours in length, rolling out over three days, November 25, 26 and 27, 2021, exclusively on Disney+.
The documentary series showcases the warmth, camaraderie and creative genius that defined the legacy of the iconic foursome, compiled from over 60 hours of unseen footage shot in January 1969 (by Michael Lindsay-Hogg) and more than 150 hours of unheard audio, all of which has been brilliantly restored. Jackson is the only person in 50 years to have been given access to these private film archives.
The Beatles: Get Back is the story of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr as they plan their first live show in over two years, capturing the writing and rehearsing of 14 new songs, originally intended for release on an accompanying live album. The documentary features – for the first time in its entirety – The Beatles’ last live performance as a group, the unforgettable rooftop concert on London’s Savile Row, as well as other songs and classic compositions featured on the band’s final two albums, Abbey Road and Let It Be. The music in the series is also newly mixed by Giles Martin (Rocketman) and Sam Okell (Yesterday).
‘Get Back’ in ten languages
Ahead of the series’ debut, Apple Corps Ltd./Callaway Arts & Entertainment will release The Beatles: Get Back book worldwide on October 12. Available in English and nine international language editions, The Beatles: Get Back is the first official standalone book to be released by The Beatles since international bestseller The Beatles Anthology.
Beautifully designed and produced, the 240-page hardcover complements the Get Back documentary series and Let It Be Special Edition with transcriptions of many of The Beatles’ recorded conversations from the three weeks of rehearsals and sessions and hundreds of exclusive, never-before-published images, including photos by Ethan A. Russell and Linda McCartney.
The Beatles: Get Back begins with a foreword written by Peter Jackson and an introduction by Hanif Kureishi. The book’s texts are edited by John Harris.
Pre-order The Beatles’ Let It Be Special Edition packages, which are released on October 15.