Yesterday I watched The Beatles “Let It Be” for the first time since I saw it in a theater around 1980. The movie is not out on DVD but I found it on the internet and decided to give it another viewing. I am a Beatles fanatic, The Beatles have been an obsession for me for over forty years. My all time favorites without question.
The film “Let It Be” consists of The Beatles near the end of their career as a band, in their last year. The break-up was near. The film is a documentary of them in the studio making their album of the same name. The album would be their last album that they would release as a band in the spring of 1970 but it wasn’t the last album they recorded. After making this album they weren’t happy with the results and the music sat there for a while and they went back and did something incredible- the album that is one of their greatest “Abbey Road.” The amazing thing to me is- when you see this documentary clearly The Beatles [especially John and George} had had enough. There is a lot of bad feeling and indifference in this film at times. Somehow they were able to pull everything together one last time and produce “Abbey Road.”
This film in a lot of ways seems like a vehicle for Paul McCartney. He dominates the film. At this time John was involved with Yoko- who was sitting in on the sessions, George was ready to move on and even Ringo at times looks indifferent. Only Paul seems heavily invested in what is going on. The most memorable scene in the film is early on-when Paul and George were having a rather heated discussion, Paul telling George how he wanted him to play guitar on a song, and George telling him, I will play it like you want or not play on it at all it.”
The film ends with the last 20 minutes of the 80 minute film- with The Beatles doing their famous ‘roof top concert.” A great way to end it. Overall the documentary was better than I remembered it. The vibe wasn’t as negative as I originally thought. It wasn’t The Beatles at their best for sure. The Beatles would ditch the producer of their other albums George Martin and bring in the notorious Phil Spector to try and make sense of the music they had in the can. The final result the “Let It Be” album is uneven considering it is The Beatles.
A lot of Beatles fans over the years wish they had never broke up, wish that while they were all living that they’d get back together. I am in a different camp. I think it was a stroke of genius that they quit on top. There was no decline. They came, they conquered and they broke up and went on their way. John Lennon later on commented that he was the one who started the band and when the time was right to end it he knew all along that he”d pull the plug on it and end things at the right time. Perfect timing. The way things were going with the group, they were ready to move on. George had developed late as a songwriter and giving him a couple songs on an album wasn’t going to do anymore. They were all ready to move on and wisely they did.