Music Review: The Beatles’ “Let It Be… Naked” (2003 Remix)

By Chris Moore:

The chart-topping success of Let It Be is truly a testament to both the heights of Beatlemania and also to the abilities of the four Beatles to consistently top themselves in their songwriting and musicianship.  Even by 1970, amid tensions that caused all four to at least threaten to quit the band, they managed to come together (no pun intended) to finish the principal tracks for a new album.

This was made easier, of course, by the fact that this new album was based primarily on material that had been written and recorded before their previous record, Abbey Road, was released.

The true complication in this process arose when Phil Spector was somehow given the “okay” to add his signature studio treatment to the tracks.  Perhaps with the disagreements between the Fab Four obscuring their collective vision, Spector was allowed to turn these songs — many of them little gems — into overblown, overproduced testaments to the capabilities of a mixing board.  Orchestras aside, the original concept of this album (at least, when it was begun in January 1969) was that there would be no overdubs of any kind.  How the leap was taken from “no overdubs” to “here’s Phil Spector” is a subject of some debate.  The result?  An album that made many fans and sources close to the band wonder what it would have been like without all the accessorizing.

Let It Be… Naked puts an end to that inquiry.

The cover of the 2003 remix of "Let It Be"

The cover of the 2003 remix of “Let It Be”

As the title implies, Naked is a stripped-down, bare bones version of Let It Be that highlights the instruments and original vocals of the four Beatles which, not surprisingly, is more than enough to excite and entertain.  Ringo once pointed out that, despite all their issues and arguments, when the count began and a song was performed live, they transformed back into those four boys from Liverpool who just loved to play music together.  For anyone who thought that may have been an overstatement, this new take on their final album is the proof of its veracity.

Throughout Let It Be… Naked, the Beatles’ harmonies are tight and their instrumentation is simple yet impressive.  The drums and bass are particularly fun to focus on, perhaps imagining Ringo and Paul falling perfectly into the rhythm and putting all their combined experience, personal talent, and emotion into what would be these final released tracks.  Of course, John and George are just as much fun to listen to.  George’s guitar work, for instance, clearly never needed to be and never should have been buried beneath layers of production and overdubs.

Even the track listing is rearranged on this 2003 remix of the album, tossing out “Dig It” and “Maggie Mae,” as well as adding “Don’t Let Me Down,” a track that had made the cut on the earlier Glyn Johns mix of the album, before the project was shelved.  This is hardly a revelation — I don’t imagine many will miss the two deleted tracks and the album is certainly much better for the inclusion of the latter.

In every conceivable way, Let It Be… Naked is a success and finally presents the album as originally intended, making it a must-listen for any Beatles fan as well as any fan of rock music who is interested in hearing the real story of the final album of this legendary band.

COMING LATER THIS WEEK:  In addition to our regular Beatles cover songs, a review of the new Let It Be 2009 remaster.  How does it compare?…

“Things We Said Today” (The Beatles Cover)

By Jim Fusco:

Welcome to your Thursday edition of The Laptop Sessions acoustic cover songs music video blog with me, Jim Fusco! I just reached 100 subscribers and I know it’ll only grow faster from here! I hope you’ll tell your friends about the music blog, too.

Anyway, now to today’s cover song video. Today, I give you another in our series of Beatles cover songs that I’ve loved for a long time, “Things We Said Today”.

Paul McCartney said that this song was about a girlfriend of his he met while in another country. They had such a great time together and made all those crazy young promises of “always waiting for you”, etc. So, he’s singing about remembering the things they said to each other while feeling alone and far away. What a great, heartfelt idea for a song!

One of the things I’ve always liked about “Things We Said Today” is the cool strumming pattern of the A-minor chord that starts the song.  For a song about such a melancholy feeling, the opening chords are so harsh.  Of course, that harsh feeling comes up again in the bridge of the song, where Paul gets a bit rougher with his singing style.  I think the middle-8 is one of the best that Paul McCartney ever wrote.  He flawlessly transitions his voice from sweet and mellow to biting.  It’s very impressive.

I guess the duality in “Things We Said Today” between the verses and middle sections is reflected in the lyrics of the song.  On the surface, you’ll notice that Paul is first saying how they’ve promised to “be the only one” for each other.  But, if you read into it a little bit, you’ll hear what he really means.  He knew, because of the distance between him and the girl he’s talking about, that the promises of “being the only one” were empty and could never be true.  He knew it was only a passing fling.  In the middle section, he says, “And though we may be blind, love is here to stay.”  He’s saying that in a new relationship like that, people tend to overlook obvious challenges like, you know, living thousands of miles away from each other.  And, in the minds of these naive folks that are newly in love, it’ll stay great forever!  Those of us who have been through that situation know the real eventual outcome.

On a funnier note, I had to relocate to my room for this song (good thing I have a Laptop!) because my parakeets would not stop chattering downstairs! But, I’m glad they’re getting along, even if it is to the detriment of my acoustic cover song videos.

I hope you enjoy today’s Beatles acoustic video- I’ll catch you on Sunday with an all-new Beach Boys song!

We have a NEW album out called Homestead’s Revenge (by Masters of the Universe- the band I’m in). You can buy the high quality mp3s or the CD version. Here’s the web address: http://jimfusco.com/albums.html.  PLEASE check it out and let me know what you think!  I hope you all enjoy today’s Session, and REALLY enjoy the new album- it’s two years in the making!

“You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away” (The Beatles Cover)

By Jeff Copperthite:

Good evening and I hope your weekend is off to a good start.  It’s Where-the-heck-is-Jeff Copperthite here today to bring you the latest installment of the Laptop Sessions, another in our series of Beatles cover songs, and session cover song music video #90 overall.

I am continuing to delve into the libraries of previously covered bands, and I have always enjoyed todays song a lot.  It really is amazing just how many Beatles’ songs I know and am familiar with.  Of that huge library, this is probably my favorite.

“You’ve got to hide your love away” is from the Beatles’ album “Help!” and it’s extremely incorrect Semaphore album cover.  You may also be familiar with the cover version of this song by Eddie Vedder.  And while that is a good version, it’s hard to beat the original.

You will notice a singing style that i’m not used too, and I feel it is quite effective.  Lately I have been hearing great things about my most recent video, and that my ability to sing on video has taken a lot of leaps.  i’m glad you think so!  Thank you for all your support.

Also, i’m nearing 39K views, and while I fell about 2K short of my 40K goal by the end of August, I still did quite well and I am very proud of how we are doing.  No reason we can’t continue to increase our views per day.1

I hope you enjoy today’s session, and return tomorrow for another great song cover by Jim Fusco!

Editor’s Note: Unfortunately, Jeff’s acoustic cover song music videos are no longer on YouTube, but we decided to keep his cover song blog posts up.  We figured these music blog entries would be good for posterity’s sake and because Jeff always gave such insightful posts each Session.  We hope to see Jeff’s impressive catalog of acoustic rock songs here on the Laptop Sessions cover songs and origianal music blog again in the future.  But, for now, please make sure to check-out hundreds of other acoustic cover songs from all of your favorite bands here on the Laptop Sessions music blog!

“If I Fell” (The Beatles Cover)

By Jim Fusco:

Welcome, welcome to another edition of the Laptop Sessions featuring myself and the Traveling Acai Berries!  We’re continuing our month-long tribute to Beatles cover songs tonight (have you seen the great posts by Chris and Jeff these past two weeks?) with one of their finest early songs in “If I Fell”.

“A Hard Day’s Night” is an interesting film.  If you haven’t seen it, it’s really worth your while.  If you haven’t yet fallen in love with the Beatles, then this movie will seal the deal.  If you’re someone who wasn’t fortunate enough to live through Beatlemania, then this movie will show you what it was really like.  The fact that the boys could be so fun loving and charming during all that craziness proves why they were such a special group.

But, throughout the hype, they remained relevant and cool.  You might write-off some of their early hits like “She Loves You” and “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” as early-sixties fluff (you’d be an idiot, by the way), but there were some really introspective gems throughout their first few albums.  Go ahead and listen to “Things We Said Today” or “No Reply” and you’ll hear what I’m talking about.  These guys were not only great musicians and songwriters, but they were “deep, man”.  John Lennon and Paul McCartney (and even George Harrison on his early work like “Don’t Bother Me”) were ahead of their time in so many ways that I can think of 50 more songs I want to record for the Laptop Sessions acoustic cover songs music video blog.

“If I Fell” is one of those songs that just “gets you”.  I, for one, cannot stop singing it in my head.  The tune is one that goes back into itself constantly and is on permanent loop up there.  Couple that amazing tune with the harmonies of John and Paul (with Paul’s amazingly high vocals that I think I nailed pretty well) and you’ve got a classic Beatles song, indeed.  Both my father and my fellow Acai Berry Steve said that this song stood out to them when they watched “A Hard Day’s Night” and to me, that says it all.  When you’re up against the heavyweight singles on that album (like the title track) and the response is, “If I Fell really stood out to me,” then you know it’s a great song.

We couldn’t get Steve on camera again this week and Chris C. was busy studying sheet music (you can finally hear him this week!), so he was off-camera.  We had our fourth member, Bill, there for the session, but he had to leave early and we couldn’t get his guitar playing on the video.  I’m hoping that Bill can coax Steve on camera, as four people on camera makes you stand-out much less as an individual than when there’s only two people.  Anyway, I hope to record some more songs in two weeks, so maybe I’ll soften him up by then.  Next week is the last of our Beatles quatrain (like that little music term there?) and we’ve got a whole bag of tricks that should keep things fresh and interesting here on the best music blog ever created!

That’s right, I said, “Best EVER!”  Believe me?  Then comment about it!  We’d love to hear from you and, yes, each comment you leave brings Steve one more inch closer to appearing on camera!  So, get commentin’ and we’ll see you next week for another installment of Jim Fusco Tuesdays.  Stay-tuned for an all-new video by Jeff Copperthite, coming up Thursday!