The years 2001 to 2008 were very strange for Beatles fans. Apple/EMI were scraping the bottom of the barrel and with the official releases and Anthology releases out in the shops, things started to get weird. The first strange release became apparent on November 17 2003 when a new project was released on LP and CD with the title "Let It Be...Naked". An ugly title to begin with (credited to Ringo) and a true vanity concept.
The main reason for this release was to clean up, remix, remaster and digitally "fix" the recordings from the January 1969 "Get Back/Let It Be" project. All of the Phil Spector orchestrations would be removed, the original 8 track tapes would be subjected to review and various takes would be edited together and remixed. Some songs would be dropped and a song added. The tracklisting order would change as well.
In my opinion, the real reason for this project was simply that George, Ringo and especially Paul were not satisfied with the original mixes and overdubs. It has long been known that Paul hated the orchestral overdubs for his ballads on the original LP and didn't like the Spector mixes whatsoever. This re-release would rectify these "problems".
The catalogue number for this release is Apple 595438. The front cover for both the LP and CD show a grey background. The title of the project has the words "Let It Be..." in black and "Naked" in red at the top of the cover. There are two film strips running across the cover with the negative image of John and Paul on the upper strip and Ringo and George on the lower strip. The numbered frames are apparent and the stills show a negative image from the original LP with the exception of George Harrison (probably because the original image would not have been flattering with black teeth !!).
The back cover for the LP and CD both have the title of the project at the top (black and red) and the tracklisting in black (broken up in sides for the LP). The background is still gray. The outer back cover for the LP shows film strips with negative images from the movie while the CD does not. Both formats have the UPC code in the upper right hand side. The LP features the Apple logo and the Parlophone logo at the upper right while the CD features the Apple logo and the EMI logo at the lower right. (My copy of the CD being Canadian). The LP was only available as a UK import in North America. The copyright and trademark information can be seen at the lower portion of the back cover for both formats.
The CD contains a 32 page booklet with liner notes by Kevin Howlett written August 2003. The rest of the booklet contains images from the movie/photographs by Ethan Russell and dialogue from the original 1969 sessions. The middle of the booket features a full photograph from the rooftop concert. The LP contains the booklet blown up much larger and is 20 pages. It contains the same information as the CD but looks much better with the Ethan Russell photos being so much bigger and in better detail. Oddly, both books contain the rooftop photo and the LP gatefold also show the same photo as in the booklet. Weird. The back of the books show the tracklisting, a credit to Billy Preston on keyboards (nice ), production credits, the Beatles wetsite and copyright information.
The booklets claim the original 1969 production to The Beatles and George Martin and engineered by Glyn Johns. I beg to differ. The original production was essentially Glyn Johns with little involvment by George Martin and/or The Beatles as the group originally gave all the tapes to G. Johns who produced a couple of versions of the LP. There is absolutley no credit given to Phil Spector. The 2003 production is credited to Paul Hicks, Guy Massey and Allan Rouse and mastered by Steve Rooke. Probably all done at Abbey Road.
The custom labels for the LP show the following: Perimeter print has the copyright information. Gray background with the title and artist at the top. A film strip with the four individual negatives run across the middle of the label. The bottom has the side number and tracklisting and catalogue number at the bottom. The Apple and Parlophone logos are at the left side of the label at the top. The CD has the following: Perimet print has the copyright information. Title above the hole. Film strip running across the middle. The Apple logo, EMI logo and Copy Control logo are at the left bottom. The artist and catalogue number are at the bottom. The inner sleeve for the LP is plain white.
The tracklisting is as follows: "Get Back" (same take as the original LP and single but with the guitars separated and the ending is edited), "Dig A Pony" (same rooftop take as the original LP, the Phil Spector edit at the beginning and end is left in, the ending is edited and the electric piano is more pronounced), "For You Blue" (same take as the original LP and same vocal from January 1970, the acoustic guitar is more pronouned), "The Long and Winding Road" (the January 31 take is used here rather than the January 26 take, no orchestration and scat vocals in the middle eliminated), "Two Of Us" (same take as the original LP but acoustic guitars and drums much cleaner and tighter fade at the end), "I've Got A Feeling" (this project uses two rooftop takes edited together rather than the original LP which only uses one take, the electric piano is more pronounced), "One After 909" (same take as the original LP but faded out much earlier), "Don't Let Me Down" (not on the original LP but issued as a B-side, this version uses the first rooftop take while the last verse is edited to use the second rooftop take, there is also a rumour that "auto-tune was used on Lennon's vocal), "I Me Mine" (same January 03 1970 take as the original LP and the same Phil Spector edit to lengthen the song, but no orchestration), "Across The Universe" (take seven is used which is the same version used on both the World Wildlife Fund LP and the original LP, but stipped down to just Lennon vocal and acoustic, Ringo's tom tom and George Harrison's tamboura, the reverb effect is annoying and in my opinion destroys a bit of the beauty of the song. They should have left it alone throughout without the effect), "Let It Be" ( this version uses both takes 27A and 27B for various sections with overdubbed backing vocals and Paul's bass).
Please note that both "Dig It" and "Maggie Mae" are not on this project. "Don't Let Me Down" was added. All dialogue appeared on the original LP have been edited out.
The "Fly On The Wall" bonus disc and seven inch 45 are discussed in the next post.