Let It Be... Naked
There used to be a group called the Beatles. Paul McCartney was one of the members of the group. Interestingly, it being a group, there were three other members.
One cold winter, Paul had the bad idea of forcing the other members of the group to perform in unpleasant conditions for hours at a time, all while being filmed. Keep in mind that this group had just completed a half a year’s worth of 18-hour work days, and released a double album only five weeks before. One might surmise that the need for new material was less than immediate, and that perhaps a well-deserved vacation was in order.
When, to no one’s surprise but Paul’s, the sessions produced music that was slightly less fabulous than usual, everyone sort of gave up on the tapes. Paul himself couldn’t be bothered to turn them into a final product, instead moving on to one of the group’s masterpieces, Abbey Road.
But then, one of the group members, John Lennon, went ahead and made a decision. He had Phil Spector hardly an amateur; rather, one of the most highly respected producers in the rock and roll field prepare the tapes for an album. An album which, it turns out, was a #1 hit and has sold four million copies in the United States alone. It seems that having other group members help him out has been a benefit to Paul McCartney. In fact, John’s decision to get the tapes released has allowed Paul to milk the hits “Let It Be” and “The Long and Winding Road” for years and years of concerts.
Apparently Paul wasn’t as happy with the final version of the album as he might have been; but apparently the other group members weren’t happy to make the album at all. So it seems fair that, being a group and all, they could split the decision and allow John’s producer to put together Paul’s album. It sounds fine and was a big seller.
Conveniently, two of Paul’s former comrades have died, and the other was just the drummer. So now Paul has free reign to revise history, and issue a rejiggered version of the album, leaving out most of the important stuff John put in. Everyone says it sounds better, but that’s hardly the point. The point is, it sounds different different than the album the Beatles put together.
Paul can re-write history all he wants on his own dime, but he shouldn’t do it under the name of his group, half of which can no longer object. Don’t feed this man's ego anymore go buy a Denny Laine solo album instead.
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I think it would also be beneficial to add that McCartney had designs for overtaking the Beatles even while Brian Epstein was the manager. From trying to control everything from the costumes that he and his bandmates would wear on stage (Lennon deftly protested one such decision at Shea Stadium by playing the band's set with his jacket unbuttoned) to constantly arguing with Epstein and Lennon about why their compositions were listed on albums with John's name first (done purely alphabetically), Paul was out to take control of the project. The reason exactly is something I've been trying to fathom myself. Perhaps growing up in post-war Liverpool jaded his psyche to the point where he had to be successful at any cost? Maybe all the talk of him being "the cute one" got to him and he felt that he was the main reason behind the success? Who really knows? I won't go as far as inappropriately suggesting that his faked death should have been sustained back in '67, but I do feel a measure of vindication knowing that Michael Jackson yanked all the copyrights to the Beatles' songs.
Although I haven't heard 'Let it Be...Naked' (rejiggered was an awesome description, by the way) I feel justified in treating it as an adulterated solo project with McCartney's terrible off-key cockney vocals. Just look at the solo projects he did RIGHT AFTER the Beatles broke up. All the copies of Ram are probably locked up in EMI studios underground vault in the Cayman Islands. Hell, he didn't even retain any of the famed wit that made the Beatles famous. Pink Floyd ended up using a comical quote by the Wings' guitarist Jimmy McCulloch on Dark Side of the Moon after Roger Waters disappointingly got NOTHING from either Linda or Paul. Damn straight...Now if you'll excuse me, I'm "gonna make time stand still" with The Ultimate Denny Laine Collection.
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