The Day The Beatles Let it Be

05/13/2011
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On this day in 1970, The world premiere of The Beatles film Let it Be took place in New York City. Gibson takes a look back: Following the sessions for the "White Album," which produced legendary music but also found tensions rising to an all-time high, The Beatles planned to get back to their roots on their next recording. As it turned out, the not always smooth experience would be filmed for a documentary titled Let it Be, which made its world premiere on this day in 1970.

For the new album, Paul McCartney's idea was to leave behind all of the Sgt. Pepper-style studio tricks and make music that was stripped-down and relatively straightforward to play live. The plan was that the new album would be recorded as a live performance, and not in the studio. At this point, the band hadn't toured in two and a half years and McCartney liked the idea of going back on the road. John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr were less keen on that notion, so the plan became for The Beatles to play a single concert perhaps in London, or on an ocean liner or in a Roman amphitheater in Africa. Rehearsals began on January 2, 1969 with no concrete plans in place.

But, before those sessions started, Dennis O'Dell, the head of Apple Films, suggested that the rehearsals be filmed for a television documentary that could serve as a companion piece to the live concert/album. To make filming easier, The Beatles set up camp at London's Twickenham Film Studios under the watchful eye of two cameras and director Michael Lindsay-Hogg (who had previously worked with the band on promotional films for "Paperback Writer," "Revolution" and other songs). more on this story

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