Let It Be 50

50 years ago today — May 8th, 1970 — The Beatles released Let It Be.

Though it wasn’t the last album they recorded, it was the last one they released.

Let It Be started as Get Back, a back-to-basics recording whose sessions were also filmed for a documentary. After the sessions were done, engineer Glyn Johns put together an album, which the group rejected. They then set about making a new album, which became Abbey Road, and that was released in September 1969.

In December of ’69, they asked Glyn to assemble something from the Get Back sessions, this time as a soundtrack to the movie. That was scrapped as well. Then in 1970, weeks before the band broke up, John Lennon asked producer Phil Spector to work on the tapes. The result was Let It Be, released around the world on May 8th, 1970, and in America on May 18th. Ironically, it contained all the lush production and trickery that Lennon had said he didn’t want on the album.

George Martin, who produced the original sessions, said he thought he and the band could have done a better version, calling Spector’s scoring “over the top and too lush.”

Among the songs on the album are the title track, “The Long and Winding Road,” “Across the Universe,” “Get Back” and “I’ve Got a Feeling.”

A movie from those sessions, also titled Get Back, will open in theaters on September 4th. There are also plans to someday re-release the original Let it Be documentary.