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45 Years Ago: Phil Spector Finishes Work on the Beatles’ ‘Let It Be’

Phil Spector Beatles
Hulton Archive (2), Getty Images

And that was that. On April 2, 1970, Phil Spector put the final touches on the BeatlesLet It Be album, ending their time as a recording entity until the Anthology project in the mid-’90s.

According to Mark Lewisohn’s The Beatles Recording Sessions: The Official Abbey Road Studio Session Notes, 1962 – 1970, Spector and engineers Peter Brown and Roger Ferris were holed up in Room 4 of Abbey Road Studios and made stereo mixes of “The Long and Winding Road” and “Across the Universe,” both of which received orchestral overdubs the day before. The Beatles Bible notes that “Universe” was slowed down a half-step, while “Road” was pieced together from two stereo mixes (the edit is at 1:26, when Paul McCartney sings “Many times I’ve been alone“).

But for somebody who made his greatest and most enduring records live in the studio, Spector’s other task involved a bit more trickery. George Harrison‘s “I Me Mine” was, at 1:34, the shortest song on the record, except for the 41-second snippet of “Maggie Mae.” Lewisohn notes that at the 1:19 mark — where Harrison sings “flowing more freely than wine” — Spector spooled the tape back to 0:31 (“All through the day“) and let it run until he got back to the original spot. This edit added 51 seconds to the song, increasing its length by roughly 65 percent.

A month later, on May 8, Let It Be was released, nearly a year and a half after work commenced on the then-named Get Back project. But by that time, the public had become aware of the Beatles’ break-up. Eight days after this last session, McCartney distributed promotional information for his debut solo album, McCartney, where a self-written Q&A sheet revealed that he did not “foresee a time when Lennon-McCartney becomes an active songwriting partnership again.”

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