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Let it Be (33⅓ #12)

3.37  ·  Rating details ·  248 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
By turns obsessive, passionate, creative, and informed, the Thirty Three and a Third series explores critically acclaimed and much- loved albums by famous recording artists.
Paperback, 141 pages
Published August 10th 2004 by Continuum International Publishing Group
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Jan 01, 2009 rated it liked it
There are a lot of books out there on the Beatles and I certainly haven't read the majority of them, but I have read quite a few. And the only real new thing I learned of interest to me was that the name that became Loretta in "Get Back" was originally 'Teresa' in the working lyrics. The writer of the book spelled it 'Theresa' but how does he know what was in McCartney's mind? ;)
Sam Quixote
Nov 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Let It Be was initially conceived as a warm-up for the Beatles to return to live stage gigs with the first to be a lavish show in a ruined Roman Amphitheatre in Tunisia and in actuality became just one show - the legendary rooftop concert, the Beatles’ last live gig together. Originally titled Get Back to highlight the band returning to its roots, the rehearsals were filmed for an accompanying documentary and showed a band on the verge of breakup, and it was retitled Let It Be, as a fitting epit ...more
Paul Austin
Apr 07, 2008 rated it liked it
What’s a series of music books without a Beatles entry? It’s probably carved into a stone tablet somewhere that the Beatles must be included in all such projects. Given that, it’s pretty cool that the Beatles album chosen for the series is this one. Recorded between The White Album and Abbey Road (although not released until later), it’s a hodgepodge of throwaways and brilliance that the band itself didn’t want anything to do with once it was done. But even when half-baked (no pun intended), the ...more
Jan 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: music, non-fiction
One of the most unique books I've ever read. It's the first one I've tackled from the 33 1/3 series and I was impressed with the deep detail and research that went into it. The author dissects the 3 or so weeks of recording that went into the album as if it were the most important few weeks in human history. Endless details (pointless details for those who aren't interested), countless descriptions, and first-person accounts all pepper the narrative. The book gives an amazing ringside account of ...more
May 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: music
As with all of the books that I have read in this series, the quality of the book is based more upon the author than the subject matter. Matteo’s book is very well researched and his writing is good, the only problem was that the book lacked “heart” to me… it never hooked me and had me caring about The Beatles or this album or this point in their story. I’m a big Beatles fan, but this book just didn’t do much for me; it felt more like a collection of well-researched data than a story of the maki ...more
Jul 15, 2015 rated it it was ok
A very disappointing introduction to the 33 1/3 series. Much of this book read like a pre-first draft — as if the roughly chronological notes had to be turned into sentences and rushed to the printer, without anyone having tried to impose any narrative structure, or stylistic polish. Far too many straight lists of songs rehearsed on a particular day; speculation that may have been informed, but giving no indication that it was; weird, disorienting skips in time of just a few days; no new insight ...more
Sep 18, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: music
Even more minutiae-heavy than I was expecting. Ever wanted to know what 3 guitars Paul may have played on day 3 of recording? No? Well, you'll find out anyway. It also pre-supposes that the reader comes in knowing the basics of the Beatles' "Get Back" project and how that eventually begat the albums "Abbey Road" and "Let It Be." That all makes sense, I guess - any series of books on the history and/or themes of famous records probably isn't meant for the casual fan - but it's still a lot to assu ...more
Tobin Elliott
Dec 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Yeah, it's the Beatles, so of course I'm likely to enjoy it. But this one was interesting for me, as I realized as I went through this book, that much of the lore that has sprung up around the Get Back sessions that ultimately resulted in the Let It Be album was unknown to me. So this book filled in a fair amount of that information.

The author was a touch obsessive with the equipment lists, but overall, a much, MUCH better book than my first foray into this series (Jethro Tull's Aqualung album).
May 23, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: music
This would have been a better book if it had focused less on what day such and such happened and more on the actual music. The story of how the album came to be is definitely fascinating, but I wanted there to be more discussion of the songwriting process or at least a deeper analysis of the musical content of each song.
Sep 01, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: 33-1-3
Matteo reveals some interesting tidbits of backstory surrounding the writing and recording of "Let It Be" (both film and album), but there's a bit too much detail about makes and models of equipment. At least for my tastes. I'm sure someone somewhere cares that John played a stripped Epiphone Casino instead of the rosewood Telecaster that George preferred.
Michael Anderson
Jan 28, 2015 rated it it was ok
Describes the making of the Beatles's Let It Be album, including the Twickenham rehearsals, the rooftop concert, and the Phil Spector production in a straight forward, factual way. Full of Beatlegeek lists of people, equipment, and song names. It held my interest throughout, but I found myself wishing it was a bit longer and detailed in terms of people's motivations.
Jan 16, 2011 rated it it was ok
Disappointingly dry and bogged down with details of the recording, rather than personal perspective from the author. Nothing to really distinguish it from the mountain of other books written about Let It Be.
Sep 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: music
i remember being rather enthralled with this. there was a ton of info on where the band was as they fell apart, and how all the different mixes came about, resulting an an album none of the beatles apparently liked. its record geek blasphemy, but this is still probably my favorite beatles album.
Jay Clement
Oct 31, 2014 rated it liked it
These 33 1/3 series of books are nice little snacks that either detail or discuss famous albums. This one offered little new info to this Beatles fan, but it was interesting to see how so many songs were originally worked on years before their release on Fab Four records or solo works.
Brendan Babish
Aug 25, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2011
Geez. Do I really need to know what instrument everyone played at every session? Some interesting facts here, but the narrative constantly stalls out with needless details.
Grig O'
Feb 01, 2015 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: fans of facts
Shelves: kindle
A stream of anecdotes and minutiae with little room left for authorial insight - a by-the-numbers 00's Beatles book, basically.
Mar 08, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: 33-1-3-series
It started out well enough, but it got a bit bogged down by the going-on in the recording process. In the end, it turned into just another book about the Beatles.
Jan 26, 2012 rated it liked it
Nice compromise between the personal essay style of some of the 33 1/3 books (which can be very hard to penetrate), and the more studio-geek take of some books (which can drag).
Dec 24, 2008 rated it it was ok
i really enjoyed some of the other 33 1/3 books, and i'm a huge beatles fan...

but i gotta say... i was a little disappointed with this one. kinda droll.

Oct 20, 2008 is currently reading it
I'm aiming to read the whole series... except maybe for the Celine Dion one...
John Gilbert
Nov 05, 2010 rated it liked it
Some cool tech info about recording and instruments, along with a bit of bootleg info. Preferred the Lewison Recording Sessions book.
Jan 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: music
I am typically a big fan of the 33 1/3 series. However, there was too much talk of microphones and equipment, in my opinion. The quick overview of the Beatles' break-up was interesting, though.
Jun 11, 2013 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jack Elrich
Jul 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Mostly a log of what songs were played in the studio and when, however still very interesting.
Mar 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
To depressing album to go into so much detail
Arthur Cravan
Mar 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: music
This book is pretty much what I expected, except for the insane crush the author has on Phil Spector. Pretty much all the detail you'd want on the creation of Let It Be, at least in a somewhat narrative form - I guess you could dig deeper with those session-by-session books for a more complete picture (and dig up all the bootlegs for listening).

I always love spending time with The Beatles, so 4/5!
Patrick Grady
Jan 23, 2008 rated it it was ok
pretty weak run through the recording sessions and not told with much flair.
Jul 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
An interesting look at the weakest Beatles album. I didn't learn anything new but I found the writing pleasant.
Brian Lavery
rated it really liked it
Mar 30, 2014
Dave Bradley
rated it liked it
Dec 08, 2011
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