Beatles’ ‘Let It Be’ Deluxe Editions Set for October, Preceding Peter Jackson’s Documentary Series

·11-min read

Let It Be,” the final release of the Beatles’ original catalog, wasn’t about to get memorialized in film and book form this fall without getting a boxed set of the actual music, too. And so months after fans got firm news about “Get Back,” the Peter Jackson documentary, and “Get Back,” the expansive hardback book, there’s finally confirmation that the album whose making those projects chronicle will officially get the deluxe treatment, come Oct. 15.

Like the expansive treatments for “Sgt. Pepper,” the White Album and “Abbey Road” before it, “Let It Be Special Edition” will be made available in several configurations, all with a new remix by producer Giles Martin and engineer Sam Okell of the 1970 album at their core. The new set, which is already available for pre-order, will come in bare-bones or intermediate editions, for the budget-minded. But hardcore fans will inevitably go for an outtakes-and-annotation-laden “super-deluxe” package that includes 5 CDs, an audio Blu-Ray and a 105-page hardback book.

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Concurrent with today’s announcement is the release of three tracks giving fans a taste of three different components of the full boxed set. A preview of Giles Martin’s work comes in the form of a new spin on “Let It Be”; like the rest of Martin’s remix, it’s a subtle, not radical, spin on the sound originally guided by his father, George Martin, and controversially “re-produced” by Phil Spector.

Outtakes and alternate versions take up two discs in the most expansive set, and those are represented in this week’s teaser tracks by a version of “Don’t Let Me Down” that was the first of two live performances of the song the Beatles did during their famous rooftop mini-concert in London in January 1969.

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Finally — for now — there’s a never-released mix of George Harrison’s “For You Blue” that was done by engineer Glyn Johns in May 1969. The disc that this track comes from may be particularly tantalizing to Beatles fans, as a “what if?” version of the album. Titled “Get Back LP – 1969 Glyn Johns Mix,” this alternate-universe version of what eventually became the “Let It Be” album is a sequence that Johns put together from the initial recording sessions, on spec, when the idea was to call the album “Get Back” and have the album represent the Beatles at their most stripped-back. It includes some songs that didn’t make the final album, like “Teddy Boy” (which eventually landed on a Paul McCartney solo project), and is missing some that did, like “I Me Mine.”

The Beatles’ “Let It Be Special Edition” super deluxe edition with 5 CDs and one BluRay - Credit: Courtesy Apple
The Beatles’ “Let It Be Special Edition” super deluxe edition with 5 CDs and one BluRay - Credit: Courtesy Apple

Courtesy Apple

The “Glyn Johns Mix” is not to be confused with the “Let It Be… Naked” album that came out in 2003, although the two are similar in presenting visions of what the 1970 album might have been if the original conception had been stuck with and Spector had never brought in after the recordings were done to apply a wall-of-sound to about half the material. (Neither “Let It Be… Naked” or the original 1970 release mix are included in this package.)

A fifth disc in the mega-version is an EP that includes four alternate versions — two previously unheard, and two that appeared on singles that have now been remixed — that were relegated there because they didn’t fit in conceptually anywhere else on the set. To round out the big set, there’s a Blu-Ray, which doesn’t include any visual material bur rather houses new Dolby Atmos, 5.1 and high-resolution mixes.

Some super-fans will wish that there were a 15- or 50-CD version, given the copious amounts of material that have been bootlegged over the decades from sessions where the tapes (or director Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s documentary cameras) just kept rolling, and rolling. But as with the “Abbey Road” box before it, this one is sparing on the half-completed cover songs, impromptu jams and studio chatter that captivate some Beatlemaniacs and bore others, favoring a curated approach rather than a document dump.

Although this super-deluxe edition goes light on the oldies that the Beatles were seen breaking into in the original “Let It Be” film, it does include a snippet of the Everly Brothers’ “Wake Up Little Susie” — spookily appropriate in its timing now, given the death of Don Everly this past weekend — as the lead-in into a rendition of “I Me Mine.” There’s less emphasis in the selected outtakes on oldies than on future-ees, if you will — i.e., rudimentary run-throughs of songs that wouldn’t be officially tracked until the Beatles went on to make “Abbey Road” (recorded after, but released before, “Let It Be”) or their first fledgling solo projects. These harbingers of things to come include rough versions of songs ranging from “She Came In Through the Bathroom Window” and “Something” to “Gimme Some Truth” and “All Things Must Pass.”

The top-level vinyl and CD editions both include a book filled with photos, essays and track-by-track annotation. McCartney and Martin both contribute short introductions, followed by more expansive historical commentary from Beatles historian Kevin Howlett and journalist John Harris. Previously unpublished photos by Ethan A. Russell and Linda McCartney sit alongside scraps of lyrics and other documents or images from the period.

The “Let It Be Special Edition” release Oct. 15 will come just three days after the Oct. 12 debut of a 240-page hardback, “The Beatles: Get Back,” which has been characterized as a companion book for Jackson’s film. Said movie, once planned as a single theatrical feature film, was reconfigured in the editing stages as a six-hour streaming mini-series, with two-hour episodes to roll out over three days on Disney Plus on Nov. 25-27, aka the first three days of the long Thanksgiving weekend in the U.S.

With the inevitable release of a “Let It Be” deluxe edition, the final four full-length original albums in the Beatles’ catalog will have gotten the boxed-set treatment. The big question that’ll come next: Will Apple Corps now go back to the beginning, or even a creative high-point/midpoint, to give the same treatment to favorites like “Rubber Soul” and “Revolver”? Maybe, with this current set yet to be digested, we can put those prospects on hold to just let “Let It Be” be here now.

The track lists for the small, medium and super-sized “Let It Be” editions:

SUPER DELUXE [5CD+1Blu-ray + 105-page hardbound book in slipcase, or digital audio collection]

CD1: Let It Be (new stereo mix of original album)
1: Two Of Us
2: Dig A Pony
3: Across The Universe
4: I Me Mine
5: Dig It
6: Let It Be
7: Maggie Mae
8: I’ve Got A Feeling
9: One After 909
10: The Long And Winding Road
11: For You Blue
12: Get Back

CD2: Get Back – Apple Sessions
1: Morning Camera (Speech – mono) / Two Of Us (Take 4)
2: Maggie Mae / Fancy My Chances With You (Mono)
3: Can You Dig It?
4: I Don’t Know Why I’m Moaning (Speech – mono)
5: For You Blue (Take 4)
6: Let It Be / Please Please Me / Let It Be (Take 10)
7: I’ve Got A Feeling (Take 10)
8: Dig A Pony (Take 14)
9: Get Back (Take 19)
10: Like Making An Album? (Speech)
11: One After 909 (Take 3)
12: Don’t Let Me Down (First rooftop performance)
13: The Long And Winding Road (Take 19)
14: Wake Up Little Susie / I Me Mine (Take 11)

CD3: Get Back – Rehearsals and Apple Jams
1: On The Day Shift Now (Speech – mono) / All Things Must Pass (Rehearsals – mono)
2: Concentrate On The Sound (mono)
3: Gimme Some Truth (Rehearsal – mono)
4: I Me Mine (Rehearsal – mono)
5: She Came In Through The Bathroom Window (Rehearsal)
6: Polythene Pam (Rehearsal – mono)
7: Octopus’s Garden (Rehearsal – mono)
8: Oh! Darling (Jam)
9: Get Back (Take 8)
10: The Walk (Jam)
11: Without A Song (Jam) – Billy Preston with John and Ringo
12: Something (Rehearsal – mono)
13: Let It Be (Take 28)

CD4: Get Back LP – 1969 Glyn Johns Mix
1: One After 909
2: I’m Ready (aka Rocker) / Save The Last Dance For Me / Don’t Let Me Down
3: Don’t Let Me Down
4: Dig A Pony
5: I’ve Got A Feeling
6: Get Back
7: For You Blue
8: Teddy Boy
9: Two Of Us
10: Maggie Mae
11: Dig It
12: Let It Be
13: The Long And Winding Road
14: Get Back (Reprise)

CD5: Let It Be EP
1: Across The Universe (unreleased Glyn Johns 1970 mix)
2: I Me Mine (unreleased Glyn Johns 1970 mix)
3: Don’t Let Me Down (new mix of original single version)
4: Let It Be (new mix of original single version)

Blu-ray: Let It Be Special Edition audio mixes
Dolby Atmos
96kHz/24-bit DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
96kHz/24-bit High Res Stereo (2019 Stereo Mix)

SUPER DELUXE VINYL [limited edition 4LP+12-inch EP + 105-page hardbound book in slipcase]

LP One: Let It Be (new stereo mix of original album)
Side 1
1: Two Of Us
2: Dig A Pony
3: Across The Universe
4: I Me Mine
5: Dig It
6: Let It Be
7: Maggie Mae
Side 2
1: I’ve Got A Feeling
2: One After 909
3: The Long And Winding Road
4: For You Blue
5: Get Back

LP Two: Get Back – Apple Sessions
Side 1
1: Morning Camera (Speech – mono) / Two Of Us (Take 4)
2: Maggie Mae / Fancy My Chances With You (Mono)
3: Can You Dig It?
4: Don’t Know Why I’m Moaning (Speech – mono)
5: For You Blue (Take 4)
6: Let It Be / Please Please Me / Let It Be (Take 10)
7: I’ve Got A Feeling (Take 10)
Side 2
1: Dig A Pony (Take 14)
2: Get Back (Take 19)
3: Like Making An Album? (Speech)
4: One After 909 (Take 3)
5: Don’t Let Me Down (First rooftop performance)
6: The Long And Winding Road (Take 19)
7: Wake Up Little Susie / I Me Mine (Take 11)

LP Three: Get Back – Rehearsals and Apple Jams
Side 1
1: On The Day Shift Now (Speech – mono) / All Things Must Pass (Rehearsals – mono)
2: Concentrate On The Sound (mono)
3: Gimme Some Truth (Rehearsal – mono)
4: I Me Mine (Rehearsal – mono)
5: She Came In Through The Bathroom Window (Rehearsal)
6: Polythene Pam (Rehearsal – mono)
7: Octopus’s Garden (Rehearsal – mono)
Side 2
1: Oh! Darling (Jam)
2: Get Back (Take 8)
3: The Walk (Jam)
4: Without A Song (Jam) – Billy Preston with John and Ringo
5: Something (Rehearsal – mono)
6: Let It Be (Take 28)

LP Four: Get Back LP – 1969 Glyn Johns Mix
Side 1
1: One After 909
2: I’m Ready (aka Rocker) / Save The Last Dance For Me / Don’t Let Me Down
3: Don’t Let Me Down
4: Dig A Pony
5: I’ve Got A Feeling
6: Get Back
Side 2
1: For You Blue
2: Teddy Boy
3: Two Of Us
4: Maggie Mae
5: Dig It
6: Let It Be
7: The Long And Winding Road
8: Get Back (Reprise)

12-Inch Let It Be EP
Side 1
1: Across The Universe (unreleased Glyn Johns 1970 mix)
2: I Me Mine (unreleased Glyn Johns 1970 mix)
Side 2
1: Don’t Let Me Down (new mix of original single version)
2: Let It Be (new mix of original single version)

DELUXE [2CD in digipak with 40-page booklet]

CD 1: Let It Be (new stereo mix of original album)

CD 2: Outtake Highlights
1: Morning Camera (Speech – mono) / Two Of Us (Take 4)
2: Maggie Mae / Fancy My Chances With You (Mono)
3: For You Blue (Take 4)
4: Let It Be / Please Please Me / Let It Be (Take 10)
5: The Walk (Jam)
6: I’ve Got A Feeling (Take 10)
7: Dig A Pony (Take 14)
8: Get Back (Take 8)
9: Like Making An Album? (Speech)
10: One After 909 (Take 3)
11: Don’t Let Me Down (First rooftop performance)
12: The Long And Winding Road (Take 19)
13: Wake Up Little Susie / I Me Mine (Take 11)
14: Across The Universe (unreleased Glyn Johns 1970 mix)

STANDARD [1CD, digital, 1LP vinyl, or limited edition 1LP picture-disc vinyl]
Let It Be (new stereo mix of original album)

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