Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Beatles - Let It Be

(Apple, 1970)

McCartney dips his toe into some gospel biz with “Let it Be” and sells the package with that forceful deeper register he used so often – and so well – during his bearded phase. Given what I’ve heard of Billy Preston’s work, it seems reasonable to assume that his presence in the Beatles’ sphere at this time had considerable influence on the song’s development. Either way, his rich, churchy organ is a key component in the arrangement, so hats off to you, Mr. Billy “Recently Deceased” Preston! This 7” mix (included on Past Masters Volume Two) differs from the superior Let it Be LP version, with, among other sonic subtleties, an alternate guitar solo.

Things take a turn for the zany on “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number),” a jazzy, multi-sectioned goof that feels an awful lot like an early Bonzo Dog Band outtake. While a little tedious at 4:19, the casual jokiness of the song serves as a nice answer to the A-side’s solemnity. Lennon had actually been scheming to release “You Know My Name” and the obnoxious “What’s the New Mary Jane” as a solo 7”, and it’s a shame he didn’t get his way; that would have been one of the most perverse and unlistenable singles of all time. Aside from “Gone Troppo,” that is. Haw!

1 comment:

Donald Brown said...

The first time I heard "You Know My Name" I was probably around 11. Akin to your labors, I decided to listen to the B sides of every 45 in the house. This one floored me, I was convulsed with laughter. I had to play it for my little brothers, my older sister, shaking with laughter each time. I didn't know at the time it was almost all Paul -- the hammy jokester at his best!