Released on May 8, 1970, nearly a year and a half after it was recorded, Let It Be served as the Beatles’ swan song.
The record, and its accompanying documentary, began life as a project spearheaded by Paul McCartney to return to the band’s roots as a live rock ‘n’ roll group, with no overdubs or other studio enhancements. But the Beatles pretty much disintegrated during the sessions – George Harrison even walked out at one point – and Phil Spector was brought in to clean up the mess after the band’s usual producer, George Martin, bowed out and engineer Glyn Johns couldn’t figure out what to do with the hours of tapes.
Spector added strings and choirs to sweeten the music’s sound, and his often heavy-handed approach to the songs is a major reason there’s never been a general consensus regarding Let It Be.
For the album’s 50th anniversary, UCR discussed the record, how it’s rated in the Beatles’ catalog, the best and worst songs and Spector’s involvement, including his decision to leave off John Lennon’s “Don’t Let Me Down” from the LP