December 20, 2014

"I was disappointed that Lennon got away with giving it to Spector, and even more disappointed with what Spector did to it."

"It has nothing to do with the Beatles at all. ‘Let It Be’ is a bunch of garbage.... [Spector] puked all over it. I’ve never listened to the whole thing, I’ve only listened to the first few bars of some things and said, ‘Oh, forget it.’ It was ridiculously, disgustingly syrupy."

Said the recording engineer and producer Glyn Johns.

Also at the link: Johns on The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, and Led Zeppelin.)

32 comments:

tim in vermont said...

Let It Be was originally intended to be released before Abbey Road during mid-1969 as Get Back, but the Beatles were unhappy with this version, which was mixed and compiled by Glyn Johns, and it was temporarily shelved. A new version of the album was created by Phil Spector in 1970 and finally released as Let It Be - Wikipedia

jr565 said...

The Let It Be Sessions were the Beatles trying to get Back to their roots and do rawer music than their studio albums. And they recorded hundreds of hours of them essentially jamming g. And it was largely garbage.
Spector fashioned it into a releasable album. it's
Robby the worst album the Beatles put out, but even Lennon admitted it was shit anyway, and at least Spector was able to put something out that wasn't total crap.

Ian Nemo said...

A story about an elderly gentleman nursing the illusion that the fancies of his youth were interesting or important.

Tank said...

It really annoyed me that he asked Eric. LOL, yeah like who would want Clapton's opinion?

On the other hand, he talks about purposely pissing Clapton off in studio to make him play better, more aggressively. I can see that. Most of Clapton's best playing was his most aggressive stuff from the Mayall, Cream, Blind Faith era.

Tank said...

@Ian, for many of us who lived through that time, the memoirs of the "actors" can be pretty interesting.

Laslo Spatula said...

Is 'lazy' a code word for heroin?

I am Laslo.

Laslo Spatula said...

Eric Clapton played guitar on one of the most over-rated Beatles songs ever. "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" almost ruins the "White Album" -- it would've been better to have Lennon add "Revolution Number Ten." Or to have given Ringo another song. One or the other.

I am Laslo.

Laslo Spatula said...

If "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" is considered a great song then I like the Beatles better when they were "The Knack."

I am Laslo.

Bob R said...

Listen to Let It Be...Naked. It's much better than Spector's mix. The choice to make the movie and record in that big barn of a studio was obviously a bad idea for a lot of reasons, but I don't think the sound quality was as bad as Lennon made it out to be. (Admittedly, it probably would have sounded better recorded in Abby Road.)

EDH said...

In his book is Johns able to name one person who didn't come to think he's a dick?

Laslo Spatula said...

"While My Guitar Gently Weeps" : the song that can't be bothered to wake itself up.

Dreary.

Listless.

The prototype for 'Lilith Fair'.

I do not like that song.

I am Laslo.

jr565 said...

I'mnot sure if sound quality was the problem so much as no one really knew what to do. It was just jamming sessions. Abbey road is a proper album. let It Be is just cobbled together songs.

Laslo Spatula said...

Bob R said...
Listen to Let It Be...Naked. It's much better than Spector's mix.

Agreed.

"Let it Be" functions best if you think of it as a bootleg that happened to get wide release.

I am Laslo.

Bob R said...

Johns has a very naturalist way of recording drums that I really like. Drums on his recordings sound like a real kit, not a disconnected collection of samples.

Bob R said...

Prince makes the guitar weep very well.

Bob R said...

Lasio said-

"The prototype for 'Lilith Fair'."

Last band I was in had a female lead singer, and we covered "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" with the first half in a 'Lilith Fair" style and then broke into a louder, faster jam for the solos. It's not a bug, it's a feature.

Laslo Spatula said...

Bob R said...

"...and then broke into a louder, faster jam for the solos."

I think you are making my point. The original never wakes up: it would certainly be improved by a bit of the louder/faster. Your band 'got it', Harrison didn't.

I am Laslo.

AReasonableMan said...

No one who is 'lazy' gets to play the guitar like Clapton.

Laslo Spatula said...

Re: Clapton.

Maybe not lazy but over-rated.

Case in point: his best song, "Layla", where he isn't even the best guitarist on the recording. The signature riff was created by Duane Allman, and the memorable solos -- especially the outro -- are by Allman.

And don't get me started about Cream...

I am Laslo.

Will Cate said...

I don't like "Let It Be... Naked" because McCartney pitch-corrected some of the vocals (esp. noticeable on "Dig A Pony"), and it sound un-natural to my ears.

The original Let It Be isn't all bad. Spector added orchestration on only four tracks (Across The Universe, Let It Be, I Me Mine and Long & Winding Road)... the original versions of those songs are all available on other compilations.

Wilbur said...

I idiosyncratically vote thumbs down on about everything Beatle related after Sgt. Pepper.

Two exceptions come to mind: "Number 9 Dream" by Lennon and "Junior's Farm" by McCartney".

I have no interest in Mr. Mustard, or Maxwell's hammer or shrieking Yoko. But it's nothing personal.

Bob Ellison said...

Laslo, I'm with you on "While My Guitar". Terrible song. Would have been better as "While Ringo's Drumsticks Loudly Bang".

chillblaine said...

I love Let It Be. Glyn Johns cannot make me not love it. I sing "Two Of Us," sometimes to the winds while our poodles do their walk and sniff. I change it to "Three Of Us."

Tank said...

Gotta admit, I love that While my Guitar song. I do think of it as more of a Clapton/Harrison song than a Beatles song. The problem with bringing Clapton in to any project (especially at that time), was the possibility of him overwhelming whatever else was going on. Ironically, this worked the other way when Duane Allman sat in on the Layla album.

Then there is the version of the song at Bangledesh, with Clapton barely able to get on stage, but still playing well.

My favorite version is the one Clapton played at the George Harrison memorial concert. The song was perfect for that sad occasion.

William said...

Ever since that murder conviction, everyone has been dumping on Phil Spector. No misunderstood genius vibes for Spector. No one puffs him as the supreme bad boy of rock n roll--the man who had to cross the boundaries to discover brave, new worlds......Spector was extremely talented, but he wasn't very good looking and wore wigs. I think that more than the murder ultimately damaged his reputation.

chickelit said...

Mr. Johns lost a couple clients to Eddie Kramer and never recorded some that Kramer did.

I wonder if the two ever speak.

Laslo Spatula said...

I resent the Sixties for being the formative experience of many of my later college teachers.

I was taught by people that thought Crosby, Stills and Nash were deep, man.

Hippies.

I especially hate Jefferson Airplane.

I am Laslo.

Anonymous said...

I was an elementary school student with a transistor radio I kept on a top 40 station when the Beatles came on the scene. I was in awe of them, listened to their music, paid to see Help in a movie theater, and generally supported the idea that they were important people.

I am now a little bit amazed that these four have influenced so many people. If someone with a track record of broken relationships and drug use like theirs applied for a job with my employer the answer would be no. Character is apparently not an important criterion for keepers of our culture.

Wilbur said...

"I am now a little bit amazed that these four have influenced so many people."

A lot of it is right place, right time.

I think it likely that with his looks and sheer musical ability, McCartney would have been successful in any era.

Gordon said...

@Grundoon, none of the Beatles really went off the deep end as far as drug use. There were a lot of others who did.

Mitch H. said...

Geez, people, did Slate dope yesterday's flapjacks or something? Everybody's gone full-reflexive contrarian on late Beatles material this weekend. And I kind of like "While My Guitar Gently Weeps". But then, I'm not a heavy-duty Beatles fanatic. Didn't help that I had a grade school music-class teacher who insisted on using them as icons of progressive musical "maturation".

Ambrose said...

I put Let it Be on tonight just to test this. Sorry I still like it. I do intend to read Glyn John's book though