Most hardcore fans know that the Beatles broke up before the album Let It Be was actually released. And, most rock historians would agree that the accompanying documentary film (also called Let It Be) pretty much showed a band populated by people who couldn’t stand each other, regardless of how good the music was. The film itself hasn’t been publicly available since the 1980s, though that may suddenly change. And, if a rebooted Let It Be movie is released, it might change people’s perceptions of the break-up of the most famous rock group of all time.
“I think there may be a new version of it,” Paul McCartney said in a recent interview on Radio X. Apparently, “someone” was telling Paul that there is plenty of unreleased footage that is “very joyous and uplifting” featuring “a bunch of guys making music and enjoying it.” The Beatles broke-up thanks to a combination of legal woes and a lack of cohesiveness which mostly began after their manager, Brian Epstein died. Conventional wisdom holds that they hated making Let It Be, but will new footage prove otherwise?
Paul McCartney detractors will likely note that the concept of Let It Be (originally called “Get Back”) was McCartney’s from the beginning and that the other three Beatles were generally against it. And, outside of retrospective releases (like the 1995 Anthology project) it’s pretty much the only Beatles album not produced by George Martin, but instead, was produced by Phil Spector. Back in 2002, Apple Records released Let It Be…Naked, which supposedly was the original intent of the album, though many fans consider it to simply be Paul’s revisionist history.
However, there’s a big difference between remixing old songs and unearthing old documentary footage. Despite their best attempts, the Beatles aren’t great actors. (Well maybe Ringo is okay.) The point is, if there is, in fact, a version of Let It Be that shows these guys having more fun than we thought, it’s possible that they had more fun than we thought. In other words, a new version of Let It Be could change history by showing us the Beatles version of the dead seas scrolls.
McCartney claims there are “about 56 hours of footage,” and that “We can make a new film out of it. So who knows, that may be happening in a year or two.”
For now, hardcore fans and the vaguely curious will just have to wait and see. Paul McCartney is currently on tour, supporting his new album Egypt Station, which is actually pretty good. It’s also, for the first time in his solo career, an album that debuted at the number one slot in the Billboard charts.