A new reissue of Let It Be includes four discs of live material, demos, alternate takes, and lost mixes, shining a light on the brilliant and tumultuous process of what would become the Beatles’ final album.
By 1969, the dream was ending. Since their early-’60s arrival as a mesmerizing foursome of Elvis and Everlys-inspired child savants, the Beatles had continuously and spectacularly leveled up: from chipper and prolific chart dominators in England to beloved Liverpool exports conquering America, to shaggy-haired counter-culture superstars lurking subversively in the pages of teenage glossies, to society-shifting psychedelic pioneers and avant-garde astronauts. All of it seemed ordained by magic. The run between 1963’s Please Please Me and 1968’s The Beatles (known colloquially as the White Album) remains credulity-straining in both its breadth and brilliance. But all things must pass. And by 1969, the Beatles were barely functional.