The Beatles, 'Get Back' (1969)
Get Back was envisioned as a back-to-basics rock album, free from elaborate production work, recorded live in a hangar-like film studio for a corresponding Beatles documentary. The premise was interesting, but the conditions were not ideal for making music, and the camera presence proved intrusive. The torturous sessions wrapped soon after the iconic performance on the Apple Records rooftop, but no one could face digging through the 85 hours of material the band had amassed.
Producer Glyn Johns was given the unenviable job of pulling a usable track list from the wreckage. "I originally put together an album of rehearsals," Johns told the BBC, "With chats and jokes and bits of general conversation in between the tracks, breakdowns, false starts." The band apparently "really liked" his fly-on-the-wall approach, but the Beatles' new manager, Allen Klein, balked at putting out such an unpolished product. In March 1970, he persuaded Lennon to hand over the Get Back tapes to producer Phil Spector, who went wild with orchestral overdubs.
Not everyone in the band agreed with this new creative approach. "It was all done over my head," Paul McCartney sighed to biographer Barry Miles. "I was sent a remixed version. No one asked me what I thought." He was livid when he heard the changes made to his work – particularly "The Long and Winding Road," which had been laden with mawkish strings, harps and a melodramatic choir. Requests to remove the instruments were denied, and the album was released as Let It Be that May.