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'Stripped' Beatles album on sale

Like the music, the album cover has been
Like the music, the album cover has been "stripped back."

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LONDON, England -- The Beatles' record company has released a stripped-down version of the band's album, "Let It Be."

The new version, released Monday, takes the music closer to the band members' desire to return to basics, as expressed in the optimistic claim on the original sleeve, "This is a New Phase Beatles Album."

It was recorded amid much acrimony in 1969 and released the following year. The band split up in 1970.

"Let It Be ... Naked" strips away the orchestration and lavish production work imposed at the time by "Wall of Sound" producer Phil Spector, which had been criticized, not least by Paul McCartney.

A statement from McCartney said: "If we'd have had today's technology back then, it would sound like this because this is the noise we made in the studio. It's all exactly as it was in the room. You're right there now."

The only other surviving Beatle Ringo Starr added: "When I first heard it, it was really uplifting. It took you back again to the times when we were this band, the Beatle band."

The track listing of "Let It Be ... Naked" differs from the 1970 release. Background dialogue, "Dig It" and "Maggie Mae" have been removed and "Don't Let Me Down" has been added.

A bonus 20-minute CD is released with the album featuring extracts from the original sessions together with a booklet of historic photographs of the sessions.

The original album was recorded before the acclaimed final album, "Abbey Road," but was released later due to disagreements.

The Fab Four enjoyed a surge in interest after the release of their greatest hits album "1" three years ago.

A spokesman for the band said: "As the release of 'Let It Be ... Naked' is coinciding with an increase in demand for guitar-based rock and quality pop, it is hoped that this new appeal to the young will be enduring."

New Musical Express magazine said of the revamped album: "We get a 35-minute, 11-track juggernaut which ceases to sound like a pieced-together postscript and more like a pared-down rock classic."

But Q magazine reviewed it less favorably, saying: "Mercifully the original Let It Be remains on sale. For all its faults, that's the proper version."


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