The recording sessions for Let It Be were actually begun as rehearsals for a proposed return to live stage work for the Beatles, to be inaugurated in a concert at a Roman amphitheatre in Tunisia. Here, Steve Matteo delves deep into the complex history of these recording sessions. He talks to many of the people involved in the recording of these songs, and the accompanying documentary. And he also looks at the Spector-less version of the album released in 2003. 33 1/3 is a series of short books about critically acclaimed and much-loved albums of the last 40 years. Focusing on one album rather than an artist's entire output, the books dispense with the standard biographical background that fans know already, and cut to the heart of the music on each album. The authors provide fresh, original perspectives, often through their access to and relationships with the key figures involved in the recording of these albums. By turns obsessive, passionate, creative, and informed, the books in this series demonstrate many different ways of writing about music. (A task that can be, as Elvis Costello famously observed, as tricky as dancing about architecture.)
What binds this series together, and what brings it to life, is that all of the authors - musicians, scholars, and writers - are deeply in love with the album they have chosen. Previous titles in this now well-established series have beaten sales expectations and received excellent review coverage - the third batch is sure to continue this success. More titles follow in the spring of 2005.
Steve Matteo is the author of the short biography Dylan (MetroBooks, 1999). He has written about music in a wide range of magazines including the New York Times, Blender, Rolling Stone, Spin and Details. He lives in New York.