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'Stripped' Beatles album revealed

Album cover
Album cover "stripped back" like the music has been overhauled

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The Beatles
Phil Spector

LONDON, England -- The Beatles' record company has unveiled the cover of a stripped-down version of the band's album, "Let It Be," which is due to be released next month.

"Let It Be ... Naked" features the original cover shot but as a negative in black-and-white mounted on a gray background, the idea being to strip the image back in the same way the music has been overhauled.

The new version of the album -- recorded amid acrimony mainly in 1969 and released the following year -- takes the music nearer their desire to return to basics, as expressed in the optimistic claim on the original sleeve, "This is a New Phase Beatles Album."

It strips away the orchestration and lavish production work of "Wall of Sound" producer Phil Spector, which had been criticized, not least by Sir Paul McCartney.

"Let It Be" was recorded before the acclaimed final album, "Abbey Road," but was released later due to disagreements that ultimately led to the band splitting in 1970.

The new version will be released November 17.

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 will be released with the album featuring extracts from the original sessions together with a booklet of historic photographs of the sessions.

The release of the album coincides with a surge in interest in the Fab Four following the success of the greatest hits album "1" which was released 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."

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