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While it is well known among Beatles fans that making Let It Be was problematic for the group, which was in the midst of splitting up, a recently unearthed interview with John Lennon makes it clear that making it was “torture” to him.
In the interview with Village Voice journalist Howard Smith, recorded in late 1969, Lennon talks about the difficulty of not just making Let It Be, but he makes it sound as if it was hard to make all of their albums, notes Classic Rock Magazine. He refers to Let It Be by its original title, Get Back, and notes that it was supposed to be out before Abbey Road.
“We were going through hell; we often do,” he said about the then-new album. “It’s torture every time we produce anything. The Beatles haven’t got any magic you haven’t got. We suffer like hell anytime we make anything.”
He continues, “We’ve got each other to contend with. Imagine working with the Beatles – it’s tough. There’s just tension. It’s tense every time the red light goes on.”
As the AFP notes, Lennon said that Let It Be was really a project Paul McCartney pushed them to finish. “We never really finished it. We didn't really want to do it. Paul was hustling for us to do it. It's the Beatles with their suits off,” he said.
It is also an early interview with Lennon admitting that members of the band had left and he was about to leave himself. When it came to touring he said, “If the Beatles would split open the group a bit and have Yoko, Billy Preston, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, and Elvis Presley in the group I might be interested. But as the Fab Four I’m not personally interested in going out like that.”
The interview tapes will be auctioned off by RR Auction during its Marvels of Modern Music sale from Sept. 19 to 26. Here’s an excerpt: