Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.
In this Love Letter To A Record series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.
Darren Middleton, Powderfinger – The Beatles, ‘Let It Be’(1968)
Dear Let It Be. Where do I start?
It feels like a lifetime ago that we first met and yet like a good friend, time matters not. I was a young teenager, trying my best at school when your melody first drifted into my orbit.
The first song I remember from this album was the beautiful ‘The Long and Winding Road’. This always seemed to be constantly coming out of our car speakers and I would be singing along when it did.
I honestly feel that this song – this and ‘Let It Be’ – hugely shaped my love of a well-written ballad. Whenever I hear it, it takes me straight back to the backseat of our car at the time. Sun streaming through the window, radio on and a young ‘me’ singing quietly along.
Due to being born in the ’70s, the timeline of discovery for me actually went backwards from the end, back to the start of their writing.
‘Let It Be’, their final release, was my first actual taste of this great band. From there I went
back to the beginning, then forwards in time again. (And back. Multiple times.)
As a young guitarist, your songs always felt within my reach (not overly tricky) however it’s really only once I dived into the actual instrumentation, that I realised just how cleverness and simplicity were married with this band.
The solo on ‘Let It Be’ remains to this day, one of my favourite guitar solos of all time. George, you were one of the most beautiful players I have ever heard.
It wasn’t until a few years later that the rest of the album would find its way under my skin. As I grew into a rowdy teen, other songs from the album started speaking to me. ‘I’ve got a feeling’ and ‘Dig a Pony’ are now two songs I’m really looking forward to playing…the looseness and rambunctious nature speak to me now a lot more than when I was in the backseat of Dad’s car.
I think people are a little too quick to dismiss ‘Let It Be’ as a patchwork of half-finished ideas and not their ‘greatest’ work but I disagree to a degree.
Yes, there are a few rather short tracks that feel like unfinished outtakes but that is the band becoming the band again. Not overthinking, not overproducing. Just playing and capturing ideas.
In amongst ‘Let It Be’ is one of Lennon’s most beautiful songs to my ear. ‘Across The Universe’ may have flown over my head as a young teenager but it’s one of those songs that grows on you…and grows…and sticks.
Heck, most of their songs either stick from the start or grow to stick.
Any way you look at it, as a writer of melody and music myself, ’Let It Be’ and everything before has had a huge impact on my life as a songwriter, so dear ‘Let It Be’ thank you, till the end of my days.
ARC – Kram (Spiderbait), Darren Middleton (Powderfinger), Mark Wilson (Jet) and Davey Lane (You Am I) – is returning to stages this July and August to present the final Beatles album ‘Let It Be’, in all its glory. Following two sold-out tours of The Beatles’ ‘Abbey Road’ Live, ‘Let It Be’ Live heads out on July 15 through August 1 for a 12-date national tour.
The band will once again walk the tightrope to faithfully and lovingly bring another brilliant Beatles creation to life on stage – ‘Let It Be’ from start to finish – followed by a second set playing a selection of favourites spanning the breadth of The Beatles’ catalogue. Head here for details.