A demo was recorded by George in 1969; however, when the film “Let it Be” was being assembled from the various film clips of the “Get Back” (the original title of the “Let it Be”) project, director Michael Lindsey-Hogg wanted a better version of the tune to use while showing John Lennon and Yoko Ono dancing a waltz. The original waltz was filmed as George was introducing the song to the band.
This required a re-recording of the tune on January 3, 1970. This was after John Lennon had left the band and only included the other three members. With 16 takes, an abbreviated version of the song was recorded by Harrison, McCartney, and Starr. George sang lead and harmony vocals and played acoustic and electric lead and rhythm guitars; Paul added harmony vocals and played bass, organ, and electric piano; and Ringo added drums – to which he overdubbed another drum track on April 1, 1970.
When Phil Spector was assembling the “Let it Be” album, he lengthened the original by splicing a copy of the song into itself. Additionally, Spector added an orchestral arrangement that included 18 violins, four violas, four cellos, three trumpets, three trombones, and a harp. The song had two movements – the verse in A minor that was in 6/8 time, and the chorus in A major in 4/4 time. During the chorus, George and Paul actually sing “I, Me, Me, Mine.”
The lyrics were based on a Hindu doctrine of renouncing one’s own ego to achieve enlightenment. Harrison also used “I Me Mine” as the title of his autobiography. Although the “Let it Be” album bore the Apple label and logo on the American releases, it was actually distributed by United Artists, who had the rights to the film. To my knowledge, the red Apple label was only used in the US, as releases in other nations (including Canada) used the traditional green Apple label.
When Capitol’s parent company EMI purchased United Artists in 1978, it provided an opportunity for two Beatles’ LP controlled by United Artists, “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Let it Be,” to finally be issued on the Capitol imprint in the US.