Phil Spector’s heavy-handed approach to producing Let it Be remains controversial even 50 years later–Paul McCartney still seems perturbed by those strings on “The Long and Winding Road”–but he managed to turn “I Me Mine” from a 90-second interlude into an epic and powerful (but still short) anthem.
After The White Album and Abbey Road clocked in at 93 and 47 minutes respectively, Let it Be was their shortest album in years, with just 35 minutes of content. (And many would argue that said content was inconsistent at best, but that’s an argument for another day.) But it would have been even shorter had Phil not worked his magic on “I Me Mine.”
This anguished George Harrison track wasn’t even supposed to appear on Let it Be, but when the final cut of the film of the same name included it in a sequence in which John and Yoko waltzed while George, Paul, and Ringo rehearsed, a more proper rendition was required. In early 1970, those three convened to record “I Me Mine” in what would become the final Beatles session ever. (At least until they polished up some old John Lennon demos in the 90s.)
The only problem? For an LP already short on content, “I Me Mine” was just one minute and 34 seconds long. That was doubly unfortunate because it was a great song that would likely be lost in the shuffle and lumped in with other brief afterthoughts like “Maggie Mae” and “Dig It.” So Phil simply took the first verse and repeated it, stretching the song out to…well, it’s still pretty short at under two-and-a-half minutes. But somehow it makes a big difference and transforms it into one of the Beatles’ best rockers.