♫ Let It Be ♫

At the time of its release in 1970, this Beatles tune had the highest debut on the Billboard Hot 100, beginning its chart run at number 6. It was written and sung by Paul McCartney and was their final single before McCartney announced his departure from the band.

McCartney said he had the idea of Let It Be after he had a dream about his mother during the tense period surrounding the sessions for The Beatles aka the White Album in 1968. According to McCartney, the song’s reference to “Mother Mary” was not biblical. McCartney explained that his mother – who died of cancer when he was fourteen – was the inspiration for the “Mother Mary” lyric. He later said: “It was great to visit with her again. I felt very blessed to have that dream. So that got me writing ‘Let It Be’.” He also said in a later interview about the dream that his mother had told him, “It will be all right, just let it be.”

Now here’s something I didn’t know. According to Songfacts …

The Beatles weren’t the first to release this song – Aretha Franklin was. The Queen of Soul recorded it in December 1969, and it was released on her album This Girl’s In Love With You in January 1970, two months before The Beatles released their version (she also covered The Beatles “Eleanor Rigby” on that album).

Aretha recorded it with the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, who were a group of musicians that owned their own studio in Alabama, but would travel to New York to record with Aretha. David Hood, who was their bass player, told us that Paul McCartney sent demos of the song to Atlantic Records (Franklin’s label) and to the Muscle Shoals musicians. Said Hood, “I kick myself for not grabbing that demo. Because I think they probably dropped it in the garbage. Our version was different. We changed it a little bit from his demo, where their version is different from that demo and from Aretha’s version, as well. Just slightly, but little things.”

A few other bits of trivia:

  • Sesame Street used this with the title changed to “Letter B.” The lyrics were changed to list words that begin with B.
  • The album had the largest initial sales in US record history up to that time: 3.7 million advance orders.
  • This was the first Beatles song released in The Soviet Union. The single made it there in 1972.
  • This song was played at Linda McCartney’s funeral.
  • This was the first Beatles song released in the Soviet Union. The single made it there in 1972.
  • John Legend and Alicia keys performed this song on the tribute special The Beatles: The Night That Changed America, which aired in 2014 exactly 50 years after the group made their famous appearance on Ed Sullivan Show. Legend introduced it as “a song that has comforted generations with its beauty and its message.”

Something else I didn’t know comes from The Vintage News site …

In July 1966 the Beatles toured the Philippines and unintentionally snubbed First Lady Imelda Marcos. Accustomed to high praise if not worship, she invited the group to attend a breakfast reception at the Presidential Palace in Manila, expecting the group to attend without hesitation. When the Beatles were presented with the invitation, however, they asked their manager, Brian Epstein, to politely decline it on behalf of the group, with an explanation that it had never been their policy to accept such “official” invitations.

Soon after, the band realized that the Marcos regime had rarely heard “no” from anyone–and there would be consequences. Imelda Marcos was infuriated when she found out that her grand planned party of 200 guests would not include the Beatles as special guests. Interestingly enough, the Philippine television and radio stations broadcast the snub. Shortly after, all of the Beatles security police suddenly disappeared. Epstein called for an interview, trying to make an apology on Chanel 5 at the Manila Hotel. But when his interview was about to be aired, the state-controlled channel blacked out.

Let It Be
The Beatles

When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

And when the broken hearted people living in the world agree
There will be an answer, let it be
For though they may be parted, there is still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
There will be an answer, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

And when the night is cloudy there is still a light that shines on me
Shine until tomorrow, let it be
I wake up to the sound of music, Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, yeah, let it be
There will be an answer, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, yeah, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

Songwriters: John Lennon / Paul McCartney
Let It Be lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

21 thoughts on “♫ Let It Be ♫

  1. One of the best! Yesterday at school I was playing the autoharp and children were singing and dancing. A child asked if I could play “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” I was stunned. I told him it is a favorite song, but I don’t know how to play it. “I have the record and I’ll bring it in on Monday.” He was thrilled, and so was I.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jill, it is a terrific song, with or without the theatrics added in by Phil Specter on one of their few collaborations. It has lovely lyrics and tune. My daughter told me of a movie coming out this summer about a local guitarist, who after a blackout, is the only person to remember Beatles’ songs. He plays “Yesterday” and people are amazed. “Yesterday” is name of the movie.

    By the way, I did not know the Imelda Marcos’ story. Keith

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I enjoy solemn songs, this one conveys a sense of quiet capitulation, renunciation. Like turning all our troubles over to God and submit: Thy kingdom come; thy will be done.
    Also reminds me of unconditional motherly love, as shown by Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
    Great songs have that transformative effect.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. One of the greatest Beatles songs ever. Their style wasn’t that off the Hippy 60’s with songs by Scott McKenzie and the glorious Mamas and Papas but they still managed to convey the message f living together in peace pretty well.
    Cwtch

    Liked by 3 people

    • My pleasure, and I’m glad you liked the song! I thought that was interesting too … Imelda Marcos was, rather like Trump, possessed of a huge ego! The Beatles had to get out of the Philippines quickly, and they were nearly mobbed, from what I read.

      Liked by 1 person

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