♫ Let It Be ♫ (Redux)

Yesterday when I played Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon & Garfunkel, two readers mentioned this song in comments as being similarly comforting in trying times such as we are going through today.  I have played it only once before, in 2019, so I figured it’s time for a redux!

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 #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.
  • 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

35 thoughts on “♫ Let It Be ♫ (Redux)

  1. Pingback: LET IT BE . ( REDUX ) | Ramblings of an Occupy Liberal

  2. When the Beatles were flying across Canada for their first Canadian tour (1965 if memory serves correctly), on their way ftom Toronto to Vancouver, it was announced on the radio they would be making an unscheduled stop at Winnipeg Airport. I cannot remember how long it was from the announcement till the time the plane landed, less than an hour for sure, the tarmac was flooded with screaming girls and “long-haired boys.” (To call that long hair would be embarrassing today, but such were the times.) The Beatles obliged their fans by standing in the open doorway of the plane waving and trying to call something out, but nothing could be hesrd. The screams drowned them out.
    For the next week the broacast news showed the video clip, reveling in having had the Beatles in Winnipeg. Sorry to say, by the time I made it across town, the police had blocked entry to the airport, even for people with flights to catch. The airport was so full of Beatles’ fans that the doors had to be locked.

    Liked by 2 people

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