Song facts: Let It Be

Let It Be is a song written by Paul McCartney, credited to Lennon/McCartney. It was released on the band's final album Let It Be and as a single in 1970; The Beatles' final single before they announced their split.

McCartney's inspiration for Let It Be came from a dream he had about his mother Mary, during a tense period when The Beatles were recording The White Album. McCartney lost his mother to cancer when he was only fourteen

"One night during this tense time I had a dream I saw my mum, who'd been dead 10 years or so. And it was so great to see her because that's a wonderful thing about dreams: you actually are reunited with that person for a second; there they are and you appear to both be physically together again. It was so wonderful for me and she was very reassuring. In the dream she said, 'It'll be all right.' I'm not sure if she used the words 'Let it be' but that was the gist of her advice, it was, 'Don't worry too much, it will turn out OK.' It was such a sweet dream I woke up thinking, Oh, it was really great to visit with her again. I felt very blessed to have that dream. So that got me writing the song Let It Be. I literally started off 'Mother Mary', which was her name, 'When I find myself in times of trouble', which I certainly found myself in. The song was based on that dream." - Paul McCartney  
"That's Paul. What can you say? Nothing to do with The Beatles. It could've been Wings. I don't know what he's thinking when he writes Let It Be. I think it was inspired by Bridge Over Troubled Waters. That's my feeling, although I have nothing to go on. I know he wanted to write a Bridge Over Troubled Waters." - John Lennon
Let It Be

Let It Be

Let It Be... Naked

Let It Be... Naked

Recording

The Beatles began rehearsing Let It Be at Twickenham Film Studios on January 3rd, 1969. The master take was recorded on January 29th. Harrison later overdubbed two guitar solos onto the master take; one on April 30th 1969, which was used for the single and once more on January 4th 1970 for the album version.

Personnel

The Beatles

  • Paul McCartney – lead and backing vocals, piano, maracas, bass (final takes)
  • John Lennon – six-string bass (early and movie takes), backing vocal
  • George Harrison – lead guitar, backing vocal
  • Ringo Starr – drums

Additional musicians

  • Billy Preston – organ (except anthology release), electric piano (on single and album releases only)
  • Linda McCartney – backing vocals (on single and album releases only)
  • Peter Halling - cello
  • Phil Kenzie - saxophone and brass arrangements (for two trumpets, a trombone and three saxophones)

Release

Let It Be/You Know My Name (Look Up The Number) single sleeve, 1970.

Let It Be/You Know My Name (Look Up The Number) single sleeve, 1970.

Past Masters

Past Masters

Single  

Let It Be was first released as a single on March 6th 1970 in the UK. It featured You Know My Name (Look Up the Number) as the B-side. The US release was on March 11th.

The single spent two weeks at the top of the US Billboard Hot 100, beginning April 11th, but failed to reach the number one spot in the UK; peaking at number 2. 

Album 

The album version was released on May 8th 1970 on Let It Be.

Anthology 3 

Take one, which was recorded on January 25th 1969, was later released on The Beatles' Anthology 3 album in 1996. The lyrics were still unfinished at this point. 

Let It Be... Naked 

In 2003 when The Beatles released Let It Be.. Naked, another version of Let It Be was mixed, using a different piano track and stripping out some of Phil Spector's production.