Film facts: Let It Be

The Beatles at a Let It Be session, 1969. 

The Beatles at a Let It Be session, 1969. 

Let It Be is a documentary film which saw The Beatles filming the rehearsing and recording of their Let It Be album, in January 1969. The film also features The Beatles' final public performance on the roof of Apple Headquarters in London.

After the often turbulent recording sessions from The White Album, Paul McCartney had the idea that The Beatles should get back to their rock and roll roots, without the production of their long-time producer George Martin. The project was initially titled Get Back, but later changed to Let It Be. Originally it was supposed to a live television broadcast with the band performing new songs. After this idea was scrapped it turned into a feature film. 

"We started Let It Be in January 1969 at Twickenham Studios, under the working title Get Back. Michael Lindsay-Hogg was the director. The idea was that you'd see The Beatles rehearsing, jamming, getting their act together and then finally performing somewhere in a big end-of-show concert. We would show how the whole process worked. I remember I had an idea for the final scene which would be a massive tracking shot, forever and ever, and then we'd be in the concert.
The original idea was to go on an ocean liner and get away from the world; you would see us rehearsing and then you'd finally see the pay-off. But we ended up in Twickenham. I think it was a safer situation for the director and everybody. Nobody was that keen on going on an ocean liner anyway. It was getting a bit fraught between us at that point, because we'd been together a long time and cracks were beginning to appear." - Paul McCartney

The rehearsals for Let It Be put a real strain on the band's relationship. There was often bickering and a lot of tension during the sessions; being filmed it would seem, from the early hours of the morning and throughout the day was not conducive to making magic happen.

Still, these sessions saw the recording of some of The Beatles' most iconic songs: Let It Be, The Long and Winding Road, Get Back, Don't Let Me Down et al. 

"In a nutshell, Paul wanted to make - it was time for another Beatle movie or something, and Paul wanted us to go on the road or do something. As usual, George and I were going, 'Oh, we don't want to do it, fuck,' and all that. He set it up and there was all discussions about where to go and all that. I would just tag along and I had Yoko by then, I didn't even give a shit about anything. I was stoned all the time, too, on H etc. And I just didn't give a shit. And nobody did, you know. Anyway, it's like in the movie where I go to do Across The Universe, Paul yawns and plays boogie, and I merely say, 'Oh, anybody want to do a fast one?'" - John Lennon
George Harrison at a Let it Be session, 1969.

George Harrison at a Let it Be session, 1969.

Film soundtrack

  • "Paul's Piano Intro"
    • based on "Adagio for Strings" (Samuel Barber), and titled "Paul's Piano Piece" on Let It Be... Naked
  • "Don't Let Me Down"
  • "Maxwell's Silver Hammer"
  • "Two of Us"
  • "I've Got a Feeling"
  • "Oh! Darling"
  • "One After 909"
  • "Jazz Piano Song" (McCartney/Starkey)
  • "Across the Universe"
  • "Dig a Pony"
  • "Suzy Parker" (Lennon/McCartney/Harrison/Starkey)
  • "I Me Mine" (Harrison)
  • "For You Blue" (Harrison)
  • "Bésame mucho" (Consuelo Velázquez/Sunny Skylar)
  • "Octopus's Garden" (Starkey)
  • "You've Really Got a Hold on Me" (Smokey Robinson)
  • "The Long and Winding Road"
  • Medley:
    • "Rip It Up" (Robert Blackwell/John Marascalco)
    • "Shake Rattle and Roll" (Jesse Stone, under his working name Charles E. Calhoun)
  • Medley:
    • "Kansas City" (Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller)
    • "Miss Ann" (Richard Penniman/Enotris Johnson)
    • "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" (Lloyd Price)
  • "Dig It"
  • "Let It Be"
  • "Get Back"

Buy Let It Be on Amazon (US or UK)

US and UK premier

Let It Be cinema ticket stub. 

Let It Be cinema ticket stub. 

The film made its US premiere on May 13th 1970 and May 20th in the UK. As of 2017, Let It Be has still yet to receive a digital release or remaster. Every other Beatles' film has been remastered and released in high definition.

Oscar win

On April 15th 1971 The Beatles won an Oscar for Best Original or Adaptation Score for the Let It Be documentary film. None of The Beatles attended the ceremony; the Oscar was accepted by producer Quincy Jones on their behalf.

Let It Be session, January 1969.

Let It Be session, January 1969.

Let It Be documentary film. 

Let It Be documentary film. 

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