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Let It Be

The history of this classic Beatles song


The original US 45 sleeve for

The original US 45 sleeve for "Let It Be"

source: ebay.com

Let It Be

Written by: Paul McCartney (100%) (credited as Lennon-McCartney)
Recorded: January 31, (Apple Studios, 3 Savile Row, London, England); April 30, 1969, January 4, 1970 (Studio 2, Abbey Road Studios, London, England)
Mixed: January 4 and 8, March 26, 1970
Length: 3:50 (single version), 4:01 (album version)
Takes: 30
Musicians: John Lennon: backing vocals, bass guitar (1964 Fender Bass VI)
Paul McCartney: lead vocals, piano (Bluthner Flugel Grand), electric piano (1968 Fender Rhodes)
George Harrison: backing vocals, lead guitars (1968 Fender Rosewood Telecaster, 1966 Gibson Les Paul Standard SG)
Ringo Starr: drums (1968 Ludwig Hollywood Maple)
Billy Preston: organ (Hammond RT-3)
Linda McCartney: background vocals
Unknown overdubs: two trumpets, two trombones, one tenor sax, two cellos, choir
First released: March 6, 1970 (UK: Apple R5833), March 11, 1970 (US: Apple 2764)
Available on: (CDs in bold)
  • Let It Be, (US: Apple AR 34001, UK: Apple PX1, Apple PCS 7096, Parlophone CDP 7 46447 2)
  • The Beatles 1967-1970 (UK: Apple PCSP 718, US: Apple SKBO 3404, Apple CDP 0777 7 97039 2 0)
  • Past Masters Volume Two, (Parlophone CDP 7 90044 2)
  • The Beatles 1 (Apple CDP 7243 5 299702 2)
Highest chart position: US: 1 (two weeks beginning April 11, 1970); UK: 2 (April 11, 1970)
  • Written by Paul during the sessions for The Beatles (a/k/a the "White Album"), "Let It Be" was inspired by a dream the singer had of his deceased mother, Mary, assuring him, amongst the turmoil of the Beatles' slow breakup, that everything would be all right. McCartney eventually transformed the song into a gospel-style number for the Get Back sessions that would eventually be released as the album Let It Be.
  • The earliest known performance of "Let It Be" occurred on January 3, 1969, during rehearsals for the LIB project. It was rehearsed over 38 times on January 8, 9, 25-27, 29, and 31, 1969; Take 27 from the 31st was used as the basis for the official release. That take featured the song's third verse, written on the spot by Paul after it was decided one was needed.
  • On April 30, 1969, producer George Martin recorded a new solo from Harrison, although the single release of "Let It Be" would use the original solo from January 31, 1969.
  • On January 4, 1970, George recorded yet another guitar solo, which was meant to sync up with the earlier solo and play simultaneously (this idea was later scrapped). Martin added backing vocals from Linda McCartney, at the insistence of Paul, and the resultant mix, with the original solo only, became the "single version" of "Let It Be."
  • On March 26, 1970, producer Phil Spector -- called in to save the Get Back/LIB project -- remixed "Let It Be," adding his signature orchestra and choir. He used the more rocking January 4 solo instead, and also added an extra chorus at the end. This would become known as the "album version" of the song.
  • McCartney was very displeased with Spector's version, but had no say in the matter -- the band was being managed by Allen Klein, a move that Paul disagreed with, leading him to sue for dissolution of the band, and therefore Klein was allowed to bring in Spector. In 2005, the original January 31 version, with original solo, was released on Let It Be... Naked, a stripped-down version of the original project.
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