The Heartfelt Origins of The Beatles’ Song: Let It Be

Unraveling the Heartfelt Origins of The Beatles’ Anthem: Let It Be

In 2021, filmmaker Peter Jackson’s groundbreaking Beatles documentary, “Get Back,” took the world by storm. Compiled from a treasure trove of over 55 hours of previously unseen footage shot by director Michael Lindsay-Hogg in January 1969, this documentary offered a unique glimpse into a pivotal moment in the Beatles’ history. Originally intended for a TV special featuring The Beatles’ live performance, this footage instead became the foundation for a film chronicling the creation of a new album. “Let It Be,” as it would come to be known, premiered in theaters in May 1970, just as the iconic band was on the verge of dissolution.

Sir Paul McCartney, reflecting on the new version of the film, remarked, “I am really happy that Peter has delved into our archives to make a film that shows the truth about The Beatles recording together. The friendship and love between us comes over and reminds me of what a crazily beautiful time we had.”

However, beneath the veneer of this “beautiful time” lies a bittersweet story, and it revolves around one of The Beatles‘ most iconic songs: “Let It Be.”

“Let It Be,” a song written and sung by McCartney, marked a poignant chapter in The Beatles’ career. It was not only their final single before McCartney announced his departure from the band, but it was also deeply rooted in personal history.

In 2018, during a segment of Carpool Karaoke with James Corden, McCartney revealed the emotional inspiration behind the song. He recounted a dream from his youth, a dream in which his late mother, Mary, who had passed away when he was just 14 due to cancer, appeared to him. In the dream, she reassured him with the words, “It’s gonna be OK. Just let it be…”

The choice of the name “Mary” in the song’s lyrics is often attributed to McCartney’s mother, Mary. However, when asked about any connection to the Virgin Mary, McCartney has left it open to interpretation, allowing fans to find their own meaning in the song.

Interestingly, there is an alternate version of the story, one that involves Mal Evans, a key figure in The Beatles’ inner circle. Alongside Neil Aspinall, who later managed the band’s Apple empire, Evans served as the Fab Four’s road crew, personal assistant, and confidant.

In a 1975 TV special hosted by David Frost, titled “A Salute To The Beatles,” Evans claimed that he, not McCartney’s mother, was the inspiration behind “Let It Be.” According to Evans, he appeared to McCartney in a vision during a meditation session, repeatedly saying, “let it be, let it be…” McCartney was so moved by this experience that he decided to craft a song around it. Evans recounted,

“Paul was meditating one day, and I came to him in a vision, and I was just standing there saying, ‘let it be, let it be…’ And that’s where the song came from… It’s funny because we were coming home from a session one night, and it was 3 o’clock in the morning, raining, dark in London, and Paul was telling this, saying I’ve written this song. It was gonna be ‘Brother Malcolm,’ but I’ve had to change it in case people get the wrong idea!”

For years, the “Mother Mary Dream” tale took precedence as the official version of how “Let It Be” came to be. However, in an outtake from the 2018 50th anniversary reissue of the classic “White Album,” McCartney can be heard trying out “Let It Be” while the band is in the midst of recording “Piggies” in September 1968. The lyrics clearly state, “When I find myself in times of trouble, Brother Malcolm comes to me…”

The question then arises: Who was the true inspiration? Mal Evans sadly passed away in January 1976 after a confrontation with armed police in Los Angeles. Therefore, it seems that McCartney has the final word on this matter, as his version of the story endures.

In conclusion, the story behind “Let It Be” is a blend of personal experiences, dreams, and inspiration, and it’s a testament to the creative process of The Beatles. Whether it was McCartney’s mother, Mary, or the enigmatic vision of Mal Evans that truly sparked the song, “Let It Be” remains an enduring anthem of hope and resilience, cherished by generations of music lovers worldwide.

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