Let It Be - The Beatles
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"Let It Be" - The Beatles (1970)
McCartney says "Let It Be" was inspired by a dream he had about his mother who had passed away when he was a teenager. He felt “reunited with her” if only for that brief, dreaming moments, adding:
“I am not sure she used the words ‘Let it Be’ but that was the gist of her advice. ‘Don’t worry too much, it will turn out okay.’ Oh, it was really great to visit with her again, I felt very blessed to have that dream.”
Lennon said that he thought McCartney was musically inspired by Simon and Garfunkel’s 1970 hit "Bridge Over Troubled Water."
It’s been suggested that Lennon hated this song because of its apparent Christian overtones. He made the comment before recording it, “And now we’d like to do Hark The Angels Come.” Lennon saw to it that “Maggie Mae,” a song about a Liverpool prostitute, followed it on the album.
McCartney managed to connect his personal situation with the larger communal reality. The song effortlessly overflows with an emotional earnestness and prodigious melodic thrust. He shows off his talent for Chopinesque melodic variation in the handling of the phrases “they will see” in the second verse, and “shine on ‘til tomorrow” in the final verse. He also starts throwing in those trademark flips of an octave upward toward the end of each section starting with the refrain that follows the guitar solo.
Ringo varies his part for each verse, enabling the song to develop dynamically in spite of harmonic and melodic repetition. At the last verse he introduces a unique and wholly different beat, incorporating tom-tom rolls woven around the backbeat. This radically and unexpectedly changed the feel for the last return to the verse.
Of the song’s legacy, musicologist Alan Pollack avers:
“With its quaint, diatonic style, its inclusion of pseudo-religious imagery in the lyrics, and its lingering afterglow of having stated some mysterious truth, earns it a unique place in his songbook- a niche that it shares, perhaps alone, with ‘Hey Jude’.”
Beatle scholar Ian McDonald disagreed:
“Let It Be has achieved popularity well out of proportion to its artistic weight. It is Hey Jude without the musical and emotional release.”
Steve Turner writes in his book, The Gospel Acccording to The Beatles, that “Let It Be” was essentially a song about salvation:
“The world is broken, troubled, dark, and cloudy, but there is hope. There is an answer. If this answer is heeded, thee will be light and the darkness will roll away. The phrase Let It Be could be taken in the Buddhist or Hindu sense of not holding to the material world. In this sense, ‘let it be’ would mean ‘let it go’ or ‘don’t get attached.’ Let go of the past. Let go of the future. Let go of the present.”
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