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Music

Watch The Beatles perform 'Let It Be' for the very first time

@SamWKemp

There’s something so fascinating about watching a group of musicians learn a song before they fully appreciate its value. This video of The Beatles playing ‘Let It Be’ for the very first time is a fitting example. Paul McCartney can be heard guiding Lennon, Harrison and Starr through the song’s simple pop structure, announcing the arrival of the immortal chorus with an understated mumble of “and then it goes…”

Featured as the title track of The Beatle’s final album, ‘Let It Be‘ was written by Paul McCartney during the sessions for The White Album. It was a period of isolation for Paul, who must have felt as though he was the only member of The Beatles keen to keep moving ahead.

The lethargy of his fellow band members is clear from the above footage. As McCartney works to deliver his song as expertly as possible, Lennon and Harrison stare vacantly, hesitating before joining McCartney for the chorus.

McCartney did his best to remain upbeat during this period, but inside he was crumbling. Suddenly, the world he’d known since he was a teenager was beginning to fall apart.

Explaining the origins of ‘Let It Be’ Many Years From Now, Paul said: “One night during this tense time I had a dream I saw my mum, who’d been dead ten 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.”

McCartney continued: “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.”

Despite the fact the “mother Mary” line was a reference to Paul’s actual mother, Lennon despised the religious overtones it implied. He went so far as to ensure ‘Maggie Mae’, a song about a Liverpool prostitute, followed it on the album. The enduring popularity of ‘Let It Be’ would suggest that Lennon was wrong to be so critical.