There’s not much about The Beatles landmark song, ‘Let It Be’ that we could tell you that would surprise you. The story surrounding the track’s inception, fatefully arriving to Paul McCartney during a particularly fruitful dream, is written into the very fabric of British popular culture. However, there is one facet of the song that has often been overlooked, largely because it was never included in the final recording.
George Harrison had got used to performing at the drop of a hat while with the Fab Four. The guitarist was more than happy to play his part in one of the biggest pop music productions the world had ever seen. By 1969, he had become immune to any kind of ego-driven heartache having those parts shortened or scrapped altogether. However, we’d bet that the solo he created for ‘Let It Be’, recorded on take 23 but ditched for the final song, may have stuck in his craw just a little bit.
McCartney has shared his story about the song on countless occasions. “I had a dream in the sixties,” Paul McCartney explained during an episode of Carpool Karaoke, “where my mum who died came to me in a dream and was reassuring me saying: It’s going to be okay. Just let it be.”
At the time Paul was suffering an anxiety dream owing to ongoing stresses with the band, the industry, the trappings of fame and the same day to day worry that we all carry around. His mother, Mary McCartney, who had passed when Paul was only 14, came to him as a benevolent apparition in his slumber. As McCartney puts it himself, “She was reassuring me, saying, ‘It’s going to be ok, just let it be.’ It felt so great. She gave me positive words, [..] So I wrote the song ‘Let It Be’ out of positivity.”
The story has been challenged on a few occasions, most notably by their infallible roadie, Mal Evans. Speaking to David Frost in 1975, a year before he was killed in a confrontation with armed police, Malcolm stated, “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…”
Adding, “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 me this, saying I’ve written this song. ‘It was going to be Brother Malcolm, but I’ve had to change it in case people get the wrong idea!” No matter where the song came from, it has become an anthem of hope and peace that looks as though it will never lose its charm.
But, with all that said, it might well be missing a solo. George Harrison provided a cacophony of brilliantly unique solos during his time as The Beatles main axeman. His idiosyncratic way of playing enriched songs like ‘Norwegian Wood’ and ‘Don’t Let Me Down‘ but, seemingly, his performance for the 23rd take of ‘Let It Be’ wasn’t enough to sustain this solo’s placement in the song.
Considering the vibrant quality he has and the sincere and soulful notes he plays on the track, we’re shocked it didn’t make the final cut. However, it does provide us with the rare opportunity to show you something you didn’t know about The Beatles song ‘Let It Be’ — it had a killer solo that should never have been cut.