Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"Let It Be" Performed by The Beatles

I agree with William Oddie that the above is "the most beautiful (in both words and melody) of all their songs," whose "title and refrain which surely in context can only be a reference to the Angelus response 'let it be to me according to your word,'" and that "if this song isn’t a most touching and powerful Marian hymn, I don’t know what else it could possibly be" — The Beatles never entirely shook off the Catholicism of their youth. Read also about "the pathos and deep understanding of loneliness of Eleanor Rigby" and "the almost Chestertonian gratitude for the beauty of creation that comes over in songs like Here Comes the Sun."

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Blogger The Sanity Inspector said...

A career high for any other band, just another day at the office for The Beatles. Lordy, but they were scary good...My earliest rock memory is seeing them on the Ed Sullivan show, '64 or '65. It was so indelible that I recognized the film footage when I saw it again, decades and decades later.

1:20 PM  
Blogger Procopius said...

Lets not forget, this is the same group that gave us the execrable "hey Jude", and one of whose members penned what should be the nihilists national anthem "Imagine"

2:20 PM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

Inspector, I was born in the same year as Let It Be, but grew up with my parents' Beatles' records.

Procopis, indeed. But I can't help but love the irony.

As Mr. Oddie writes, "Imagine is undoubtedly a hateful piece, with all that ludicrous blether about 'the brotherhood of man', which reminded me at the time of something Harold Macmillan, that great friend of Mgr Ronnie Knox, once said: 'How can you have the brotherhood of man, if you don’t accept the Fatherhood of God?'"

2:53 PM  
Anonymous Abdul Alhazred said...

I remember watching Lionel Ritchie sing "Let It Be" on television.

For some reason, when he sang the lyric "There will be an answer...", what I actually heard was him singing: "I'll never be an actor...let it be."

Better lyrics, I think.

4:01 PM  
Anonymous walt said...

I remember this song being sung at Sunday evening folk Mass when I was young a few times. When it comes to the Beatles and Catholicism, I remember Serge ,from Conservative Blog for Peace, remarking that George Harrison rejected Catholicism and eventually going to Hinduism, he left the "smells and bells of West" for the "smells and bells of the East." I'm reminded of Chesterton's image of the man who runs from the mountain and curses it the whole time because he's still in its shadow and cannot see it from far enough away to appreciate its beauty like he can the other mountains.

4:31 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Wolfe said...

Wasn't the Mary in "Let It Be" McCarthy's mom?

I've heard that McCarthy has been trying to distance the song from Marian interpretations.

12:42 PM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

That's the official story, but one of the nice things about postmodern lit. crit. is that the text stands alone, apart from the author.

1:01 PM  
Blogger Enbrethiliel said...


The last I heard (a Reader's Digest interview from a couple of years ago), McCartney reminds everyone whenever he can that the "Mother Mary" he had in mind when writing the lyrics is his mother, but he doesn't mind that the song is meaningful in other ways to different people. (And really, would the song have been half as popular if his mother had had a different name? There's no way to prove it, but I'm betting it wouldn't have been!)

1:15 PM  

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Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.