The real reason why John Lennon hated The Beatles' classic anthem 'Let It Be'

7 August 2023, 13:04

John Lennon didn&squot;t hold back on his opinion of &squot;Let It Be&squot;, stating: "What can you say? Nothing to do with the Beatles."
John Lennon didn't hold back on his opinion of 'Let It Be', stating: "What can you say? Nothing to do with the Beatles.". Picture: Getty

By Thomas Curtis-Horsfall

It's no secret that The Beatles' break-up was acrimonious.

After years of tension between Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, and lesser so with Ringo Starr, the most important band of the 20th century called it quits in 1970.

Creative differences between Lennon and McCartney meant that Harrison barely got a look in when it came to working on his songs.

He quit before eventually returning during the writing and recording of Let It Be, which was documented with a new perspective in Peter Jackson's Get Back.

But by that time it was the beginning of the end for Fab Four as a unified pop music powerhouse, who all had differing opinions of their final album.

Released on 8th May 1970, Let It Be was a major success for The Beatles, with the album's title taken from Macca's song of the same name.

John Lennon was never an individual who held his tongue - which got himself and the band in hot water on several occasions - and his opinion of Let It Be was scathing.

In fact, he hated the album so much, it was the final straw for John to pursue his creative as a solo artist.

'Let It Be' was the beginning of the end of The Beatles.
'Let It Be' was the beginning of the end of The Beatles. . Picture: Getty

Though Let It Be was the band's final release, it was recorded before 1969's Abbey Road but was largely delayed to coincide with Michael Lindsay-Hogg's documentary of the same name.

By the time the record finally hit shelves however, The Beatles had already gone public with their break-up much to the dismay of fans around the world.

Each of them was honest in their appraisals of the album when asked in the years after, though John's was perhaps a tad too honest.

Paul's inspiration to write 'Let It Be' supposedly came from a dream he had in which he'd seen his dead mother.

John felt that the song was so personal to Paul, and entirely Paul's song, that it didn't even feel like "a Beatles track at all."

In his final ever interview before he was murdered - by which time he had somewhat reconciled with Paul - John opened up to writer David Sheff about his thoughts on 'Let It Be'.

Let It Be (Remastered 2009)

Talking about Paul's claimed inspiration, John replied: "That’s Paul. What can you say? Nothing to do with the Beatles. It could’ve been Wings. I don’t know what he’s thinking when he writes 'Let It Be'."

John felt that Paul was trying to emulate the gorgeous, bucolic songwriting of Simon & Garfunkel rather than write a song purely for The Beatles.

"I think it was inspired by [Simon & Garfunkel's] 'Bridge Over Troubled Water (sic)'," he added. "That's my feeling, although I have nothing to go on. I know he wanted to write a 'Bridge Over Troubled Water'."

But in an interview recorded just after Let It Be was finished - which wasn't unearthed until 2013 - John was already livid with the outcome before even having years to ruminate.

Talking to Village Voice writer Howard Smith, Lennon fumed: "We were going through hell. We often do. It’s torture every time we produce anything."

"The Beatles haven’t got any magic you haven’t got. We suffer like hell anytime we make anything, and we got each other to contend with. Imagine working with The Beatles, it’s tough."

John slated The Beatles&squot; final album Let It Be, saying it was just "The Beatles with their suits off" hinting it was  lacking any of the band&squot;s initial creativity and chemistry.
John slated The Beatles' final album Let It Be, saying it was just "The Beatles with their suits off" hinting it was lacking any of the band's initial creativity and chemistry. Picture: Getty

Clearly, at that point, John had already realised The Beatles had gone on too long as a creative unit, and were just going through the motions because Paul was pushing it.

He added: "There’s just tension. It's tense every time the red light goes on, going on to say Let It Be was a "strange album."

"We never really finished it. We didn’t really want to do it. Paul was hustling for us to do it. It’s The Beatles with their suits off."

Understandably, avid fans and fair-weather fans alike may've thought The Beatles still had some more creative success in them, especially after hearing Abbey Road.

But as much on a personal level, they were finished with each other. They would still keep in touch and work on each other's own solo albums, though getting in the same studio together for a Beatles project was evidently too big of an ask.