Despite being one of the Beatles' most popular songs, John Lennon apparently hated 'Let It Be'.
By the time the Let It Be album was being recorded, the Beatles were on rocky ground, constantly fighting, with Lennon later describing the experience as "going through hell". Lennon and Paul McCartney had always had different writing styles, but their creative differences had pulled them further apart than ever before by this point in their careers. McCartney grew tired of Lennon's experimentations, while Lennon called McCartney's brand of storytelling songwriting "granny music."
So it's not entirely surprising that Lennon was immediately dismissive of the idea McCartney brought to the studio in January of 1969. Explaining that he'd been inspired by a dream in which he'd seen his deceased mother, McCartney shared the now-familiar phrases of 'Let It Be' - but Lennon was unimpressed, feeling that the style didn't suit the band.
I don't know what he's thinking when he writes Let It Be
"That's Paul. What can you say? Nothing to do with the Beatles," he later explained to writer David Sheff. "It could've been Wings. I don't know what he's thinking when he writes 'Let It Be.'"
"I think it was inspired by [Simon & Garfunkel's] 'Bridge Over Troubled Waters (sic).' That's my feeling, although I have nothing to go on. I know he wanted to write a Bridge Over Troubled Waters," said Lennon.
Lennon may be mistaken on the Simon & Garfunkel influence however, as 'Let It Be' was actually recorded ten months before 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' was tracked. But another source of his frustration stemmed from 'Let It Be' 's reference to "Mother Mary." McCartney insisted the lyric was a reference to his own mother, Lennon -- who was famously anti-religion -- despised any lyrics that could be interpreted as being of religious reference.
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When producer Phil Spector was brought on to complete Let It Be in 1970, he added audio of Lennon mockingly saying "And now, we'd like to do 'Hark the Angels Come'" at the end of "Dig It," the track which immediately preceded "Let It Be."
It's unclear whether Spector did so under the direction of Lennon or whether the Beatle was merely a passive participant, but the comment seemed to be a direct criticism of 'Let It Be' 's holy overtone.
Despite Lennon's dislike for the track, it still became an iconic hit, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on April 11, 1970. It was the band's 19th song to reach No. 1, and their final single released as a unified group. Both the Let It Be album and the succeeding single, 'The Long and Winding Road,' were released following the band's breakup.