“Let It Be”: The Story Behind the Song

Teachers: The story below is at the beginning level. At the bottom of this page, you will also find the story in two versions: the past-tense version below and a simpler present-tense version. Permission is granted to reproduce for classroom use.


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Words of Wisdom

        Paul McCartney was upset. He was one of the Beatles, a very popular band, and the band was breaking up. Paul didn’t want the band to break up. Paul thought back to the early 1960s, when the band was new. It was fun to write songs, it was fun to perform, and it was fun to be with the other Beatles. John, George, and Ringo were Paul’s best friends.

But now it was 1969, and the Beatles weren’t having fun anymore. They argued a lot about their music, and they argued a lot about money. When they weren’t arguing, they didn’t talk at all. “How can I keep the band together?” Paul asked himself. He thought about the Beatles day and night.

One night Paul fell asleep and dreamed about his mother. Her name was Mary, and she died when Paul was 14 years old. She spoke to him in the dream. “Don’t worry, Paul,” she said. “It will be OK. Let it be.” When Paul woke up, he wrote a song about his mother’s words of wisdom. He called the song “Let It Be.”

Paul’s dream gave him an idea for a new song. It also gave him a new way to think about the Beatles. He stopped trying to keep the band together. A short time later, the Beatles broke up forever.

After the Beatles broke up, Paul McCartney wrote and performed songs on his own. He was a success, and he was happy. His mother was right: Usually it’s a good idea to keep trying. But sometimes it’s best to just let it be.

Story: Copyright © 2014 Sandra Heyer. All rights reserved. Permission granted to reproduce for classroom use.

Image:  Copyright © Siberica27 | Dreamstime.com

Words of Wisdom.doc          Words of Wisdom.pdf

Words of Wisdom, present tense.docx          Words of Wisdom, present tense.pdf

Pair with: “A Day Off,” Story 1 in True Stories Behind the Songs