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Paul McCartney Reveals the Unintentional Shakespearean Inspiration Behind His Work

In an episode of his podcast series, ‘A Life in Lyrics,’ Paul McCartney delved into the genesis of one of The Beatles’ iconic songs, ‘Let It Be.’ During the conversation, McCartney unveiled a fascinating revelation about how a line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet inadvertently became intertwined with the song’s creation. He shared:

“It had been pointed out to me recently that Hamlet, when he has been poisoned, he actually says, ‘Let it be’ – act five, scene two. He says, ‘Let be’ the first time, then the second time he says, ‘Had I but time — as this fell sergeant, Death, Is strict in his arrest — oh, I could tell you. But let it be Horatio.'”

Surprisingly, McCartney was unaware that the lyrics he dreamt about, with his mother telling him, actually belonged to Shakespeare. The singer continued:

“I was interested that I was exposed to those words during a time when I was studying Shakespeare so that years later the phrase appears to me in a dream with my mother saying it.”

The Inspirational Source of ‘Let It Be’: Paul McCartney’s Mother

In a revealing account, Paul McCartney shared the profound impact of a dream on the creation of ‘Let It Be.’ During a 2011 interview with The Salt Lake Tribune, McCartney recounted a dream visitation by his late mother, who had passed away a decade earlier. In this dream sequence, McCartney found solace as his mother appeared to empathize with his inner turmoil. He spoke of the moment her reassuring words, ‘Let it be,’ resonated deeply within him:

“I had a dream where my mother, who had been deceased for about 10 years, came to me, sensing my troubles. She said, ‘Let it be.’ I remember her saying, ‘Let it be’ and ‘It’s going to be OK. Don’t worry.’ You know, ‘Let it be.’”

McCartney further elucidated on how he transformed something deeply personal into a universally relatable sentiment: “I woke up, remembered the dream, and thought, ‘Well, that’s a great idea.’ I then sat down and wrote the song, drawing inspiration from the emotions of that dream and my mother’s comforting presence.”

In his podcast series, ‘A Life In Lyrics,’ Paul delves into the essence of 12 Beatles songs, unraveling the authentic stories behind their lyrics. Each episode provides a glimpse into the creative process. Beginning with the narrative behind ‘Eleanor Rigby,’ the final installment of the series explores The Beatles’ journey in crafting ‘Helter Skelter.’

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