Paul McCartney Unveils the Shakespearean Influence Behind ‘Let It Be’ In a revealing episode of his podcast, “Paul McCartney: A Life in Lyrics,” the legendary musician shared insights into the creation of The Beatles’ classic ‘Let It Be,’ disclosing that the song’s title was subconsciously influenced by the works of William Shakespeare.
The genesis of the iconic track stemmed from a dream in which McCartney was comforted by his late mother during a period of immense stress as The Beatles faced their inevitable conclusion. Reflecting on his school days, McCartney disclosed, “In those days, I had to learn speeches off by heart. So I could still do a bit of ‘to be or not to be’, or ‘O that this too too solid flesh’.”
He went on to explain that the phrase “Let it be” was etched in his mind due to his exposure to Shakespeare. McCartney highlighted a connection with Hamlet, where the character, in the throes of poison, utters the words ‘Let it be’ in act five, scene two. “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,” McCartney concluded.
The poignant connection adds a layer of depth to the song, emphasizing the subconscious influence of literature on McCartney’s creative process. McCartney’s mother, Mary McCartney, passed away in 1956 from pancreatic cancer when he was just 14, creating a shared bond of grief with John Lennon, who also lost his mother tragically as a teenager.