1971 – The Beatles win an Oscar for Best Film Music (Original Song Score) for the Paul McCartney-penned “Let It Be.”
1970, Best Original Score Written For A Motion Picture Or TV Special–The Beatles, “Let It Be”
Let It Be is a song written by Paul McCartney (although credited to Lennon/McCartney), and released March 1970, as a single, and as the title track of their album Let It Be.
The “Get Back”/”Let It Be” sessions
By late 1968, Paul McCartney was eager for the Beatles to perform live again, more than two years after they gave up touring. But McCartney wanted the group to make a grand statement, or rather something unorthodox. At the time, there was a great deal of tension among the Beatles, who had been pursuing a number of personal projects over the course of the previous six months.
The group began rehearsals at Twickenham Studios on 2 January 1969. No multi-track recordings were made of these sessions, as the Beatles were rehearsing for the live show rather than attempting to record an album. (Despite this, there are widely available bootlegs taken from the mono recordings that were synchronized to the film cameras.) A number of possible locations for the live show were discussed during the Twickenham rehearsals, with the leading candidates being a Roman amphitheatre in North Africa or a cruise ship. At one point, Lennon sarcastically suggested that they perform in “an insane asylum”.
Everyone involved in the Twickenham rehearsals considered them to be disastrous. By the third day of rehearsal the group openly discussed whether they should break up. Lennon had all but withdrawn creatively from the Beatles, seldom contributing even to the arrangements of his own songs. Harrison was increasingly resentful; while he was treated respectfully by musical colleagues such as Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton, when working within the Beatles his songs usually were either derided or ignored. McCartney’s attempts to hold the band together and rally spirits came across as controlling. The constant presence of Lennon’s companion and artistic partner Yoko Ono — who often spoke on Lennon’s behalf as he sat silently by — was a major source of tension. The intrusive film cameras and the cold, unfamiliar settings of Twickenham Studios also contributed to ill feelings. Finally, Harrison became fed up with Lennon’s creative and communicative disengagement from the band, and on 10 January announced that he was “leaving the band now”. Within a few days Harrison was persuaded to return to the group, who moved to their own Apple Studios.
Multi-track recording began when the group moved to Apple Studios on 22 January, continuing until 31 January. Harrison brought in keyboardist Billy Preston to ease tensions and supplement the band for the live performances. Preston worked with the Beatles from 22–31 January.
The live concert idea culminated with the Beatles and Preston performing 30 January on the rooftop of the Beatles’ Apple Building at 3 Savile Row before a small audience of friends and employees. The performance was cut short by the police after complaints about noise. The complete concert has circulated amongst bootleg collectors for many years. Three numbers recorded at the rooftop concert, namely Dig a Pony, I’ve Got a Feeling, and One After 909, do appear on the album, while several spoken parts of the concert appear between tracks that were recorded in studio.
The band played hundreds of songs during the Get Back/Let It Be sessions. Aside from original songs ultimately released on the Let It Be album were early versions of almost all of the songs that appeared on Abbey Road, including “Mean Mr. Mustard”, “She Came in Through the Bathroom Window”, “Sun King”, “Polythene Pam”, “Golden Slumbers”, “Carry That Weight”, “Something”, “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer”, “Oh! Darling”, “Octopus’s Garden”, and “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)”. Still others would eventually end up on Beatles solo albums, including John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy” (called “On the Road to Rishikesh” at the time and originally written and rehearsed for the White Album) and “Gimme Some Truth”, George Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass” and “Hear Me Lord”, and Paul McCartney’s “Teddy Boy” and “Junk” (originally written for the White Album). Much of the band’s attention was focused on extended jams on 12-bar blues as well as a broad range of covers. These included classical pieces such as Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings”, jazz standards such as “Ain’t She Sweet”, and an encyclopedic array of songs from the early rock and roll era such as “Stand By Me”, “Words of Love”, “Lonely Sea”, “Bésame Mucho” by Mexican composer Consuelo Velázquez (a song that was part of The Beatles repertoire in the early days) and “Blue Suede Shoes”. The rehearsals and recording sessions were filmed and formed the basis of the Beatles’ film of same name.