50 years ago today, British pop-rock idols The Beatles put out their twelfth studio album Let It Be, which still stands today as being one of their most controversial records.

Released less than a month from the date of the legendary collective’s breakup, The Beatles’ Let It Be wasn’t just a fitting send-off for the group, but it signalled the end of an era; the final record from a group who undoubtedly changed the face of popular music.

With sessions for the album beginning well over a year before its eventual release, Let It Be was set to be made accompanied by a documentary which showed the band’s return to the live stage. In the end though, tensions within the group saw this project abandoned, and only one live concert taking place.

By September of 1969, the group released their Abbey Road album, though they still weren’t done with this unfinished project. Eventually releasing the record in May of 1970, the album served as the final studio release in the group’s illustrious career, and was seen by many fans as the closure they so desperately needed following their unexpected breakup one month prior.

As we celebrate 50 years of Let It Be, join us as we listen to a few testimonials that speak of the power of this majestic release and the influence it has had on its listeners.

Check out ‘Let It Be’ by The Beatles:

YouTube VideoPlay

“It’s not their best album, is it? Not by a long shot. The work had been through so many different iterations and different hands between the sessions in January 1969 and when the final album came out 15 months later. It’s really The Beatles album where they had the least control over the final product.

“It seems like madness that they would reconvene just three months after finishing the gruelling sessions for The White Album to take on a completely new set of songs. You just wonder, with a lot of hindsight, couldn’t they have made it a lot easier for themselves? Couldn’t they have taken a break? If, as intended, they (mostly Paul) wanted to do some sort of live concert, why not lean on the mass of material they’d produced since they’d stopped touring in 1966?

Love The Beatles?

Get the latest The Beatles news, features, updates and giveaways straight to your inbox Learn more

“Paul was trying to hold his group together from what he saw as outside forces that could steer the focus of the others away from this thing they’d created. You have to admire his determination but you can also see how easily his drive would be an absolute pain in the arse, especially if they didn’t need to work as hard.

“There’s some good songs on it (‘Let It Be’, ‘The Long And Winding Road’, ‘Get Back, Don’t Let Me Down’, ‘Across The Universe’, ‘Two Of Us’) but there’s also some some absolute turkeys (‘Dig It’, ‘Dig A Pony’). Let It Be is more important because of the symbolism of it coming out after they’d broken up than for it being the band’s grand final statement. Abbey Road (recorded afterwards but released before) does that job far better.”

–Michael Hartt, Freelance Music Writer & Beatles Freak

Check out The Beatles’ ‘Get Back’:

YouTube VideoPlay

Let It Be is often seen as a footnote to The Beatles story. It’s the soundtrack to an abandoned film and was released after the Beatles had broken up. Tensions were high during its creation, but it includes some absolute essential compositions from Lennon, McCartney and Harrison.

“Harrison would release his solo opus, All Things Must Pass, just six months later, and his Let It Be contribution ‘I Me Mine’ proves he was going through a creative purple patch. John delivered the seminal ‘Across the Universe’ and unites with Paul on the tearing rock song ‘I’ve Got a Feeling’.

“The album’s best remembered for two McCartney ballads: ‘The Long and Winding Road’ and the title track. They’ve since become rock and pop standards, but their ubiquity shouldn’t distract from Paul’s other, arguably superior contributions, ‘Two of Us’ and ‘Get Back’.

“Perhaps most impressively, none of the baggage that’d bring about the band’s downfall is evident on Let It Be. The whole thing’s driven by a spirit of curiosity and in-studio freedom.”

–Augustus Welby, writer for The Brag Media

Check out ‘The Long And Winding Road’ by The Beatles:

YouTube VideoPlay

Let It Be by The Beatles

Cover art for The Beatles album 'Let It Be'

  1. ‘The One After 909’
  2. ‘Rocker’
  3. ‘Save The Last Dance For Me’
  4. ‘Don’t Let Me Down’
  5. ‘Dig A Pony’
  6. ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’
  7. ‘Get Back’
  8. ‘For You Blue’
  9. ‘Teddy Boy’
  10. ‘Two Of Us’
  11. ‘Maggie Mae’
  12. ‘Dig It’
  13. ‘Let It Be’
  14. ‘The Long And Winding Road’
  15. ‘Get Back (Reprise)’

Check out the album below:

Get unlimited access to the coverage that shapes our culture.
to Rolling Stone magazine
to Rolling Stone magazine