“Let It Be” gets a Grammy Award

Tuesday, March 16, 1971
Grammy Awards
Timeline More from year 1971
Hollywood Palladium, Los Angeles, California

Related master release

Related people

Spread the love! If you like what you are seeing, share it on social networks and let others know about The Paul McCartney Project.


During the 13th Annual Grammy Awards, George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney & Ringo Starr received a Grammy Award for “Let It Be“, for the Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or a Television Special.

As Paul & Linda McCartney had just arrived in Los Angeles to finish the work on the album “Ram”, they went and collect the award. None other Beatles were present. Denny Seiwell, working with them on “Ram”, joined them. From Grammy.com:

[…] Yet possibly the most memorable presentation of the night—besides an entertainingly sloppy and much referenced presentation by soul singer/songwriter Brook Benton who seemed to be speaking more gibberish than English, and after which Williams jokingly reminded the audience, “We’re coming to you live tonight…”—came when another Duke besides Ellington took the stage to present a GRAMMY—John Wayne himself, who presented the award for Best Original Score Written For A Motion Picture Or Television Special. The GRAMMY went to the Beatles for the Phil Spector-produced Let It Be (an album and quasi-documentary film) over such other distinguished nominees as Johnny Mercer with Henry Mancini (Darling Lily), Alfred Newman (Airport), Johnny Mandel (MAS*H) and Fred Karlin (The Sterile Cuckoo). Paul McCartney clearly thrilled the crowd by appearing to accept the award, bringing his wife Linda onstage. The surprise, last minute appearance was a well-guarded secret with only a few GRAMMY officials aware that the first live telecast would be graced by an appearance by the man they call the Cute One.

Though McCartney’s actual acceptance comments were exceedingly brief (“Thank you. Goodnight.”), the visual of the happy couple standing beside the great Western star remains forever priceless—True Grit with a real Beatle.

From “The Grammys” by Thomas O’Neil

“[Bridge Over Trouble Water, by Simon & Garfunkel] swept the top honours”, wrote the L.A. Times, “but it was ex-Beatle Paul McCartney, in a rare public appearance, who created the most excitement” at the ceremony. “Though the event was strictly black tie, McCartney strolled in wearing a blue suit, red flower shirt and open at the neck, and white tennis shoes.”

Like Simon & Garfunkel, the Beatles broke up in 1970 but still had a bounty of nominations (six) for their farewell LP, Let It Be. They won only one award — for Best Original Score written for a Motion Picture or TV Special – after losing Record and Song of the Year nods (in a close contest, according to the Washington Post) to “Bridge.” But “there were shrieks of surprise” from the audience when the winner of the best film score was announced, the Times reported. “With Linda at his side, McCartney raced up to the podium to accept the award from actor John Wayne, saying only, ‘Thank you.'”

Variety columnist Army Archerd added, “Paul McCartney kept his word, returned to the press tent after the awards — and, as expected, had to plough his way thru a mob to reach his car with (expectant) wife Linda. McCartney, informally attired (would you believe sneakers?), admitted, ‘I didn’t know whether they’d let me in.'”

Interviewed after the ceremony, Paul was asked if he was in America to cut a record and he replied:

I have a knife and a fork and I’m here to cut a record

Paul McCartney

We were really leaping with nerves. You know, me and Linda do everything ourselves, no chauffeurs or anything. And we must have driven around the place where the awards were taking place four times, saying all the time, ‘Let’s go in. No we can’t, well we must, but I don’t want to, but it’ll be okay,’ and finally we went in, and we got a little table at the back of the hall, with a checkered tablecloth and a bottle of scotch and some cokes. We watched the show and when they announced us, we just leapt up there in our sneakers.

Paul McCartney – Interview for New Musical Express, May 1971

Paul told me he had ordered a special table cloth, red and white squares, his favourite at home.

Eirik Wangberg – Recording engineer on “RAM” – From Maccazine, Volume 40, issue 3 – “RAM Part 1 – Timeline”
From Meet the Beatles for Real: The Grammy awards 50 years ago – 1971 GRAMMY AWARDS – The 13th Annual Grammy Awards – Airdate: March 16, 1971. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) L-R: PAUL MCCARTNEY;LINDA MCCARTNEY;JOHN WAYNE
From Meet the Beatles for Real: The Grammy awards 50 years ago – 1971 GRAMMY AWARDS – The 13th Annual Grammy Awards – Airdate: March 16, 1971. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) LINDA MCCARTNEY;PAUL MCCARTNEY
From Paul McCartney Throwback Photos for His Birthday (yahoo.com)
From Meet the Beatles for Real: The Grammy awards 50 years ago – Paul McCartney of the Beatles and his wife Linda make a surprise appearance at the Grammy Awards in Hollywood, March 16, 1971. McCartney picked up Grammys for himself, John Lennon, and George Harrison for best original score written for the motion picture “Let It Be.” (AP Photo/Harold P. Matosian)
From Meet the Beatles for Real: Surprise Grammy appearance
From Pinterest
From https://sgt-maggiemae.tumblr.com/
From A Paul McCartney Telegram, 1971…. Movie/TV Memorabilia | Lot #44115 | Heritage Auctions (ha.com)A Paul McCartney Telegram, 1971. Dated “March 19, 1971,” sent to JW in Hollywood, CA, reading “Thanks It was a Pleasure / Paul and Linda McCartney.” 7 1/2″ x 9″
From Billboard – March 27, 1971
From New Musical Express – February 13, 1971

Last updated on December 19, 2023

Going further

The Beatles Diary Volume 2: After The Break-Up 1970-2001

"An updated edition of the best-seller. The story of what happened to the band members, their families and friends after the 1970 break-up is brought right up to date. A fascinating and meticulous piece of Beatles scholarship."

We owe a lot to Keith Badman for the creation of those pages, but you really have to buy this book to get all the details - a day to day chronology of what happened to the four Beatles after the break-up and how their stories intertwined together!

Shop on Amazon

The Beatles - The Dream is Over: Off The Record 2

This edition of the book compiles more outrageous opinions and unrehearsed interviews from the former Beatles and the people who surrounded them. Keith Badman unearths a treasury of Beatles sound bites and points-of-view, taken from the post break up years. Includes insights from Yoko Ono, Linda McCartney, Barbara Bach and many more.

Shop on Amazon

Maccazine - Volume 40, Issue 3 - RAM Part 1 - Timeline

This very special RAM special is the first in a series. This is a Timeline for 1970 – 1971 when McCartney started writing and planning RAM in the summer of 1970 and ending with the release of the first Wings album WILD LIFE in December 1971. [...] One thing I noted when exploring the material inside the deluxe RAM remaster is that the book contains many mistakes. A couple of dates are completely inaccurate and the story is far from complete. For this reason, I started to compile a Timeline for the 1970/1971 period filling the gaps and correcting the mistakes. The result is this Maccazine special. As the Timeline was way too long for one special, we decided to do a double issue (issue 3, 2012 and issue 1, 2013).



Have you spotted an error on the page? Do you want to suggest new content? Or do you simply want to leave a comment ? Please use the form below!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *