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UK Release date : Monday, March 23, 1987

Let It Be (Ferry Aid - EU version)

By Ferry Aid7" Single

Track list

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Side 1

  1. Let It Be

    Written by Lennon - McCartney

    6:08 • Studio version

    Performed by : Paul McCartneyKate BushBoy GeorgeKeren WoodwardNick KamenPaul KingMark KingJaki GrahamTaffyAndy BellPepsiShirlieMelKimKim WildeNik KershawEdwin StarrBen Volpeliere-PierrotRuby Turner The Christians : Backing vocals Alvin Stardust : Backing vocals Mark Knopfler : Guitar solo Gary Moore : Guitar solo The Alarm : Backing vocals John Altman : Backing vocals Debee Ashby : Backing vocals Al Ashton : Backing vocals Rick Astley : Backing vocals Bananarama : Backing vocals Simon Bates : Backing vocals Alison Bettles : Backing vocals Jenny Blythe : Backing vocals Errol Brown : Backing vocals Miquel Brown : Backing vocals Bucks Fizz : Backing vocals Jay Carly : Backing vocals Nick Conway : Backing vocals Linda Davidson : Backing vocals Hazell Dean : Backing vocals Anne Diamond : Backing vocals Difford and Tilbrook : Backing vocals Doctor and the Medics : Backing vocals the Drifters : Backing vocals Drum Theatre : Backing vocals Frankie Goes to Hollywood : Backing vocals Roy Gayle : Backing vocals Go West : Backing vocals Carol Hitchcock : Backing vocals Felix Howard : Backing vocals Gloria Hunniford : Backing vocals Imagination : Backing vocals Jenny Jay : Backing vocals Ellie Laine : Backing vocals Annabel Lamb : Backing vocals Stephanie Lawrence : Backing vocals Loose Ends : Backing vocals Linda Lusardi : Backing vocals Ruth Madoc : Backing vocals Bobby McVey : Backing vocals Suzanne Mizzi : Backing vocals the New Seekers : Backing vocals Sadie Nine : Backing vocals the Nolans : Backing vocals Hazel O'Connor : Backing vocals Mike Osman : Backing vocals Su Pollard : Backing vocals Tim Polley : Backing vocals Pamela Power : Backing vocals Maxi Priest : Backing vocals Princess : Backing vocals Jimmy Pursey : Backing vocals Suzi Quatro : Backing vocals Mike Read : Backing vocals Sally Sagoe : Backing vocals Nejdet Salih : Backing vocals Ray Shell : Backing vocals Mandy Smith : Backing vocals Neville Staple : Backing vocals Steve Strange : Backing vocals Sylvia Tella : Backing vocals Terraplane : Backing vocals Bonnie Tyler : Backing vocals Maria Whittaker : Backing vocals Working Week : Backing vocals

Side 2

  1. Let It Be (The Gospel Jam Mix)

    Written by Lennon - McCartney

    2:50 • Studio version

From Wikipedia:

Ferry Aid was a British-American charity supergroup, brought together to record the song “Let It Be” in 1987. The single was released following the Zeebrugge Disaster; on 6 March 1987 the ferry MS Herald of Free Enterprise had capsized, killing 193 passengers and crew. All proceeds from sales of the single were donated to the charity set up in the aftermath of the disaster. The recording was organised by The Sun newspaper, after it had sold cheap tickets for the ferry on that day. “Let It Be” was written by Paul McCartney and originally recorded by the Beatles in 1969.


Garry Bushell, then with The Sun newspaper, organised the recording of “Let It Be” by recruiting record producers Stock, Aitken and Waterman. They then put an invitation out to the music industry for artists to contribute their vocals to the song. Although many stars were initially reluctant to join forces with the newspaper, eventually artists such as Boy George, Kate Bush, Gary Moore and Mark Knopfler agreed to take part. Original writer Paul McCartney also contributed to the song, although his performance (and section in the accompanying video) was recorded independently in his own studios. It was later revealed that McCartney used his voice of the original recording of the 1970 Beatles track and added it to the Ferry Aid recording. The song was recorded over three days between 14 and 16 March 1987 and the single was released on Tuesday 24 March 1987. The first artist to record his part was Mark King (who also played bass guitar on the song) on the Saturday morning, while the last was Paul King on Monday evening.

In the original Beatles recording, George Harrison did the guitar solo; but for the purposes of this song—as shown in the video—the solo was divided with Gary Moore first, then Mark Knopfler, then back to Gary Moore, with Moore’s parts being more ‘rock’ and Knopfler’s being more laid-back.


The following artists performed solo spots on the song:

The closing chorus was sung by an ensemble choir involving many of the soloists as well as other recording artists and celebrities from other fields. The chorus consisted of:

The B-side of the 7″ single is a gospel version of “Let It Be”, made up on the spot by improvising. The 12″ single mixed by Burni Adams and Jamie Bromfield has “Let It Be (Mega Message Mix)” on the B-side.


The anarchist band Chumbawamba anonymously released a parody of the song, “Scab Aid”, a criticism of The Sun newspaper and the motives of the contributing performers which they regarded as hypocritical.

Musician Robb Johnson (who later recorded with Chumbawamba) referenced Ferry Aid in his song “The Herald of Free Enterprise”, criticising it for similar reasons.

Chart performance

“Let It Be” reached number one in the UK Singles Chart in its first week on 4 April 1987, and remained at that position for three weeks. It was the 13th best selling single of the year in the UK; it was certified gold for shipping over 500,000 copies.
The single was also a number one hit in Norway and Switzerland, and reached the top 10 in several other European countries. […]

European version of the single, featuring a different photo of Paul McCartney than the UK version.

From Pete Waterman on PWL, Kylie and Judas Priest – SuperDeluxeEdition:

You recorded Paul McCartney’s vocal contribution to ‘Let It Be’, the Ferry Aid single. Was there ever any conversations about working on other songs or an album, with Paul?

Indirectly. [long pause]. You can’t really work with your heroes. McCartney, to Mike, me and Matt was [another] stratosphere. So you are in awe, no matter what they do. You’re in awe. And so, when we did work with him, he was absolutely brilliant. He’s lovely to work with, but he wasn’t used to being produced. And we soon realised that. And I was the one that had to go in as the old Beatles fan and say “That’s great. Let’s go home”. And he’d be like “No, I can do it better”. “No, no. Let’s go home”. But the lovely side was that Linda and I became really good friends. So Linda used to ring me up because Paul would say, “I’ve got to talk to Pete Waterman because I’ve got to change that vocal”. And she’d say, “Pete’s the producer, it’s fine”.

Why was he unhappy about his vocal?

He was out of tune. He’d got emotional, and he’d gone slightly out of tune. But to me, it’s the part that makes the record, because you’ve got McCartney cracking up with emotion. But he’s a perfectionist, which is brilliant. So there we are, as fans, hearing Paul McCartney as he was in the 60s, it’s like, “Wow, this is Paul McCartney”. But he [wants to be] modern. He’s trying to make better records than Band on the Run, although you ain’t going top Band on the Run! So here’s this amazing guy but we’ve caught on tape this little bit of an historic moment of Paul McCartney. And Linda and the family recognise it straightaway. He was still calling us when it had been number one for four weeks, saying he could do it better! So, yes, there was this period where Linda said to Paul, you need you need to work with these guys because they’re fresh and they will task you to do things differently. But I don’t think we could have ever produced Paul McCartney, because we’re too big as fans.

Pete Waterman – From SuperDeluxeEdition, November 21, 2023
Paul McCartney writing

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