The second day of the sessions at Twickenham, Jan. 3, begins with Paul alone at the piano, and in the span of the first five minutes we hear the first fleeting tastes of “Long and Winding Road” and “Oh! Darling,” plus an extended preview of “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer,” which would see an extensive full band rehearsal later in the day.
While it’s among the dozens of covers sampled that day alone, a few minutes of Paul riffing Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings” jumped out at me as someone who’s seen the film “Let it Be” countless times.
And as the Twickenham stage is set on Jan. 2, the actual first day of the sessions, “Adiago” plays as the opening credits roll, cutting to Paul (with Ringo) at the piano. This truncated version of the song gives way to “Don’t Let Me Down,” and the rest of the film.
The Adagio was broadcast over the radio at the announcement of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s death. It was also played at the funeral of Albert Einstein and at the funeral of Princess Grace of Monaco. It was performed in 2001 at Last Night of the Proms in the Royal Albert Hall to commemorate the victims of the September 11 attacks, replacing the traditional upbeat patriotic songs.
In 2004, listeners of the BBC’s Today program voted Adagio for Strings the “saddest classical” work ever..
Thus, of all songs to use to begin the film that ostensibly chronicles the band’s breakup, we get this over the credits.
Well played, Michael Lindsay-Hogg.