Did The Beatles’ ‘Let It Be’ Inspire The Rolling Stones’ ‘Let It Bleed?’

The Beatles’ final album, Let It Be, and The Rolling Stones’ album Let It Bleed don’t sound much alike — however, they have similar titles. In an interview, Keith Richards discussed whether Let It Be inspired the title of Let It Bleed. In addition, here’s a look at how the public reacted to the two albums.

Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger on a train
Paul McCartney with Mick Jagger | Victor Blackman/Express/Getty Images

Keith Richards on whether the name of The Beatles’ last album inspired one of The Rolling Stones’ albums

In a 1971 interview with Robert Greenfield of Rolling Stone, Richards discussed everything from Chuck Berry to Phil Spector to the death of Brian Jones. Greenfeld asked Richards if the Fab Four’s final outing inspired the title of Let It Bleed. Although The Rolling Stones released Let It Bleed slightly before The Beatles released their similarly-titled album, the two bands worked on the albums simultaneously, so it’s possible the Fab Four inspired The Rolling Stones. Richards had some contradictory things to say about this matter.

“Just a coincidence because you’re working along the same lines at the same time at the same age as a lot of other cats. All trying to do the same thing basically, turn themselves and other people on. ‘Let It Bleed’ was just one line in that song Mick [Jagger] wrote. It became the title . . . we just kicked a line out. We didn’t know what to call that song. We’d gone through ‘Take my arm, take my leg’ and we’d done the track.” Then, Richards expressed a different sentiment.

“Let It Be”

“We dug that song so . . . maybe there was some influence because Let It Be had been kicked around for years for their movie, for that album. Let it . . . be something. Let it out. Let it loose.” Judging from Richards’ comment, it’s unclear if the title of The Beatles’ final album inspired Let It Bleed — but it’s clear which of the albums the public liked better.

How the public reacted to ‘Let It Be’ vs. ‘Let It Bleed’

Let It Be reached the top position on the Billboard Hot 100. It was one of several Fab Four albums to do so. It felt right that The Beatles should go out with a bang. In addition to the album as a whole finding success on the charts, it produced a trio of Billboard Hot 100 singles: the title track, “Get Back,” and “The Long and Winding Road.” How did Let It Bleed perform by comparison?

“Let It Bleed”

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Let It Bleed merely reached No. 3 on the Billboard 200. It didn’t perform as well as other Rolling Stones albums like Sticky Fingers, Some Girls, and Out of Our Heads. The album wasn’t quite the hit machine The Beatles’ last album was, producing zero No. 1 singles. However, it gave the world some classic songs like “Gimme Shelter’ and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” Let It Be is a classic and so is Let It Bleed, but the public clearly preferred the former.