Ferry Aid

"Let It Be"
Single by Ferry Aid
B-side "Let It Be (The Gospel Jam Mix)"
"Let It Be (Mega Message Mix)"
Released 23 March 1987
Format 7" single, 12" single
Recorded 15–17 March 1987
Genre Pop
Length 6:08
Label CBS
Writer(s) Lennon–McCartney
Producer(s) Stock Aitken Waterman
Certification UK: gold (500,000 copies)

Ferry Aid were a British-American ensemble group, brought together to record the song "Let It Be" in 1987. The single was released following the Zeebrugge Disaster, which had occurred on 6 March 1987 involving the capsizing of the MS Herald of Free Enterprise ferry, which killed 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.[1] "Let It Be" was written by Lennon–McCartney and originally recorded by The Beatles in 1969.


Garry Bushell then with The Sun newspaper organised the recording of the song by recruiting record producers Stock, Aitken and Waterman.[2] 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) were recorded independently in his own studios.[3] In fact, 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 Monday 23 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.[3]

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.


Artists to have contributed and performed solo spots on the song are as follows (in order of appearance):

The label of the "Let It Be" single by Ferry Aid.

The closing choruses of the song feature an ensemble choir featuring many of the above performers as well other recording artists. The back-up 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 under the name 'Scab Aid', intended as a criticism of The Sun newspaper and the motives of the contributing performers which they regarded as 'hypocritical'.[5]

Chart performance

"Let It Be" made number one in the UK Singles Chart in its first week on 4 April 1987, and remained at that position for three weeks.[6] It was the 13th best selling single of the year in the UK; it was certified gold for shipping over 500,000 copies.[7][8] The single was also a number one hit in Norway[9] and Switzerland,[10] and reached the top 10 in several European countries.

Chart (1987) Peak
UK Singles Chart[6] 1
Austrian Singles Chart[11] 4
Dutch GfK chart[12] 4
Dutch Top 40[13] 3
French Singles Chart[14] 8
Irish Singles Chart[15] 2
Norwegian Singles Chart[9] 1
Swedish Singles Chart[16] 9
Swiss Singles Chart[10] 1
Preceded by
"Respectable" by Mel and Kim[17]
UK number-one single
4 April 1987 - 18 April 1987 (3 weeks)[6]
Succeeded by
"La Isla Bonita" by Madonna[18]


  1. "kimwilde.com Encyclopedia - Ferry Aid". Retrieved 5 July 2009.
  2. "How we helped in times of tragedy". The Sun. London. 22 May 2007. Retrieved 5 July 2009.
  3. 1 2 "Recording of "Let it Be"". Smash Hits. Retrieved 5 July 2009.
  4. Liddle, Steven. "Lyn Paul website: New Seekers - Collectors' Items (flexi discs, vinyl and cassettes)". www.lynpaulwebsite.org. London, UK: The Lyn Paul Website. Retrieved 9 November 2011.
  5. Glasper, Ian (2006) The Day the Country Died: a History of Anarcho-punk 1980–1984, Cherry Red Books, ISBN 978-1-901447-70-5
  6. 1 2 3 "Chart Stats - Ferry Aid - Let It Be". Retrieved 5 July 2009.
  7. "Certified Awards Search". BPI. Retrieved 26 November 2011. Search by Title, click on more info>>
  8. "Certified Awards – A Timeline" (PDF). Certified Awards Timeline.pdf. London, UK: BPI (British Recorded Music Industry) Limited. Retrieved 27 November 2011.
  9. 1 2 "norwegiancharts.com - Ferry Aid - Let It Be". Retrieved 5 July 2009.
  10. 1 2 "Ferry Aid - Let It Be - hitparade.ch" (in German). Retrieved 5 July 2009.
  11. "Ferry Aid - Let It Be - austriancharts.at" (in German). Retrieved 5 July 2009.
  12. "dutchcharts.nl - Ferry Aid - Let It Be" (in Dutch). Retrieved 5 July 2009.
  13. "Nederlandse Top 40 - Week 17, 1987" (in Dutch). Retrieved 5 July 2009.
  14. "lescharts.com - Ferry Aid - Let It Be" (in French). Retrieved 5 July 2009.
  15. "irishcharts.ie search results". Retrieved 5 July 2009.
  16. "swedishcharts.com - Ferry Aid - Let It Be". Retrieved 5 July 2009.
  17. "Chart Stats - Mel And Kim - Respectable". Retrieved 5 July 2009.
  18. "Chart Stats - Madonna - La Isla Bonita". Retrieved 5 July 2009.
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