If you are a fan of music, do yourself a favor and watch “The Beatles: Get Back” on Disney+.
It’s an outstanding work by director Peter Jackson, who took hours of film, restored it digitally and presented the band working during its final year. The result is a three-part documentary with seven hours of unbelievable viewing.
The documentary takes place in January 1969. The Beatles had stopped live tours for many reasons, including the pandemonium of the shows. This documentary shows the band having friendship and humor while having disagreements between members.
One result of the movie “Let it Be” had been the disappointing album in “Let It Be.” In fact, the band put together one last great album in “Abbey Road” before releasing “Let It Be.”
Spoiler alert: The band broke up in early 1970, with some saying it was Yoko Ono’s fault, while others said it was because of Paul.
(I know in journalism a person after first reference needs to be called by their last name, but I just can’t call them Lennon, McCartney, Harrison, and Starr – or is it Starkey? Instead they’re John, Paul, George and Ringo.)
The documentary shows friction between George and Paul and John. It’s understandable because George was writing some fantastic songs. In fact, the two memorable songs from “Abbey Road” are his “Something” and “Here Comes The Sun.”
But for the most part, these behind-the-scenes shots in a recording studio show that John, Paul, George and Ringo were still friends. There was much laughter and plenty of jokes (good and bad).
The film goes into great detail about what was wrong with the band at that time but mainly involves the loss of manager Brian Epstein in 1967 to a drug overdose.
What I found extremely interesting is the evolution of two songs.
The first was “Get Back.” John was late for a rehearsal, and Paul began fooling around with his bass. Ringo and George soon joined in. At first, the song was a protest song, before finally morphing into its final form.
Another song was “Let It Be.” Paul introduces the song, and the others figure out their parts. In fact, the song isn’t even completely written.
Various members play songs that’ll be on their first solo projects. “All Things Must Pass” by George is played, while “In the Backseat Of My Car” from “Ram” is played by Paul.
As much as I have read about the Beatles, I never realized that Billy Preston just came by one day, and suddenly was recording with them. They knew him from when he backed Little Richard in Hamburg, Germany.
It brought back a lot of pleasant memories of The Beatles, but at the same time, it’s sad to realize that so many of the people in the film are gone. The first to depart was their roadie Mal Evans, followed by John, George and the great George Martin.
If you are too young to remember Beatlemania, this and “Eight Days A Week” by Ron Howard show just how big the band was.
Some will argue that the Rolling Stones were the best. They’re good, but the Beatles always managed to be the innovators and the Rolling Stones the followers. Good followers, but still coming in second.
Were they my favorite band? No, my favorite has always been the Allman Brothers Band. But were the Beatles the greatest band? Yes.
Brian Love is a freelance writer in Cleveland.