The new Beatles series reveal the truth about the breakup

NEW YORK – For 50 years, the permanent story of The Beatles’ “Let it Be” taping has been a harrowing experience for a band where the members are fed up with each other, bored with work, and about to break up. disintegrate.

The nearly eight-hour documentary, produced by Peter Jackson, culled from the film and recorded the plays of those sessions instead revealing a self-aware band with a rare connection and still-still work ethic. knows how to have fun – but is also in the process of breaking upwards.

The “Get Back” series airs for three days starting Thanksgiving on Disney+.

Produced by a Beatlemaniac band for fellow Beatlemaniacs, it can be a grueling experience for those not in the club. But the club is pretty big. In addition to what it offers fans, “Get Back” is a first-hand look at the creative process of a band that remains popular half a century after it ceased to exist.

Jackson, the producer of the Oscar-winning “Lord of the Rings” series, was discussing another project with The Beatles when he asked what happened to all of the film’s appearances. “Let It Be” 1970, directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg.

Nearly 60 hours of film made in three weeks has survived, barely seen, and the band is pondering what to do with it. Jackson took that material, as well as 150 hours of recording, and spent four years crafting a story.

He approached with fear that it might be a depressing slogan.

Lindsay-Hogg’s film is seen as chronicling the band’s demise – in Jackson’s view – unjustly – because it was released shortly after the breakup announcement. The Beatles personally reinforced this view with negative comments about the experience, where they set themselves tight deadlines to write and record new material in preparation for a live, camera-following show. afterall.

“I was just waiting for things to get worse,” Jackson said. “I was waiting for the debates to start. I wait for the conflict to begin. I wait for the feeling that they hate each other. I waited for all the things I had read in the books, and it never showed up.”

Oh, there’s a conflict. History overshadows the amusing moments revealed in the opening games, such as John Lennon singing “Two of Us” as a Bob Dylan impersonator, or him and Paul McCartney challenging each other to a run. without moving her lips. Jackson restores balance.

Drummer Ringo Starr recalled in a recent Zoom interview: “The connection was amazing. “I am an only child (but) I have three brothers. And we found each other. We took care of each other. We had a few rows together – that’s what people do. But musically, every time we count – one, two, three, four – we become the best we can be. ”

Jackson followed the lessons day in and day out from the time they began in a cave studio that was eventually abandoned to replace their familiar London recording studio, to a brief performance on the field. It was the last time the Beatles performed in public.

The filmmaker was sensitive to the idea that he was brought in to “clean up” the sessions, pointing out that “Get Back” depicts a scene where George Harrison briefly leaves the band, an event where Lindsay -Hogg is not allowed to show.

That moment comes after a morning that Harrison watched, silently waiting for, as Lennon and McCartney showcased their close creative connection while making “Two of Us” as if the others weren’t there. there. When it was time for a lunch break, Harrison had something more permanent in mind.

“I’m leaving the band now,” he said, almost practically, before stepping outside.

After a few days, and several band meetings, Harrison was persuaded to return. On his mornings, the film shows him and Lennon reading a fake report that they’ve come together and face off in boxing poses to mock it.

Along the way, Jackson’s project dispels and reinforces parts of conventional wisdom that have been consolidated over the years.

Myth #1: McCartney is a control freak.

Verdict: Partly correct. The film shows Harrison getting annoyed when McCartney gives him and the other members of the band instructions on how to play and convinces them to decide on a live concert. The band has been rendered useless since the 1967 death of manager Brian Epstein. McCartney has taken on the role of “dad,” and isn’t entirely comfortable with it.

“I was afraid of becoming the boss, and I was for a couple of years,” he said. “I didn’t get any support.”

Myth #2: Yoko Ono broke up with The Beatles.

Verdict: Not true. She’s there for almost every taping, but mostly a benign force sitting next to Lennon. Other Beatle spouses were present in the studio, though not as often. At one point, McCartney even made fun of her.

“It would be an amazingly funny thing in 50 years time – they broke up because Yoko was on an amp,” he said.

The afternoon after Harrison left, the rest of the Beatles apparently vented their frustrations with some boisterous, out-of-favour music, and Ono took over his microphone – a moment of magic.

Myth #3: The Beatles have essentially turned into four solo artists, with the rest being the backers of each other’s songs.

Verdict: Not true. They are constantly collaborating, seeking and offering advice. At one point, Harrison confessed to Lennon that he was having a hard time completing the line that “attracted me like no other lover” in “Something.” Lennon suggests using a meaningless phrase – “attracts me like a cauliflower” – until something better comes along.

Through the film, viewers can see how the song “Get Back” came to life, with McCartney working, as he and Lennon exchanged lyrical suggestions and came up with the idea to turn it into a song. criticized anti-immigrant sentiment, so that the band fully worked the arrangement. Satisfied with the end result, it was Harrison who suggested that it be released as a single immediately.

“A glimpse of them working together is a hugely important artifact, not just for fans,” said Bob Spitz, author of The Beatles: The Biography, published in 2005. Beatles’ grave but also for anyone who is creative.

Myth 4: Filming shows The Beatles disbanding.

Verdict: Actually true. It was clear that Lennon and Harrison’s enthusiasm for being Beatles was waning. Lennon is clearly in love with Ono; McCartney told Harrison and Starr that if there was a choice between her and the Beatles, Lennon would go with her.

Harrison, growing creatively, is becoming annoyed with his secondary role. He talked to Lennon about making a solo album because he had enough songs written to fill his “quota” of Beatles albums for another decade. As if to prove their point, The Beatles rehearsed Harrison’s majestic song “All Things Must Pass”, but refused to record it.

In the film, Lennon and Starr also discuss a meeting with Rolling Stones manager Allen Klein about taking over the Beatles’ business, heralding a bitter split with McCartney.

“It’s all little stories,” Jackson said.

Jackson, who was once expected to make a regular documentary, said he was thrilled to be filming his much longer final product about McCartney, Starr and the Lennon and Harrison families.

“But they turned around and said, ` `great, don’t change a thing,’” he said.

Among the priceless moments he unearthed was the joy on the Beatles’ faces as they played on the studio’s rooftop. The movie shows the whole performance, The Beatles rise to the challenge and have a great time doing it.

When the police finally finished the case, the band and entourage retreated to the studio and listened to a recording of what they did.

Producer George Martin said: “This is a very good dry run for something else.

That, alas, did not happen.


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