New Beatles series discovers the truth about separation

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NEW YORK – For 50 years, the fixed narrative has had the Beatles’ “Let It Be” recording session as a miserable experience with a band where members were sick of each other, sick of their jobs and trying to break up.

The nearly 8-hour, Peter Jackson-produced documentary, which was abolished by the film and the recording of those sessions, instead explores a self-confident band with a rare connection and a work ethic that still knew how to have fun – but was also going to break up.

The “Get Back” series concludes in three days with Thanksgiving on Disney +.

Produced by a Beatlemaniac for fellow Beatlemaniacs, it can be an exhausting experience for those not in the club. But the club is pretty big. In addition to the treats it offers fans, “Get Back” is a fly-on-the-wall look at the creative process of a band still popular half a century after it stopped.

Jackson, the Academy Award-winning producer of the “Lord of the Rings” series, discussed another project with the Beatles when he asked what to do with all the outbursts from director Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s 1970 “Let It Be “Movie happened.

Nearly 60 hours of film, taken over three weeks, was there, mostly invisible, and the band had pondered what to do with it. Jackson took the material, as well as 150 hours of audio recordings, and spent four years building a story.

He came with the fear that it would be a depressing slogan.

Lindsay-Hogg’s film is considered a chronicle of the band’s death – unfair, in Jackson’s opinion – because it was released shortly after the split was announced. Individual Beatles reinforced the notion with negative comments about the experience, giving themselves a tight deadline to write and record new material in preparation for a live show, with cameras capturing everything afterwards.

“I was just waiting for it to go bad,” Jackson said. “I was waiting for the arguments to start. I was waiting for the conflict to start. I was waiting for the sense that they hated each other. I was waiting for all the things I read in the books, and it never appeared.

Oh, there is conflict. The story floods the pleasant moments that were revealed in the outings, such as John Lennon singing “Two of Us” as Bob Dylan Impersonator, or challenging him and Paul McCartney without moving their lips. Jackson restores balance.

“The connection was incredible,” drummer Ringo Starr recalled in a recent zoom interview. “I’m an only child (but) I had three brothers. And we looked at each other. We looked at each other. We had a few rows together – that’s what people do. But musically, every time we count – one, two, three, four – we were the best we could be.

Jackson followed the sessions every day from its inception in a cavernous film set that was eventually abandoned in favor of her trusted London recording studio, to the short-lived performance that the Beatles last played in public.

The filmmaker is sensitive to the idea that he was introduced to “sanitize” the sessions, pointing out that “Get Back” briefly leaves George Harrison out of the band, an event Lindsay-Hogg was not allowed to show.

That moment unfolded after a morning where Harrison watched, quietly stiffening, as Lennon and McCartney showed their close creative connection to “Two of Us,” as if the others were not there. When a lunch break came, Harrison had something more permanent in mind.

“I’m leaving the band now,” he says, almost objectively, before leaving.

After a few days, and a few band meetings, Harrison was coaxed to return. The morning he does, the movie shows him and Lennon reading a fake newspaper report that they got hit, and confronted in boxing positions to mock it.

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

Myth number 1: McCartney was a control freak.

Verdict: Partly correct. The film shows Harrison visibly with McCartney, who gives him and other band members instructions on how to play and mediate them in a decision about a live concert. The band has been a bit aimless since the death of manager Brian Epstein in 1967. McCartney took over the role of “Daddy”, and is not very comfortable with it.

“I’m afraid I’m the boss, and I’m been for a few years,” he says. “I get no support.”

Myth number 2: Yoko Ono broke up with the Beatles.

Verdict: Not true. She is present at almost every recording session, but usually sits as a benign force next to Lennon. The other Beatle spouses all show up at the studio, though not as often. At one point, McCartney even makes a cautious joke about her.

“It’s going to be such an incredibly weird thing in 50 years time – they’ve broken up because Yoko was sitting on an amplifier,” he says.

The afternoon after Harrison leaves, the remaining Beatles clearly vent their frustration with aggressive, atonal music, and Ono takes over his microphone – an exciting moment.

Mythos Nr.

Verdict: Not true. They are constantly collaborating, seeking and taking advice. At one point, Harrison admitted to Lennon that he had difficulty completing the line that “pulls me like no other lover” and “Something.” Lennon suggests using a nonsense phrase – “pull me like a cauliflower” – until something better comes out.

Through the film, viewers can see the origin of McCartney’s song “Get Back”, work out a riff on the page so that he and Lennon can exchange lyrical suggestions and come up with an idea to make it a song that is anti- Immigrant feelings criticized. full band working out the arrangement. Satisfied with the final result, it is Harrison who proposes to release it immediately as a single.

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

Myth number 4: The movie showed the Beatles breaking up.

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

Harrison, growing up creatively, becomes uncomfortable with his secondary role. He’s talking to Lennon about making a solo album because he’s written enough songs to fill his “quote” on Beatles albums for another decade. As if to prove his point, the Beatles rehearse Harrison’s majestic “All Things Must Pass”, but refuse 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, predicting a bitter split with McCartney.

“The whole thing is full of mini-stories,” Jackson said.

Jackson, who was expected to make a conventional documentary, said he was nervous about taking his much longer end product back to McCartney, Starr and the Lennon and Harrison families.

“But they came back and said, ‘Great, nothing changes,'” he said.

Among the unexpected moments he uncovered is the joy on the faces of the Beatles as they played on the studio roof. The film shows the whole performance, the Beatles who rise to the challenge and have a great time doing it.

When the police finally stop it, the band and the entourage return to the studio and listen to a recording of what they did.

“This is a very good dry run for something else,” says producer George Martin.

Unfortunately, that should not be the case.

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