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The Beatles’ ‘Get Back’ Documentary: Everything You Need To Know

The forthcoming Peter Jackson-directed ‘The Beatles: Get Back’ documentary will offer a revelatory look at the band. Here’s what we know so far.

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the beatles get back documentary
Photo © Apple Corps Ltd

At the beginning of 2019, Apple Corps Ltd and WingNut Films Ltd announced a new Beatles documentary, which would be based on around 55 hours of previously unreleased studio footage from the band’s 1969 “Get Back” and Let It Be sessions. Over the following months, Beatles fans have eagerly speculated about the film, which is being helmed by the Academy Award-winning director Sir Peter Jackson. Now, over a year later, more information has become available. As we await its premiere (currently slated for a September 2020 release via Disney), here’s what we know so far about The Beatles: Get Back.

It was made with the full co-operation of the band

Both Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr have sung the film’s praises, while John Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono Lennon, and George Harrison’s widow, Olivia Harrison, have also offered their full support of the project.

It will be the ultimate fly-on-the-wall experience

“It’s like a time machine transports us back to 1969, and we get to sit in the studio watching these four friends make great music together,” Peter Jackson has said. The footage used in Get Back was originally shot for Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s 1970 documentary, Let It Be, which captured intimate moments in the studio while the band rehearsed and recorded the songs for what would be their final album. The footage, now revisited by Jackson in a new light, is the only material of note that documents The Beatles at work in the studio.

It will feature the famous rooftop performance in its entirety

On 30 January 1969, The Beatles played a surprise performance on the roof of their Savile Row studio. Though footage of the live set has been well documented over the years, it has never been shown in its entirety. Jackson’s film will include the entire 42-minute performance.

You can expect to hear new music

In addition to the 55 hours’ worth of film, Jackson is also working with 140 hours’ worth of audio recordings. Several of the songs culled during the sessions were included in the 1996 Anthology 3 compilation, which featured outtakes and demos from “The White Album”, Abbey Road and Let It Be. However, there is plenty of music that hasn’t been officially released.

It will also offer a chance to observe the band members’ development as solo artists. Many of the tracks that didn’t make it onto Let It Be were later developed and included on their solo albums, including the Paul McCartney-penned ‘Teddy Boy’, which appeared on his 1970 debut solo album, McCartney, and George Harrison’s ‘Hear Me Lord’ and ‘Isn’t It A Pity’, which were later released on his 1970 album, All Things Must Pass. John Lennon, meanwhile, can be heard working on ‘Gimme Some Truth’ and ‘Oh My Love’, which both appeared on 1971’s Imagine.

The band’s true relationship is revealed

While Lindsay-Hogg’s feature film offered an in-depth look at The Beatles’ sessions, it also revealed some of tense moments in the studio. In many ways, it documents a band on the verge of a break-up. Get Back, in contrast, looks at the footage as a whole, and paints a very different picture of the band’s time together. In a recent interview on The Howard Stern Show, Paul McCartney said, “We’re obviously having fun together. You can see we respect each other and we’re making music together, and it’s a joy to see it unfold.”

Meanwhile, Starr recalled, “There was hours and hours of us just laughing and playing music… There was a lot of joy, and I think Peter will show that. I think this version will be a lot more peace and loving, like we really were.”

“The reality is very different to the myth,” Jackson himself revealed. “After reviewing all the footage and audio that Michael Lindsay-Hogg shot 18 months before they broke up, it’s simply an amazing historical treasure-trove. Sure, there’s moments of drama – but none of the discord this project has long been associated with.”

Listen to the best of The Beatles on Apple Music and Spotify.

14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Grahame

    April 18, 2020 at 4:04 am

    Sack the proofreader! It was 1969 they played on the roof. Ringo was seeing Elvis in 1970, just for your information….tut tut tut

    • Ben

      April 18, 2020 at 5:50 pm

      No need to sack anyone. Mistakes can be made. I enjoyed this article.

  2. Michael Magid

    April 18, 2020 at 6:12 pm

    I definitely want to see this but the spin on this is in stark contrast to George’s “winter of our discontent “ comment on Anthology. Additionally, they still portrayed the Get Back/Let it Be sessions as anything but happy on Anthology as well.

    • Hank

      April 18, 2020 at 9:27 pm

      55 hours will what else was happening .george was just mad because John wanted to replace him with Eric Clapton when he quit like a little girl.

    • James

      April 21, 2020 at 9:17 am

      I agree, Michael. I’m afraid this new version is things is going to try to sweeten the past, McCartney style. I hope I’m wrong!

    • Ron Fowler

      April 21, 2020 at 7:57 pm

      I think it’s bs trying to pass this period off as all happy and joyful. The two guys that were most unhappy are not here to give their side of the story. If everything was up and positive, why did they break up a few months later?

  3. davy jones

    April 19, 2020 at 8:58 pm

    the beatles broke up cuz paul was dead and the story leaked to the public, so they just broke up to cover it up

  4. Jimmy Wiggians

    May 6, 2020 at 12:23 am

    The Beatles broke up cause of a series of complex issues such as McCartney’s dislike for Allen Klein, John’s heroin addiction, Yoko’s distain for all things Beatle, George’s religious diversions, along with the general “we’ve all grown up and it’s time to leave the boy’s at the bar”.

  5. paul

    May 8, 2020 at 10:15 pm

    i LOVE the musical legacy The Beatles left us…… i was born in 1955, so i am very familiar with ALL of their music(band and solo music)….

    i dont have an opinion on anything except how their music affected me…. i am a musician.

    all the other people posting and commenting, MAY have valid comments, but i am pretty sure NONE of you know anything except what the tabloids of your nation and day were printing…..

    so, ALL of you, piss off with your second-hand info…… you werent there.

  6. Rob Britton

    May 9, 2020 at 11:40 pm

    If Peter Jackson fails to include in his film, the song “I Lost My Little Girl” performed by John, with Paul’s help, he will have have missed a key moment in the Beatles’ history. This song was claimed by Paul as being the first one he ever recorded. At the Get Back sessions, John performed a complete recording of this song, in part ad libbed, which is intimate, unique, and unreleased. A must include song !

  7. Carmen

    May 14, 2020 at 9:18 am

    I just want to see the full rooftop concert all the rest is past history!

  8. Blakey

    May 23, 2020 at 2:00 am

    Basically this will not include George quitting, Klein, infighting, drugs, the Eastmans, George Martin getting elbowed for Glyn Johns, Yoko or John’s comments about the most miserable sessions on earth by the world’s most uptight people. The (2009) Let It Be liner notes made out that none of these things ever happened, and I suspect that this film will be no different.

  9. Paul Tivy

    May 27, 2020 at 11:26 pm

    They didn’t break up “a few months” after these sessions. The rooftop performance was on January 30th 1969. Their last recording session (albeit without John) was on January 3rd 1970 in between of course, they recorded and released the magnificent Abbey Road album. The actual split didn’t occur until April 10th 1970.

  10. Kaos

    June 5, 2020 at 2:10 pm

    here’s my take:

    Disc 1: Remixed Spector album

    Disc 2: Remastered Spector

    Disc 3: Remixed Glyn Johns

    Disc 4: Original Glyn Johns

    Disc 5: Remastered Glyn Johns

    Disc 6: Remixed McCartney (LIBN)

    Disc 7: Remastered McCartney (LIBN)

    Disc 8: Outtakes Disc A

    Disc 9: Outtakes Disc B

    Disc 10: Outtakes Disc C

    Disc 11/12/13: Twickenham Sessions (Complete)

    Disc 14/15/16: Savile Row, Apple Sessions (complete)

    Blu-Ray/DVD mix of ALL OF IT

    Vinyl Mix

    Cassette Tape mix

    (for a limited time) Lindsay-Hogg film, Jackson Film

    All of it in a large 8″X10″X4″ box

    (Like the signature box)

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