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January 19, 2022

Get Back: A return to Let It Be #TheBeatles #GetBack

by Alison DeLuca

Get Back is an in-depth exploration of the days when John, Paul, George, and Ringo created an album, a movie, and a concert all at once. During that month, the band raced against time to 'get back' to a simpler sound without the London Philharmonic or electronica.

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Directed by Peter Jackson, Get Back is framed by one effective device: a calendar with two foreboding words written on the 31st: Last Day. (Ringo was due to film a movie at the Twickenham studios then and couldn't tape after that point.) 

In the first episode, it seemed as though the timeline is impossible. Although they had to come up with an album's worth of material in days, The Beatles simply couldn't settle down to hard work. 

Lennon consistently showed up late. McCartney was seen as overbearing and got a lot of push-back. Harrison, fresh out of the partnership with Eric Clapton wanted to put more of his songs on the album. And Ringo seemed muted by the spiky atmosphere, afraid to speak in case he said something wrong. 

poster for the Get Back series

They were working in the worst conditions. Twickenham Studios was large, cold, and filled with echoes. The engineers didn't have the necessary sound equipment, not even proper tape recording monitors. (This seems crazy, but The Beatles had recently left EMI for their own Apple Corps studios.)

Everything seemed to change when George brought in Billy Preston to help and play keyboards. Billy's constant smile and own talent helped to solidify the band's focus. It also helped that they moved to Apple Studios, a more barebones but cozier space than the cavernous Twickenham studios.

None of this changes the fact of that calendar. The band and Paul, in particular, found the days disappearing with too much still to be done. 

However, there are lots of beautiful and uplifting moments that happen onscreen in that dusty, littered studio. Paul shows up with Linda Eastman and her daughter, Heather. He gives the little girl a piggyback and lets her comb his hair. Later he married Linda and adopted Heather.

Ringo shows up and joins Paul at the piano with a cheerful "Good morning!" and together they bang out a lively duet on an old piano.

Linda praises Ringo, saying he's 'lovely.' Later, Maureen Starkey (Ringo's wife) and Yoko huddle together for warmth during the rooftop concert.

John walks in wearing the same outfit and says he's wearing 'continuity clothes' (since the footage would be used for a movie.) And, in a flash of his A Spaniard in the Works days, he riffs on Get Back and turns it into a ditty about a frying pan.

Perhaps most uplifting of all, Lennon and McCartney seem to function as one person at times. They sing Two of Us in a posh accent, John's ready smile flashing as Paul picks up on the joke and joins in. And when they play their guitars together, it's pure magic.

It's that talent that makes Get Back truly shine. On the face of it, the 'lads' are just playing around, and yet Paul writes Get Back in the span of a few minutes. Later there are flashes of songs that appeared later on Abbey Road, a wonderful insight into the creative process of the most groundbreaking group that ever was.

Peter Jackson is the master of epic trilogies, so it's no surprise that he makes the footage (essentially the outtakes from Let It Be) work so well. When he first approached McCartney with the idea of creating a series, Paul was leery of the project. "Look," Jackson said, "whatever you think it is, it’s not what you think it is. Because I thought it was going to be miserable, but I’m amazed at how funny and happy it is. It’s completely different to what I imagined."

If you like creation and classic rock, I highly suggest Get Back. It's a wonderful glimpse into the twilight of The Beatles - and the end of a tumultuous decade.

Alison DeLuca is the author of several steampunk and urban fantasy books.  She was born in Arizona and has also lived in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Mexico, Ireland, and Spain.

Currently she wrestles words and laundry in New Jersey. You can find her at 

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