One of the biggest streaming events of fall 2021 is undoubtedly the new Disney+ docuseries “The Beatles: Get Back,” directed by Peter Jackson. A Fab Four superfan, the “Lord of the Rings” director compiled the three-part series, airing on the streamer November 25, 26, and 27, from 57 hours of never before seen footage shot by the documentarian Michael Lindsay-Hogg during the sessions for their aborted album “Get Back.” Check out the first trailer for the series released by Disney+ below.
Lindsay-Hogg’s footage, severely edited down and focusing mostly on the rooftop concert that the band performed for a private audience in 1969 at their Apple Studio’s London headquarters, did become the 1970 film “Let It Be.” But the footage Jackson is focusing on is the behind the scenes material of John, Paul, George, and Ringo just being themselves and interacting while they’re assembling the album.
Restored in such a pristine way, the footage now looks like it was shot yesterday rather than nearly 53 years ago and, much like Todd Douglas Miller’s “Apollo 11” documentary, appears to serve as a time machine to the past as much as anything. There’s a 26-year-old George Harrison searching for the words to complete a line in “Something.” There’s Paul McCartney complaining about how the history of The Beatles may show that they broke up because Yoko Ono sat on an amp. There’s John Lennon giving a little bit of the “primal scream” howl to “Don’t Let Me Down” that he’d perfect on his debut solo album “John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band” the next year.
How much conflict among the bandmembers is captured in this footage is yet to be revealed. The “Get Back” sessions fell apart, partially because they were trying to record the album in a different way than their previous triumphs. The album was ultimately scrapped, until Lennon brought in Phil Spector to “re-produce” the album and add different backing elements than some of the other band members wanted. McCartney has always bristled at the echo-y, multilayered orchestral elements Spector added to “The Long and Winding Road,” among other tracks. That reimagined album was released in 1970 as “Let It Be,” technically The Beatles’ last album. But most fans consider “Abbey Road,” released in October 1969, as the band’s true final statement.
Now fans will get a chance to see all this creativity and conflict play out like never before.
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