Hello, all you Mop Toppers! Welcome back to our final recap of the new Peter Jackson-directed, Disney+ docu-series, The Beatles: Get Back.
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1. Last we left, the Beatles were in disarray. Only Paul and Ringo remained at their planned rehearsal space. John and George are disgruntled, largely at Paul’s heavy-handedness. As Paul says, they miss the “daddy” figure who would keep them in line. But then John calls, he’s ready to talk and reconvene. And once they hash it out one-on-one (with a secret recorder planted in a pot of flowers), the two central characters are ready to, well, Get Back to work.
2. The three Beatles meet with George and this time, the meeting goes well. He’s agreed to get back to the sessions. It’s time to work. They decide to meet at Apple Studios (not the computer company, which hasn’t been founded yet; rather, their entertainment label). They’re ready to make the best of it.
3. While everyone has a renewed attitude, there are still struggles completing the songs. Tensions abound. There are issues with the sound, the bass and other instruments, and general Beatle baggage. At one point, the basses Paul brought don’t work and he and John, demonstrating their amazing talent as songwriters, bust out the acoustics and make timeless hits like “Two Of Us.”
4. But the real savior of the sessions is keys player Billy Preston. He’s like the neighbor who walks into a house where the family can’t stop fighting but now they have to be on their best behavior because he’s here. Not to mention, Preston is just an amazing keys player. He is the essential addition to the mix. The 5th Beatle of the Get Back sessions.
5. Ringo looks sick the whole time. His eyes are droopy and dark. We hope he’s okay!
6. George looks ready to get the hell out of there. Even after agreeing to come back, he largely looks fed up. He’s not listened to nearly as much as Paul and John. He’s all but done.
7. Nevertheless, the foursome with Preston trudges on. We’re not breaking any news here, but it’s just incredible to see them play. Paul sings timeless hits while playing the bass in perfect time. John strums solos while looking around the room. It’s just a sight to behold.
8. It’s also incredible to see all the time and effort it takes to write a great song. So many elements have to be in the right place, from band members’ moods to the equipment, to the timing. These songs are like orchids needing the right perfect conditions.
9. Everything has taken longer than originally planned and the live TV show was dashed. Plans to travel to the Middle East, to Africa, and other locales are dashed. A plan to play in a local park is dashed. Then… there is the idea for the rooftop of the building they’re now rehearsing in at Apple Studios. When the idea is first suggested to Paul, he flashes such happiness and then such relief.
10. Paul likes to jump over things—literally. In Part 2, he’s shown hopping chairs, fences, walls. He’s got an actual spring in his step. Part 2 ends with Paul jumping over something and then a title card flashing: the rooftop show will be held in 4 days.
Final Thoughts and What We Learned From Part 3
1. It’s the final few days: technically, days 17-22. And this installment is just over two hours and 15 minutes— for those of you counting at home. The band has now been rehearsing for 16 days—with plenty of hiccups—for a possible live album and live show of some sort. They must be finished by the end of the month, so Ringo can go shoot a movie and so they can finally be rid of one another (we joke, we joke).
2. To begin the film, Ringo busts out “Octopus’s Garden.” George loves it. They work on it before Paul and John come into rehearsal. John plays drums. Then he talks about eating kittens. Just another day in the life of John Lennon.
3. Ringo is so amazing. He lets a little kid (Linda Eastman’s daughter?) hit his drums while the band rehearses “Let It Be.” Starr is the winner of this docu-series. Team Starr. The second winner is Billy Preston.
4. The Beatles have three days before their rooftop show and they’re BS’ing around the studio. Maybe it’s how they deal with tension. But most people wouldn’t be as loose. Some of this jamming, though, ends up on Let It Be, which is delightful.
5. More than ever in the series, the Beatles are having fun. Perhaps it’s no coincidence given the child that’s running around talking about kittens. Preston, helps immeasurably, too. But they’re coming to the end of the process, there must also be some real relief. The songs are coming together. John and Paul are dancing together, after all.
6. George wrote a new song and reminds John of him telling George to finish songs “straight away,” as soon as you write them. John agrees it’s good practice, though he never does it himself, he laughs. It must have been really hard for George. He’s on a team with two Michael Jordans and he’s an excellent Scottie Pippen: essential to the success, but never Jordan. He’s a hero for never blowing his top too bad.
7. At one point, Yoko Ono kisses John as they’re rehearsing. John says her divorce has just gone through. Rejoice, free at last.
8. At one point when the band is gone, the dorky staff jams on their instruments. It’s very funny. Another funny moment is Ringo giving Yoko a stick of gum, she breaks it immediately in half and gives it to John, who pops it in his mouth without thinking.
9. The rooftop concert is delayed a day for weather. It’s set for Thursday, January 31. With two days left, the band begins to rehearse again. They put together the song, “Something,” seemingly in minutes. George is so good.
10. Allen Klein enters the picture, the Rolling Stones manager, who wants to work with the Beatles. Lennon calls him an “incredible guy.” The Beatles meet with him after rehearsal on Tuesday. Then Wednesday hits, the day before the planned rooftop show.
11. There is great discussion about the rooftop show. Should they do it? Should they keep rehearsing for a few days, six weeks? Personally, it’s just great to see how many conversations need to happen before making a big decision. From the outside, it’s easy to think these choices appeared from divine thin air.
12. George talks about making his own solo album. He says he could write these songs for other people, but then reconsiders: “Fuck all that, I just got to do me for a little bit,” George says.
13. Day 21, the day of the rooftop show… check out the final 45 minutes on Disney+, and thanks for reading along with us this weekend.