Reflections on Day 2 of ‘The Beatles: Get Back’ Documentary

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Welcome back to our three-day coverage of the new Disney+ and Peter Jackson-directed three-part docu-series, The Beatles: Get Back.

The doc, which Disney+ is releasing over Thanksgiving weekend (November 25-27) showcases never-before-seen footage of the former Mop Tops putting together their legendary (and last) album, Let It Be, originally released May 8, 1970.

While we brought you yesterday the Top 12 Things We Learned in the First 20 minutes, there was obviously much more to digest in the series’ first episode, which spanned over two-and-a-half hours.

More Things We Learned from Part 1:

1. Ringo is just hella chill. He’s a listener. He doesn’t cause trouble. In fact several figures in the film comment on how they themselves feel their most calm when around him. Got to love a Glue Guy.

2. Paul is a workaholic. He’s a taskmaster, throwing fits when the others aren’t matching his enthusiasm and desire. But who can blame him? He’s in a room, part of maybe the best band ever, and this is their last shot at one final immortal album. And Harrison is yawning. But it’s a fine line: when to drive a person and when to, um, let it be.

3. The band’s jackets. Wow. It’s like a flock of birds when they arrive to start rehearsal. But maybe those jackets will come into play at a certain “out of doors” event. Hmmm!

4. It’s just immeasurably cool to see the band piece together songs we’ve now heard for 50 years, tunes like “Get Back,” “I’ve Got A Feeling,” “I Me Mine,” “The Long and Winding Road” and “Let It Be.” Your ears perk up at the familiarity, but your eyebrows raise at the early stages.

5. So far, John Lennon, who is one of the greatest songwriters and rock and roll singers ever, is acting like a baby. He wants his cake and to eat it, too. We love John Lennon. But either show up or don’t. Perhaps, though, he’s waiting and will spring some amazing moment on the group. But jeez. This is why we love the Beatles, though. They have such distinct yet universal archetypes in the group. We love you, Johnny.

6. George Harrison leaves the bands. He even writes it in his diary, saying, he’s left the Beatles. He takes his gorgeous coat and his carton of cigarettes and leaves. Part 1 ends with an explanation of what happens next: McCartney, Lennon, and Starr go to Harrison’s house—with Yoko and Linda (why!?)—to try to convince Harrison to come back. The first installment ends with a note: it didn’t go well.

10 Things We Learned from the First 10 Minutes from Part 2 of The Beatles: Get Back

1. Peter Jackson (Oscar Award-winner) and Disney+ really went all out for these. Episode 2 of the docu-series is just shy of three hours. Again, what should we expect, though, from the former The Lord of the Rings trilogy director? So much footage.

2. We now enter days 8-16 of the experiment that is the Get Back sessions, an attempt to finish and memorize a dozen, or more, songs for a new live album and television special performance by the end of January 1969, before Ringo has to go shoot a movie, The Magic Christian.

3. Amidst all this pressure, one thing remains hilarious: the Beatles have three weeks to get all this work done. But they take weekends off. Amazing flex.

4. Ringo is the first to arrive after the meeting that didn’t save the band. He’s as affable as ever. Paul and Linda are next. Linda seems like a lovely person and a skilled photographer. She sits back from the band as they rehearse, she also shoots them. At one point in Part 2, Linda and Yoko are chatting and it’s delightful to see on film.

5. A few minutes into Part 2 and the discussion of Yoko versus the Beatles arises. Apparently, Yoko spoke for Lennon in the meeting with Harrison. Lennon was largely, if not totally, silent.

6. Yoko, who sat next to the band in the writer’s circle, continues to be the topic of conversation. Paul vents frustration. “It’s difficult starting from scratch with Yoko there.” We’re not trying to pile on her, but this seems to be the moment when the fuse is lit. Lennon will be put in a position and he will choose his partner. Turns out Percy Sledge was right. But “they’re going overboard,” McCartney says.

7. Paul talks again in this meeting with Ringo, Linda, and other producer folks about the band needing a “Daddy” figure. He’s talked about it before. After the band lost their former manager, Brian Epstein, they’ve lacked the father figure. Paul is trying to fill it—beard and all—but it’s not totally working.

8. Paul jokes about how 50 years later (i.e. today) the world will joke that the band broke up “because Yoko sat on an amp.” They all laugh. Linda sits next to him as he says it. Awkward. Some part of watching the tension between Paul and John is like watching two spouses trying to predict the other’s move.

9. At one point, with Ringo sitting near him, John and George absent, prescient Paul says, “And then there were two.” He stares into space, almost shaking.

10. Then someone gets John on the phone and Paul gets up to talk…

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