Starting today, exclusively on Disney +; You can now watch one of the most anticipated releases: the original three-part documentary series “The Beatles: Get Back.” On November 25, 26 and 27, the audience is invited to enter the creative universe of John, Paul, George and Ringo like never before. Directed by award-winning Oscar-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson; the new docuseries is made entirely from unpublished footage of the band’s recording sessions in 1969; showing the creative process of The Beatles as they try to write 14 new songs; and they are preparing for their first live concert after more than two years without public appearances.
The new documentary series is not only a powerful historical document that allows us to understand the dynamics of the most influential band of all time; it is also an extraordinary example of the power of technological innovation; put at the service of restoring image and sound.
On rock radio, we present eight curiosities about “The Beatles: Get Back” to enter the universe of the “Fab four”; and absorb to the maximum everything that the documentary offers.
Peter Jackson was the only one in 50 years to access the footage
Acclaimed New Zealand filmmaker Peter Jackson; known for the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy and more recently for his World War I documentary “They Will Never Grow Old”; he is the only person in fifty years who had access to the audiovisual material stored in the Apple Corps vaults; the company that handles all the creative and business interests of The Beatles. It consisted of 60 hours of film material and more than 100 hours of audio material; captured during three weeks in January 1969, at Twickenham Studios and at the Apple Corps office studio, both in London. The material had been recorded to produce a live television special that was never released; and was filmed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, author of the 1970 documentary “Let It Be.” Upon receiving the tapes, Jackson was extremely impressed with what he saw; and took advantage of the isolated context of the COVID-19 pandemic to fully immerse himself in the material and find a narrative thread that would structure the story.
However, the project presented him with a personal dilemma
Jackson says that while the material he discovered in the Apple Corps tapes was fascinating; the project placed him, as a fan of The Beatles, in a great dilemma. The opportunity to see and work with the only extant substantial footage of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr composing in the studio was a once in a lifetime opportunity; but he had qualms about being part of the band’s “breakup movie”, considering that the group disbanded a few months later. However, the images alone led him to make the decision to accept the project. The footage closely showed the band working together at a seminal moment in their career. It was entertaining and showed the group members warm and jovial with each other, and their interactions were lighthearted, emotional, and often silly and playful. “I don’t think there is another three-week period in Beatles history that is more prolific and creative than this,” says Jackson. So instead of seeing it as the sad breakup moment for The Beatles, which resulted in bad recordings, it’s actually one of the most hectic writing, rehearsal and recording periods they ever had. “
The selection and restoration process of the material took 4 years
“The Beatles: Get Back” is the result of unprecedented technical restoration work. Jackson and his team worked on the material for 4 years, painstakingly analyzing every second to optimize the image for unique sound quality. The restoration of the film material was carried out at Park Road Post Production in New Zealand, with a team of 14 specialized technicians. The cleaning of the sound, meanwhile, was worked in a millimetric way, taking the original recordings made in mono and making special focus on the separation of the dialogue fragments between the members of the band in order to highlight what they were saying. “Our work with the audio revealed conversations that were previously impossible to understand, allowing us to present with greater precision and detail the ‘Get Back Sessions’ from January 1969,” says Jackson.
The Beatles hadn’t performed live in almost three years.
At the time of entering the studio for the sessions portrayed in the series, the Beatles had not performed live for almost three years, so they were eager to reunite to record. They missed the connection they had as a group and hoped to recapture the energy of their early live performances in Hamburg and the Cavern Club. By this point in the career, gigs had become difficult for the band as it was difficult to hear each other above the screaming fans, so they had stopped touring in 1966.
The docuseries includes “the rooftop concert” in full version
In addition to the band’s songwriting and recording sessions at Twickenham Studios and Apple Corps, “The Beatles: Get Back” includes, for the first time, the full 42-minute Beatles concert on the rooftop of Apple Corps on April 30. January 1969, their last live performance as a group. It was an impromptu concert for friends and colleagues, a free performance, not scheduled or promoted, heard by anyone within three or four blocks of the vicinity.
Intimate moments are seen with family, collaborators and friends
In addition to capturing the creative process of the band, “The Beatles: Get Back” allows fans to peek into the family intimacy of John, Paul, George and Ringo. The material reveals the presence in the studio of Yoko Ono and Linda Eastman, who a few months later would become wives of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, respectively. You can also see some special participations, such as that of the musician Billy Preston, and tender and funny moments that involve little visitors to the studio, such as Heather McCartney, Linda’s biological daughter and Paul’s adopted daughter who at that time was just 6 years old.
The Beatles’ Iconic Songwriting Process Revealed
Thanks to the extraordinary restoration of sound, Beatles fans have access to “the kitchen” of some of the legendary songs of the Liverpool quartet. Among others, you can see how the band writes “Get Back” and “Something”, revealing like never before the songwriting dynamics and creative process of Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starr.
Paul McCartney and Ringo Star were shocked by what they saw
The new documentary series moved even Paul McCartney himself. The artist comments: “As I looked at it, I thought: ‘What a fertile period that was.’ It was a very fruitful period for me. It was great for me to see it. It’s like looking at old photos. And the fact that Linda (Eastman McCartney) is taking photos obviously makes it even more special to me. It’s extraordinary. Those aspects of that whole situation are great memories, is to look at the family photo album again. There I am composing, just for fun. He was definitely going through a good musical period at the time. ” Ringo Starr, for his part, says: “I’m very excited for people to see it. Peter is extraordinary and it was great to see all that footage. There are hours and hours of us laughing and making music. There is much joy and much more peace and love, as we really were ”.
“The Beatles: Get Back” premieres on November 25, 26 and 27, exclusively on Disney +, with a new episode every day.
The three-part docuseries include never-before-seen restored material that sometimes includes explicit language, mature themes, and cigarette smoking. Viewer discretion is encouraged.