FunAstrology"The Beatles: Get Back" on Disney +: "I think...

"The Beatles: Get Back" on Disney +: "I think I'll leave you now"

Peter Jackson has recovered a cultural treasure from the Beatles archive: the documentary “The Beatles: Get Back”.

In modern archeology, it is considered wise to leave some treasures in the ground first. After all, later generations should also have something to salvage with better techniques. This is how the keepers of the Grail of the Beatles archive of the still existing Apple company may have thought. The 55 hours of film and 120 hours of sound material of the so-called “Get Back Sessions” have remained untouched for more than fifty years since the LP and film “Let It Be” were put together. Both works, burdened with the nimbus of separation, were denied the classic status of earlier Beatles albums despite timeless hits like the title track.

Even if many of the now legendary sound recordings can be found on bootlegs, it seemed to be a curse for many fans. Do you really want to look over the shoulder of your favorite group as they break up?

In fact, you can always hear the beginning and end of the most famous band in rock history together here. In search of material for a big live show for television, they dig deep into their past, indulge in rock’n’roll of the 50s, remember their first, unreleased Lennon McCartney songs. They rave about the Hamburg Top Ten Club, whose amplification system they now want back. At the same time they invent timeless classics like “Get Back” and “Don’t Let Me Down” in improvisation. On the other hand, strokes of genius by individuals, such as McCartney’s “The Long and Winding Road” or Harrison’s “Something”, meet with almost tortured support from other band members.

For the 1970s, these tapes were something of a harbinger of Ingmar Bergman’s “Scenes of a Marriage”. The Swede’s film is said to have stimulated a million divorces, but it was nothing against the breakup of the Beatles: For everyone who loved this band, their lackluster farewell is the defining narrative about the finiteness of happiness and harmonious togetherness. But when you see drama and creativity in bright colors and not only hear it on noisy tapes, it is pure happiness. These images and the razor-sharp tone, artfully distilled from various overlapping sources, allow us to look deeply into crises, but the majority of the recordings lead into clouds of limitless creativity.

The timing of their resurrection could not have been better chosen. Only now are there digital scanners that can distill such clarity from 16mm film that you almost forget to see a film at all. And with Peter Jackson there is a Beatles fan and filmmaker who at the height of his career did not accept a Hollywood contract, but rather devotes four years of his life to restoring and assembling this mountain of materials. For comparison: he only edited four months of each of his “Lord of the Rings” films. For him, this Holy Grail of Beatles research probably comes very close to the coveted rings of Tolkien in terms of its significance for cultural history.

The form he chooses is that of the correct archivist: a calendar notes the days in a tight schedule from January 2nd to 30th, 1969. After the 16th the Beatles have to leave the hall in London’s Twickenham studio, then you move to go to the studio basement of the Apple building on Saville Road.

Anyone who knows the movie “Let It Be” by director Michael Lindsay-Hogg will remember the finale, which is also the climax of this more than eight-hour three-part series: Instead of giving a splendid open-air concert in an ancient amphitheater, they drive Beatles quite skeptical to take the elevator to the roof of the Apple house and give their last live concert there.

Lindsay-Hogg is there with nine cameras, has enthusiastic passers-by interviewed and grandiose staged the delayed entry of two real police officers who are investigating complaints about noise pollution. Orson Welles’ son is present throughout the rehearsal and recording period. Like his famous father, he stylizes himself smoking a cigar, but like everyone who buzzes around the Beatles, he is discreet and helpful. Producer George Martin is even more modest in the background. He only has something to say to the quartet, which he helped to achieve greatness, upon request.

One believes that one is in the room on this, without exaggeration, most sensational artistic journey through time that one can only imagine. The Beatles had never had their studio work filmed before, but in January 1969 nothing was like before. Separation rumors filled the sheets. The Beatles quote from it with amusement, sometimes allowing sentences to flow into an improvised text while the drama rocks around them.

On January 10th, George Harrison says casually: “I think I’m going to leave you now.” John Lennon interrupts his game and asks back: “What?” Answer: “The band”. John: “When?” George: “Now”.

Two days earlier, the frustration of the youngest Beatle is palpable, who on another occasion throws in that he has finished songs for a number of albums that he could give to other musicians immediately. So he came into the studio that morning and proudly played the fresh song “I Me Mine” and earned little enthusiasm for it. Even a masterful ballad like “Something” will not have the effect it deserves on another day.

The next day of recording, George remains missing. For this, Yoko Ono dares from the background for an anarchic screaming interlude in a liberating interpretation of “Don’t Let Me Down”. The band will try their hand at this song again and again until the chance visit of an old friend from Hamburg’s days brings a breath of fresh air into it. Keyboardist Billy Preston, who played with Little Richard as a teenager and then belonged to Ray Charles’ band, proves to be infallible at every moment. “You’re in the band,” John announces enthusiastically, Preston doesn’t comment. As if John could even decide something like that. If there’s one band leader, it’s Paul who tirelessly strives for discipline. It is also he who defends the presence of Yoko Ono against the others – “if they just love each other so much”. A year and a quarter later, on April 10, 1970, it will be him who will announce the end of the band. Looking at these pictures, it could have happened much sooner.

At the beginning of the third episode, the minor characters make their big entrance. Ringo accompanies himself on the piano in his composition “Octopus’s Garden”: two fingers twice in flea waltz style. George can’t leave it like that and joins it with the electric guitar. Immediately the song takes shape, but a little different than in the movie “Yellow Submarine”; it became a simple piece of folk rock. Now George Martin comes into the room. Is the Beatles producer pushing the deadline four days before the end of album production? You could only ever see him in the background, like a friendly helper who is rarely needed. Even now he just seems to be enjoying the creativity in the room and contributing a few buzzing backing vocals.

That is the magic of these pictures: there is always music in the air, even if someone complains, someone else makes wonderful sounds. Just to separate music and language in the restored sound mix is a miracle in itself. For the three episodes that the streaming service Disney + has been offering since Thursday, an illustrated book (“Get Back by the Beatles”, Droemer Knaur, 240 p., 44 euros) allows you to read every single comment. It also contains the photos of Linda McCartney that we see in front of the camera.

The introduction comes from Hanif Kureishi, who even finds a few words of encouragement for the Beatles’ farewell to the “Mania”: “They had to escape. And we had to let her go. We owed them that, after everything they’d done for us. “

“The Beatles: Get Back” : on Disney +

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