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SurfGuitar101 Forums » The Shallow End »

Permalink Get Back (Peter Jackson Documentary)

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Just watched the first episode. I am not a big follower of the Beatles and don't know all the history. I'm finding it interesting on seeing how the songs and record and stuff came together. So many Fender amps and such. I liked the bit around the Beatles complaining that they couldn't get an 8-track recorder but Brian Wilson could since he was American.

Anyone else here checking it out? Thoughts?


Darren, I'm a Beatle fanatic, and I've been eagerly awaiting this documentary. I like the Beatles' original "Get Back" / "Let It Be" premise, because they chose to go back to basics, and originally only intended to include just the four of them, playing live, with no overdubs. They chose to abandon the complexity of the recent albums: the psychedelia, studio wizardry, strings, horns, etc. (At the end of the project, it was turned over to renowned (and now infamous) producer Phil Spector. Unfortunately, he "sweetened" some of the songs with strings, choirs, etc.) The original 1970 movie, "Let It Be" was, in my opinion, very good, but very dark and slanted toward the negative aspects of the sessions. I think that the producers and director were trying to illustrate the break-up of the Beatles, a massive "scoop" at that time. From the reviews that I've read about "Get Back", this project presents a more complete, unbiased view.

I really enjoyed the first installment of "Get Back". Watching them start with song fragments, and developing the songs was very cool. The way they did it here is different than the way they developed most of their songs on earlier albums. It showed the Beatles starting basically from scratch. None of the Beatles had complete songs with which to work. Everything was fragments, unfinished ideas, sometimes seemingly complete instrumental music, music merely missing lyrics. Watching the interactions among the four, and the crew was fascinating. Paul McCartney seemed to be the only one truly engaged. In a lot of ways, the other guys are merely going through the motions. George Harrison and John Lennon expressed resentment to Paul at being directed by him, but they were offering very little enthusiasm, or ideas for the project. At one point Paul basically says, "I don't like bossing you guys around any more than you like being bossed, but somebody has to keep the ball rolling. I wish you guys would get engaged in the project, so I don't have to direct things." As mentioned, there is lots of Fender gear is being used: all the amps, a Fender 6-string bass (for the songs on which George or John needed to play bass, allowing Paul to play piano, or guitar.) Neither George's rosewood telecaster, nor his "Rocky" strat have yet made an appearance, but will soon join the party. The Rosewood Telecaster will be his guitar of choice for the rooftop concert.

These sessions are long, raw, rough, ragged and I think more than most people could stomach. I think they probably should have done a 1-1/2 or two hour theatrical cut, and the 6 hour complete version for maniacs like me. I, myself, couldn't be happier with the content. I've listened to, read, and watched everything regarding the Beatles, that I could get my hands on, for about 55 years, and this is a treasure trove of info for die-hards like me. The next two episodes should be a lot more palatable for the non-diehards. The music starts taking shape, and tightens up considerably, especially after Billy Preston arrives, and joins the sessions at Apple Studios. The lads don't want to embarrass themselves in front of their guest, and get much more focused and productive. I can't wait for part two!


Last edited: Nov 27, 2021 01:06:15

I hope they come out on dvd after.


I watched Episode 1 yesterday. I found it a sometimes a chore to get through, so I watched it in parts. It's about 2.5 total hours.

They do various covers like Stand By Me, a Chuck Berry song, a few others, as a brief reprieve until they go back to working on new songs. They play a song "Commonwealth" that's not on the CD box set, but on bootlegs. It's a political song about a British current topic about immigration, perhaps similar to the beginnings of "Get Back".

They do show the argument between Paul & George, but that is an exception to the overall mood.

I agree with Robbie that Paul is the enthusiastic one. John, Ringo & George are more nonchalant about the project. They have to come up with 14 songs in 2-3 weeks. As Paul says they work best when their backs are against the wall.

Favorite scenes are Paul is on the piano working on Long & Winding Road & Let it Be. Paul has the melody & a few lyrics, but makes up words just to keep playing. As John says to George, while George is playing I Me Mine, "Just say any word like cauliflower until you get the right one."

Part 1 ends with George leaving the group.

I watched it after I watched WKRP's Thanksgiving episode
"as God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly"
Season 1 on dvd from Shout Factory.

Darren, regarding the British mere 8-track capability vs. the 16-track technology then available in the USA, nearly all the British bands, producers, and engineers, of the era, were miffed that the USA always had the latest technology for quite a while before they got it in the UK. When USA had 8-track, UK was limited to 3 and/or 4-track. When the UK finally got 8-track, the USA was already on 16-track. Inventive engineers and tape operators sometimes piggy-backed two 4-tracks to get 8-tracks with which to work. These "jerry-rigged" machines were prone to have problems. More often, they bounced tracks to end up with 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or more generation recordings, and all the inherent tape hiss and audio degradation that goes with each generation of bouncing. Apparently the British studios of the 60's were very tight with their money, particularly the corporate studios, like EMI (Abbey Road), and Decca.

There are some great books by UK producers and engineers, like George Martin, Geoff Emmerick, Glynn Johns and Ken Scott. They tend to go into this issue with far more detail than most mortals would dare to digest.


Last edited: Nov 27, 2021 01:20:25

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