rashbre central: Get Back

Friday, 26 November 2021

Get Back

Despite all the talk of 4k and 8k video, it was fascinating to watch that 16mm Peter Jackson documentary of The Beatles prepping for a gig ordained to contain 14 new songs and be performed live, from 1969. That was the premise of the ill-fated Get Back sessions, set against a countdown clock ticking for two weeks. Based in a loaned Twickenham studio, they huddled up to one end, someone rigged white photo session screening and some splashes of coloured lights. Despite this, the resultant filmstock has been polished to look 21st century and aside from the interesting choices of clothing and a few vintage bits of kit, it could be contemporary. An alnost current 'in the room with the Beatles' kind of vibe.

I read somewhere that they had to resync all of the sound with the silent film footage too, and yet the audio comes out remarkably well, with good music and well-captured (if occasionally mis-synchronised) chatter from the band. It could have been a dramatisation in places, showing the messy way that an album gets built. Except that these were no actors and no ordinary albums. It was The Beatles, jaded, yet ready to invent and then play more new music. Yet music for which we all know the words.

As you pick through the lengthy session and banter, there's a dazzling amount of new tunes and lyrics. That the Beatles could write most of Let It Be, Abbey Road and a few solo projects by Day 7 of their confinement to the studio shows incredible productivity. And fascinating in all of this is the push that McCartney gives to the process. More a spirited cajoling coupled with a work ethic that didn't stop. He seemed to believe in the project the most, despite the warped 'Live from the Sahara' vibes coming from the people standing around.

That was a bugbear of mine. The extra people in the sessions didn't seem to know how to stand around properly. I've been in on band sessions and even when doing something significant, you have to know how far back to stand. Some of these people just didn't and so sometimes we get an organic Beatles huddle cramped by the extras. Only Linda Eastman, George Martin and a Hare Krishna man seemed to know how to do it properly. 

From this circle of chairs we get the organic beginnings of Get Back, Don't Let Me Down, I've Got a Feeling, (a re-vamped) One After 909, Dig a Pony and most of side two of Abbey Road, plus a few of George Harrison's All Things Must Pass album. 

A moment of joy in this era of B1.1.529.

I assume this documentary merges with the well-known Let It Be Abbey Road sessions in Part Two and then the Savile Row rooftop session. 

They passed the audition.

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