I do not know what I can write about the Peter Jackson produced documentary the Beatles: Get Back that has not already been written. I choose to add to the title the Beatles: Get Back to Where They Once Belonged because this seems about as organic as it gets. Having had the chance to watch this over the last few weeks has been incredible. To be able to watch one of the, if not the greatest rock-n-roll bands behind the scenes is literally a dream come true, as we Beatle fans have been
Growing Up With the Beatles
Most of us in the Western world grew up with The Beatles music. Even those of us born after they broke up could feel their influence. I readily admit, I was a Beatles freak in high school. I could not get ehttp://www.georgeharrison.comnough of their music. And, this was the pre-Internet days when you either mail ordered compact discs, bought vinyl at used stores or flea markets, or just bought what the local music stores had in stock. I can remember having my hear set on buying Abbey Road only to settle for Hard Day’s Night because that is all that the store had. Not that I didn’t love their early stuff, as well. It got so bad that on high school band trips, my friends and I blared so much Beatles music that many students would shift to other buses to avoid us.
Takeaways from the Documentary
- Being in a Band is Hard – If you have ever been in a band, you know how hard it can be to balance literally everything. Egos, schedules, singers, songs, dates, tours, merchandise, photos – you name it, it gets out of hand quickly because the members are people. The Beatles are no different. Watching the frustration on George Harrison’s face when he tries to pitch his songs and his ideas is truly tough to watch for anyone that has had the same pain. Also, as Paul McCartney tries to guide the band through the deadline of learning new songs in time for a live performance, it is clear that his vision is not being seen. Ringo Starr seems aloof at times, but he is definitely a key to make everything happen. John Lennon is also a leader and is the balance between the other members. But, the overall lesson is that it is hard to be in an equal share partnership like a band. It is why so many bands meet the same fate as the Beatles.
- Creative Processes are Fascinating – watching the Beatles: Get Back to Where They Once Belonged allows us to see songs that we have heard over the years be written and edited on the spot. Roadie Mal Evans is a hero for watching out for the needs of the band and even jotting down lyric changes. To see these virtuosos play with songs, melodies, and chords is refreshing for any artist that has gone through creative challenges. Even seeing the doubt that they had at times allows for aspiring artists to realize that every creative process is different and has its own set of unique challenges. At one point, the Beatles consider older material that they haven’t recorded due to creative block.
- No One Wants to See the Sausage Get Made, Unless It is the Beatles – The mundane rehearsals, the hours put in, the fights, the challenges mentioned above can be cumbersome at times to watch. However, because it’s the Beatles, it is beyond fascinating. I once received some advice when I remarked to a friend that I was “weary of the small details,” and my friend replied, “Life is nothing but small details stitched together.” It is so true and makes it so interesting to watch.
Grateful for it All
All in all, this documentary reminds me, yet again, why I have missed live music so much during the pandemic. While some shows have started back up, many are not happening due to the resurgence of the Omicron variant.
I’m grateful the Beatles opened the vault and took us all back to where they once belonged. The songs here speak for themselves and are classics: “Get Back,” “Don’t Let Me Down,” and “One After 909” are the standouts to me. This documentary shows what happens when greatness gets backed into a corner. We all get to benefit while the Beatles: Get Back to Where They Once Belonged.