For over 50 years, there has been mystery surrounding the break up of The Beatles. It wouldn’t be until now that we finally learn some of the reasoning behind why one of the greatest rock bands of all time started to fall apart, as featured in the new three-part docuseries Get Back.
The series takes place in January 1969 when band members Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr come together to assemble a live album within a month. This had created a lot of pressure on the band, adding to the sour tension they had already experienced during this time.
Director Peter Jackson sorted through over 60 hours of film and 150 hours of audio recordings, piecing together eight hours of content that had never been seen before. The original footage was intended for a feature film of them producing the live album that would then lead to a live performance. But while recording, there were some unintended incidents that led to several changes in the project.
New revelations were brought forth thanks to the release of this footage, including the much-needed reconciliation of the band. Lots of surreality occurs while watching some of their final days together.
In the first part of the series, the tension between the members was unnerving and daunting. This was due to their manager passing away years prior, causing them to go through some rough patches. The band had been getting close to breaking up at any second. McCartney even said the band lacked a “father figure,” making it hard for the band members to make decisions among themselves.
Near the end of the first part, the overbearing tactics of McCartney had really gotten to Harrison, ultimately resulting in him casually leaving practice and departing the band for a few days. After a secretly recorded discussion with Lennon and McCartney took place, the band realized they had to make a few compromises in order to keep the band afloat. Following these changes, the band was able to work with each other better as well as share several laughs along the way.
Their reconciliation shifted the tone of the docuseries to a more lighthearted one. Most believed that during this time they all hated each other, but the releasing of this footage revealed they actually didn’t.
Not only is it intriguing to watch the start of their inevitable demise, but it’s also a gift to see their creative process while making new songs. The band had an inarguably riveting dynamic, unlike other bands. One mesmerizing moment consists of McCartney (who was only 27 at the time) basically creating the song “Get Back” within three minutes. It’s truly inspiring to see what four artists can create within a month despite the hardships they were facing.
Getting to see their personal relationships in depth feels heartbreaking now that two of the members (Harrison and Lennon) have since passed. However, there are some memorable parts where the band spends lots of their time messing around, making the documentary feel more joyful and hilarious at times. It can feel tedious at some point since it is eight hours long, but for die-hard fans, it can be a pleasure to watch every second of it. All in all, the documentary is so enthralling that it makes you feel like you were right there with them in their studio.
One of the most moving moments happens after a meeting gone wrong had left the band at a standstill. On the day after the meeting, Starr and McCartney were the only ones to show up to practice. While they waited for Lennon and Harrison to hopefully show up, the two remaining members started to realize what was really happening.
It became quiet between them until McCartney, trying to hold back tears, said, “And then there were two.” It was truly a heartbreaking moment in the series, as those two started to realize that the band was falling apart.
The last 50 minutes of the series includes their final live performance together, which took place on the rooftop of their recording studio. It was a daring performance, as it had received several noise complaints and was almost shut down by the police. Nonetheless, it was one of their most legendary performances, signifying the great climax of their astonishing journey. These last 50 minutes also contained some phenomenal editing. Watching their last performance in its entirety is honestly surreal, making it seem more monumental than it was previously deemed.
Even with its long duration, there was a lot of amazing material to come out of the docuseries, including the real reason for their historical ending. After a long-waited 50 years, watching it seems so surreal and special. Not only does it present their rocky relationship and their last performance, but it also celebrates their incredible creative process and their amazing dynamic that made them achieve the title of being one of the best rock bands of all time.