Disney must have done a great job advertising the new mini series “Get Back!” featuring the Beatles. I say that because I don’t watch much TV but somehow the ads found me. I’m sure it was through football games.
My daughter has a Disney Plus subscription (i.e. I’m paying for it) so I considered it a sunken cost and decided to go for it. I have been a Beatles fan since I was in high school so it wasn’t too hard of a decision.
“Get Back!” is a documentary about The Beatles in the late sixties. The producers try to set up a bit of a plot but really this mini series, at least to me, is more about how an album is made. At times I was pretty bored. The Beatles were pretty clearly perfectionists and they did the songs over, and over, and over, and over yet again. I found it fascinating at first, but got bored later on in the series. One thing that did occur to me is that people would think the same thing about how I go to my job day after day after day and do the same thing, or try to do it better and more perfect. And yes, being a musician is a full time job. It is a serious job to the Beatles and I appreciated that. But it does get boring. They said that they had over sixty hours of footage and they chose nine for the mini series. I imagine that the other fifty one is full of more and more and more takes of the songs.
Most of the songs that were in the documentary ended up on “Let it Be” and “Abbey Road” but the Beatles while goofing around play a lot of their older songs, and lots of songs by others.
The film ends with the historic concert on the roof of Apple in London. I hadn’t seen all of that footage before so it was fascinating.
In addition to the above comments, I had a few random observations.
Wow did they smoke a lot. It seemed that there wasn’t a frame where they weren’t smoking.
They didn’t go into any of the drug usage that I always read about. In certain scenes some of the Beatles looked half asleep (or fully asleep once or twice) and you could see it in their faces at times, but nobody talked about it. They looked exhausted in a lot of the series. It is hard to remember that the Beatles were all still in their twenties at the time. They look older.
Yoko was constantly by John’s side. I remember reading that she was a disruptive force in the group, but she basically sat there quietly while the guys did their thing. There was probably static behind the scenes but it didn’t seem too bad from what I saw. Linda was in a lot of the scenes as well. She was lovely.
I was surprised at the constant mess. I’m sort of a neat freak and couldn’t function in my office if everything was scattered about pell mell. Their studio settings were cluttered and strewn with cords and all sorts of things. I know they needed cords back then, but I would think that they would neatly bind them up. Not so.
The old tech was fascinating to look at. It is hard to believe that they were able to create such wonderful music with all of that equipment. I enjoyed the time that the producers took to show that side of it.
I’m sure that musicians will think that the longer boring (to me) parts are super interesting because a musician will know more about what the group is doing than I did. I tried being a musician a few times but that side of my brain isn’t wired very well. I may try it later in life again.
In general, I enjoyed the series although it got a bit long for me. I would have been just as happy with 4 or 5 hours. However, this is a must for any Beatle fan. I would also recommend it to any musician. I honestly would recommend it to anyone, but maybe a fast forward button would be helpful in parts.