Get Back

January 14, 2022

I just want to note: I loved the six-hour documentary Get Back, about the recording of the Beatles’ last album together — Let it Be — in 1969.

I’ve read a bunch of stuff about their relationships and the circumstances of their split. I don’t know what is true. I’ve read the recording sessions for Let it Be were hell and a low point in their band lives. But, man, that’s not at all what the film shows.

So… I’ll just say, I was stunned and so impressed by their level of talent and musicianship. It was a thing of beauty to see how much they enjoyed playing music. Together, too. Mostly, I was deeply moved. Moved by the music.. music we all know so well, music we grew up with, music that defined us, defined the times — our times. I was moved by the respect they showed one another, even as I read of the strains. I also read that Paul McCartney today feels affirmed by the film, as he remembered joy and love between them and the film shows that so clearly. I can’t imagine what it was like for him to see his young 29 year old self, to listen to his young voice, to observe his own decency, open heartedness, reverence for John, and talent.

I choked up so many times. It was so bittersweet seeing their youth and energy, especially the chemistry between John and Paul. And then juxtaposing what happened in the 10, 20, 50 years that followed. I feel gutted at the thought of John’s murder. I remember it, of course, the horror and loss. I remember Jay’s devastation and his urgency to attend a vigil held somewhere in Palos Verdes (there must have been thousands of them all over the world). And George’s death. I remember proclaiming George as my early on favorite, mostly because everyone else had claimed Paul or John (and the quirky people chose Ringo).

Watching them work together…it was just crazy. I loved every moment, even the slow parts of the studio sessions. It was mesmerizing and nostalgic and especially fascinating to watch what are now such familiar songs being writte — as we watched, in real time. We actually watched these young guys piece the songs together.. notes, rhythms, melodies, lyrics.. in real time! With joy. Impossible to imagine they haven’t existed forever.

And just.. damn.. for time passing.. for loss.. it’s hard to process.

After watching Get Back, I’m changing my old proclamation: it’s Paul and John all the way. Their faces and voices, musical brilliance, have a place deep inside.

So, whatever the stories are, whatever the difficulties, I’m holding onto the images we watched of that 30-day (was it?) studio jam and writing session. It was a beautiful thing.

Here are some pics I grabbed from the interwebs:

And Paul, today.

One Response to “Get Back”

  1. Elliot Margolies Says:

    Thanks for this lovely description. We’ve got to watch it.

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