Get Back Part 3

Mannnn, I don’t know where to start. We watched Part 3 last night but I was so overwhelmed by the end that I couldn’t sit down and knock out a post like a did with the other two parts. It’s been so long since I’ve felt this way: giddy at the thought of Brand New Beatles Content and literally unable to think about anything else. I’m sad that it’s already over, but really hope that Peter Jackson eventually ends up releasing an even longer version, which sounds very possible.

Part 3 thoughts:

  • The first 10 minutes are so joyous it’s almost unreal. George helping Ringo with “Octopus’s Garden” and everyone else gathering around and joining in is just SO WHOLESOME. And then Heather (Linda’s daughter) shows up and they just start jamming and letting her play along and it’s wonderful.
  • Also, Heather observing Yoko’s *ahem* vocal stylings and then doing a spot-on impression while the Beatles jammed was a real kick. I loved John’s incredulous “Yoko!”
  • George coming in with “Old Brown Shoe” and Ringo, Paul, and Billy proceeding to rock out with it was great. The look on George’s face when he realizes his mates are enjoying playing his song…made me so happy.
  • Wow, I wish November 27 me could go back and tell November 26 me how much more George Martin content was yet to come!! GM playing the shaker on “Dig It”…GM troubleshooting the PA setup (“I’ll fix ya lads, I’ll fix ya” ūü•į )…GM helping them come up with the track list for the album. What a treat.

Sidebar: I know this is super uninteresting to most people, but I have a theory on George Martin’s presence in these sessions. When I hear demos and outtakes from the other albums, I always think of him as the man in the box‚ÄĒI know he would come down and work with the band, and play piano and other bits on their songs, but he always seemed like more of a schoolteacher presence, keeping the Beatles in line and calmly directing their chaos into focused recordings. That’s why it’s super cool to see him just chilling with the Beatles in the studio while Glyn Johns focuses on recording and mixing. Without his name attached to the album, it seems like he’s able to let loose a little and just hang out (obviously while still helping a lot with the equipment and production). I just think it’s neat to see him spending so much time with them and, having had so much history with them already, knowing best how to help when they need it.

The king has spoken.
  • I’m not gonna talk about Allen Klein. In fact, we’re not gonna talk about Allen Klein at all.
A Rocky appearance!
  • There’s a part where Paul leaves for an appointment and John runs rehearsal, and it’s really cool to see him saddle up and get serious about practicing, where in the first two parts he was much more passive/disinterested. I liked hearing him sing Paul’s parts for “I’ve Got A Feeling” and giving more time to George’s song. You get a glimpse of what it was probably like in early days when John was the undisputed leader of the band.
  • I would pay to listen to 8 hours of “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” jams, holy buckets.
  • I can’t lie, even though George will always be my fave and I think a lot of his pissy attitude was justified, it must be said that he was a big buzzkill during most of the Let It Be sessions. There were several parts where the band was close to agreeing on a show venue or some other decision only for George to shut it down or make some passive aggressive comment about it being a dumb idea. :(
  • But, George seems very self-aware and generally in better spirits in Part 3. It was cool to hear him talking to John about wanting to make his own album. John and Yoko were so supportive!
  • When Ringo spoke up that he wanted to play on the roof, they should’ve just called it then and there. Ringo has an opinion on it?? DO IT, BOYS!

Rooftop concert day:

  • I didn’t know there were so many cameras! I also lol’ed at George Martin immediately spotting the “hidden” camera in the reception area.
  • The way Peter Jackson used the multiple camera angles was really neat. I feel like that’s the best thing he could’ve done, knowing that each camera had something worth seeing. Rather than cut back and forth between them all, why not just show three at once? (I think the Woodstock documentary did this too, maybe he was influenced by that.)
  • Shout-out to everyone in the Beatles’ extended circle who tried to distract and/or delay the cops when they showed up. Debbie at the front desk pretending like she didn’t know what was going on, and Mal buying time by saying he’d go up and cut the PA (but not doing it?)‚ÄĒboth were clutch. Unsung heroes.
  • When film crew on the street started doing impromptu interviews with the people who had gathered around, they were asking the same questions reporters would ask in 1964 (“Who’s your favorite Beatle?” “Do you buy their records?”), but obviously the fans had grown up just like the Beatles. They weren’t screaming and ogling, they were just like “Yeah, I think what they’re doing is pretty cool.” I also really liked this gentleman’s comments.
  • Poor Paul wanted to get arrested so bad. He kept talking about it in the earlier parts, and then when he sees the cops show up on the roof he’s positively giddy. Too bad the cops just stood in the back looking grumpy instead of doing anything.
  • And POOR MAL was put in an impossible situation; you could tell he was trying everything in his power to stall before being forced to unplug George and John’s amps.
  • I couldn’t suss out whether George was annoyed or actually enjoyed playing on the roof. But I enjoyed the Defiant Teenager Energy from him when he flipped his amp back on to keep playing. He knew the cops weren’t actually going to do anything, lol.
When the annoying cops tell you to turn down your guitar on the rooftop
  • I LOVED the footage of the band and crew and wives listening to the live recordings in the control room afterward. Mo’s energy is infectious!
  • I felt a bit like Peter Jackson rushed the ending by not giving us full takes of the slow jams (“Let It Be”, “The Long and Winding Road”, “Two of Us”) on Day 22, but I guess that’s because those already exist on the original film? It certainly wasn’t because he was worried about the dang thing being too long. Maybe they’ll make it into the extended Director’s Cut, who knows.
  • I did really love the “Let It Be” outtakes at the very end, and the little banter before “Two of Us” that melts my heart every time.

Would I recommend Get Back to non-Beatles fans? Part of me is convinced that Part 3 could be an accessible way to get to know them, and if you like that, then bring out the additional hours of footage. But I also know it’s not for everyone. Peter Jackson made this film for the fans, obviously. Sometimes even I got tired of hearing them start yet another take of “Get Back.” But seeing everything come together and all the happy joyous bits in between was more than I ever could have asked for. I still can’t quite believe we have this much footage of the Beatles working together in the studio, and in such incredible quality (sorry for not mentioning it until just now, but one million kudos to Peter Jackson and his team for restoring the film and audio!!!). It truly is a gift.


The Complete Get Back Drinking Game (revisions probable)

Take a drink when:

  • Someone plays a song that ends up on a solo album
  • The camera does a closeup of Mal Evans smiling ūü§ď
  • John is late
  • Yoko starts a new hobby
  • Paul’s beard is mentioned
  • The anvil makes an appearance
  • Someone makes fun of Glyn Johns
  • A Beatle drinks tea or eats toast
  • Ringo plays that drum fill
  • “And now, your host for this evening…”
  • George Martin fixes a problem
  • Glyn Johns looks like a fashionista
  • The Beatles play a version of a song that ends up on the final Let It Be album
  • Someone on the street thinks the rooftop concert is annoying

Take two drinks when:

  • Someone gets electrocuted
  • George and Paul have a row
  • Paul does parkour
  • Ringo introduces a Starkey original
  • Yoko sings

Chug it:

  • George leaves the band
  • Paul calls Glyn Johns a f*ckface
  • “Thanks, Mo.”

Get Back Part Deux

Whoof! Lots to unpack here.

  • Not gonna lie, the first 45 minutes of this part was hard to watch. Not just for the lack of George, but because it managed to be both tedious and stressful at the same time (we know George will come back, but WHEN?!).
  • The long shot of Paul after he says “and then there were two” looking like he’s about to cry was a bit too on the nose. ūüė≠ At least we got some nice Paul and Ringo moments out of that day.
  • John really comes in strong with the droll Lennon humor on Day 9. It even makes Peter Sellers (who, by the way, just shows up) seem uncomfortable!
  • The so-called “flowerpot conversation” was super enlightening. First off, it’s pretty sketchy that the film crew secretly recorded John and Paul’s convo in the cafeteria. But I’m conflicted, because now we have this amazing insight into one of the most fraught moments of the band’s career. I didn’t realize real humans were capable of having a difficult, honest conversation like this while not blowing up at each other. Apparently this was cut down from like 30 minutes and had to be heavily edited to fix the background noise, but man, the whole thing would be amazing to hear.
  • The first day they moved to Apple Studios (the day they didn’t let the film crew record them) must’ve been crazy productive. Starting the next day, “Get Back” and “Two of Us” were so much more fully formed. And George seems so much happier. ūüėĆ
  • BILLY HAS ARRIVED. I don’t think it’s an understatement to say that he saved the day/album. His presence immediately pulls the group together and gives the songs so much LIIIIFE.
  • The “by John Lennon” credits on the India footage gives me It’s Alive vibes.
  • The India footage is really cool! But you can tell Paul and John joking about some of their experiences was rubbing George the wrong way. Treading on thin ice, boys!
  • John is such a spazz.
  • The second half of Part 2 in general is just so happy and silly. I could watch the Beatles goof off in the studio in HD all day.
  • I am so pleasantly surprised by how much George Martin footage there is, considering he wasn’t actually producing this album. HE IS A LOVELY MAN and you can’t convince me otherwise. Like, what would they have done with their unusable studio if he hadn’t been there to pull in all the recording equipment from EMI?
  • The short convo between the two Georges at the end of Day 15 is so heartwarming. I love how GM makes a point to tell GH how well they’ve all been working together. “You’re looking at each other, you’re seeing each other.” Extremely wholesome Beatles content.
A screenshot of GM being lovely, with an unfortunate caption to accompany it
Here he is on the floor reading the paper while a millionth take of “Let It Be” dissolves into chaos.

Ok I need to stop before this becomes a George Martin fangirl post.

Additions to the drinking game:

  • Someone makes fun of Glyn Johns
  • Paul does parkour
  • The appearance of tea
  • Ringo plays that drum fill
  • “And now, your host for this evening…”

Chug:

  • Paul calls Glyn Johns a f*ckface

A few personal thoughts on George Martin

george martin 7

Listen, I know Sir George was 90 years old and I know 2016 has already proved to be a year of crushing losses, but this still hit me right in the gut. I literally gasped when I saw the news on Tuesday night.

Ever since watching the Beatles Anthology as a teenager and listening to George Martin explain the studio techniques of my favorite band, I’ve had mad respect for the man behind the Beatles’ sound. In everything I’ve seen/heard, he always seemed so professional, humble, and kind. Not only did he give the Beatles their first recording contract and produce nearly their entire catalog, he contributed some key piano solos (“In My Life,” “Lovely Rita”) and arranged the orchestral parts for some of their most brilliant songs (“Eleanor Rigby,” “All You Need is Love,” “Strawberry Fields Forever”). He was the perfect bridge between the classical music world and the Beatles’ revolutionary experimentalism.

I can remember the¬†first time I heard “A Day in the Life”: I was 12 years old, sitting at my parents’ dinky¬†old computer with headphones on,¬†listening with the eagerness¬†of a budding music nerd¬†who’d just spent 45 minutes downloading a queue¬†of Beatles songs¬†on Kazaa*. I had¬†no knowledge of music production and couldn’t have explained why, when I heard John’s echo¬†of a¬†voice¬†dissolve into that insane 24-bar orchestral buildup, I very¬†nearly lost my sh!t. At the end of the song, after that colossal¬†last¬†chord, I might’ve actually flung the headphones off and rolled backwards in my swively chair in shock¬†(I know for sure that I immediately ran to my spiral notebook journal and scribbled in it furiously about how FREAKY it was¬†and¬†IS THIS WHAT DOING DRUGS FEELS LIKE?).¬†It was unlike anything I’d ever heard before.

That musical experience‚ÄĒa song on a pop album creating a profound physical reaction¬†that I still remember 15 years later‚ÄĒthat is George Martin’s legacy. He was the man responsible for¬†channeling the Beatles’ increasingly ambitious¬†musical visions, and¬†he did it more effectively than any other producer ever could.

Thank you, sir. Because of you I’ll always listen to music with a keener ear.

george martin 3

Recommended listening: 
The progression of “Strawberry Fields Forever”¬†with commentary by GM. His brass and strings arrangement for this song (2:25-4:55) is killer.
George + Brian Wilson in the studio.¬†Too much genius for one room! Cool¬†breakdown of “God Only Knows.”
Love – the album. (Pretty sure this will be taken down soon…honestly, just do yourself a favor and buy it.) A collaboration between George Martin and his son, Giles. Originally conceived by George Harrison.¬†Listening to this makes me fall in love with the Beatles all over again.
A Day in the Life.” Relive the¬†madness.


*In case you had any doubt, I’ve abandoned my pirating days and have since purchased all of the Beatles albums on CD and record.

The Beatles weren’t the Beatles without….

Fun fact:¬†I’ve had this post in draft form since 2008. Not sure why I never posted it.

Another fun fact: It’s now 2013 and George Martin is pushing 90 years old WOW.¬†

Alright. Time to address the age-old question: Who is the real Fifth Beatle? There are a lot of opinions, and here are just a few of mine…

Brian Epstein – Probably the biggest contender. In terms of elevating the Beatles to pop culture icon status and securing them a permanent place in music history, Brian Epstein is to thank. It’s hard to come across a band who has such a close relationship with their manager as the Beatles did, and I think his untimely death was a huge factor in their eventual rift. +1 for Brian.

Lovin the popped collar, Brian. The man had style (tumblr agrees).
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Pete Best – Ok so he was there for the early rise of Beatlemania, and he was a member of the group for several years…but since he virtually disappeared after getting the boot, I don’t really associate him with the Beatles. Plus he charges 20 bucks for autographs. -1 for Pete.

About to get pwned by Ringo!
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Stuart Sutcliffe – Awwww Stu. I love Stu. But he wasn’t really that keen on being in the Beatles from the start, and had to learn how to play bass just to stay in. But he had a lot of artistic influence on John, and was also there when the Beatles started to get popular (and their crazy Hamburg days), so he definitely deserves some credit. It would’ve been interesting to see where he ended up. +0.5 for Stu.

Hipster Stu: was in the Beatles before it was cool.
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Yoko Ono – …no.

George Martin – In my humble opinion, Sir George deserves the most props and is my personal vote for 5th Beatle, although he has publicly denounced the title. I have so much respect for this man. He took the Beatles through their entire recording career, produced all their albums (except Let It Be…that’s another story), and was very much involved in their creative and musical progress. Many of the orchestral pieces were scored/conducted by him (think Eleanor Rigby), and you can hear him playing the keyboard¬†solo in “In My Life.” What a bamf. +100 for Sir George.

Demonstrating proper guitar technique, undoubtedly.
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Sgt. Pepper Era = GM going along with everyone’s crazy ideas.
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Judging Paul’s engineering skills.
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Aww, cute.
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climb in the back with your head in the clouds

The Love show was amazing. I can’t really explain it…it’s just like you’re sucked into this world of elaborately constructed psychedelia for two hours, with people and colors and sound all around you. And the MUSIC…I was blown away. George Martin is a god. The soundtrack is like a whole new Beatles album; songs are combined and remixed and they sound incredible. I love not knowing what comes next, and the way he pieced everything together blows my mind.

In terms of Cirque du Soleil and the entire production, the acrobatics were CRAZY. There was so much to watch that I can’t have possibly seen it all, and still wouldn’t even if I went back and saw the show a hundred more times. Right down to the props and lighting, EVERYTHING was so detailed. It was incredible.


The pictures in this post are from the Beatles Love website…they kind of give you an idea of what it was like, though nothing compares to actually being there.

Lately I’ve found myself in awe of how perfectly the Beatles’ music can represent an entire decade, an entire generation, and everything that came after it. Sometimes I have a hard time distinguishing whether the 60s shaped the music of the Beatles or if it was really the other way around. Out of all my favorite artists and idols, I can’t think of a single one who wasn’t influenced by them.

At the end, the screens came back down and played a little montage of Beatles pictures. The whole show had this ethereal, larger-than-life kind of feel to it, and then to see the familiar pictures of the Beatles at the end and realize that these four guys were responsible for it all, it was pretty crazy. What I think – and what was pretty much epitomized by the Love show – is that the Beatles’ music is an experience. It is experiencing the 60s – from innocence to experimentation to revolution, and everything in between. For someone who never got to live it, it’s probably the closest I can come to knowing what that time was like. I guess all I’m trying to say is I’m glad these guys came along and wrote some songs together; I’d be awfully empty without them.