PNo doubt, this is indeed a historical documentary series, not without a certain nostalgia for the end of an era and the fabulous adventure of a group unique in the world: the Beatles. A lifelong fan, Peter Jackson, the director of Lord of the Rings, reconstructed in six hours the recording session of their twelfth and last album, Let It Be, in January 1969, at the Twickenham Film Studios, near London. A titanic work that lasted three years and today offers a restored digest of some sixty hours of video archives from director Michael Lindsay-Hogg. In this unique document, we discovered the strong tensions between John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, a year after the disappearance of their manager and 5th Beatles, Brian Epstein. Tensions already appeared during the recording of their Double white, in 1968.
Let It Be : their adventure ended there between four walls, under the watchful eye of Yoko Ono. Peter Jackson has especially remembered the fruitful complicity which united John and Paul and the fabulous destiny of a group close to an inevitable rupture, despite Paul’s exhortations not to fall into the depression. timorous, ”he blurted out.
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The Fab Four were there to compose and record fourteen new songs and prepare for a possible return on stage. We discover them at work over rehearsals, discussions on a particular melodic line, on a phrase, a word, the multiplication of takes (sometimes twenty-five!) To choose the right one. These are unique moments between concentration, ego problems, giggles and palpable tensions. John sometimes seems to get high, Paul is very directive, George groans because he feels excluded, Ringo doesn’t even sing. But if they bicker, the complicity is there, noticeable. In the prologue of the series, Paul especially regrets that the tapes were entrusted to the producer Phil Spector and that the film on the famous concert on the roof of their Apple company, in London (presented in full), does not really reflect the friendship which still bound them.
The story of a group of friends
Together, they will record dozens of hours of magnetic tapes and we discover the first bars of « All Things Must Pass ”that George Harrison will take on solo and « Gimme Some Truth » de John Lennon, leur reprise de « Wake Up Little Susie » des Everly Brothers.
We are at the heart of the creative process, work in progress of a group that imprints before our eyes a musical heritage that has spanned the years. Far from falling into posthumous homage, Peter Jackson instead strives to glorify the history of a group whose modernity, inspiration, image, artistic genius still shine. If it is at the end of an adventure that he invites us, he does not forget to tell a fascinating story that makes you dream. Let It Be will be in stores on May 8, 1970, eight months later Abbey Road recorded in the meantime. The eponymous title will become immortal, taken up by a host of artists, from Gladys Knight to Joan Baez, from Bill Withers to Nick Cave.
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Peter Jackson rightly recalls that Get Back tells “the story of a group of friends […], the conjunction of human frailties […]. There is nothing nostalgic about these images: it is raw, strong, honest and deeply human. […] ” Mission accomplished.
Get Back, documentary in 3 episodes, currently on Disney +, and on November 26 and 27.
To note: the box of six CDs Let It Be (Universal) and the book Get Back by The Beatles (Seghers) with many previously unseen photos.