Academy Award-winning director Peter Jackson (the Lord of the Rings) distilled 60 hours of largely discontinued films and 150 hours of audio tracks, from the Beatles’ 1969 “Let It Be” recording session, to eight hours of surprisingly, and yes, boring recording of one of the final collaborations of One The most important bands of all time. The documentary culminates in the Beatles’ last public performance, on the rooftop of a London studio, and should win Jackson more awards.
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“The Beatles: Get Back”, which airs on Disney+, is first a movie by the Beatlesmaniacs, and second a movie for the book. If you are a fan of the Beatles And Writer, fellow Apple scruffy, you’ll feel as though Jackson and the band teamed up to make this movie for you.
As this documentary is especially relevant to the book, here are seven lessons writers can learn from “The Beatles: Back.” One caveat: don’t start watching the documentary unless you can clear your calendar. It will consume you.
Lesson 1: Writing is hard work.
An enormous amount of boredom is displayed through repetition, arguments, and blocks clearly as the Beatles write their songs. It should reinforce and reassure writers: If geniuses encounter this amount of trouble during the creative process, ordinary people can expect at least as much.
Lesson 2: Group projects are horrible.
Paul McCartney has gotten a bad reputation for being a control freak, but The Beatles: Get Back reveals that he spent a lot of time herding cats. His bandmates were often late, euphoric, distracted, and seemingly oblivious to the deadline. What stands out, though, are Paul’s overwhelming displays of patience, kindness, and the ability to forgive and forget. It’s a good look for him.
Lesson Three: Outsiders can disturb the system.
We’ve all heard of Yoko Ono’s fame, but it’s quite another thing for him to see her next to Jun. every hour of the product. Linda from Paul indulges in and out with her brave daughter. Ringo Mo appears. Others come and go. It is a strange fact to witness such movement in the workplace, however unconventional it may be. However, seeing the human and loving aspects of men succeed in making them endearing to the viewer.
Lesson 4: Strangers can restore order.
When American pianist Billy Preston arrives, he brings the proverbial breath of fresh air. Not enough credit is given to this man, who played the organ on most songs, whose presence made the Beatles act better, and who was never without a smile. Billy was the fictional godmother for this project.
Lesson 5: “Don’t buy drugs.”
It’s a silly line from the movie really love, but the validity of this advice has not been demonstrated more clearly than the erratic behavior, dark circles of darkness, and irrational behavior of the Beatles when they were using. At one point, in Ringo’s calm and simple way, he admitted that he was abusing his own body. But the ad seems to do nothing, during the course of production, to inspire him to change his behavior. Although addicts can perform with the sheer power of muscle memory, the wear on the mind and body is astounding.
Lesson 6: Rumors do not always convey the truth.
Largely due to his peaceful reputation, it was shocking to see how toxic George Harrison could be. If one were to pinpoint the epicenter of the controversy in this session, George would be the contender in the race. His behavior may be awful and passive-aggressive, such as that of a teen. However, his frustration with the dynamic and exclusive collaboration that John and Paul often fell into is understandable.
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Lesson Seven: Writers are channels, not creators.
The most remarkable thing about “The Beatles: Get Back” is how it reveals that writing is like finding a radio frequency. Watching Paul McCartney play the first strings of the title song, “Get Back” – head tilted, ear glued to the ceiling, as if he heard Atmospheric music while trying to write – is a cool moment. While we live in a space-time continuum, art may not be. There can be a whole world outside of time from which artists draw their creativity. If one wanted to get really stumped, Paul might, for the time being, hear us calling out on the screen the lyrics to a song he hadn’t written yet. Writers, keep your ears, minds, and hearts open.
If you’ve watched “The Beatles: Get Back,” what has struck you the most? Can you add any lessons to this list?
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