Best Band Ever, The Beatles have been stuck in a space-time loop since their split in 1970, made even more definitive by the assassination of John Lennon in 1980. In the eyes of fans, the story, cut short so early and so cruelly, go on. Director Peter Jackson has been one of those fans since his childhood in New Zealand. He tells in a beautiful book (2) how, at 13, he spent all his pocket money to buy the red album and the blue album of the Beatles, “the most beautiful songs I have ever heard”.
Apple Corps rooftop concert brings traffic to a standstill in London
With Get Backthe director of Lord of the Rings brings its stone to the building of nostalgia. His documentary mini-series, available on video on demand on Disney+, retraces the three weeks of recording the album in London. let it bewhose release in 1970 will coincide with the irremediable end of the Beatles.
Legend has it that on January 2, 1969, the Beatles met in London to record the album. let it be. The work of John, Paul, George and Ringo, their conversations, their creative flashes, their laughter, the people present – art director George Martin, African-American keyboard player Billy Preston, artist Yoko Ono, the photographer Linda Eastman (soon to become Linda McCartney), actor Peter Sellers… – everything is noted and recorded and filmed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg. Until the clap of the end, the famous concert of January 30, 1969 on the roof of Apple Corps, which paralyzes traffic in central London, is interrupted by Bobbies who are more bored than vehement.
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The book, prefaced by the novelist Hanif Kureishi, and translated from English by the rock critic Michka Assayas, recounts this artistic adventure day after day. The story has already been told in the film let it be by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, released in 1970, when the eponymous album was released and the Beatles formalized their separation. Recording crisis, personal conflicts, exasperation, much has already been said about the breakup.
Shy and gifted young men
The book sets the tone from the first pages, in a photo: John Lennon seeks Yoko Ono’s attention, George Harrison stares at his guitar, Ringo Starr stares into space and Paul McCartney stares off camera. Peter Jackson’s film brings a fresh look, as it also shows the good times, the collective times and the trial and error that led to the realization of a magnificent swan song, even if, after let it bethe Beatles are recording another album, Abbey Roadwhich their record label will choose to release first.
The most surprising part of the replay of the recording session of let it be is arguably the age of the Beatles. In January 1969, John and Ringo are 29, Paul is 27 and George is 25. These suspicious, gifted young men confront each other, gauge each other, compare their game, always ready to heckle, to sulk, to confront each other.
Paul McCartney does far too much, Ringo Starr remains impenetrable, John Lennon takes the reins with authority, George Harrison is chomping at the bit. The moment when he suddenly gets up, announces in a toneless voice “I think I will leave the group now”, then leaves the studio, not without having given some advice on who could replace him, Eric Clapton being his favorite, strikes the spectator as much as the three other Beatles, dumbfounded. Behind their rock superstar egos suddenly appears a human truth. Their aborted little jokes, their embarrassment, their silences say a lot about the fragility of youth.
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“Get Back” on Disney +: the Beatles are over, again
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