I was born in 1962, the same year as the Beatles released Love Me Do. Serendipitously, this is the first song on my first Beatles record, The Essential Beatles, from 1972. Fifty years on, I have a collection of Beatles records, books and DVDs. So, of course, I was keen to watch Get Back on Disney.
In a blog post on John Lennon (Tall And True, May 2018), I recounted how my first Beatles memory is not their music. Instead, as a five-year-old, I saw a newspaper photo of John, Paul and George hammering an oversized nail into Ringo’s head. And I remember my mother tutting and telling me the Beatles were silly to play with hammers and nails.
My next clear memory at eight involves a school friend. His family had a record player, and his teenage sister had Beatles records. I had neither at home. And I joined the “gang” at his place one day after school, singing and dancing to the Beatles.
But shortly after this, I recall hearing the news on our kitchen radio that the Beatles were breaking up. I was devastated, as was my friend’s sister. She refused to play their records after the break-up, which ended my singing and dancing with the Beatles. At least, until my family bought a record player and I got The Essential Beatles LP! (This became so scratched, I replaced it with a cassette in 1978.)
Middle Aged Beatles Fan
I’m now in my late fifties. I’ve listened to the Beatles catalogue countless times, read a small library of books about the band, and watched their Anthology DVDs and other documentaries.
I know the troubled history of the Let It Be film and album and how it contributed to the end of the Beatles. Or so I thought!
Peter Jackson’s marathon 3-part Get Back shows the Beatles as working musicians. Not past their prime, but very much still the “best band in the world”.
And after their relocation from Twickenham to Apple Studios and the addition of Billy Preston, Get Back delivered the joy Peter Jackson had promised for fans. Although, signs of the Beatles’ impending break-up were clear to see.
But I still loved their famous rooftop performance. And I shed a tear or two as the credits rolled for Part 3, and the Beatles recorded Let It Be, the final track on my 1972 The Essential Beatles LP.
My Favourite Beatles
For many years, Paul was my favourite Beatle. But after John’s death, I learned to recognise his voice and lyrics in the Beatles anthology. And his songs became my favourites, and John became my favourite Beatle.
I still love John. However, Get Back had me reevaluate my feelings for all of the Beatles. Yes, Paul was “bossy”, but he was musically brilliant. And yes, George was moody, but Eric Clapton couldn’t have replaced him, despite John’s caustic comment. And yes, Ringo sat around waiting for his drum parts, but “Richie” was the glue that held the band together for the Get Back sessions.
© 2022 Robert Fairhead
Note: This post is an extract from a film review shared on Tall And True writers’ website.
N.B. You might like to read Albums That Changed Your Life, a 2018 blog post that featured the Beatles “Blue Album”.
Welcome to the blog posts and selected writing of a middle-aged dad and dog owner. Robert Fairhead is a writer and editor at the Tall And True writers' website, and he writes and narrates episodes for the Tall And True Short Reads podcast. In addition, his book reviews and other writing have appeared in various print and online media, and he's published two collections of short stories. Please see Robert's profile for full details.