This past Thanksgiving weekend saw the premiere of Get Back, Peter Jackson’s eight-hour documentary series that shows The Beatles writing, rehearsing, and recording music in January of 1969. If you love The Beatles enough to wonder what it would’ve been like to hang out as they created many of the classic songs that ended up on Abbey Road and Let It Be, it’s a must-watch.
The cinéma vérité style, combined with its high-definition video & audio, are so immersive it’s easy to forget you’re not actually in the studio with the band. While there are some tense moments, particularly when George Harrison temporarily quits the band in frustration, overall the vibe is irresistibly fun. Sure, it’s long, but it’s not the kind of thing where you need to focus on every minute. For some stretches I just had it on in the background as I played with my daughter or scrolled through my phone. For the most part, though, I was fascinated, and at some points I even grabbed my guitar and strummed along as the band worked through tunes like “Don’t Let Me Down” and, of course, “Get Back.” Then by the end, when we get to see The Beatles’ final public performance on the rooftop of Apple Corps’ headquarters, it’s truly a magical experience.
For now at least, the documentary is only available to stream on Disney+. But if you’re not currently a subscriber, you’re in luck: You can access Disney+ by borrowing one of the Roku players from our Library of Things! Then if you’ve watched all eight hours of Get Back and are still hungry for more fabulous Beatles-related content, here’s some you can check out with your Livingston Library card.
Edited by John Harris, this print companion to the documentary tells the story of the band’s January 1969 recording sessions through transcripts and photographs.
Let It Be by Steve Matteo
This entry in the wonderful “33 ⅓” book series is another in-depth look at the “creative and chaotic” period depicted in Get Back, as well as the album that would end up being the band’s last. (Come find this title exclusively in our Indie Collection, on display by our circulation desk!)
Solid State: The Story of Abbey Road and the End of The Beatles by Kenneth Womack
This book examines the iconic Abbey Road album and how the cutting-edge technology used in its recording created a masterpiece that still sounds innovative and ultramodern over 50 years later.
If you’re inspired to revisit the entirety of the band’s groundbreaking decade-long career, check out this comprehensive 11 and a half-hour documentary series from 1995.
The Beatles: Ultimate DVD Collection
This 4-DVD set contains the films Help!, A Hard Day’s Night, and Magical Mystery Tour, plus footage from the band’s first U.S. tour in 1964.