Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
I’m beside myself with anticipation. Peter Jackson’s Beatles project, Get Back, starts streaming tomorrow!
I know I’m showing my age, but it was The Beatles who not only got me heavily into music when I was twelve or so but also escorted me through some of the most difficult years of my young life, that minefield period that surrounds the breakup of a family. My dad left in the summer of ’69. Abbey Road came out that fall.
Of course, as soon as I landed on this secret magical force, the band broke up. The divorce movie, Let It Be, appeared in the spring of ’70, but we were in bad financial straits at the time so I didn’t get to see it, though my cousin described it to me blow by blow. It sounded really sad, my new heroes going at each other in testy rows, going through the musical motions with no heart in it. I finally saw the movie when I was in high school, a dark, dull print at a midnight showing, and I came away disillusioned.
But now Jackson has taken almost sixty hours of film from the project, shot over a couple of weeks in January ’69, and restored it to 21st century clarity in a 7-hour event, at the same time recasting the story as one of four mates creating music from scratch. They enter the cavernous movie studio at Twickenham with only a few scribbled pages of ideas and come out the other end on the roof of Apple headquarters, performing together live for the last time.
This I have to see. So yeah, I’ve subscribed to Disney+ for a month.
As a lad who has stood in awe on the pavement in front of that building where the rooftop concert took place—3 Savile Row in London, just off Picadilly Circus—I’m feeling some of the same belly flies now. I’ve walked across the famous zebra stripes in front of Abbey Road studios, I’ve paid way too much to see Paul McCartney in concert, I’ve learned to play “Blackbird” (and more) on the guitar, and I can do Side 2 of Abbey Road in my head from the first crystal notes of “Here Comes the Sun” to the final surprise ending of “Her Majesty.” I don’t think I’ve ever failed to air-drum Ringo’s solo in “The End” as it plays.
People like me have been waiting a long time for this. I don’t know how artists of any discipline get under a person’s skin for a lifelong voyage, but I can imagine myself whispering Beatles lyrics as I drift away from the planet one of these days.
I just hope it’s not “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” …