10 Things We Learned in Peter Jackson’s ‘The Beatles: Get Back Part 2’
At the end of Part 1 of Peter Jackson’s The Beatles: Get Back, the future of The Beatles wasn’t looking good. George Harrison quit, the rest of The Beatles were at odds with each other, and the plan for a TV special was hanging in the balance. If you thought that was enough drama to chew on, wait until Part 2 (if you haven’t already). There was even more drama, and then, thankfully, things got better. Thank god for Billy Preston and Apple Studios.
Before you settle in to watch Part 3, here is a recap of Part 2 and the top 10 things we learned.
10. Michael Lindsay-Hogg doesn’t want to hide anything in the documentary
At the beginning of Part 2, Michael Lindsay-Hogg, the director of the documentary, Let It Be, Ringo Starr, and recording engineer and producer Glyn Johns were hanging around Twickenham Studios waiting for something to happen. The meeting that The Beatles had with George Harrison did not go well. No one, especially Neil Aspinall, The Beatles’ road manager and head of Apple, expected the band to show up to work.
Speaking to Ringo, Lindsay-Hogg said that they had a good documentary if they were using everything they shot, including the bad parts. If they weren’t, well, they didn’t have a very good documentary. Not many people have seen Lindsay-Hogg’s Let It Be, but we know that it did not feature George’s departure. The Beatles requested that the director omit that part to avoid drama. Still, Lindsay-Hogg kept most of the tension-filled moments, more than anything else, some would say.
9. Yoko Ono talked for John Lennon at the meeting/Paul McCartney’s view of John and Yoko’s relationship
When Paul McCartney and his girlfriend, Linda Eastman, arrived at Twickenham, the topic of conversation turned to how the meeting went. He said that Yoko Ono, John Lennon’s girlfriend, talked for John during the meeting. Then, Paul started talking about John and Yoko’s relationship and how it affected The Beatles. The scene was one of the most candid moments we’ve seen so far.
“See, but their point is that they’re trying to like be as near together as they can,” Paul told the group. “They wanna stay together, those two. So, it’s alright. Let the young lovers stay together. But it’s not that bad, you know. We got a lot out of The Beatles so that if-I think John’s thing now-if it came to a push between Yoko and The Beatles, it’s Yoko.”
Lindsay-Hogg said that John had told him the day before that he “really didn’t want not to be in The Beatles.” Paul said he’d been writing more with John before Yoko came along, but that was also because they were always together.
“She really is alright,” Paul continued. “They just want to be near each other. So, I just think it’s just silly of me or anyone to try and say to them, ‘No, you can’t. It’s like that we’re striking ’cause work conditions aren’t right. But it shouldn’t be. It’s like they’re going overboard about it. But John always does, you know.” Aspinall interjected that there still needed to be a little bit of compromise.
8. Lindsay-Hogg bugged a flowerpot and got a private conversation between John and Paul
In Paul’s closing arguments about his and John’s relationship, he said that The Beatles really did need a “daddy figure” to tell them what to do. “But it’s gonna be such an incredible sort of comical thing, like in 50 years’ time, ‘They broke up because Yoko sat on an amp,'” Paul said. “It’s not as though there’s any sort of earth-splitting rows or anything.”
After, John finally arrived and went to have a private conversation with Paul. They didn’t know that Lindsay-Hogg bugged the flowerpot on their table. Fans got to hear one of the most candid and shocking conversations we’ve ever heard between the pair.
John said that George didn’t want to be there, and John couldn’t blame him.
7. John sided with George and revealed his one regret being in The Beatles
Throughout most of John and Paul’s secret conversation, John sided with George. He told Paul that he would go home to record instead of going through all that the band was going through. “It’s like George said, he didn’t get enough satisfaction anymore because of the compromise he had to make to be together,” John said. He called it a festering wound and that they didn’t give George any bandages. They all had egos. Paul agreed that they treat George a certain way.
“You’re afraid that how he’ll play won’t be like you want him to play,” John said. “And that’s what we do, and that’s what you do to me, and I’m not going to tell you what to play.” Paul replied that they should have told him how they felt at the time.
“Now, the only regret about the past numbers is when, because I’ve been so frightened, I’ve allowed you to take it somewhere where I didn’t want,” John continued. “And then, that my only chance was to let George take over or interest George in it. If you give me your suggestions, let me reject them and pinch the one I like is where my writing side is. Same goes for the arranging ’cause there was a period where none of us could actually say anything about your arrangements ’cause you would reject it all.”
He said sometimes Paul was right, but there were other times when he was wrong. Then, Paul said John was always boss, and he was secondary boss, but John said not always. John continued to say that he felt guilty about them all feeling guilty about their relationship. He wasn’t blaming Paul because they all did the same thing. Bottom line: they needed to have another meeting with George.
6. The Beatles move to Apple Records, with George, and things feel better
The second meeting proved to be “positive and constructive.” The group decided to cancel the TV special and move to Apple Studios, which instantly made the band feel better. As soon as they started working in their new recording studio, you could tell there was an instant attitude change in the band. Lindsay-Hogg mentioned it felt weird at Twickenham, and Ringo agreed it felt “too big.”
5. John and Paul read aloud tabloids about the band
As if all their problems had disappeared, The Beatles became as witty as ever. Nothing could penetrate The Beatles’ good moods, not even slanderous tabloids. John started reading an account about George’s court appearance following his assault on a French photographer.
Later, Paul dramatically read aloud an article called “The End of a Beautiful Friendship” by Michael Housego. An excerpt of the article read: “The awful tension of being locked up in each other’s lives snapped the other night at a TV rehearsal and Beatles John and George swung, at very least, a few vicious phrases at each other.”
In a weird voice, Paul continued reading that The Beatles had developed “rust” and would “never be exactly the same again.”
4. John talks about enjoying Fleetwood Mac’s live performance
John asked the group if they’d seen Fleetwood Mac on TV the night before in between rehearsing. This was, of course, before Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham joined the band. Still, it was surprising to hear John’s appreciation for the band.
“They’re so sweet, man,” John said. “And their lead singer’s great. You know, looks great, and he sort of sings quiet as well. He’s not a shouter.” Paul said they sounded like Canned Heat. “Yeah, but better than Canned Heat,” John said.
3. Billy Preston unexpectedly joined the sessions
Billy Preston met The Beatles in 1962 when they both toured Hamburg, Germany. Preston liked it when the band played “A Taste of Honey.” However, Preston crossed paths with The Beatles during another critical period of theirs.
The keyboard player just happened to be in London when The Beatles suddenly needed a keyboard player. The band usually overdubbed the piano parts later, but they were recording the album live. So they asked Preston to fill in, and of course, he wasn’t going to pass up an opportunity to appear on a Beatles album.
Preston ended up staying in town to help The Beatles, and his infectious smile and positive presence definitely affected the group. He added something the band had been missing and literally became the fifth Beatle.
2. The Beatles talk about their trip to India
Toward the end of Part 2, Paul told the band that he’d recently watched the footage he filmed during their trip to India. George asked Paul if he regretted going there. Paul replied he didn’t, but he felt they weren’t “truthful” there. Instead, they acted like they were back in school, having to follow so many rules.
“I wouldn’t mind having two months out of every four months in a place like that, though,” George interjected. He continued to say that they were there to try and find out who they really were.
1. Lindsay-Hogg and Johns propose The Beatles play on the rooftop of Apple Studios
After the emotional rollercoaster of a month they’d had so far, Lindsay-Hogg and Johns greeted The Beatles with an interesting proposal concerning their live performance. Paul wanted a big finale for it all, and the pair’s idea would definitely accomplish that. The Beatles wouldn’t have to travel to a torchlit amphitheater in Africa, a boat, an orphanage, a hospital, or Primrose Hill to play their new material to the world. All they had to do was climb a couple of flights to the rooftop of their own Apple headquarters.