Paul McCartney Explained Who Jo Jo Was Supposed to Be in The Beatles’ ‘Get Back’

TL;DR:

  • The Beatles’ “Get Back” came from an album the band made during a difficult period.
  • Paul McCartney said people falsely claimed to be the character of Jo Jo from the song.
  • Paul wanted the character to be “ambiguous.”
The Beatles' John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison on steps during the "Get Back" era
The Beatles’ John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison | Jan Olofsson/Redferns

Paul McCartney revealed the character of Jo Jo from The Beatles’ “Get Back” was not supposed to be any individual person. In addition, he revealed how the character was supposed to be “ambiguous.” Notably, “Get Back” became a hit three times in the United Kingdom.

Paul McCartney revealed the difficulties The Beatles went through while creating the album ‘Let It Be’

In the 1997 book Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now, Paul discussed the creation of The Beatles’ album Let It Be. “This was a very difficult period,” he remembered. “John was with Yoko full time, and our relationship was beginning to crumble: John and I were going through a very tense period. The breakup of the Beatles was looming and I was very nervy.”

Paul was having other issues. “Personally it was a very difficult time for me, I think the drugs, the stress, tiredness and everything had really started to take its toll. I somehow managed to miss a lot of the bad effects of all that, but looking back on this period, I think I was having troubles.”

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Paul McCartney said some people falsely claimed to be Jo Jo from The Beatles’ ‘Get Back’

The lyrics of “Get Back” mention someone named Jo Jo. Paul revealed what he was thinking when he created the character. “Many people have since claimed to be the Jo Jo and they’re not, let me put that straight!” he said.

Paul also discussed Jo Jo’s gender. “I had no particular person in mind, again it was a fictional character, half man, half woman, all very ambiguous,” he said. “I often left things ambiguous, I like doing that in my songs.”

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‘Get Back’ became a hit once in the United States and three times in the United Kingdom

“Get Back” became a major hit for The Beatles. The track topped the Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks, staying on the chart for 12 weeks in total. The Beatles released “Get Back” on the album Let It Be. The album was No. 1 on the Billboard 200 for four weeks, staying on the chart for 79 weeks altogether.

The Official Charts Company reports “Get Back” was popular in the United Kingdom as well. In the 1960s, the song topped the chart for two weeks, staying on the chart for 13 weeks. Meanwhile, Let It Be was No. 1 in the U.K for three weeks and lasted on the chart for 53 weeks.

“Get Back” also became a hit in the U.K after the 1960s. In 1976, the track peaked at No. 28 while in 1989, it reached No. 74. This was part of a larger trend of Fab Four singles getting rereleased in the U.K.

“Get Back” remains a classic Beatles song even if it’s not actually about anyone.

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