Peter Jackson’s highly anticipated three-part documentary, The Beatles: Get Back, is almost here, but we can’t help but wonder what The Beatles think of it. The band and fans were never quiet about their negative opinions of Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s original film, Let It Be, which premiered in 1970, coincidentally the same year the band broke up. Ringo Starr called it “joyless,” while George Harrison said he couldn’t watch it because it “aggravated” him.
However, now that Paul McCartney and Ringo have seen the final product of Jackson’s meticulous work on the 60-hours of unseen footage that Lindsay-Hogg shot back in 1970, their opinions seem to have changed.
‘The Beatles: Get Back’ changed Paul McCartney’s perception of how the band split
“I’ll tell you what is really fabulous about it, it shows the four of us having a ball,” Paul said. “It was so reaffirming for me. That was one of the important things about The Beatles, we could make each other laugh. John and I are in this footage doing ‘Two Of Us’ and, for some reason, we’ve decided to do it like ventriloquists. It’s hilarious. It just proves to me that my main memory of the Beatles was the joy and the skill.”
Apparently, Paul also must have bought into the myth that The Beatles started to split during the sessions because after watching the documentary, his perception of how they broke up has changed.
“Really yes,” Paul replied when asked if his perception had changed. “And there is proof in the footage. Because I definitely bought into the dark side of The Beatles breaking up and thought, ‘God, I’m to blame.’
“It’s easy, when the climate is going that way, to think that. But at the back of my mind there was this idea that it wasn’t like that. I just needed to see proof.”
Paul previously stated that he’d started believing the myth that he’d broken up the band. However, that was just a headline that “stuck.” Now, fans will get to see what really happened.
Ringo Starr hated ‘Let It Be’ but he think Jackson’s documentary is a ‘master piece’
Ringo was definitely vocal about Lindsay-Hoggs’ Let It Be. The drummer often referred to the film as “joyless.” Ringo said he wasn’t a fan of the original Let It Be film during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live. But what Jackson’s done is great.
“I had a lot of talks with Peter Jackson because I didn’t actually like the original one [Let It Be] because it was very dark. Not even dark, it was dull. It was all about this argument that John and Paul had,” Ringo explained.
“Peter was in LA and he was saying [Get Back] was lots of fun it was lots of joy… [and] there was lots of good music, of course. It was four guys in a room. Whether it’s up or it’s down or it’s laughter or whatever, it’s better. But it’s six hours long! And two hours a night… put something cozy on,” Ringo continued.
Speaking to Ultimate Classic Rock, Ringo added, “Peter Jackson took control of it, and we do thank him from the bottom of our heart. It’s now a six-hour masterpiece… There’s so many moments in the whole documentary, in the whole making. We keep looking around the corner for the hobbits.”
“I was always moaning about the original,” Starr continued. Now, Ringo is happy that fans will see the ups and the downs, including the band’s reaction to when George briefly quit. “When we realized George left, we played like a heavy metal band. It was so, like, rawr, rawr, rawr… Our reaction to it was, ‘Get this s*** out!’ I love that. That’s just us being us.”
“We had ups and downs, but even around all that – which you’ll see with the Peter Jackson edit-we were having fun, which [Let It Be] never showed, joy and fooling around and shouting at each other. It’s what four guys do. I keep saying that: four guys in a room, there’s a lot of joy.”
Why did The Beatles hate ‘Let It Be’?
Besides Ringo, George and Paul also didn’t enjoy Let It Be. George said that he couldn’t even watch the film because it “aggravated” him so much.
“Because it was a particularly bad experience that we were having at that time, and it’s bad enough when you’re having it, let alone having it filmed and recorded so that you get to watch it for the rest of your life. I don’t like it,” George told Entertainment Tonight in 1987.
In the Anthology documentary (per Beatles Bible), George added, “They were filming us having a row. It never came to blows, but I thought, ‘What’s the point of this? I’m quite capable of being relatively happy on my own and I’m not able to be happy in this situation. I’m getting out of here.'”
Paul has also talked about his detest of the original film. But that’s probably because of that one infamous fight scene with George. Plus, the press saw and immediately labeled him as the reason for The Beatles’ break up. Ringo told Inside Hook that the scene made the whole film feel negative. “It was all based on this little downer incident,” Ringo said.
However, they all agree that the band’s last performance on the rooftop of Apple headquarters is the best scene in Let It Be. George enjoyed it, and Ringo can’t wait for fans to see it in its entirety in Jackson’s documentary finally. “On the roof was so great, and we played live again. There’s a great piece in the [footage] for me,” Ringo concluded to UCR.
Hopefully, Jackson’s documentary extinguishes a lot of the hate for Let It Be, though. Everyone, including Jackson himself, can promise that we’ll see the bad with the good.