Last year, The Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson delivered a stunning eight-hour documentary on The Beatles titled Get Back. The feature was made up of re-cut footage from the 1970 documentary Let It Be, and was created to show what really happened behind the scenes during the breakdown of the Fab Four. Paul McCartney has now opened up about how this project allowed him to “forgive himself” for the first time.
When Let It Be was released back in 1970, it showed the worst moments of some of The Beatles. Not only was McCartney’s overbearingness featured, but George Harrison was shown quitting the band in the middle of a recording session. Meanwhile, John Lennon insisted on bringing his wife, Yoko Ono, to the studio, much to the dismay of the rest of the band.
However, the newly cut footage of the same time period painted a staggeringly different picture of the band’s final days working together.
McCartney opened up about seeing the footage for the first time on the podcast Fly on the Wall with Dana Carvey and David Spade earlier this week. He even called the experience “magical”.
He said: “That period, in my memory, had always been a little bit dark. Because it was to do with The Beatles breaking up, so the first Let It Be film was cut a little bit with that in mind. I found it a bit depressing, so I never wanted to watch the first Let It Be film.”
After it was announced that Jackson was taking the footage and building it into a new film, McCartney was naturally worried about reliving those dark times.
He pleaded with Jackson: “Peter I’m not sure if I’m going to like this. Because, you know, I got blamed for breaking up The Beatles. And, in actual fact, it wasn’t me. And I’ve been trying to explain that to people for years.”
Jackson agreed to let him be on board the project, and soon thereafter gave him a call about the raw footage he had seen. Jackson told McCartney: “It’s not like that at all. It’s amazing. It’s just these four guys in a room and you’re having fun and you’re working together.”
McCartney added: “He sent me a little clip, and it really saved my life.”
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Ever since The Beatles split up, McCartney has been blamed for bringing an end to the biggest band on the planet. In previous interviews, he confessed he started to believe that as well, despite knowing it wasn’t true.
“When I saw the film, I’m not being bossy at all,” he exclaimed. “I’m just trying to get people to work. I’m just trying to get us, you know, to ‘Come on, guys,’ you know. ‘It’s two weeks off,’ you know.”
McCartney revealed Jackson sympathised with his work ethic back during the original studio sessions. He told the singer: “Well, someone had to do that.”
He added that he “had to be that guy” to get the band working on what would be their final album.
McCartney said: “So, I forgave myself, I let myself off. I thought, yeah, that’s all I was trying to do. I wasn’t trying to be pushy, or I was just trying to get the work done. And the other aspect I thought was great is the way we just goofed around.”
The Disney Plus series also showed just how wonderful a connection each of the Fab Four had with one another, and their spouses.
While various comments have been made throughout the years over how Ono “split” the band up, she could be seen in the footage sitting idly by while the band imploded.
She once defended herself, saying: “I don’t think you could have broken up four very strong people like them. So there must have been something that happened within them – not an outside force at all.”
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