In 1968 The Beatles were in the midst of their excursion to India, where they worked on new music. During this time, the band were sent the Lord of the Rings books by their Apple Corps film producer Denis O’Dell. After this, the Fab Four were keen to get a musical version of fantasy epics.
The director of the 2000’s Lord of the Rings adaptation, Peter Jackson, recently gave some insight into what really went on.
He explained: “I’ve been scraping together little pieces of information. I’ve been interrogating Paul about it. Ringo doesn’t remember much.”
The New Zealand director went on: “When [The Beatles] went to Rishikesh and stayed in India, it was about three months with the Maharishi at the beginning of 1968, he sent the books to The Beatles.
“I expect because there are three, he sent one book to each of the Beatles. I don’t think Ringo got one, but John, Paul and George each got one Lord of The Rings book to read in India. And they got excited about it.”
Despite their enormous fame, money, and acclaim, The Beatles were denied any chance of their adaptation happening by the books’ author: JRR Tolkien. (Via BBC)
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Jackson revealed: “Ultimately, they couldn’t get the rights from Tolkien, because he didn’t like the idea of a pop group doing his story. So it got nixed by him.
“They tried to do it. There’s no doubt about it. For a moment in time they were seriously contemplating doing that at the beginning of 1968.”
In this long-lost version of Lord of the Rings, the Fab Four were due to play the story’s heroes.
Jackson later commented on the music that The Beatles would have made for the movie.
He said: “What would The Beatles have done with a Lord of The Rings soundtrack album?
“That would have been 14 or 15 Beatles songs that would have been pretty incredible to listen to.”
After The Beatles’ version of Lord of the Rings didn’t get made, Jackson later made his adaptation beginning in 2001.
Jackson has since edited together a new version of the Let It Be documentary that was released in 1970.
The new three-part series, Get Back, has eight hours of new content from the band’s final album recording sessions in 1969.
The Beatles Get Back is on Disney Plus now.