On Again, Off Again. ‘The Beatles: Get Back’ Now On Again

The mysterious curse of The BeatlesLet It Be sessions seems to have permeated across 50 years, all the way to 2022 with the inability to get to a release date that everyone was happy with…..

Disney and Apple have experienced huge issues in getting Peter Jackson’s wonderful three-part opus out to the public on physical media (i.e. Blu-ray and DVD). There have been a few false starts this year but it seems finally the release is definitely on again. Hence this email from the official US Beatle store in our inbox this morning:

The official Beatle page also trumpets that The Beatles Get Back is definitely on again. At least on Blu-ray. It’s hard to find on either site a reference or images of the DVD…….

As previously announced before it was withdrawn, the Blu-ray will come in a ‘Collector’s Pack’:

This contains a tri-fold inner holding the three discs, one for each of the three parts that have been available as a stream on Disney+:

And also included are four Get Back collector’s cards, one for each Beatle:

There’s no bonus material however. It could be argued though that we’re already getting lots of that ‘bonus’ material on these discs as the original Get Back film (as initially planned for streaming release last year) had many extra hours added to it by director, Peter Jackson before it made it to Disney+.

George Harrison’s ‘Let It Be’ Rosewood Fender Available Again

Fender guitars has once again produced a limited edition re-creation of the unique guitar we see George Harrison playing during the sessions for Let It Be – both in the studio and during the famous roof-top concert in 1969.

It is a lovely rosewood Fender Telecaster electric:

It’s not the first time the Fender Custom Shop has done this. Back in 2016 they also released a copy of what originally was a one-off prototype model, gifted to George in 1968 so he could try it out and give the brand some publicity:

Now, hot on the heels of the epic Peter Jackson Get Back documentary on Disney, the company has done it again – with a few additional customised touches:

The principle difference for 2022 is a custom George Harrison ‘Om’ logo neck plate on the rear of the guitar:

The story behind what happened to the original Telecaster is interesting. As we know, Harrison played it during the Let It Be sessions, but he didn’t keep it for long. Later in 1969 he gave it away to Delaney Bramlett, leader of the group Delaney & Bonnie. It was a gift to say ‘thank you’ for letting Harrison join in on a tour with the band – all part of George easing his way out of the Beatles and finding his feet as a solo musician. Bramlett kept the priceless instrument for quite some time and amazingly he modified the guitar quite a bit. The rosewood originally featured a satin finish, but Bramlett had it resprayed with gloss. He also swapped out the original Fender tuning keys for Schaller brand keys, and he even modified the electronics inside.

Thankfully, the guitar has since been returned to the Harrison Estate and the Rosewood Tele has been restored. Here’s a photo of Dhani Harrison in 2012 with the original Fender second guitar from left:

And here he is playing it:

Here’s an example of the reverence in which this guitar is now held – Josh Homme is invited to play the one-off, 1968 original:

Check out the Rosewood replica at Fender.

See also:

The Ole Black Gretsch

The Ole Black Gretsch – An Update

Harrison’s “Rocky” Fender Stratocaster

Buy John Lennon’s Martin Acoustic replica

Meet the British Bobby Who Ended The Beatles Last Show

This is timely, and a lovely recollection 52 years on.

Daniele Hamamdjian from Canada’s CTV News speaks to Ray Dagg.

He was one of the police officers sent into the Apple building – on Savile Row in London – to shut down The Beatles’ famous rooftop concert in 1969.

The Ages of Everyone in Get Back

These are the ages of all the key players in Peter Jackson’s Get Back documentary, set in January, 1969:

Paul McCartney – 26, John Lennon – 28, Ringo Starr – 28, George Harrison – 25.

Producer/Engineer Glyn Johns is 26, Director Michael Lindsay-Hogg – 28, and Producer George Martin – 43.

Yoko Ono is 35, Linda Eastman – 27. Her daughter Heather is 6.

Roadie Mal Evans is 33, Keyboard Player Billy Preston – 22, Photographer Ethan Russell – 23, and Tape Operator Alan Parsons – 20 (wouldn’t be 21 until December).

It is a fascinating glimpse into the world of The Beatles at that time. Catch it on Disney+ if you can.

Some Original Let It Be Lobby Cards

To celebrate the release this week of the Disney+/Peter Jackson marathon re-cut of the original Let It Be footage, here are some of the movie theatre lobby cards (and a poster) from the 1970 movie-length version, directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg:

The Beatles, Get Back and London: On the Trail of a Timeless Story

In the lead-up to the release next week of the Peter Jackson film The Beatles: Get Back, John Harris, editor of the new book of the same name, takes us on a fascinating journey to the three key locations in the making of the Let It Be album. It is delightful:

The Beatles ‘Let It Be’ Unboxings

Quite a few Let It Be super deluxe unboxing videos are starting to pop up all over the internet.

Here’s Paul Sinclair’s unboxing of the 5 LP vinyl set. As usual, it is one of the best you’ll find out there:

And here’s an unboxing of the 5 CD 1 Blu-ray set from a collector in Japan:

A couple of things to note.

It’s interesting that the CD box set outer shell, book, folder and CD covers are all done in a matte finish, not shiny and glossy throughout – like you see in the LP set video. We didn’t know about that difference until we saw these unboxings.

It’s also great that, for the first time vinyl collectors are getting a full-sized, 100 page book to go with their records. And that Apple/UMe have produced two different sized books – one for the LP set, and a smaller format (with exactly the same content) for the CD box. That’s a lot of extra effort, but greatly appreciated.

Finally, despite a few complaints from some fans about the breadth of extra content on these discs, there’s generally been a very positive vibe about this reissue so far and the feeling that Giles Martin and his team have done a great job on the sound of the re-mix.

We can’t wait for our sets to arrive Downunder from the USA (where its a LOT cheaper than buying locally)!

The Beatles – Let It Be Special Edition Releases

Finally, after months (or is it years?), the official announcement for the 50th anniversary editions of The Beatles Let It Be has been made public.

And in physical form this is what we’ll be getting – on October 15:

It begins with a 180-gram, half-speed mastered vinyl 4LP set that also includes a 45rpm 12-inch vinyl EP, with a 105-page hardbound book in a special die-cut slipcase.

There’ll also be a special edition of the same content on a 5CD + 1Blu-ray (containing the album’s new stereo mix in hi-res 96kHz/24-bit; new 5.1 surround DTS and Dolby Atmos album mixes), also with a 105-page hardbound book in a die-cut slipcase.

Both these total 57 tracks in all: the original Let It Be LP in a new stereo mix by Giles Martin and Sam Okell, two discs of previously unreleased outtakes, studio jams and rehearsals, and the previously unreleased 1969 Get Back LP mix by Glyn Johns, newly remastered. Then there’s that Let It Be EP (in both the vinyl and CD boxes) as a separate disc containing 4 tracks:
o Glyn Johns’ unreleased 1970 mixes of ‘Across The Universe’ and ‘I Me Mine’.
o Giles Martin & Sam Okell’s new stereo mixes of the ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ and ‘Let It Be’ singles.

The hardback book this time will be available in both boxes – something that hasn’t happened before with Beatle re-mix re-issues. It features a foreword by Paul McCartney, an introduction by Giles Martin; a remembrance by Glyn Johns; chapters and detailed track notes by Beatles historian, author, and radio producer Kevin Howlett; and an essay by journalist and author John Harris exploring the sessions’ myths vs. reality. The book is illustrated, scrapbook style, with rare and previously unpublished photos by Ethan Russell and Linda McCartney, as well as never before published images of handwritten lyrics, session notes, sketches, Beatles correspondence, tape boxes, film frames, and more.

After the two ‘Super Deluxe’ boxes there’s a 2CD set that comes in a digipak with a 40-page booklet. This set contains on one disc the original Let It Be album (in it’s new stereo mix), plus a disc unique to this set with 13 tracks of highlights from the previously unreleased outtakes, studio jams, rehearsals, and the previously unreleased Glyn Johns 1970 mix of ‘Across The Universe’. That makes it an interesting purchase for those completists among us!

Of course, there’s the stand-alone 1 LP which is also half-speed mastered and pressed on 180-gram vinyl, along with a single CD of the of the original album in re-mixed form too.

And there’s to be a picture disc as well.

As to track listings, here are images of the rear covers of the 4LP/EP box set:

 And the 5CD/Blu-ray:

And the rear cover of the single LP:

Click on any of the images above to see larger versions.

We liked the artwork on the offical Bealtes page depicting some masking tape with the words Let It Be roughly stuck over what was the original title of this project: Get Back.

Really looking forward to hearing this re-mix. It is a favourite LP for us, up there with Pepper, Abbey Road and The White Album for sure.

Just Announced. The Beatles: Get Back Documentary

Apple, Walt Disney Studios and Wingnut Films have just gone public on their plans for the release of the Peter Jackson-directed film, The Beatles: Get Back.

What many thought would be something like a 2-hour cinema release has morphed into something much, much bigger. It is to be a three-part documentary series, screened over three days on the Disney+ channel. Each episode is around two hours in duration.

Journalist Joe Hagan has been given an exclusive preview and his article about what he saw is in the magazine Vanity Fair. He describes it as “a mindblower”.

THE BEATLES: GET BACK. COURTESY OF APPLE CORPS LTD

Here’s the official press release (from thebeatles.com):

Over Six Hours of Never-Before-Seen Restored Footage, Including The Beatles’ Last Live Performance, to Roll Out on Disney+ Over Three Days, November 25, 26 and 27, 2021

BURBANK, Calif. (June 17, 2021) – The Walt Disney Studios, Apple Corps Ltd. and WingNut Films Productions Ltd. announced today that Disney+ will bring “The Beatles: Get Back,” a Disney+ Original documentary series directed by Peter Jackson, to fans and music lovers worldwide.

Because of the wealth of tremendous footage Peter Jackson has reviewed, which he has spent the past three years restoring and editing, “The Beatles: Get Back” will be presented as three separate episodes. Each episode is approximately two hours in length, rolling out over three days, November 25, 26 and 27, 2021, exclusively on Disney+.

“As a huge Beatles fan myself, I am absolutely thrilled that Disney+ will be the home for this extraordinary documentary series by the legendary filmmaker Peter Jackson,” said Bob Iger, Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board, The Walt Disney Company. “This phenomenal collection of never-before-seen footage offers an unprecedented look at the close camaraderie, genius songwriting, and indelible impact of one of the most iconic and culturally influential bands of all time, and we can’t wait to share ‘The Beatles: Get Back’ with fans around the world.” 

Peter Jackson commented, “In many respects, Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s remarkable footage captured multiple storylines. The story of friends and of individuals. It is the story of human frailties and of a divine partnership. It is a detailed account of the creative process, with the crafting of iconic songs under pressure, set amid the social climate of early 1969. But it’s not nostalgia – it’s raw, honest, and human. Over six hours, you’ll get to know The Beatles with an intimacy that you never thought possible.”

He added, “I’m very grateful to The Beatles, Apple Corps and Disney for allowing me to present this story in exactly the way it should be told. I’ve been immersed in this project for nearly three years, and I’m very excited that audiences around the world will finally be able to see it.”

Directed by three-time Oscar®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson (“The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, “They Shall Not Grow Old”), “The Beatles: Get Back” takes audiences back in time to the band’s intimate recording sessions during a pivotal moment in music history. The documentary showcases the warmth, camaraderie and creative genius that defined the legacy of the iconic foursome, compiled from over 60 hours of unseen footage shot in January 1969 (by Michael Lindsay-Hogg) and more than 150 hours of unheard audio, all of which has been brilliantly restored. Jackson is the only person in 50 years to have been given access to these private film archives. “The Beatles: Get Back” is the story of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr as they plan their first live show in over two years, capturing the writing and rehearsing of 14 new songs, originally intended for release on an accompanying live album. The documentary features – for the first time in its entirety – The Beatles’ last live performance as a group, the unforgettable rooftop concert on London’s Savile Row, as well as other songs and classic compositions featured on the band’s final two albums, Abbey Road and Let It Be.

An exciting new collaboration between The Beatles and Jackson presented by The Walt Disney Studios in association with Apple Corps Ltd. and WingNut Films Productions Ltd., “The Beatles: Get Back” is directed by Peter Jackson, produced by Clare Olssen (“They Shall Not Grow Old”) and Jonathan Clyde (“Eight Days a Week”), with Ken Kamins (“The Hobbit” trilogy) and Apple Corps’ Jeff Jones (“Eight Days a Week”) serving as executive producers. Jabez Olssen (“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”) serves as the documentary’s editor, and the music is mixed by Giles Martin (“Rocketman”) and Sam Okell (“Yesterday”).

“The Beatles: Get Back” is being made with the enthusiastic support of Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono Lennon and Olivia Harrison.

Ahead of the documentary’s Disney+ debut, Apple Corps Ltd./Callaway Arts & Entertainment will release The Beatles: Get Back book on October 12. Beautifully designed and produced, the 240-page hardcover complements the “Get Back” documentary with transcriptions of The Beatles’ recorded conversations and hundreds of exclusive, never before published photos from the three weeks of sessions. The collectible book will be published in nine international language editions, including English. (ends)

No news yet about a physical release of the 6-hour plus documentary for fans, nor of any Super Deluxe box set of the music. Watch this space.

50 Years Since Let It Be – Podcast

Time for the final podcast instalment in what has been a long and winding Beatle road.

Back in 2014 the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) began a series celebrating the 50th anniversary release of each British Beatle LP.

As each album anniversary came around ABC Radio presenter Rod Quinn spoke to US John Lennon biographer and Beatle expert, Jude Southerland Kessler.

Jude is the author of the ambitious nine-volume John Lennon narrative biography. The latest book in the series is Volume 4: Should Have Known Better (to see the details for this volume scroll down after clicking through).

In May the pair finally made it to Let It Be, the final LP released by the band.

You can find it online here, or just click on the red US Let It Be Apple label below:

Previous broadcasts/podcasts in the series are Please Please MeWith the BeatlesA Hard Day’s NightBeatles For Sale and of course, Help! – which is in two parts: Side One here, and Side Two here.

You can hear Rod and Jude talk about Rubber SoulRevolver; and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by clicking here.

And they tackle Yellow SubmarineThe Beatles (a.k.a. The White Album), and The Esher Demos disc here.

The Abbey Road podcast is here.