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SoundTRAX: "The Beatles: Get Back"

The Beatles perform on a rooftop.
Disney
/
Apple Corps

SoundTRAX is a dive into notable music from iconic films and TV shows every Monday-Thursday at 8:10.


It was 55 years ago today that The Beatles did their legendary rooftop performance on top of their Apple Corps building.

And while it was filmed for their 1970 documentary Let It Be, so much of that footage was left out, only to re-emerge in the terrific 2021 Disney documentary series directed and produced by Peter Jackson, The Beatles: Get Back, so that's what I'm focusing on today.

Obviously there was a lot of recycled material from the earlier doc, so much so that Jackson referred to it as "a documentary about a documentary." But there was plenty of never before seen material as well.

Sixty hours of film footage, shot in January of 1969, as well as over 150 hours of audio stemming from the original Let It Be film were made available to Jackson, with full assistance from Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono, George Harrison's widow, Olivia, and producer George Martin's son, Giles.

I watched the series with a little trepidation, fully expecting to see nothing but quarrels and pettiness— and honestly, I was expecting to see a lot of interference from Yoko, which is totally unfair and inaccurate.

Yes, there are tensions. And yes, it's weird to see the other wives occupying their time in other ways while Yoko is sitting right next to John Lennon the whole time the band is working through songs and rehearsing.

But there's also a lot of humor and little glimpses of what initially bonded those childhood friends, long before they became the juggernaut that was The Fab Four.

Plus, watching McCartney essentially compose "Get Back" out of thin air is a jaw-dropping moment.

And that rooftop performance, made even more magical by the addition of Billy Preston on keys, is still a sight to behold— and hear.

So for today's SoundTRAX selection, for the 55th anniversary of that performance, we're going back to that rooftop. It's The Beatles with "I've Got a Feeling."

Mel is the WFPK morning host. Email Mel at mfisher@lpm.org.