Like many music fans and songwriters alike I took the plunge and blocked off 8hrs over the holidays to take in “Get Back” the new Beatles doc on Disney+ which reveals for the first time this iconic band’s creative process as they begin to craft their masterpiece album “Let it Be”.
Two thoughts come to mind as I reflect back on this film: love and chaos. This film reminded me that songwriting in a group setting can be fun, exhilarating, challenging, easy, messy, noisy, obnoxious, daring, time consuming, emotional, exhausting, tense and even relaxing. Add to these variables technical difficulties, tough acoustic environments, pressure and 4 egos. However, I think the big take away for me is love for music and each other transcends all of these other factors and leads to beauty from chaos. The Beatles creative process might even help define the word “love” itself.
The Beatles (as captured on camera) displayed remarkable love and patience for each other as did the friends and studio crew surrounding them. This patience most importantly involved taking the time to listen to each others thoughts, ideas and musings, no matter how trivial, incomplete or off topic. When ideas weren’t respected the band threatened to “divorce” with the brief departure of George – drawing parallels to a 4 way dysfunctional marriage. Of course this relationship was carefully mended, but showed the fragility of the unwritten contract.
Refreshingly, anything and everything was fair game for a song from trashy newspaper articles to philosophy, politics, nonsense and of course … love! The Beatles spontaneously jammed on a wide range of cover tunes (often badly), swapped instruments and purposely butchered their own music (past and present) to the amusement of themselves and their intimate studio audience. It was remarkable how much [precious?] studio time they wasted completely goofing off without any condemnation from George Martin who appeared to be a very “hands off” producer, perhaps even less than a Rick Rubin.
Was there really any time wasted though considering the brilliant and diverse songs that emerged from this primordial soup? I think its time to stop taking music so seriously and Get Back to the reason we decide to create in the first place: fun.