Culture

The Beatles Get Back: Deluxe book about the making of Let It Be to feature hundreds of unpublished images

The Beatles: Get Back, the first official standalone book from The Beatles since The Beatles Anthology, will feature hundreds of previously unpublished images, Apple Corp has confirmed.

The 240-page hardcover details the creation of The Beatles legendary 1970 album, Let It Be, in the band’s own words, with transcribed conversations drawn from over 120 recorded hours during the band’s studio sessions.

The book is the official companion to director Peter Jackson’s The Beatles: Get Back documentary,  due to be released theatrically August 27, 2021.

Fittingly, the book includes a foreword written by the director and an introduction by Hanif Kureishi. The texts have been edited from original conversations between John, Paul, George and Ringo archived during the three weeks of recording, and culminates with that historic final rooftop concert. 

The book’s texts have been edited from original conversations between John, Paul, George and Ringo archived during three weeks of recording…

The Beatles rooftop concert / Photo by Ethan A. Russell/©Apple Corps Ltd

‘This intimate, riveting book invites us to travel back in time to January 1969, the beginning of The Beatles’ last year as a band. The Beatles (The White Album) is still at number one in the charts, but the ever-prolific foursome regroup in London for a new project, initially titled Get Back. Over 21 days, first at Twickenham Film Studios and then at their own brand-new Apple Studios, with cameras and tape recorders documenting every day’s work, the band rehearse a huge number of songs, new and old, in preparation for what proves to be their final concert, which famously takes place on the rooftop of their own Apple Corps office building, bringing central London to a halt.

Legend now has it that these sessions were a grim time for a band falling apart, but, as acclaimed novelist Hanif Kureishi writes in his introduction to The Beatles: Get Back, “In fact this was a productive time for them, when they created some of their best work. And it is here that we have the privilege of witnessing their early drafts, the mistakes, the drift and digressions, the boredom, the excitement, joyous jamming and sudden breakthroughs that led to the work we now know and admire.”

These sessions, which generated the Let It Be album and film released in May 1970, represent the only time in The Beatles’ career that they were filmed at such length while in the studio creating music. Simultaneously, they were exclusively photographed and their conversations recorded.’ 

The most comprehensively documented Beatles album

This hardcover record is the band’s own definitive account of those sessions. It brings together the transcripts of their candid conversations, edited by music writer John Harris, with hundreds of extraordinary images, most of them never before seen. The majority of the photographs are by two photographers who had special access to their sessions, Grammy-nominated Ethan A. Russell and Linda Eastman, who married McCartney two months later. 

Peter Jackson’s upcoming documentary centres on the sessions, using over 55 hours of unreleased original 16 millimetre footage filmed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg in 1969, now restored (presumably in 4k), and 120 hours of mostly unheard audio recordings. Jackson began work on the project in 2018. This book also features unseen high-resolution film frames from the same restored footage.

Pre-orders for The Beatles: Get Back, to be published in August 2021 by New York-based Callaway Arts & Entertainment, are being taken here, it’s priced at £40.

Featured image:  The Beatles recording at Apple Studios / Photo by Ethan A. Russell/©Apple Corps Ltd.

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About Steve May

Creator of Home Cinema Choice magazine, Steve muses and reviews for Trusted Reviews, T3, TechRadar, Home Cinema Choice, Ideal Home, The Luxe Review, Channel News and the i newspaper. He’s also the editor of professional home cinema website Inside CI, and contributor to industry trade magazine ERT. He's on Twitter and Instagram as @SteveMay_UK

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