In late November, Beatles fans were treated to the docuseries The Beatles: Get Back, a joyous, reverent and lengthy look at the January 1969 recording sessions that yielded the band’s final studio album, Let It Be.
Directed by Lord of the Rings filmmaker Peter Jackson, Get Back was a three-part presentation running for a total of more than seven-and-a-half hours that premiered on the Disney+ network on November 25, 26 and 27.
The series was created from dozens of hours of previously unseen footage shot for what became the film Let It Be. But while the Michael Lindsay-Hogg-directed 1970 movie focused more on the tensions between the band members during the sessions, Get Back offers a more well-rounded look at The Beatles’ relationships as they came together to create that music.
Besides showing the Fab Four working on the songs that eventually appeared on Let It Be, Get Back also captures the group jamming on covers and older Beatles tunes, playing songs that would be featured on Abbey Road and the band mates’ future solo albums — joking, arguing, chatting and more. Some of the jams included the affable and talented soul/R&B keyboardist Billy Preston.
The Beatles: Get Back ends with footage of the entire surprise performance that The Beatles on the roof of their Apple company’s headquarters in London’s Savile Row, which turned to be the last time the band played together in public.
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A month before The Beatles: Get Back debuted, an expanded reissue of Let It Be was released, sending the album back into the top five of the Billboard 200 after it topped the chart back in 1970. A companion The Beatles: Get Back coffee-table book also was released in October.
Meanwhile, surviving Beatles members Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr both had eventful years.
Sir Paul began 2021 with his latest solo album, McCartney III, debuting at #2 on the Billboard 200 after hitting stores at the end of December 2020. In April, an album titled McCartney III Imagined was released, featuring various artists remixing or covering the songs on McCartney III.
In July, the documentary miniseries McCartney 3,2,1 featuring Paul in conversation with producer Rick Rubin, premiered on Hulu. Then in September, McCartney published the illustrated children’s book Grandude’s Green Submarine, a sequel to his 2019 book, Hey Grandude!
In early November, Paul released the book The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present, which offers a self-portrait of the music icon while profiling 154 songs he’s written throughout his long career. The Lyrics was named Barnes & Noble’s Book of the Year, and also was picked by People magazine as one of 2021’s top-10 books. Also in November, McCartney got the good news that McCartney III had received a 2022 Grammy nomination for Best Rock Album, while a song from the record, “Find My Way,” scored a nod for Best Rock Song.
As for Ringo, he released two EPs of new songs during 2021 — Zoom In and Change the World — that were packed with guest collaborators, including McCartney, Joe Walsh, Dave Grohl, Sheryl Crow, Lenny Kravitz, Toto‘s Steve Lukather and Joseph Williams, and more.
2021 also saw deluxe reissue of classic solo albums by late Beatles members John Lennon and George Harrison — John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and All Things Must Pass.
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