The Beatles Get Back by the Beatles

Apple and Callaway Arts & Entertainment have released a 240-page Get Back book that serves as a companion piece to the Peter Jackson film, The Beatles: Get Back.

The 10″ x 12″ hardcover book is not a reprint or an expanded edition of the Get Back book that was packaged with the 1970 Let It Be album in the U.K. and several other markets (excluding the U.S.). The difference between the 2021 book and the 1970 book is comparable to the contrast between the upcoming bright and colorful Peter Jackson film and the dreary and dark 1970 Let It Be movie. While the 1970 book came with a black cover and contained several black background pages, the new book’s cover is a colorful explosion of the Beatles rehearsing at Twickenham Film Studios. The majority of the interior pages have a white background. In addition, the 2021 book has more dialog from the film and more pictures. And, like the upcoming documentary, the book is larger and longer than the 164-page book than came with the 1970 album.

The book’s forward is by Peter Jackson, who first dived deep into the Beatles catalog by purchasing the red and blue double-LP hits collections in the early seventies. It also has historical perspectives from Hanif Kureishi and John Harris. The book, like the Let It Be film, is broken into three acts: Twickenham Film Studios; Apple Studios; and the Rooftop. Each act is preceded by an overview by John Harris. The format is a day-by day approach, with each day represented by summary paragraphs, dialog and pictures. Most of the photographs were taken by Ethan Russell, although the book also has many by Paul’s then girlfriend and future wife, Linda, who was a professional photographer.

There is some duplication of dialog between the two books. And while careful readers may notice some dialog that appeared in the 1970 book is missing in action, there is so much more in the new book to make up for these omissions. The 2021 book does not contain the text by Johnathan Cott and David Dalton that ran in the 1970 book.

As for the images, the new book has many more pictures than the 1970 album book, which was limited to the work of Ethan Russell. Some of these photos are given full-page or two-page spread treatment, although many pages are filled with several tiny images. There are some pictures in the 1970 book that, for reasons unknown, are not in the new book. The main omission I noticed was that the new book does not have images of John playing the Hofner Hawaiian lap steel guitar.

The book’s day-by-day approach works well and gives the reader a handy guideline to how the sessions progressed. The Beatles Get Back by The Beatles is an essential addition to your Beatles book library. The book can be purchased from Amazon and other retailers.

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