‘The Beatles: Get Back’ Is A Miracle For Hardcore Beatles Fan

Around five hours into Peter Jackson‘s eight-hour epic The Beatles: Get Back, we see Michael Lindsay-Hogg – the director of the 1970 film Get Back who was responsible for all of this footage existing in the first place – with a distressed look on his face and he kind of sighs and says, “I don’t know what story I’m telling anymore.” His biggest problem, which he fully admits, is, if everyone is being honest, he’s got, on film, the most intimate portrait of the most famous band in the world. And of course when he says this out loud all The Beatles seem into the idea of just “putting it all out there,” but Lindsay-Hogg has that look on his face that he knows this will never happen. There’s no way anyone is going to see what really happened for at least 50 years. (It would take almost 53.)

The Let It Be sessions are infamously legendary. And every Beatles fan has dreamed about being given access to the vault with approximately 60 hours of footage from this time period. The fact that it’s never been released just fueled the idea that it must be The Beatles at their worst, constantly at each other’s throats. And the Let It Be film that came out in 1970 didn’t help. At only 80 minutes, it is basically just the songs preformed, inter-spliced with a few “fly on the wall” moments with not much context. (This movie is pretty hard to find. A couple years ago I had to buy a bootleg off of eBay.)

The most notorious scene involves Paul and George while rehearsing “Two of Us” (a very pleasant song that, somehow, always seems to be surrounded by drama in both the original Let It Be and Get Back). Paul McCartney is trying to tell George Harrison what he wants and adds an aside that he knows this annoys George. George fires back, “You don’t annoy me anymore,” with the “anymore” part being extra pointed. Now, when you take into account that the film was released right about the time The Beatles broke up, everyone just assumed every interaction was like this. There’s a scene in Get Back, late in the sessions, when Paul and John Lennon are singing “Two of Us” as ventriloquists, both trying to outdo each other as to keep their smiling teeth together and not move their lips as they sing. They are having a blast. It shows a portrait of two people who, yes, can get on each other’s nerves. But these are obviously two people who still genuinely like each other.

What is hard to get over is everything we’ve always heard about this era of The Beatles is now just … here. Like, want to know what it was like? Well, now you can travel back in time to January 1969 and spend eight hours with them. This is how I engaged with the material. Other than, every so often, a few written out captioning explaining what is happening, there’s no modern voiceover or talking heads. For people who maybe don’t care that much about The Beatles and are looking for a more straightforward documentary, this might get tedious. You know, maybe by the 15th time the band rehearses “Get Back,” I could see the more casual fan thinking, why am I watching this? But, for me, I was transported back just to observe. I literally felt like I was there as a frustrated Paul started strumming his bass trying to come up with anything new and, slowly, you can hear the formation of “Get Back” start to emerge. It’s like watching one of those miracle of lifetime lapse videos of a flower blooming. It’s incredible to watch McCartney literally just make up one of the most famous songs of all time in real-time.

Another fascinating aspect is the presence of Yoko Ono during all of this. Much has been assumed about her relationship with the rest of the band and the repercussions, but, again here, we get to see it. And, yes, she’s always there. And if I’m Paul McCartney, yeah, I can see how someone bringing their significant other to work every day might be a little disruptive. And you can tell sometimes he’s annoyed. But there’s no real blowup or anger. For the most part, she’s just there, sitting next to John, not saying much. Sometimes when the band is jamming she will scream into the microphone. On a day John is late, Paul is asked point-blank about her presence and he says John and Yoko want to basically merge as one, and to do that they have to be around each other at all times and who is he to say they can’t do that. He goes as far to say, “she’s okay, honestly.” And admits if he pushes things, John would choose Yoko over The Beatles and, as the defacto leader of the band, he’ll take John and Yoko over no John at all.

And this all leads to another interesting development. Most Beatles fans know that when the band formed it was John Lennon’s band. And as the years went on, Paul’s influence became greater and by the time Let It Be happens, Paul’s the one running the show. And running it without a manager since Brian Epstein died, so he’s also doing that. It’s weird, Paul gets some criticisms for this era but Get Back puts all this in better context. Yeah, he can be a jerk sometimes, but he’s the only one in the band trying to keep the band together. Ringo Starr had already quit and come back during their previous album. George quits and comes back during this one. And John looks, honestly, pretty content, but also it’s obvious he has no interest in a leadership role.

After George quits, Paul and John go to a cafeteria to have a private meeting, but didn’t realize there’s a hidden microphone in the room. And we get to hear the whole conversation. And it’s fascinating. It’s Paul basically saying he has to be the leader because John doesn’t want to be the leader and admitting that his leadership style has pissed off George, as John gives Paul advice on how to be a better leader. What’s interesting is both men are frustrated, but voices are never raised. If there were ever a time the two would be at “each other’s throats,” this would probably be the time. But, instead, it’s constructive. And, again, a peek behind The Beatles curtain and it’s unbelievably fascinating.

Get Back is not about a band breaking up. It’s about a band trying to save itself, but ultimately fails. The whole idea of a rooftop concert is to do something new and exciting. After that performance, which would be their last together, the idea is that is just the beginning. They start talking about more ideas for popup concerts. But what Get Back deftly shows is that the seeds are already planted for a breakup. Even after George returns, he’s frustrated because he doesn’t get enough of his songs on the album and says he has a lot of songs built up. And had contemplated selling them off but, instead, now wants to make a solo album separate from The Beatles. John has become enchanted with Allen Klein, the manager of The Rolling Stones. And Klein wants to manage The Beatles and John is pushing the others hard about this, but the rest of them seem, at the best, nonplussed about this idea.

(I know some people won’t like what Jackson has done with the film, making it look modern. And to be honest I usually don’t like that either. When I buy a 4K disc of a movie, I want it to look grainy. One of the worst 4K discs is Terminator 2, which has so much digital noise reduction applied it looks like it was filmed on an iPhone. It’s terrible. But what Jackson does with Get Back doesn’t bother me. He’s doing something else here. He’s not restoring an existing movie, he’s making a new thing. And I do think the aesthetic he comes up with here does help immerse a viewer. Put it this way: if Jackson did this to, say, The Frighteners, I would not like this. But, here, I get what he’s doing and, for me, it works.)

Again, for casual fans, Get Back might be a bit much. Honestly, even for big fans of Beatles music, if you don’t care about the inner workings of the band and their personalities, it might, too, be a bit much. (There were times even I was like, okay, this seems a bit much. But when I think of this as more of a historical document than a piece of entertainment, I get why certain scenes were included. I get why Jackson decided that even some tedious scenes needed to be seen by the public instead of locked in a vault somewhere.) But if you want to go back in time to January 1969 and just hang out with The Beatles and see what that’s like, there is nothing that comes closer to this experience than Get Back.

‘The Beatles: Get Back’ begins streaming on Thanksgiving Day via Disney+. You can contact Mike Ryan directly on Twitter.

Rihanna Is The Only 2000s Artist In The ‘Billboard’ Greatest Of All Time Hot 100 Artists Chart Top 10

Although it’s been a few years since since Rihanna dropped a new single, don’t forget that she’s one of the biggest artists ever in terms of chart performance. Billboard has actually confirmed that: On their new Greatest Of All-Time Hot 100 Artists chart, Rihanna finds herself in the top 10.

The list is as follows:

  1. The Beatles
  2. Madonna
  3. Elton John
  4. Elvis Presley
  5. Mariah Carey
  6. Stevie Wonder
  7. Janet Jackson
  8. Michael Jackson
  9. Whitney Houston
  10. Rihanna

Of those, Rihanna is the only artist whose first single — 2005’s “Pon De Replay” — was released in the 2000s. Billboard notes that Drake was really close to also making the top 10, as he ranks No. 11 (compared to No. 22 on the 2018 chart). Also making the top 100 list are Taylor Swift (No. 21), Maroon 5 (24), Bruno Mars (29), and Justin Bieber (38). Additionally, a handful of artists who made their Hot 100 debut in the 2010s are also appearing on the chart for the first time: The Weeknd (No. 43), Post Malone (77), Ariana Grande (78), and Ed Sheeran (87).

As for how this chart was put together, Billboard notes, “Billboard‘s Greatest Of All-Time Hot 100 Songs and Artists rankings are based on weekly performance on the Hot 100 (from its inception on Aug. 4, 1958, through Nov. 6, 2021). Songs are ranked based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at lower spots earning the least. Due to changes in chart methodology over the years, eras are weighted differently to account for chart turnover rates during various periods. Artists are ranked based on a formula blending performance, as outlined above, of all their Hot 100 chart entries.”

Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.

Paul McCartney Says John Lennon Instigated The Beatles’ Breakup

More than 50 years ago, The Beatles, came to an end after Paul McCartney announced that he would be walking away from the group. The band attempted to reunite on several occasions but it never happened, and in 1980 John Lennon was tragically assassinated. While it’s been noted that Lennon privately expressed a desire to walk away from the band before McCartney’s announcement, McCartney has long been blamed for the band’s breakup. During an upcoming interview on BBC Radio 4, McCartney pointed the finger elsewhere.

“I didn’t instigate the split. That was our Johnny,” McCartney said, according to The Guardian. “I am not the person who instigated the split. Oh no, no, no. John walked into a room one day and said I am leaving the Beatles. Is that instigating the split, or not?” He added that Lennon described his departure from The Beatles as “quite thrilling” and “rather like a divorce,” despite the fact that the other group members were “left to pick up the pieces.”

McCartney notes that confusion about who instigated the band’s dissolution was caused by the group’s new manager at the time, Allen Klein, who sought to wrap up some business deals before announcing the split. “So for a few months we had to pretend,” McCartney said. “It was weird because we all knew it was the end of the Beatles but we couldn’t just walk away.” McCartney admits he became “fed up of hiding it” and it led to his decision to publicly announce the split and “let the cat out of the bag.”

“I had to fight and the only way I could fight was in suing the other Beatles, because they were going with Klein. And they thanked me for it years later,” he said about the legal drama that ensued after the group’s split. “But I didn’t instigate the split. That was our Johnny coming in one day and saying ‘I’m leaving the group.’”

McCartney’s full interview on BBC Radio 4 will air on October 23

Andre 3000 Thanked The Comedian Who Compared Outkast To The Beatles In An Unorthodox Way

When comedian Ron Funches tweeted that Outkast is better than The Beatles, he likely knew his opinion would be controversial and generate plenty of discussion as a result. But he probably wasn’t expecting Andre 3000 to reach out to him and offer to send him a gift for, as he puts it, “telling the truth.” Funches explained the reasoning behind his viral tweet, analyzed the reaction to it, and revealed his correspondence with the Outkast member during last night’s episode of The Late Late Show with James Corden.

“What prompted me to write it was just my love of OutKast,” he recalled. “It’s not hatred to the Beatles — I think the Beatles are amazing.” However, he said, “Some of the things that I grew up with and that I value aren’t necessarily given the same amount of worth… They moved the entire rap industry to Atlanta, how they changed it from rapping about drugs to rapping about art, rapping about life. Erykah Badu over Yoko Ono, all day!”

Funches also said that Andre did reach out, joking that the always unconventional rapper sent him an owl — as in Harry Potter — letting him know the gift was on the way. “I hope it’s a handmade flute doesn’t work,” he giggled.

You can watch Ron’s interview with James Corden above.

Why The Beatles Keep Getting Compared To Hip-Hop Artists Like Migos And Outkast

Despite hailing from Liverpool in the United Kingdom, an ocean away from the birthplace of rock and roll, The Beatles’ importance in the influence of American popular music can not be understated. But why do they keep getting compared to American rap groups from Atlanta, namely Migos and Outkast? In a recurring social media gag, every so often some prominent figure on Twitter declares a modern rap group “bigger” or “better” than The Beatles, setting off another round of vigorous and — it must be stated — mostly irreverent, tongue-in-cheek debate.

On one side are The Beatles’ defenders — those who believe that even feigning to compare them to newer acts, across genres, generations, and geography, amounts to nothing less than musical sacrilege. On the other, a mass of folks who seem delighted to do nothing more than joyfully impugn the legacy of the most successful rock band of all time by arguing for one group whose biggest breakout involved the repetitious invoking of a luxury design house and another whose most mainstream hit was accompanied by a video that parodied the height of Beatlemania.

Caught in between them are bewildered music fans who can’t help but wonder how the artists being compared even relate to each other and why either side seems so intent on making such a fuss over the others’ opinions. Some may wonder how Migos, barely a decade into their career, or Outkast, more than a decade past their golden years as a respected rap duo, even merit discussion alongside the act that held more Billboard records than any other until very recently. However, the answer is not so simple as comparing plaques, and the motivations of both sides are more complex than they appear.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think anyone takes these declarations all that seriously — and if they do, that’s their prerogative. Art is subjective; one person’s most successful rock band of all time is Quincy Jones’ pick for “worst musicians in the world.” For someone whose tastes run more toward blasting bass-heavy, 808-ridden triplet raps through the streets of downtown Atlanta than dropping the needle on the psychedelic meditations of a groovy quartet of shaggy-haired British misfits, making the claims that “Stir Fry” is greater than “Penny Lane” might seem pretty reasonable.

But for an elder generation who grew up with The Beatles, it’s a slap in the face — which is part of the fun for their disruptive detractors. For many of hip-hop’s formative years, rock-chauvinist music critics and fans denied the nascent movement’s musicality, value, and validity as an art form. Fans of rap endured sneering comments that dubbed rap “crap” (haha, so clever) and demeaned the poetry in its often blunt, plainspoken lyrics. Used to lofty, esoteric references to walruses and thinly veiled references to the wonders of LSD — you know damn well that’s what that song is about — rap’s tendency to drive home its points with the force of a nail gun rubbed them the wrong way.

By the same token, their criticisms got under rap fans’ skin, but all rap fans could do was rankle privately and defend the value of the form publicly, through multiple waves of indecency witchhunts led by the likes of Barbara Bush all the way up to Bill O’Reilly. Even today, Cardi B has to defend herself from the Tucker Carlsons of the world almost weekly. But now that rappers like Cardi and Migos are the best-selling acts in the country (an easily quantified claim to make thanks to the advent of streaming), their legitimacy is already assured and all that’s left is to return four decades’ worth of grief one trollish tweet at a time.

Furthermore, The Beatles are no longer a group that defines youth culture. Where once they shocked the world, sent teen girls into hysterical paroxysms, and made concerned mothers clutch their pearls even as they tapped their feet, they’re beyond tame by today’s standards — they’re lame. Furthermore, The Beatles’ prime was a long time ago. We’re in an era where most news items, hit singles, and viral discoveries have a shelf life of about 18 months. For younger millennials and Generation Z, a group that had their own “mania” 50 years ago and no new hits in the last 30 would barely register against the non-stop deluge of new content we’re asked to consume just to keep up these days.

And while The Beatles ruled radio in their day, the average 13-year-old today has probably never even willingly turned one on for their own benefit — if they even know what radios are (again, thanks to the advent of streaming). Many can likely only name a handful of songs — songs that, to them, probably sound how the tunes Captain America was listening to sound to elder millennials and Generation X. It’s their grandparents’ music, and while grandparents can be cool, their taste usually isn’t. So while older hip-hop heads — and it’s usually members of the aforementioned “X-ennial” generation who actually post the tweets in the first place (see: Ron Funches and Donald Glover) — plot to torment their own elders as a means of resistance and revenge for all the pestering of their formative years, for the zoomers, it’s a way to assert their own tastes and identities, as well as indulging in their generations’ unique taste for digital chaos (see: Lil Nas X).

However, that alliance is mostly one of convenience and circumstance and there are already signs of it fracturing. Consider this: Outkast’s last major hit came out almost 20 years ago. That’s just long enough to be retro — which is only a few more years away from being terminally uncool. Time marches on, and Father Time remains undefeated. So while Migos and Outkast may be better than The Beatles today, tomorrow, they might just be inferior to the Polo Gs and Lil Nas Xs of the world. And The Beatles? Well, you know what they say: Everything old is new again. Maybe in another 10 years, they’ll be back in fashion after some 17-year-old samples “Hey Jude.”

People On Twitter Are Debating Whether Outkast Is Better Than The Beatles

For the past several decades, The Beatles have been considered one of the greatest rock bands in existence and the measuring stick by which many other popular music acts are measured. In recent years, however, music fans on Twitter have taken to trolling The Beatles’ legacy (and fans) by suggesting that newer groups — particularly ones in hip-hop, such as Migos — are more impactful and popular. The latest group to receive this lofty assessment is Outkast, who for some reason have been injected into the debate on Twitter today, prompting a trending topic and a fiery debate between fans.

While one might expect the division to be intergenerational or split between fans of each genre, many of the most prominent tweets center on longstanding appropriation accusations against The Beatles, with commentators pointing out the influence the band gleaned from existing Black rock and blues artists who came before them. A common argument, the sentiment was even echoed a few years back by no less an authority than Quincy Jones, who called The Beatles “the worst musicians in the world” in an interview with Vulture. Even Eve 6 got involved, using the opportunity to take a wild shot at Radiohead.

Meanwhile, Outkast is being lauded for their innovations to hip-hop music (conveniently overlooking the stylistic quirks they inherited from funk fixtures like P-Funk) and their impact on younger artists (despite receiving a mostly confused reception when they played Coachella in 2014 and many younger music fans being completely unaware of their existence). These quibbles and facts aren’t getting in the way of the spirited, hilarious debate, which you can see more of below.