Drumming legend, Ringo Starr is anxiously awaiting the final instalment of Peter Jackson’s six-hour documentary, The Beatles: Get Back. The three-part series from the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit director details the group’s Let It Be recording sessions.
Speaking during a virtual press conference, promoting his new EP, Change The World, Ringo told reporters that “We’re still hanging out. Peter’s still doing it. He’s locked down in New Zealand because of the pandemic. Now the documentary is … a little longer now. It’s great. Peter Jackson is our hero. He’s done a great job. I love it, but I’m in it, of course, so six hours is never enough.”
Ringo told reporters of Ultimate Classic Rock that Jackson “took control” of the documentary, “and we thank him from the bottom of our heart”. The Beatles skinman calls the documentary a “six-hour masterpiece” as there are “so many moments in the whole documentary, in the whole making. We keep looking around the corner for the hobbits.”
Although Get Back is still in the making, Ringo has seen enough from 55 hours of unused Let It Be footage to get excited. “Peter would come to L.A., bring me stuff to show on his iPhone: ‘Look, we found this!’ We’re laughing, fooling around. It’s great.”
In particular, Ringo is looking forward to the reinvention of the depressing 1969 Let It Be sessions into something more representative of what happened during that nearly monthlong process.
“I was always moaning about the original,” Ringo explains. “There’s no real joy in it. [Get Back]’s got the start, the middle, the finish. The start is very slow, and then we get into it, and then we’re at it. Then we’re out. I think everyone will enjoy it because you’ll see this band work really hard. We went through emotional ups and downs and get to where we got every time, but that’s just how it was. Four guys in a room, you’re gonna have a few ups and downs.”
Ringo reveals that one of the surprising, funnier moments came when Paul McCartney and George Harrison had their legendary argument, resulting in the latter quitting the band for a few days.
“When we realized George left, we played like a heavy metal band,” Ringo jokes. “It was so, like, rawr, rawr, rawr. … Our reaction to it was, ‘Get this shit out!’ I love that. That’s just us being us. And we did have a girl singer [Yoko Ono] at the time.
“We had ups and downs, but even around all that – which you’ll see with the Peter Jackson edit – we were having fun, which [Let It Be] never showed, joy and fooling around and shouting at each other. It’s what four guys do. I keep saying that: four guys in a room, there’s a lot of joy.”
There are many memorable moments for fans to look back on, although there is one which excites many in particular. The Beatles’ legendary, final live performance on the rooftop of Apple Corps’ London Headquarters took place on January 30th, 1969, and will feature in the documentary in its entirety. Ringo, too, is excited to have that footage finally out at long last.
“From, whatever, January 5th to the end of January – within a month we’d made a record and we’d done a record,” he remembers. “On the roof was so great, and we played live again. There’s a great piece in the [footage] for me. Paul says, ‘Who wants to play live?’ and you can hear me in the background going, ‘I do.’ And we did.
“Always the Beatles, we were going to Turkey and somewhere, or we’re going up Everest or we’ll be in a desert, Hawaii, we’ll go to the volcano. Sod it – ‘Let’s just walk across the road’ or ‘Let’s do it on the roof!’ And that’s what we did, and it’s great. The police played a huge part – not that they did anything, but they were moaning at us. It looks really silly in the film.”
You can check out The Beatles: Get Back documentary as it premiers on Disney+ on November 25th. A follow-on book will also come, with Get Back releasing on October 12th, with Let It Be special anniversary editions and box set On October 15th.