Nothing would get done if Paul weren’t there. But it’s a fine line, because he’s irritating. also – Ringo, in my opinion, has deep deep reservoirs of patience. I don’t know how he go through some of those days.
In this “prepping for a no overdubs, pure live performance” setting, the studio doesn’t matter. And control over studio production was how Paul exerted an increasing authority over the Beatles. “Let’s work on this more together” de facto meant “let’s give me, Paul, greater influence over the proceedings.” Yet without his studio expertise as a Williamsonian trump card, Paul has to be more of a pain in the ass to induce effort and focus from the others.
“I’m scared of me being the boss, and I kind of have been for a couple of years,” or something like that, is what Paul says. “I know it’s right, and you know it’s right” comes shortly thereafter (remember this?).
“Whatever it is that will please you, I will do it” responds George. John in turn mutters something about maybe they should improvise the whole thing.
George Martin is rendered irrelevant, due to the studio production being omitted, and mostly he stands around and looks like a guy who used to do ads for bad British cars in the 1960s.
Two highlights are Paul singing a mock version of “Gimme’ Some Truth,” and John singing a mock version of “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.” Doesn’t the film show it was actually George who broke up the Beatles? (Or Ringo in 1968?) Doesn’t the person who leaves first split up the relationship?
What is quiet Yoko thinking the whole time?
And from Dave Bueche:
- It’s surprising to see them digging around for material. You’d think they would have had a lineup of songs before they started the project.
- Twickenham [the studio] seems like a drag. You can tell they don’t love it either. It’s big and cavernous and a few colored lights doesn’t change that.
- There’s a certain sad nostalgia in them playing all the old standards they learned in Germany and Liverpool. Like they know this the end and they’re sort of reliving the beginning one last time.
- Paul is clearly more invested than the others. George seems like he’s trying to just learn the songs, do his bit, same with Ringo. John seems like he’s a good sport, but other than Don’t Let Me Down – he seems to be going through the motions.
- It’s fun seeing them cover Dylan and other contemporaries.
The reviews are all “oh, this shows the Beatles loved working together until the very end.” That’s a pretty superficial read of the material. To me, Get Back is much more about “how the main value adders control small groups in a somewhat tyrannical and mostly efficient manner, and why this isn’t always stable.” Mancur Olson remains underrated.
“All Things Must Pass” just wasn’t that good a song, and it would have been worse as a Beatles song.