Half-century old, unseen footage shows Beatles writing and recording in new documentary "Get Back"

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Hours of unseen footage of the Beatles' writing and recording are being released after 50 years, part of Peter Jackson's new documentary, "Get Back."
It's January 1969, and the Beatles are unrecognizable from the wide-eyed mop-tops who appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show" just five years prior. Their popularity is unrivalled. They've stopped touring and fame is exacting its price. Now comes a self-imposed stress: they've given themselves three weeks to record 14 songs that they'll play to a live audience, all the while, trailed by cameras. The astonishingly intimate footage was recently extracted from a London vault and placed in the capable hands of filmmaker Peter Jackson. His resulting three-part documentary series, "Get Back," drops Thanksgiving weekend on Disney Plus. It adds considerable light and joy to what was always considered to be the Beatles' darkest period. You might say Jackson took a sad song, and well, you know the rest.

Often as we hear bands play; we rarely glimpse bands at work, much less the biggest band that ever was. Well, teleport to 1969, and meet the Beatles.

Jon Wertheim: You're the first person to look at this with fresh eyes in years and years. What was it like watching this footage?

Peter Jackson: It was fascinating. And after 50 years, you'd have every right to believe that everything with The Beatles had been talked about. Every bit of fil-- film had been seen, every bit of music had been heard, that there was no more surprises with The Beatles.

Peter Jackson

From his base in New Zealand, director Peter Jackson took a break from directing big-budget studio films like "Lord of the Rings" and has spent the last four years hanging out with John, Paul, George and Ringo.

Peter Jackson: Suddenly, bang, out of nowhere comes this incredible treasure trove of fly on the wall material 52 years later. It still blows my mind. It actually honestly still blows my mind.

Paul McCartney: So how about, how about changing around these two, and when you sing "Don't you know it's going to last," we sing, "it's a love that has no past."

Jon Wertheim: So give us some historical context here.…
Jon Jon
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