The Beatles have announced the publication of The Beatles: Get Back, a new book to coincide with the release of Peter Jackson’s documentary film on the making of the Let It Be album.
The Beatles: Get Back, to be published by Callaway Arts & Entertainment on 31 August 2021, is the first official Beatles book since 1995’s Anthology. The 240-page book tells the story of the January 1969 sessions, including transcribed conversations from more than 120 hours of recorded conversation, edited by John Harris.
The 240-page book will also contain a foreword by Peter Jackson, introduction by Hanif Kureishi, and hundreds of previously unpublished photographs by Linda McCartney and Ethan Russell.
The Beatles: Get Back has actually been listed on Amazon since January 2020, with an initial publication date of 15 October 2020. This was changed to coincide with the 27 August 2021 theatrical release of Peter Jackson’s documentary, also titled The Beatles: Get Back, which was similarly delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
This is not, however, the first official Beatles book titled Get Back. In the UK, initial copies of Let It Be came as a box set, with a 168-page book containing stills and dialogue from the Let It Be film. The package retailed at ￡2 19s 11d, as opposed to the new book’s cover price of ￡40/$60.
Here’s the full press release for The Beatles: Get Back (2021):
Callaway Arts & Entertainment and Apple Corps Ltd. are pleased to announce plans for the global publication on August 31, 2021 of THE BEATLES: GET BACK, the first official standalone book to be released by The Beatles since international bestseller The Beatles Anthology. Beautifully designed and produced, the 240-page hardcover tells the story of The Beatles’ creation of their 1970 album, Let It Be, in their own words.
Presenting transcribed conversations drawn from over 120 recorded hours of the band’s studio sessions with hundreds of previously unpublished images, including photos by Ethan A. Russell and Linda McCartney, THE BEATLES: GET BACK also includes a foreword written by Peter Jackson and an introduction by Hanif Kureishi.
The book’s texts are edited by John Harris from original conversations between John, Paul, George and Ringo spanning three weeks of recording, culminating in The Beatles’ historic final rooftop concert. THE BEATLES: GET BACK will be a special and essential companion to director Peter Jackson’s “THE BEATLES: GET BACK” feature documentary film, set for theatrical release on August 27, 2021.
This intimate, riveting book invites us to travel back in time to January 1969, the beginning of The Beatles’ last year as a band. The BEATLES (‘The White Album’) is still at number one in the charts, but the ever-prolific foursome regroup in London for a new project, initially titled Get Back.
Over 21 days, first at Twickenham Film Studios and then at their own brand-new Apple Studios, with cameras and tape recorders documenting every day’s work, the band rehearse a huge number of songs, new and old, in preparation for what proves to be their final concert, which famously takes place on the rooftop of their own Apple Corps office building, bringing central London to a halt.
Legend now has it that these sessions were a grim time for a band falling apart, but, as acclaimed novelist Hanif Kureishi writes in his introduction to THE BEATLES: GET BACK, “In fact this was a productive time for them, when they created some of their best work. And it is here that we have the privilege of witnessing their early drafts, the mistakes, the drift and digressions, the boredom, the excitement, joyous jamming and sudden breakthroughs that led to the work we now know and admire.”
These sessions, which generated the Let It Be album and film released in May 1970, represent the only time in The Beatles’ career that they were filmed at such length while in the studio creating music. Simultaneously, they were exclusively photographed and their conversations recorded.
THE BEATLES: GET BACK is the band’s own definitive book documenting those sessions. It brings together enthralling transcripts of their candid conversations, edited by leading music writer John Harris, with hundreds of extraordinary images, most of them unpublished. The majority of the photographs are by two photographers who had special access to their sessions—Ethan A. Russell and Linda Eastman (who married Paul McCartney two months later).
Peter Jackson’s documentary film will reexamine the sessions using over 55 hours of unreleased original 16-millimetre footage filmed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg in 1969, now restored, and 120 hours of mostly unheard audio recordings. This sumptuous book also features many unseen high-resolution film frames from the same restored footage.
The Wylie Agency of New York and London will sell global co-edition rights to the book, and Ingram Publisher Services will be the distributor for U.S., Canada, UK, and Ireland.
THE BEATLES: GET BACK promises to be a must-have title, to be collected and treasured by generations of Beatles fans and music lovers worldwide.
Quote by Nicholas Callaway, Founder & Publisher, Callaway Arts & Entertainment:
The Beatles gave my generation their genius and their joy and they changed the world through their art. The creativity and inspiration expressed in this landmark book and in Peter Jackson’s film are as important and relevant today as ever.
THE BEATLES: GET BACK
Foreword by Peter Jackson
Introduction by Hanif Kureishi
Edited by John Harris from transcripts of the original sound recordings
Photographs by Ethan A. Russell and Linda McCartney
Peter Jackson is an Academy Award-winning director, producer and screenwriter. His films include The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies as well as the BAFTA-nominated World War One documentary, They Shall Not Grow Old. In 2018 he began work on a new documentary about The Beatles’ 1969 Let It Be sessions, making use of the 55 hours of footage that have never been seen.
Hanif Kureishi is the author of The Buddha of Suburbia, which won the Whitbread Prize for Best First Novel, The Black Album, Intimacy, The Last Word, The Nothing, and What Happened? His screenplay for My Beautiful Laundrette received an Oscar? nomination for Best Screenplay. Kureishi has been awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, the PEN Pinter Prize, and is a Commander of the Order of the British Empire. His work has been translated into thirty-six languages.
Ethan A. Russell is a multiple Grammy?-nominated photographer, director and author of four books. He is the only photographer to have shot covers for The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Who. He was invited by The Beatles to photograph the band’s recording sessions in January 1969 and his images adorn the sleeve of the Let It Be album.
Linda McCartney began her four-decade career as a prolific photographer chronicling the musical revolution of the 1960s. In 1967 she was voted U.S. Female Photographer of the Year and in 1968 she became the first female photographer to shoot the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. Between 1967 and 1969 Linda frequently photographed The Beatles, including the Get Back sessions, and she married Paul in March 1969. Her photographic work went on to focus on the themes of social commentary, domesticity and nature.
John Harris writes on politics, culture and music for The Guardian and Mojo magazine. His books include The Last Party, about the culture of the 1990s, and the definitive account of Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side Of The Moon. In 2018, he contributed an essay to the Anniversary Edition of The Beatles (‘White Album’).
Apple Corps Ltd. was founded by The Beatles in 1968 to oversee the band’s own creative and business interests. As part of its management of The Beatles’ entire intellectual property canon, the London- based company administers the legendary band’s recorded catalogue along with film, theatrical and book publishing rights.
Callaway Arts & Entertainment, headquartered in New York, brings the work of great artists to the world in books and all media platforms through meaningful content, advanced technology and fine design.
Foreword by PETER JACKSON
Introduction by HANIF KUREISHI
Edited by JOHN HARRIS from Transcripts of the Original Sound Recordings Featuring photography from ETHAN A. RUSSELL and LINDA McCARTNEY
Act One: Twickenham Film Studios
Act Two: Apple Studios
Act Three: The Rooftop
Afterword: What Happened Next
Size: 11 7/8 x 10 inches (302 x 254mm), Portrait 240 pages
Publication Date: August 31, 2021
US Price: $60.00
UK Price: ￡40.00
Trim size: 11 7/8 x 10 inches (302 x 254mm), Portrait
Page count: 240 pp plus endpapers
Photographs: 200+Available through Ingram Publisher Services.
Also on this day...
- 2010: Paul McCartney to reissue Band On The Run
- 1969: Maclen (Music) Limited begins legal proceedings against Northern Songs
- 1968: Recording: I Will, Glass Onion
- 1967: Recording, mixing: Your Mother Should Know, Blue Jay Way
- 1966: John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Brian Epstein meet in Paris
- 1964: Live: City Park Stadium, New Orleans
- 1963: Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr holiday in Greece
- 1963: John and Cynthia Lennon holiday in Paris
- 1963: George Harrison holidays with his sister Louise in Benton, IL, USA
- 1962: Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (evening)
- 1961: Live: Aintree Institute, Liverpool
- 1960: Live: Indra Club, Hamburg
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.