Get Back - The Beatles

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"Get Back" - The Beatles (1970)

There are a few versions as to the origins of "Get Back":

In 1969 McCartney said in 1969 sitting in the studio and that they made it up out of thin air. “When we finished it we made it into a song to roller coast by.”

He also wrote in his 1997 autobiography that he composed it as a political statement as he was satirizing people who did not like immigrants to the UK and thought they should be sent back to their country of origin. Denying it was racist, he replied to a journalist’s implication that it was by saying:

“If there was any group that was not racist, it was the Beatles. All of our favourite people were always black.”

Ringo commented on the track:

“It’s a lovely little toe-tapper. If you can sit down when this one is on, then you are a stronger man than I am.”

In 1980 Lennon remarked how the song was “a better version than Lady Madonna. You know a pot-boiler rewrite.”

With an infectious forward momentum provided by Ringo’s relentless snare, this classic Beatle song has Paul contributing an unforgettable, near-falsetto vocal, while John concocts an extremely funky guitar solo. It exemplifies a kind of stylized Blues that is one of the lasting Beatles trademarks.

The story’s characters such as pot-smoking Jo-Jo and Sweet Loretta Martin, an enigmatic drag queen, are part of the song in its eccentric, one-dimensional storyline. As in many Beatle songs, they are both the object of description as well as the one who is addressed.

Professor Peggy Bowers writes:

“The Beatles shift seamlessly between these various roles. Jo Jo’s exploits are described in some detail in third person, then the chorus becomes an exhortation that directs him to look to his social roots for the one source of his restlessness. At times, it is unclear whether ‘get back’ is directed at Jo Jo, Loretta, or the song’s generalized listener. By moving Jo Jo from being an object to being directly addressed a narrative position formerly held by the audience, the song fosters a direct empathetic relationship, transporting the listener into Jo Jo’s shoes for a moment.”

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