“Get Back” by The Beatles
Some have described The Beatles’ “Get Back” a song that is pretty incomprehensible from a lyrical standpoint. And actually that appears to be just about spot on. That is to say that the song doesn’t seem to have any type of comprehensive or significant meaning.
But that is not to imply that it was conceptualized as so. Moreover, it is theoretically possible that Macca and the boys are speaking to a concept like transexuality.
And the reason we’re able to boldly make that latter postulation is based on two facts. First of all, the subject of the first part of this piece is a character named “Jojo”. Well Paul McCartney had clarified, in his own explanation, that said individual is actually “half-man and half-woman”.
Then in the second verse we have “sweet Loretta Martin” who “thought she was a woman, but she was another man”. So this track may well be centered on two characters who have gender identity issues or what have you.
“Get Back” is against Homosexuals?
Having said the above, we are not trying to argue that the vocalist telling Jo and Loretta to “get back” in the chorus is a message against homosexuals. Yes, in the name of retaining an open mind, we may say that it is theoretically possible that such may be the meaning of this song – one that other analysts never truly picked up on or considered.
But whereas The Beatles themselves were apparently all heterosexual, they weren’t known as being anti-gay per se. In fact the late Brian Epstein, who helped usher the Fab Four into superstardom, was in fact gay. And even though he was an in-the-closet homosexual, The Beatles knew of his true sexual orientation.
Rather, as far as the chorus goes Paul McCartney originally envisioned this as a protest song. And what it was meant to speak against was anti-immigration policies. Moreover, instead of lambasting such ideas forthrightly, Macca instead opted to parody those who support such laws by relaying the lyrics from their perspective. In other words, he was originally saying “get back” to said immigrants.
But this tune went through a number of changes before it was officially released, and as far as the verses of concerned, all allusions to immigration were lost. And that is why this song may seem like a hodgepodge piece to some, because the featured verses are not as originally intended in relation to the chorus.
Moreover, the intro and outro are basically ad-libbing. So when you combine all of these different factors, it does sound a lot like The Beatles were freestyling, to some extent, on this track.
So as far as a thesis sentiment is concerned, we’ll leave that hypothesis blank in this case and rather conclude, as others have, that “Get Back” is the equivalent of a reworked Beatles’ jam session.
The late Billy Preston (1946-2006), who plays piano on this tune, was one of only a handful of individuals who was close enough to the Fab Four that he was a considered a Fifth Beatle. Furthermore, out of all of the individuals who could legitimately have claimed to be the Fifth Beatle, apparently Preston was the only one out of the lot that was Black.
Also note that Billy is listed as a feature on this song. And that makes him the only outside artist who ever co-headlined a Beatles’ single. And his main contribution to “Get Back” was actually performing an impromptu solo (at the encouragement of The Beatles).
More Facts about “Get Back”
The recording of the album this track is featured on, 1970’s “Let It Be”, was around the time the Fab Four were truly coming apart. In fact said album is the last they put out as a unit. And George Harrison (1943-2001) brought Billy Preston onboard not only due to his musical talents but also so that The Beatles’ proper would not fight too much amongst themselves.
“Get Back” has been noted as the one Beatles’ track where “almost every moment of the song’s evolution has been extensively documented”.
This track was released on 8 May 1970 as the lead single from “Let It Be”. And it was put out primarily by a label the Fab Four themselves founded called Apple Records.
As seemingly always with Beatles’ singles, there are various versions of “Get Back” in circulation. For instance, there is the infamous “No Paskistanis Version” (1968). That was actually a working rendition of “Get Back” in which Paul McCartney, not yet having the song fully fleshed out, improvised by parodying Enoch Powell (1912-1998). Powell was a racist British politician who was also known for his anti-immigration stance.
Also, the single version of “Get Back” differs from that featured on “Let It Be”. However, both are from the same recorded take of the song.
“Get Back” was the first single that The Beatles dropped in stereo.
John Lennon has noted that there are similarities between “Get Back” and “Lady Madonna”. “Lady Madonna” is a song McCartney wrote that The Beatles released in 1968.
The Rooftop Version of Get Back
And then of course, true Beatlemaniacs are aware of what may be referred to as the Rooftop Version of Get Back. Actually the band performed this tune three times during what is known as The Beatles’ rooftop concert. That was a spontaneous performance they held, alongside Billy Preston, on 30 January 1969. The performance took place on top of the Apple Corps building.
It should be stated that Apple Corps is a corporation which was also founded by the Fab Four. It is actually the parent company of Apple Records. The headquarters of the business at the time was on a street in London known as Saville Row. And the official Rooftop Version, i.e. the one which went on to be featured on The Beatles 1996 Anthology 3 album, is actually the third recording of the three times the band performed the song that day.
And here’s a really interesting bit of trivia. The rooftop concert lasted for about 40 minutes. This was up until the police shut the event down, thus making that third rendering of “Get Back” the final song performed that day.
And it just so happened that said concert was also the last time The Beatles performed in public. Therefore, “Get Back” is actually the last song the Fab Four played as a unit in concert.
“The Beatles: Get Back”
And there are still other remixes and what have you of this song to be had that were released in subsequent years. For instance, a different take of “Get Back” is featured on a documentary named after this tune entitled “The Beatles: Get Back” that premiered on Disney+ in 2021. However, said documentary is not about the song itself but rather the making of the “Let It Be” album (whose working title was “Get Back”).
Additionally, McCartney is known to perform “Get Back” occasionally and most recently, as reported, in 2010. Also interesting to note is that Macca headlined the 2005 Super Bowl Halftime Show, and this song was part of his playlist.
In fact even though this is a Beatles’ song, considering that Macca both wrote and sang, it may be regarded by some as one of his personal tunes also. And the success of “Get Back” would undoubtedly be something he’s proud of.
Upon release, it topped music charts in over a dozen countries. This was back in the days when few songs achieved such success (since there were a lot fewer internationally recognized charts). And it also reached double-platinum status stateside as of 1999.
Not to sound misogynistic or anything, but usually when a group of brethren disband under inharmonious circumstances, as The Beatles did in mid-1970, a woman is involved in some way, shape or form.
And in the case of the Fab Four the most important individual in that regard would be Yoko Ono. John Lennon (1940-1980) married her in early 1969, just a couple of months after “Get Back” was recorded. For whatever reason Lennon began bringing Yoko inside actual Beatles’ studio sessions. This was something the other members of the band were apparently not cool with.
And Yoko is widely considered a scapegoat as far as what ultimately drove the group apart. But even if their disbanding was a lot more complicated than that, such tensions were still real, as Lennon was even convinced that a certain line in this song served as a subliminal diss from Paul McCartney to Yoko.
Who is Rosetta Martin?
By the looks of things, the “Rosetta Martin” referenced in this song is not a real person. And the intro in which she is first mentioned is adlibbing (as inspired by the Rooftop Version, as with the outro).
Who produced “Get Back”?
This track was produced by the aforementioned George Martin.