One of the most incredible moments in The Beatles: Get Back comes about an hour into the first episode when Paul McCartney sits down early one morning and basically writes “Get Back” in front of George Harrison and Ringo Starr.
“Everything you need to know about creativity is in that moment,” Judd Apatow wrote in a tweet. “He is loose. He is open. In flow. Trusting himself. Willing to take chances. Willing to explore in a way that is not self conscious. He opens himself up to creative inspiration — then slowly it comes.”
The Beatles played “Get Back” four times during their legendary rooftop performance at the end of the movie, though the last one was cut short by the police. That means it was the final song the group ever played together in public. And even though Paul McCartney broke out several Beatles songs during his tours with Wings in the Seventies, including “Yesterday,” “Lady Madonna,” “The Long and Winding Road,” “Blackbird,” and “The Fool on the Hill,” he never resurrected “Get Back.”
It wasn’t until the 1986 Prince’s Trust Rock Gala at London’s Wembley Arena that he got back to “Get Back.” It was the grand finale of the charity show, and he was joined on the song by Tina Turner, Elton John, Phil Collins, Eric Clapton, Bryan Adams, Paul Young, Midge Ure, and many other performers from the evening. And if you pause this video at the 2:55 mark, you can even see Princess Diana enthusiastically clapping along while Prince Charles gently sways his arms and snaps his fingers.
The British authorities stopped the Beatles from playing “Get Back” in 1969, and 17 years later McCartney played it for the future king. This time around, nobody pulled the plug.
It wasn’t until 2012 that McCartney was able to re-live the original “Get Back” experience when his guest appearance with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band in London’s Hyde Park went past curfew, and organizers killed the sound before they could finish “I Saw Her Standing There.” A lot of outrage followed, but for McCartney it must have just been a weird case of déjà vu.