Elvis Costello Reveals Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr’s Reaction to Beatles Documentary ‘Get Back’

by Allison Hambrick

Musician Elvis Costello opened up about attending the London premiere of Get Back along with Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. In an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the singer discussed what it was like to see the former bandmates watch the the documentary.

“Paul McCartney–he actually introduced the film,” Costello said. “And I’ve got to tell you, you know, most of us that have watched, that have seen it on Disney, whatever that is. It’s on a relatively small screen, or whatever size your tv is. This was in an IMAX theater in the center of London. So you know, this was some very big Ringo. This was Ringo Max up there.”

“It was a sort of edited version for the screen,” he continued. “So [director] Peter Jackson spoke about the process of editing and restoring the film. I did notice he was holding a different Beatle guitar every time they cut to him. He would be holding a Hoffman bass like Paul played. Then we watched one of the days of the footage and most of the rooftop concert. So it was pretty thrilling.”

Additionally, Costello had the “good fortune” of attending the after party where he got to interact not only with the former Beatles and their families.

“You know, the one thing I noticed at the party were, of course, Paul’s daughter, Mary, and Dhani Harrison, George’s son, and Giles Martin, son of George Martin,” Costello explained. “I thought how very beautiful for them to see their parents as young people, including The Beatles. I was like nine years old when The Beatles hit. I was in their fan club. So for me it was very strange to be at a party with Paul McCartney and his family.”

Lifelong Beatles Fan Elvis Costello Talks Collaborating with McCartney

After discussing the premiere of Get Back, Costello explained the unusual early interaction he had with one of The Beatles.

“For me, I’m somebody who was lucky enough to get to work with Paul,” Costello stated. “I mean, I met that family when his son ran into my studio in 1982, pursued by his elder sister, pursued by his elder elder sister, pursued by his mother. Just like any mischievous kid who was at work with dad, he invaded our studio. And I was like ‘who’s that little blond kid?’ That’s James McCartney, that’s Stella McCartney, that’s Mary McCartney, and this is Linda McCartney. A very bizarre moment, but I was 26, 27 when that happened, so I’m not 26 now–I’m 36.”

In addition, the musician revealed the one thing McCartney asked of him before they collaborated: not to come in acting like a super fan of The Beatles.

“The one thing I had to keep in my mind is I was me, and he asked me,” Costello added. “He didn’t want me to turn up in short trousers and talk about being a fan of The Beatles when I was a little kid. He wanted me to be 33, or whatever age I was when we wrote these 15 songs. And he was very generous to me. We sat across from each other and we played music. I dare say there are some similarities to the way we wrote those song, but we didn’t write ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand.’ Because those guys were teenaged friends who went to outer space on a mission that we all get to see the end of in Get Back. “

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