Beatles, Wings and more in ‘McCartney 3, 2, 1’ | lifestyle


Whether you love them, loathe them, or have no opinion, it is impossible to deny the Beatles’ influence on 20th century pop music. More than 50 years later, Paul McCartney, one of the band’s leading songwriters and bassists, can still sell out a stadium and get everyone to sing along to “Hey Jude”.

In “McCartney 3, 2, 1,” a new documentary series about Hulu, producer Rick Rubin and McCartney go back to some of the most memorable and influential songs in his group and his group and discuss not just what happened in the songwriting and recording process, but go a little deeper into the personal feelings behind one of the most popular rock’n’roll stars.

Filmed in a minimalist studio in stark black and white in a minimalist studio, the Rubin and McCartney interviews force the viewer to focus on the stories and the music, which not enough music documentaries do.

At first, this three-hour walk back in time is a little strange. Rubin starts playing a Beatles song from the soundboard and McCartney starts humming or pretending to strum his bass. But after 30 seconds he says, “I remember John thinking this was fun because …” and McCartney begins to tell a story that adds so much more depth to a song I already love.

There is still a bit of the classic Talking Head documentary interview style and there are plenty of clips from the 1960s and 70s showing the Beatles or Wings or Solo McCartney, but the focus on the here and now guides the viewer for truly listening to the songs and McCartney stories that relate to them.

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Since the series doesn’t follow any particular chronological order – starting with the earliest Beatles hits and ending with McCartney’s latest solo work – every song the two end up talking about comes as a surprise. You can switch from “A Day in the Life” to “Live and Let Die” to “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and it doesn’t feel strange, especially since McCartney seems as pleasantly surprised as the viewer and eager about to speak a memory that has resurfaced.

Since this is more than three hours from pretty much just McCartney, this probably isn’t a documentary for someone who isn’t a fan of their work or the Beatles. But even if you’re an occasional or casual listener of this era of pop music, the real value in Rubin and McCartney’s conversations lies in the history and culture that surround all of these songs. And for everyone who is a musician or has a little knowledge of music theory, there is also a gold mine of applied music mechanics, which the Beatle explains in an easy-to-understand way on the piano.

As the second-longest and most successful career of the four Beatles, it’s easy to see why McCartney would get his own documentary series like this, in which Rubin and the viewer feel like teenage fans again, and McCartney paint this musical genius on the right notes to write some of our favorite songs.

But on the other side of these conversations is McCartney, who 50 years later is the Beatles’ biggest fan. Whether he was humiliated in his 70s or rediscovered his love for that time, McCartney praises and praises the other three Beatles more than himself. For the greatest Beatles fans, some of the stories he tells are stories we already have Heard a dozen times, and probably ones he’s told a hundred times before, but that twinkle in his eyes and his crooked grin tell me he’s enjoying it now more than decades ago.

Be it the technical work of hammering out the songs in the recording sessions, the influence of the early 1950s rock musicians, or even how Ringo would have funny ringo isms that turn into “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Tomorrow Never Knows”, McCartney loves his job and it makes it so much easier to love him for it. The Beatles are my all-time favorite artists, and Paul is my favorite Beatle, and McCartney 3, 2, 1 cements it even more.