McCartney 3,2,1 is a six-episode masterclass that is less biography about Paul McCartney and more of an intimate conversation.
You’ll learn new things about Paul McCartney and the Beatles over the course of this three-hour ticket to ride. Over the course of six episodes, The Beatles legend breaks down songs from throughout his career. Nothing is off limits from his time with the Beatles through the Wings and then some.
It’s kind of funny thinking about the mythical rivalry between The Beatles and The Beach Boys. A few weeks ago saw the world premiere of Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road. If you don’t know, the gist of the documentary features Brian Wilson in conversation with Jason Fine. Here we are witnessing McCartney in conversation with Rick Rubin over the course of three hours. All due respect to Brian Wilson but even when they aren’t even thinking about a rivalry, one manages to outdo the other! I honestly have no complaints except I only have one opportunity to watch this for the first time. Three hours is fine but The Beatles fan in me could watch this for an even longer period of time!
There’s at least one hysterical moment that takes place while listening to the two discussing “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” Honestly, you just have to watch it and see for yourself. There’s one point during the six episodes where McCartney mentions how he doesn’t have any regrets and forges ahead constantly in life. Are there things that The Beatles could have done better? I’m sure but he doesn’t have any regrets.
Every one of The Beatles gets a moment to stand out during the conversation. Both “Something” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” are discussed with regards to George Harrison. The latter saw a non-Beatle, Eric Clapton, in the recording studio to work on a song. It’s extremely fascinating to see them break the track down and listen to Clapton playing against Harrison and his guitar. Later on, it’s the Ringo Starr-sung “With a Little Help from my Friends.” This and “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” are two different songs but they always get sung together because of how the tracks are laid out. In another episode, McCartney shares what producer George Martin brought to the table. While there’s no shortage of material about John Lennon, he opens up about John in the final episode.
Another conversation discusses the James Bond theme, “Live and Let Die.” He read the book on a Saturday. By Sunday, he was in the studio talking with George Martin. The rest is history. There’s no shortage about “Band on the Run” (the song) and the process of recording the album, either.
When it comes to breaking down the music, there is minimal use of concert footage and promo videos. We’ll get still photos often but that’s about it. It works better this way especially when the photos and video are in color. I hate to say it but the color otherwise distracts from the black-and-white conversation, not that there’s anything wrong with that. That may be my only complaint but it’s minimal at best. I mean, we’re given the chance to listen to one of the greatest musicians to ever live on this planet! If he wants to talk about his craft and break it down, the only thing that matters is that I’m able to hear what he has to say (looking at you, air conditioning unit)!
McCartney 3,2,1 is one of the best things to air on the big or small screen this year. After this, it’ll be a long wait until The Beatles: Get Back launches this November on Disney+. We’re looking at nine combined hours and I’m not complaining. In the meantime, McCartney’s own book is due out later this year.
DIRECTOR: Zachary Heinzerling
FEATURING: Paul McCartney, Rick Rubin