Monday, April 15, 2024

McCartney Hulu Doc: A New Song, An Unreleased Beatles Song, Personal Motto: “Forge ahead constantly…in music and in life”


Part 2 of the Hulu documentary about Paul McCartney is another very satisfying 30 minutes executive produced by Rick Rubin.

It’s as if someone gave Paul a shot of something called Keep Talking. He’s never been so open, voluble, or revealing.

The segment begins with McCartney, one of the greatest composers of all time, conceding that other musicians are shocked he can’t read or write music. Every time he composes something it has to be taped. In the early days, he and John Lennon, he says, had to write “memorable music,” meaning they had to remember what they’d done. They wrote all those classic, complicated songs that way! It’s mind boggling.

There are also a couple of clips from the “Let it Be” archives. This means Paul is actually scooping Peter Jackson’s “Get Back” documentary, coming in November. There’s a full on version of “Let it Be” with Billy Preston on the Hammond organ, and a gorgeous acoustic solo take of “Blackbird” from Paul.

I don’t know if the next episodes address this, but you would almost think Paul is on some spectrum of pure genius. There’s a genuine innocence about his explanations for how all these songs happened. He sits down at the piano and plays a bit of a new song, called “Life is Hard,” and Rubin says to him, the beauty of it is that it sounds like it always existed but was never actually created. You can hear McCartney’s musical fingerprints all over it, it’s lovely. And here it is. It might be from Paul’s work on the “It’s a Wonderful Life” Broadway show.

Paul also offers his personal motto, which makes sense looking at his life: “Forge ahead constantly…in music and in life.” He lost his mother at age 14, he lost Linda, the love of his life; John was murdered, George died tragically, the Beatles broke up and Paul launched right into a solo career. That is his motto, alright.

There’s a lot more in segment 2: dissections of “Band on the Run,” “Eleanor Rigby,” “Penny Lane.” Paul plays a little “Lady Madonna” and demonstrates his “other” voice. He talks about Bach’s influence on the Beatles, and how seeing Fela Kuti in Lagos while recording “Band on the Run” left a deep impression. After this, getting Fela Kuti into the Rock Hall shouldn’t be too hard. I would think Paul would the induction speech.

Getting back to the first installment of ‘McCartney 3,2,1″: Paul talks about and plays a song he and George Harrison wrote when they met called “Thinking about Linking.” The title came from a billboard for a furniture store. It seems like it’s an unknown Beatles song. It’s unreleased, but not unknown. There is actually a bootleg recording of it on YouTube. (Of course.) I present it to you here.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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