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.