The Jerusalem Post
McCartney/Rubin series presents Beatles history in a new light
Paul McCartney sits down for a rare interview with producer Rick Rubin in McCartney 3,2,1.
Paul McCartney should be sick of telling Beatles stories. I know I’m tired of hearing them – or so I thought.
McCartney 3,2,1, out Friday on Hulu, shows how you can jazz up the most worn-out oldies by taking an innovative approach.
The six episodes, each 30 minutes long, feature a few familiar tales: the origins of the alias Sgt. Pepper, the true inspiration behind “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,” being bummed out when the band broke up.
But interviewer Rick Rubin is much more interested in the long and winding road to musical excellence than pop-culture trivia.
Rubin, known for producing albums for everyone from LL Cool J to Johnny Cash, encourages the singer to dissect his or her greatest hits, a task made easier by using a mixing board to isolate tracks.
The pair go deep on Ringo Starr’s militant-style drumming on “Get Back,” McCartney’s bass playing on “Something” and those impossible high notes from the piccolo trumpet on “Penny Lane.”
One of the best anecdotes has to do with how McCartney had to inform John Lennon that his original version of “Come Together” sounded too much like Chuck Berry’s “You Can’t Catch Me,” forcing the duo to take a slower, swampier approach to their
Abbey Road opener.
McCartney gives props to other influential artists, some of whom may be new names to viewers. He talks about being dazzled by Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti while Wings was recording Band on the Run in Nigeria.
He shares how John Cage was on his mind when
they were assembling “A Day in the Life.” There’s also a fitting tribute to the Everly Brothers, whom the lads mimicked in their harmonies on “Baby’s in Black.” If you’re already salivating, you’re not alone. Rubin serves as the ultimate fanboy, interjecting the conversation with “amazing” and “wonderful,” his long beard draping over the piano as he gazes at McCartney with goo-goo eyes. But his enthusiasm is an effective tool. Playing to an artist’s ego rarely backfires.
“I wish I had had you in school,” McCartney says as he chomps on gum and wigs out as Rubin cranks up “Back in the USSR.”
McCartney 3,2,1 isn’t just the latest example of Beatlemania. It’s a tribute to the hard work that goes into making silly love songs.
Turns out, it isn’t silly at all. (StarTribune/TNS)