Among many musicians and music fans, Rick Rubin is revered, and rightly so. Having amassed a resume that would make any producer and record executive green with envy, Rubin’s producing discography alone reads like the soundtrack of our lives.
Yet, like so many incredibly famous people who’ve been in a similar position, Rick cannot help but do just a little bit of fanboying himself while in the presence of the GOAT: Sir Paul McCartney.
Now, the two masters of their craft, Mr. Rubin and Mr. McCartney, have teamed up for “McCartney 3 2 1,” a six-episode mini-series premiering exclusively on HULU tonight (7/16). The series, mostly shot in black-and-white, delves into Paul McCartney’s legendary art, doing so while the two stand together in what looks like a darkened studio somewhere, holding court over a multichannel mixing console. Throughout this fascinating series, they play multitrack session tapes from Beatles, Wings and McCartney albums and fiddle with the faders so we can either hear things that either didn’t make the final cut in the mixes (a vocal mistake Paul makes in the 3rd episode is particularly funny) or hear certain voices or instruments isolated, all while Paul provides the color commentary as the song plays. This, in and of itself, makes for some exciting viewing, and listening.
Of course if Paul is in the room there’s going to be a guitar and keyboard nearby and, at many points throughout this series, Paul will occasionally pick up the guitar, or walk over to the keyboard, to emphasize a particular point of the conversation he and Rick and having. As you would expect, those moments are pure “raise the hairs on the back of your neck” magic.
The special is replete with Paul’s insightful background stories, on everything from the making of these precious songs to stories about the group as they were growing up, and they are charming. Even though many of the anecdotes and inside bits that Paul shares have been told by him many, many times before (and he does get a few facts either slightly incorrect or downright wrong – who cares?!) he does share some golden nuggets from his memory basket that will have leave you blissful and enlightened.
Of course my only real complaint about this documentary is that is wasn’t long enough!
So I give 4 out of 5 ‘Wings’ for “McCartney 3 2 1,” an intimate look at the work of a genius. 👐 👐 👐 👐