Paul McCartney’s six-part doc for Hulu, “McCartney 3,2,1”, is truly stunning. As I went through it, I thought the more you learn, the less you know, the more questions you have. I got the feeling Rick Rubin was feeling that too. Six segments are not enough. Hope there are more.
This is my third piece in this series. Some things popped up during segments 3 through 6. First, Paul tells Rubin which of the more than 250 Beatles songs, the favorites he has written. It is not surprising, it is “Yesterday”, which came to him in a dream and he still does not come back after 60 years.
The other favorite of his own songs, he says, is “Here, There and Everywhere”. The reason seems to be that John Lennon modestly praised the song upon the album’s release, privately conceding to Paul that it was essentially “good enough”. You see McCartney never forgot that moment.
There is an interesting discussion in segment four of “Come Together,” a song generally considered to be a creation of Lennon. The song has a fragmentary background. Paul tells Rubin that when John brought it in and sang it to him, Paul said, “It’s a Chuck Berry song.” It was indeed very close to “You Can’t Catch Me” by Berry, with the lyrics on Flattop.
So McCartney says he corrected it, he slowed it down, added his bass and reworked it to give it a “swampy feel”. Berry’s lawyers always sued, and Lennon settled by recording four Berry songs on subsequent solo albums. But “Come Together” turns out to be a true Lennon & McCartney collaboration.
Paul also remembers in Segment 4 that although George Harrison wrote and sang “Taxman”, Paul played the guitar solo. He pissed off George so much by showing him how it should be done, Paul recalls, that George said to him, “Why don’t you do it? “
Rubin wonders if this has happened often. In a very frank moment, Paul admits that he was listening to a presentation by a friend of his “And then I“ but ”them” – as in But it would be better that way. “And they would hate me for that,” he observes sheepishly. But you know, McCartney isn’t being watched here for a change. He knows he’s the boss. And he doesn’t apologize for it.