McCartney 3-2-1

McCartney 3,2,1 is two music nerds geeking out over Beatles tracks, except one of them actually wrote the songs.

Paul McCartney spills secrets like he’s chatting at the pub.

Rick Rubin plays the role of wide-eyed fanboy and expert producer rolled into one, coaxing stories out of Macca (didn’t you know that’s McCartney’s nickname?) that even die-hard fans haven’t heard before.

Trailer for “McCartney 3-2-1”

Watch “McCartney 3-2-1”

I watched “McCartney 3-2-1” on Hulu.

I notice that some you can watch a majority of the docuseries on YouTube (minus the copyrighted works).

Here are 2 free links I found:

You can find the latest streaming options at (though right now I only see Hulu as the option).


  • My Rating: 97/100
  • IMDB Rating: 8.7/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes Ratings: 93/100 (Users); 97/100 (Critics)

Release Date: July 16, 2021

Review of “McCartney 3-2-1”

“McCartney 3,2,1” is a musical odyssey through the mind of a legend.

This doc series, directed by Zachary Heinzerling, spans six episodes of 27-31 minutes each. It’s an intimate conversation between Paul McCartney and producer Rick Rubin.

Rubin teases out a ton of McCartney’s gems. And they cover McCartney’s 3 key bands: The Beatles, Wings and Paul McCartney the solo artist.

The 6 Episodes

Here’s a breakdown of the episodes:

  1. These Things Bring You Together”: McCartney’s early years and friendships with John Lennon and George Harrison.
  2. “The Notes that Like Each Other“: Musical influences from Bach to Fela Kuti.
  3. “The People We Loved Were Loving Us”: Inspirations and experiences in India.
  4. “Like Professors in a Laboratory”: The Beatles’ innovative musical techniques.
  5. “Couldn’t You Play it Straighter?”: Evolution of McCartney’s band sounds.
  6. “The Long and Winding Road”: McCartney’s songwriting journey and partnership with Lennon.

The doc’s setting is sparse but effective. McCartney and Rubin sit before a mixing board, isolating tracks and dissecting songs.

Some highlights:

The Beatles Early Days

The series explores the band’s early motivations.

McCartney says the first original songs were written to stand out in Liverpool’s cover-heavy scene.

That’s a great reminder for any band — you gotta get out of your comfort zone (in this case easy cover tunes) and stand out! Write and play your own sh!t!

McCartney acknowledges the band’s Celtic sound influence.

He quips, “They say that Liverpool is the capital of Ireland.”

McCartney Breaks Down Songs with Origin Stories

Rubin is both a music expert and a huge Beatles fan.

So it’s fun to watch him probe Sir Paul on Beatles hits.

We learn the famous opening chord of “A Hard Day’s Night” was played on George Harrison’s 12-string Rickenbacker. It’s a revelation that challenges long-held assumptions about the band’s sound.

McCartney reveals “Let It Be” was inspired by a dream about his late mother. It’s a poignant moment that humanizes the music icon.

We’re also treated to the origin story of “Yesterday”.

McCartney woke with the melody in his head, convinced he’d plagiarized it. He played it for Lennon and producer George Martin before realizing it was original.

“Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” was inspired by Julian Lennon’s school drawing. John Lennon thought it was “a good name for a song”.

McCartney recalls how “Dear Prudence” was written for Mia Farrow’s sister, who wouldn’t leave her chalet. It’s a vivid snapshot of a pivotal moment in Beatles history.

Creative Process

The series dives into the Beatles’ songwriting process. McCartney attributes much of it to experimenting with basic rock ‘n’ roll piano chords around “middle C”.

McCartney says he often started with a bass line or a piano chord progression.

The “Abbey Road” medley.

McCartney, apparently tired of songs that actually end, decided to play musical Jenga with Abbey Road.

Paul McCartney, the musical maestro, decided to turn Abbey Road into rock’s first jigsaw puzzle.

He took a handful of song fragments, some no longer than a sneeze, and stitched them together like a Beatles-themed quilt.

This wasn’t just throwing leftovers in a pot; it was culinary genius with a guitar.

From “Golden Slumbers” to “The End,” the medley flows so smoother you’d think they were born that way.

And just when you think the ride’s over, “Her Majesty” pops up like an encore nobody asked for but everyone needed.

The Abbey Road medley is proof that sometimes, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, even when those parts are pretty darn great to begin with.


McCartney discusses how artists from Little Richard to The Everly Brothers shaped their sound. It’s a musical history lesson from a primary source.

Classical influences feature prominently. McCartney explains how they tried to achieve their sound by putting a beat to Bach’s music. “Eleanor Rigby” serves as a prime example of this fusion.

McCartney shares how George Martin’s classical music background influenced the Beatles’ recordings, particularly in songs like “Yesterday” and “Eleanor Rigby”

The doc reveals unexpected contributions to iconic songs.

The whispered French section in “Michelle” came from Ivan Vaughan, the friend who introduced McCartney to Lennon.

The series doesn’t ignore the band’s experimentation with drugs. McCartney discusses how it influenced their music, particularly during the “Sgt. Pepper” era.

Sound Engineering

McCartney demonstrates how he created the “seagull sound” in “Tomorrow Never Knows” using tape loops of distorted guitar.

We get insight into the Beatles’ studio innovations. McCartney talks about artificial double tracking (ADT) used at Abbey Road. He recalls George Martin enabling them to play pitches “only dogs can hear”.

And McCartney describes Spector’s “Wall of Sound” technique and how it affected the production of “Let It Be,” leading to some tension within the band

McCartney’s Instrument Playing

McCartney’s bass playing gets special attention. Rubin isolates the bassline in “Come Together”, highlighting its creativity. McCartney even recreates it live during the interview.

The doc showcases McCartney’s multi-instrumental talents.

We see him effortlessly switch between piano, guitar, and drums. It’s a testament to his musical versatility.

The doc doesn’t shy away from band tensions. McCartney talks about his strained relationship with Lennon in later years. He reflects on how it affected their songwriting partnership.

The doc doesn’t ignore McCartney’s post-Beatles collaborations. He discusses working with artists like Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder.

There’s discussion of the band’s business ventures. McCartney talks about Apple Corps and their other non-musical projects. It’s a look at the Beatles as cultural entrepreneurs.

The doc explores McCartney’s approach to melody. He often favored unconventional chord progressions and key changes. We see how this contributed to the Beatles’ unique sound.

The doc also touches on McCartney’s environmental and animal rights activism. We see how these causes have influenced his later work. It’s a look at the artist as a global citizen.

Throughout the series, McCartney’s humor shines through.”McCartney 3,2,1″ is an essential watch for any Beatles fan or music enthusiast.

Thanks for reading!

Rob Kelly, Chief Maniac, Daily Doc