Hulu launched a new docu-series, "McCartney 3,2,1" last month which features Paul McCartney strolling down memory lane with none other than Rick Rubin. Through six episodes the two discuss music, creativity, and how The Beatles' music came to be.
I sat down a couple of weekends ago with the plan to knock this out in one sitting but didn't even come close. I found myself doing double-take after double-take and having to rewind to go back to make sure I heard what I thought McCartney was saying correctly. The anecdotes and stories he tells in this, about how Beatles songs came to life is hardcore music nerd porn. If you're into origin stories or love having your mind blown in regards to things you never would have given a second thought to than this documentary will be up there for you.
The beauty of the documentary is how simplistic it is.
It's shot in black and white.
In an empty soundstage.
McCartney uses only a guitar and piano to tell his stories while Rick Rubin has a 32 channel mixing board at his disposal to along with priceless master tracks from Beatles, Wings, and solo McCartney recordings.
Nothing is in chronological order so the doc has less of a formal, outlined documentary feel to it and more of a two buddies sitting around shooting the shit feel to it. Except that in this case its two of the greatest musical talents to ever walk the Earth.
Without going too far into spoilers or ruining the entire thing here were my favorite tidbits and takeaways. If you plan on watching and want to be totally in the dark the scroll down
- "All My Loving" is actually a country western song - the riff especially.
- The Beatles had to write memorable songs (to quote McCartney) "because you had to be able to remember them in your head when you were writing them", there we no recording devices you could sing into to remember stuff back then.
- Beach Boys' Pet Sounds was influenced by The Beatles, and that influenced the Beatles to top it, so they did with Sergeant Pepper
- How big a deal it was buying an album, you'd read all the liner notes word for word, examine the photos, so for Seargent Pepper they made the album artwork and fold-out big time. Like an entire production.
- They got the hook "Thinking of Linking" from a furniture commercial that played before movies Paul and Goerge used to go to as kids.
- George's friend Eric Clapton played on "Guitar Gently Weeps" as a favor to Eric. Nbd.
- "Penny Lane" came to Paul one night he stayed up watching a Bach concerto. He heard a “piccolo trumpet” and came up with the famous tune. George knew just the guy, David Mason, to play it because he knew everybody apparently.
- McCartney tells the story of “Yesterday,” and how it came to him wholly formed as if in a vision from a higher power.
- To hear how quickly John Lennon goes from cracking jokes about tempo to beginning one of the best songs on “Revolver” is worth watching the entire series.
- Rubin plays “And I Love Her,” for Paul, who seems to be listening with the same look of amazement on his face as everybody the first time they experienced it's pop perfection. “It was good, you know?” McCartney says, smiling.
- Robert Moog’s massive new (at the time) synthesizer was at Abbey Road Studios and they were one of the first groups to get to utilize it.
- Using a Moog to record parts of McCartney's Wings' album, as well as drumming and playing guitar cuz his bandmates didn’t feel like it
- The story of him being robbed in Lagos of his band on the run demo tapes at knifepoint is insane. Somebody either threw away a massive treasure trove or has those stashed away in a lockbox somewhere waiting to cash in on the black market
- McCartney learned the importance of closing a song with a bang from touring with Roy Orbison. “Roy ended songs in a big way — and the audience couldn’t do anything but clap.”
Somewhere over the years it became a "thing" to hate on The Beatles. Not just dislike them personally, but go out of the way to try to claim they're overrated. Exibit A - John Feitelberg
I'm anything but a Beatles hater, but that doesn't mean I'm gushing uncontrollably about the doc.
All in all the doc was good, not great. For die-hard Beatles fans you probably already know all these stories, but for the casual music fan or history buff it's an awesome ride while McCartney and Rubin stroll down memory lane. I think incorporating Rick Rubin into it more than they did would have taken this from "good" to "great". Not that he was nonexistent, they just didn't really use him to lean in more or dive deeper into the questions he asked. And if he did it got left on the cutting room floor. (They supposedly filmed 15 hours over two days which got condensed down to these six 1 hour episodes). For example, the part where Rubin isolates the drums and bassline on "Come Together" using the mixer while McCartney narrates is one of the best parts of the entire thing. Regardless, I still really enjoyed watching.
Here's what happened in the world of music the past week-
- Lady Gaga has announced a new Las Vegas residency, which begins in October on the site of her first Las Vegas residency at the Park MGM. Her next round of “Jazz & Piano” performances will kick off on October 14th and run through October 31st.
- Demi Lovato rang in her 29th birthday by dropping a special gift for fans: the music video for her song “Melon Cake.”
- Lorde has finally unveiled her long-awaited third album, Solar Power.
Arriving more than four years after the pop star’s 2017 sophomore studio offering Melodrama, the sun-drenched LP contains pre-release singles “Solar Power,” “Stoned at the Nail Salon,” and “Mood Ring.” Phoebe Bridgers, Robyn, and Clairo all provided backing vocals on the album.
- James Blake has dropped the aching new song “Life Is Not the Same.” The track appears on his upcoming album, Friends That Break Your Heart, which is due out September 10th.
- Charli XCX and Saweetie have dropped “Out Out,” their new collaboration with Jax Jones and Joel Corry
- Two weeks ago The Weeknd finally unveiled “Take My Breath,” the lead single from his upcoming album The Dawn that he’s been teasing for quite a while. Now, he’s back with an even groovier extended version of the hit song, an extended version
- Dua Lipa and Elton John have teamed up for their sparkling new single “Cold Heart (Pnau Remix).”
- Charlie Watts, longtime drummer of The Rolling Stones, died at the age of 80 on Tuesday.
According to his publicist, Watts “passed away peacefully in a London hospital earlier today surrounded by his family.”
“Charlie was a cherished husband, father and grandfather and also as a member of The Rolling Stones one of the greatest drummers of his generation,” Watts’ publicist, Bernard Doherty, said in a statement.
- The Killers released their seventh studio album, Pressure Machine. I'm still on the fence as to how I feel about it, which might be the worst thing you could say about an album. I don't hate it, it's just very underwhelming.
Arriving exactly one year after the release of Imploding the Mirage, the project spans 11 tracks and includes a collaboration with Phoebe Bridgers (“Runaway Horses”). Shawn Everett and Foxygen’s Jonathan Rado co-produced the full-length effort, a concept LP based on stories from Brandon Flowers’ residents of his Nephi, Utah hometown
- One of the best albums of the summer was released by Jungle. Their third LP, Loving in Stereo, is 45 minutes of sythn jazz disco funk. Just an incredible album that I highly recommend throwing on. Here's two great preview tracks
and here's the album -
- Aerosmith have inked a new deal with Universal Music Group, bringing the legendary band’s entire recorded output and personal archives under the umbrella of one label.
UMG announced the news today (August 23rd), offering details on the massive licensing deal. Universal is now the home of the band’s complete catalog. The label will also spearhead all future audio-visual projects and merchandising.
Perhaps most importantly for fans, the deal gives UMG access to the band’s “Vindaloo Vaults” — the personal archives of Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Tom Hamilton, Joey Kramer and Brad Whitford. They will each help curate their own collections, and the archival material will be used in future releases to offer up previously unreleased music, rare photos, video footage, artwork, journals, setlists, and other memorabilia.
- Black Label Society will return this fall with their 11th studio album, Doom Crew Inc. In advance of the LP’s November 26th release, frontman Zakk Wylde and company have unveiled the single “Set You Free.”
- Neil Young has announced the first volume in his upcoming series of bootleg recordings. The Neil Young Official Bootleg Series — Carnegie Hall 1970 is set to be released October 1st via Shaky Pictures/Reprise Records.
The 23-track collection captures the magic of the singer-songwriter’s near-mythic performance on the night of December 4th, 1970 — the first of two back-to-back shows at the legendary New York City venue. Throughout the evening, Young performed a stripped-back setlist of songs like “Down by the River,” “Cinnamon Girl,” and the then-newly unveiled title track to After the Goldrush. He also played early versions of numerous tracks which, up to that point, had yet to be released — or even recorded — including “Bad Fog of Loneliness,” “Old Man,” and “See the Sky About to Rain.”
- The Rolling Stones are celebrating the 40th anniversary of their excellent 1981 album Tattoo You with an expanded, deluxe reissue featuring previously unreleased tracks. The box set will come out October 22nd via Polydor/Interscope/UMe. To tide fans over until then, the band has just shared an unheard song from those recording sessions, dubbed “Living in the Heart of Love,”
- Ministry have unveiled a cover of The Stooges‘ “Search and Destroy” as the latest single from their upcoming album, Moral Hygiene.
- Grace McKagan, the daughter of Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan, is premiering the video for her new song, “One You Love”
- Iron Maiden have shared the new song “Stratego,” the second single from the forthcoming album Senjutsu
- At the 2021 Gathering of the Juggalos, Insane Clown Posse’s Violent J revealed that he is suffering from heart failure. But he isn’t hanging up his mic and makeup kit yet; J and Shaggy 2 Dope announced a massive 2022 “farewell tour.”
- On Monday night, Dead & Company played a concert at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts — AKA the site of the 1969 Woodstock festival. To celebrate the occasion, the group played the entirety of the Grateful Dead’s setlist from that iconic moment in history.
- A new album from Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats is on the way: The Future, the soul-rock groups first record since 2018’s Tearing at the Seams, is out November 5th via Stax Records. Rateliff and company have offered a preview with the lead single “Survivor.”
- Carlos Santana and Matchbox 20’s Rob Thomas have reunited after 22 years to record a brand new song called “Move.” Just as with their hit single “Smooth,” this new collaboration features Thomas singing and Santana on guitar, serving up some crunchy guitar grooves.
- John Carpenter has announced the soundtrack to David Gordon Green’s Halloween Kills. It will arrive October 15th via Sacred Bones and accompany the film’s release in theaters. As a first preview, Carpenter has shared “Unkillable.”
- the synth-pop trio CHVRCHES have shared a cover of Echo & The Bunnymen’s classic 1984 hit, “The Killing Moon,”
- Danny Elfman has shared a reimagined version of the Big Mess single “True” from none other than Trent Reznor.
- The Darkness sing of a love that will last forever in their new song “Motorheart.”
- Robert Plant and Alison Krauss have reunited to announce Raise the Roof, a new album arriving November 19th
- Billy Idol is back with his first new song in seven years. The legendary rocker has announced a new EP, The Roadside, previewed the lead single, “Bitter Taste.”
- R.E.M. have announced a 25th anniversary reissue of their 1996 album, New Adventures in Hi-Fi, due out October 29th via Craft Recordings. As a preview, the legendary Athens, Georgia rockers have shared an alternate version of “Leave”
- the Baltimore synth-pop band Future Island have shared the one-off single “Peach.” It’s their first new music since their album from last year, As Long as You Are.
- We got the chance to interview X Ambassadors last week, "On The Guestlist". A very big deal. These guys are even cooler than we already thought.
- The Kanye circus has officially pulled into Chicago.
- Big Boi and Sleepy Brown have shared another somnolent-themed single, “The Big Sleep Is Over,” featuring Kay-I. It’s the latest preview of their long-in-the-works collaborative album The Big Sleepover, which will be dropping September 3rd.
- Megan Thee Stallion has dropped her third freestyle of 2021, titled “Tuned In.”
- Young Thug has dropped a new single titled “Tick Tock.” The embattled Dr. Luke co-produced the track with Rocco Did It Again!
- Cypress Hill have unveiled the new 30th anniversary extended edition of their self-titled debut album. The legendary hip-hop group has dropped the standalone single “How I Could Just Kill a Man (The Alchemist x Beat Butcha Remix).”
- Boldy James and The Alchemist’s much-anticipated new album, Bo Jackson, has arrived via ALC Records.
- Benny the Butcher has released his new EP Pyrex Picasso via Rare Scrilla.
The seven-track project contains numerous collaborations with Elcamino (“PWRDRL”), Conway the Machine (“Fly With Me”), and Rick Hyde (“’73,” also with Elcamino), as well as solo tracks “1st Name Basis,” “Flood the Block,” and “The Iron Curtain.”
- Lizzo has finally released her new single “Rumors” featuring Cardi B.
- Thom Yorke, the Radiohead frontman paid tribute to the late rapper MF DOOM by sharing a new remix of DOOM’s “Gazzillion Ear.” Dubbed the “Man on Fire Remix”, this new version is Yorke’s contribution to Lex XX, a remix series celebrating Lex Records’ 20th anniversary.
- SK8 just dropped a new song featuring Wiz Khalifa and Dvbbs -
and we got the chance to sit down with him and discuss it as well as his new album. Give us a listen, a like, and a follow
- We got the chance to sit down one-on-one with Gryffin to discuss what he's been up while missing live music, new projects he's working on, and more for Barstool Backstage. Check it out here -
- Disclosure have unveiled their latest track, “In My Arms,” as they kick off a weeklong rollout of new material.
Much like they did ahead of last year’s Ecstasy EP, the British electronic duo will be dropping a new song every day this week. Following “In My Arms,” fans can expect to hear “Seduction,” “Another Level,” “It’s Happening,” and “Never Enough” over the next four days.
- Kaskade came through in the clutch as he always does, unexpectedly sharing a professionally streamed 4K video of his two-hour set from So-Fi Stadium in LA a couple weeks ago.
- Skrillex reunited with Justin Bieber, and brought on Don Toliver for new single ‘Don’t Go’
Skrillex and Bieber find themselves together on a track once more, suggesting history could repeat itself. Speaking to Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1, Skrillex said of his years working with Justin Bieber,
“To be honest, before I even worked with Justin Bieber, in that era, I didn’t really pay attention to pop music that much and I wasn’t really paying attention to what was current and relevant and I knew his music and I knew who he was and stuff that. So for me, it’s similar to when Korn called me up earlier in my career and I was just honored just to work with people who were great. The thing about Justin is if you’ve ever been in the studio with him or seen videos, he’s one of the most talented people in the whole planet so, for me, getting to work with people of that talent always pushes me to do new things. I mean, I don’t if I answered the question. I definitely feel the shift with the first record we did and all that stuff, and I’m just happy to be a part of inspiring people.”
- EDX released a new melodic house cut, ‘Vommuli’
- Dillon Francis announced a new album ‘Happy Machine,’ and shared the lead single ‘Reaching Out’
- Feed Me has released his highly anticipated self-titled sixth studio album, Feed Me, via his very own Sotto Voce Records.
- Above & Beyond have teamed up with Justine Suissa for “Almost Home,” which arrives as the former’s first club track of the year, despite having been begun several years prior.
- Black Caviar released a new vocal house single “Collect Check” ft. EMIDA
- Tiësto teamed up with Columbian singer Karol G for ‘Don’t Be Shy’
- Duck Sauce returns with funky new single ‘Nonchalant’
- Loud Luxury recently announced that they were ushering in a “new era,” and now that appears to have arrived with the release of the duo’s sophomore EP. The project, titled Holiday Hills, features six tracks, five of which are collaborations with a variety of artists including Cat Dealers, WAV3POP, Thutmose, Drew Love, and Tyler Mann.
Check out my interview with the duo on Barstool Backstage here -
- Big news of last week was Sturgill Simpson releasing his new album. The Ballad of Dood and Juanita is a concept album that Simpson wrote and recorded in just one week. Clocking in at 10 tracks, it features the same cast of musicians with whom he recorded last year’s LPs, Cuttin’ Grass, and also boasts a guest spot from none other than Willie Nelson.
“I just wanted to write a story — not a collection of songs that tell a story, but an actual story, front to back,” Simpson said in a statement, going on to describe the album as “a simple tale of either redemption or revenge” and a “rollercoaster ride through all the styles of traditional country and bluegrass and mountain music that [he loves], including gospel and a cappella.”
- Kacey Musgraves has announced her long-awaited new album. Entitled star-crossed, the singer’s fifth full-length is due out on September 10th via Interscope Records / UMG Nashville. As a preview, she’s shared the album’s title track as the lead single.
Inspired by Musgraves’ divorce from fellow musician Ruston Kelly, star-crossed plays out as a modern-day tragedy in three acts. The album was recorded in Nashville, TN earlier this year in just under three weeks, reuniting Musgraves with writers and co-producers Ian Fitchuk and Daniel Tashian
- Don Everly, who became one of the most influential musicians in early rock and roll as one-half of the Everly Brothers, has died. The Los Angeles Times reports that Everly died at his home in Nashville on Saturday (Aug. 21). He was 84 years old.
- Erin Enderlin draws on her love of classic, tear-in-my-beer country music in her newest ballad, “If I’m Not in Hell,” a song that she co-wrote with musical pals Kimberly Kelly and Kayla Ray.
- Mickey Guyton released a soaring new sample of her upcoming debut album, Remember Her Name, on Friday (Aug. 20). The song, "All American," recounts country themes, from "a Friday night football game" to "the dust on a backroad," and the ways they unify people across state lines.
- "One Mississippi" may be Kane Brown's new radio single, but it was a particularly life-changing song for his co-writer, Levon Gray. The Alabama native tagged Brown in an Instagram Story and wound up signed to Brown's Verse 2 Music.
It wasn't quite that easy, of course — Brown was impressed with what he heard on the social media platform, but Gray still had to prove himself in a co-writing session in Nashville, with Brown, Jesse Frasure and Ernest Keith Smith. That's where "One Mississippi" came from.
"He brought the title and the meaning behind it," Brown says of Gray (quote via the Nashville Soundbite). Kent Earls, who co-helms Verse 2 with Brown, adds "Levon wowed us from his first co-write, and after getting to know him as a person, he continues to wow us with his graciousness and work ethic" (quote via MusicRow).
- Dan + Shay are dance-oriented bank robbers in the new music video for their song "Steal My Love."
- Kenny Chesney is in a blissed-out state of mind in his new "Beautiful World" video. The video weaves together footage from various trips to the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and beyond, with lyrics that touch on well-worn Chesney themes.
- Brantley Gilbert takes a irreverent approach in his contrary new single, a collaboration with Hardy and Toby Keith called "The Worst Country Song of All Time."
- Keith Urban's new song is an ode to everyone who dares to do things their own way. In "Wild Hearts," the country superstar pays homage to "all of the drifters, and all of the dreamers ready to fly" in a perfectly conceived radio anthem.
- Rapper Nelly enlisted two of country's fastest-rising newcomers — Blanco Brown and Breland — to join him for his new single, "High Horse."
If I missed anything or you'd like to submit something for the next installment, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org