On the 'tube

McCartney; in 5 parts

1

I was impressed upon stumbling across this series of recent docs, currently posted on YouTube. Ambitious in its undertaking. They seem unauthorized, but they also appear to be factually accurate (based on what I know), while having a fresh take on a seemingly exhausted subject; post-Beatles Paul.

There is no editorial narration on these, only facts, quotes, and recorded clips, just one element that I think really helps these breathe as they unfold.

The viewer isn't being spoon-fed a scripted viewpoint, like many docs, but invited to draw their own conclusions as to his status and contributions in pop culture.

These came in running roughly an hour each, the last being the longest at 1 hr 44 min.

3

Yes, I've been watching these, too. They're quite good. Watching the first episode, I thought it was shaping up to be a bit of a hagiography, but it's really quite good. You get points of view from many of the former members of Wings - not all glowingly positive - and lots of footage I hadn't seen before.

Interesting to revisit some of the scathing things critics said about some of his early work. Some of it was deserved, but some of it was way too nasty. Critics seemed to really be personally offended that he "broke up the Beatles" or something. I'm sure some of these critics would like to take back some of the things they said about Ram, now generally considered one of his best albums and a fan favourite for many (my fave of his).

4

Lennon was such a jerk back then.

Bad-mouthing Paul's albums. Cheating on his second wife openly with a mistress that he treated like a door mat. Crying about his mother on heroin. Bad-mouthing Linda's looks and cursing Paul's marriage....

... He was obviously insecure because he only had one hit single after the Beatles broke up.... and that needed Elton John to help.

He could have been a bit more gracious. I always considered him a hypocrite. The wife beater feminist. The millionaire who said "imagine no possessions" The family man who cheats on his wife and abandons his first family and left them broke and abandoned. He wrote a few good songs but after the Beatles broke up he couldn't even compete with Ringo making hit records...and he sure as he'll wasn't gracious about it. If anything he was an entitled spoiled kid about the whole thing. Paul was really a saint putting up with his shit as well as he did in those days.

A lot of this was his adopting Yoko's viewpoints and positions. Google for example how they treated Zappa at a cgance encounter. Stealing his music and claiming it as their own because they felt entitled. John would have never done that with the Beatles....But Yoko taught him to just scream over other people's work and make it your own. The ghost of Chuck Berry is nodding his head.

5

Geez, GC. Could you be a little harder on John, and more judgmental? I'm not sure you've quite exercised all your moral outrage.

6

Well, that's a bit harsh on Lennon, imo. Some truth there, but I think it's fair to say both men were very talented and very complex and flawed men.

7

The same YouTuber has also put together a multi-part series titled; Understanding Lennon & McCartney, also found on their channel.

These follow a similar format as the series on MaCa, but having to go further back in time, have less visual resource material from which to draw. They are compelling to watch, but consequently have a different feel.

I've watched the first 2 parts so far. They do run longer, and they get pretty specific and intimate in details.

At one point it is revealed how tense things became in the studio once John and Yoko became a couple. The 'vibe' she brought, George's leaving during the Let It Be sessions, and Lennon casually mentioning bringing in Eric Clapton if George didn't come back.

Some 'fly-on-the-wall' moments caught on tape that necessitate subtitles, feel a little voyeuristic, but considering the moment and subject, are no less compelling.

It has been said that if it weren't for Paul, The Beatles would have likely disbanded shortly after Brian Epstein's untimely death. Arguably, he kept the momentum going, coming up with ideas and projects they all could focus on, if even somewhat misguided or indulgent.

8

I was wondering if maybe I might make a cameo in this series (in a very minor way). In 2002, I got to attend McCartney's press conference here in Toronto, and even though it lasted only 15 minutes or so, I managed to get the last question in (it's just after the 12-minute mark of the video. You can see the back of my bald head sitting in the front row as he walks in.)

My question is not very audible, but I had asked him whether he was finding the tour was more emotional because it was the first one after Linda had passed away, and George Harrison had passed away the previous year. He gave a great and quite lengthy answer, which many of the bigger newspapers and wire services used as their lede for their stories.


Register Sign in to join the conversation