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Sir Paul McCartney's career is so rich in magical mystery and revolutionary moments that a six-part documentary about him chatting with another about his greatest hits sounds fascinating on its own. That is exactly what takes place in McCartney 3, 2, 1 - a Hulu exclusive in which prolific producer Rick Rubin interviews the former Beatle about the most intimate details of his Liverpudlian upbringing; his relationship with John, George, and Ringo; and the songs that made him a legend. If you have already enjoyed the immersive and unique Paul McCartney docuseries but are gently weeping to see more, you might be able to get by with a little help from these other music documentaries, TV series, and even dramatized movies about the Beatles’ music, and music in general, starting with even more to learn about the Fab Four.
The Beatles: Eight Days A Week - The Touring Years (2016)
A collection of archival footage and new interviews with those involved and famous fans alike reveal all of the warm and worrisome details of Beatlemania from the mid-to-late 1960s.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like McCartney 3, 2, 1: Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr appear in director Ron Howard’s Emmy-winning feature-length documentary The Beatles: Eight Days A Week - The Touring Years to recall the exciting beginnings and torrid final days of their careers as a performing group.
John & Yoko: Above Us Only Sky (2018)
A collection of archival footage and new interviews with those close to John Lennon and Yoko Ono reveal details of the couple’s romantic and creative partnership during the making of Lennon’s classic 1971 album Imagine.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like McCartney 3, 2, 1: Obviously, Paul McCartney’s relationship with John Lennon is mentioned many times throughout McCartney 3, 2, 1, but rarely does the late singer-songwriter’s relationship with Yoko Ono come up in conversation, which Michael Epstein’s documentary John & Yoko: Above Us Only Sky offers an intimate look at.
George Harrison: Living In The Material World (2011)
A collection of archival footage and new interviews with those close to George Harrison reveal details of the musician’s spirituality, philanthropy, and life beyond the Beatles.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like McCartney 3, 2, 1: Obviously, Paul McCartney’s relationship with the Beatle the press called “The Quiet One” is mentioned many times throughout McCartney 3, 2, 1, but rarely does the late singer-songwriter’s personal life come up in conversation, which director Martin Scorsese’s two-part, HBO original documentary George Harrison: Living in the Material World offers an extremely intimate look at.
A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
John, Paul, George, and Ringo struggle to outrun crowds of obsessed fans and prevent Paul’s grandfather from causing mischief in the day and half before a scheduled appearance on live television.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like McCartney 3, 2, 1: If, instead of learning more about The Beatles, McCartney 3, 2, 1 made you want to listen to more of The Beatles, the band’s first movie, A Hard Day’s Night (from Superman II director Richard Lester), is a funny, infectious, and not too historically inaccurate musical companion to the hit album of the same name.
After a mysterious woman sends Ringo a ring that gets stuck to his finger, he becomes the sacrificial target of an Eastern cult, making him and the rest of the band desperate for protection.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like McCartney 3, 2, 1: A year after A Hard Day’s Night, The Beatles reunited with director Richard Lester for a cinematic companion to their album Help! that would prove to be a far more bizarre, far less authentic, but equally hilarious reflection of the band’s talents and lives behind the scenes, which is only available to rent from Apple TV at the moment.
Yellow Submarine (1968)
The Beatles are recruited by an eccentric submarine captain to help save Pepperland and the members of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band from a group of music-hating menaces called the Blue Meanies.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like McCartney 3, 2, 1: Also available to rent only on Apple TV, apparently, is Yellow Submarine (an animated adaptation of the Paul McCartney-penned and Ringo Starr-sung track from the 1966 album Revolver), which arguably surpasses Magical Mystery Tour as The Beatles’ most bizarre cinematic achievement, if only for its mesmerizing visuals that practically define psychedelia.
Across The Universe (2007)
Civil unrest and class disparities complicate the relationship between a musician from Liverpool (Jim Sturgess) and an American student (future Westworld star Evan Rachel Wood) during the more trying times of the 1960s.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like McCartney 3, 2, 1: Sometimes you do not even need The Beatles to be present to enjoy their greatest hits, which help guide the narrative of Across the Universe - a romantic, visually enigmatic, and bleakly poignant musical from visionary director Julie Taymor.
When a struggling musician from London (Himesh Patel) suddenly becomes the only person familiar with the music of The Beatles, he takes advantage of the situation and becomes a worldwide success.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like McCartney 3, 2, 1: You may appreciate The Beatles’ music more than even McCartney 3, 2, 1 inspires when you catch a glimpse at what the world be like if the band never existed in Yesterday, a unique and joyful fantasy dramedy (that Ringo Starr apparently liked) from Academy Award-winning director Danny Boyle and written by Love, Actually and Mr. Bean creator Richard Curtis.
Producer Rick Rubin explores the methodology and philosophy of songwriting from a more emotional perspective through conversations with his peers and colleagues at his own studio in Malibu, California.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like McCartney 3, 2, 1: If you found yourself curious to learn more about Rick Rubin’s career after finishing McCartney 3, 2, 1, and enjoyed his interview style, the Showtime original four-part docuseries Shangri-La sees the music mogul dive deep into the creative process with a diverse variety of artists.
Beastie Boys Story (2020)
Adam Horovitz and Mike D, the surviving members of the Beastie Boys, recall the highs and lows of their career and reminisce about their late third member, Adam Yauch, in front of a live audience at Brooklyn’s Kings Theater.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like McCartney 3, 2, 1: Rick Rubin is also a major presence in one of the best Apple TV+ movies, Beastie Boys Story - director Spike Jonze’s uniquely executed examination of the influential hip-hop group who were once signed with Def Jam Records, which Rubin founded with Russell Simmons.
Sound City (2013)
Musician Dave Grohl interviews fellow artists and record producers about the history of a legendary recording studio in Van Nuys, California, as he attempts to bring it back into the limelight.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like McCartney 3, 2, 1: Both Paul McCartney and Rick Rubin are among the many inspirational figures whom Dave Grohl collaborates with and reminisces with about the titular recording studio in the documentary Sound City - the directorial debut of the Foo Fighters frontman and former Nirvana drummer.
It Might Get Loud (2008)
Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, The Edge of U2, and Jack White from The White Stripes meet for the first time and discuss their careers and love for their chosen instrument, the guitar, during a jam session in Burbank, California.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like McCartney 3, 2, 1: Speaking of inspirational figures, few people still living have had such a profound effect on the art of playing guitar than the three subjects of Oscar-winner Davis Guggenheim’s It Might Get Loud, which sees the musicians discuss and demonstrate their craft in a style similar to Paul McCartney and Rick Rubin in McCartney 3, 2, 1.
Springsteen On Broadway (2018)
Bruce Springsteen uses an acoustic guitar, harmonica, piano, and his famous talent for monologuing to tell his life story during the final presentation of his one-man show at the Walter Kerr Theatre on Broadway.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like McCartney 3, 2, 1: Unlike McCartney 3, 2, 1, Bruce Springsteen reminisces about his own career, not to just one person, but an entire live audience in Netflix’s Springsteen on Broadway (directed by The Boss’ frequent collaborator, Thom Zimmy), but still results in an equally, if not exponentially more, intimate music experience with a taste of his craft.
In November 2021, fans will be treated with even more to learn about Paul McCartney and his former bandmates when director Peter Jackson’s three-part docuseries The Beatles: Get Back becomes available to stream on Disney+. Until then, I hope the titles above satisfy your need for a binge of all things Beatlemania and beyond that McCartney 3, 2, 1 ignited within you.
Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.
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