McCartney and Rick Rubin

Now this actually looks interesting.

Paul McCartney can be difficult to interview and get new and deeper insights from. He’s been interviewed and the subject of so many on-screen studies of his craft that he almost automatically falls back on a tried-and-true set of reactions and answers – and we (the audience) end up learning nothing new.

But chuck in a personality like veteran producer Rick Rubin – in what looks to be an in-depth, six-part examination of some of the greatest songs that McCartney has ever been involved with – and we might just have a classic on our hands.

McCartney has just teased on his website and YouTube channel “Paul McCartney x Rick Rubin. A Forthcoming Documentary Event. Coming Soon”

And it looks good:

The pairing of the two has been known about for some time, but there are scant other details as yet – not even where or when it will be shown. Rumour is it’ll be either Netflix or Apple TV+. Hence the interest in this 1’36 clip.

Deadline says the project is still untitled but it’s a six-parter, and that it marks “….the first time ever that the original masters have left Abbey Road”.

That claim is a little questionable as in 1982 the original master tapes of all 14 Beatle studio stereo albums left the EMI vaults at the Abbey Road Studios and were couriered to the Mobile Fidelity offices in California to produce this box set:

Suffice it to say, if that’s what’s happened again for this new doco, the original master tapes leaving the building nowadays is a very, VERY rare thing. A more likely scenario is that they’re using a digital copy.

Either way, it certainly looks from the footage released that Rubin and McCartney are listening to original recordings, isolating various tracks on the mixing desk, and discussing in detail the making of classics like ‘Lovely Rita’, ‘Come Together’ and ‘Live and Let Die’. This will be fascinating because the legendary producer knows his stuff and will hopefully push for detail and stories that haven’t ever been told before. Fingers crossed.

‘Above Us Only Sky’ Set For Home Release

Last year when the John Lennon Estate re-issued the extensive, multi-disc and book Ultimate Collection of his Imagine album we thought we had it all. Multiple CD’s, Blu-ray’s and LP’s of audio alongside a coffee table style book, and the re-release of the two original  documentaries, Imagine and Gimme Some Truth on DVD and Blu-ray.

But at the time that massive re-issue program was unfolding there was a third, new documentary also doing the rounds – on subscription TV and eventually on free-to-air TV in various countries around the world.

The doco was called Above Us Only Sky and while it features a lot of footage from the two previous documentaries, these were supplemented and inter-cut with never-before-seen footage of John and Yoko, new interviews and archive material. It was made with the full cooperation from and exclusive access to Yoko Ono and the Lennon Estate.

Now Above Us Only Sky is coming to a store near you. On September 13 it will be issued on DVD, Blu-ray, and digital download.The Universal Music and Eagle Rock Entertainment press release says:

“The feature-length film, directed by the Emmy Award-winning Oscar nominee Michael Epstein, tells the untold story of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s unique and enduring relationship and the creation of the 1971 album Imagine….Unseen film of the time is complemented by archive and brand new interviews, including an exclusive new conversation with Yoko.

Others featured in new interviews in the film include John’s son Julian Lennon and photographer David Bailey, who took the 1971 image of John and Yoko that was on the cover of Vogue. Also contributing their memories are gallerist John Dunbar, the man who set up Ono’s first art show in London in 1966 and introduced the couple there; her neighbour and later personal assistant Dan Richter; and studio design pioneer Eddie Veale, who build Ascot Sound Studios at the couple’s home in Tittenhurst Park in Berkshire.

Lennon’s musical collaborators Klaus Voorman, Alan White and Jim Keltner, all of whom played on Imagine, are also featured in new interviews. They add to a vivid insight into the making of the album, alongside the newly-seen film footage, audio and rare images.”