Paul McCartney reflects on the unique piccolo trumpet solo at the heart of the Beatles’ “Penny Lane” in a new clip from the upcoming docuseries, McCartney, 3, 2, 1, premiering July 16th on Hulu.
The new series finds McCartney in an extensive one-on-one conversation with Rick Rubin. As the series’ director Zachary Heinzerling tells Rolling Stone in an email, Rubin came into the interview with a list of songs he wanted to discuss with McCartney, and when “Penny Lane” came up, it was Rubin who specifically isolated the trumpet solo.
In the clip, McCartney notes how the session musician responsible for the performance, Dave Mason, tried to explain that the intended solo was out of the range of the piccolo trumpet. “And I kinda give him a look like, ‘Yeah, you can do it,’” McCartney recalls with a smile. “So he plays it, and it haunted him for the rest of his life!”
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Of the moment, Heinzerling says: “It sparked a reaction in Paul, and the result is this kind of storytelling as if it’s the first time. There’s a newness and freshness to the story that Paul tells, it’s not a story that’s been told a million times it feels as though it’s being told for the first time because the song hasn’t been played in the same way.”
McCartney, 3, 2, 1 will boast six episodes and find McCartney chatting with Rubin about his work with the Beatles and Wings, as well as his extensive solo career. Heinzerling says the pairing of McCartney and Rubin works particularly well because they’re “both music nerds” who love getting into the weeds about how even minor things can make such a massive impact on a song.
“Rick’s boyish love of the Beatles and Paul’s ability to recall specific decisions made along the way and the stories behind questions like ‘Why did you play this style of bass vs. another?’ or ‘Where did this sound come from?’ really peels back the curtain on some of these songs that are so legendary, we could never imagine how they were created,” Heinzerling says. “How do you create ‘Eleanor Rigby’? It’s such an iconic song that has such a mystique and magic. The point of the series is to try to demystify some of that and understand the actual process behind creating what we are considering magic.”
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