McCartney 3, 2, 1

TV review by
Marty Brown, Common Sense Media
McCartney 3, 2, 1 TV Poster Image
Beatles-centric documentary for fans only.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Positive messages about collaboration and the craft of music.

Positive Role Models & Representations

McCartney displays creativity, thoughtfulness, and compassion.


McCartney occasionally mentions violent acts, but only vague descriptions.


Features discussion and long excerpts of songs from the Beatles' catalog and other McCartney music, but otherwise no products are featured.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Mentions of drug use and being stoned/high when McCartney recalls the late 1960s and early '70s.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that McCartney 3, 2, 1 is a docuseries about Paul McCartney's music, especially with the Beatles. The series is culled from a long conversation between McCartney and producer and luminary Rick Rubin, wherein the two discuss specific songs from McCartney's musical catalog. The focus is on the craft of songwriting, but McCartney also talks about the personal and cultural contexts in which the songs were written. 

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What's the story?

McCartney 3, 2, 1 is an intimate conversation between Paul McCartney and producer Rick Rubin about the former Beatle's long and winding career. The two listen to and discuss tracks by the Beatles and from other spots in McCartney's catalog: how they were made, what makes the songs work, and how fans reacted at the time. 

Is it any good?

Most Beatles content gets republished or reproduced over and over again because there's an audience for it, no matter how many times fans hear the same stories or songs. Even though it contains a lot of familiar anecdotes, McCartney 3, 2, 1 is unique because its primary focus is on the craft of songwriting. Hearing Sir Paul explain creative choices is interesting, but the overall effect is the equivalent to rewatching a movie for the director's commentary. It will appeal most to dedicated listeners.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Paul McCartney. How familiar are you with Paul McCartney or the Beatles? What do you like about them? Does McCartney 3, 2, 1 help you appreciate the music more? If so, how?

  • What are some creative songwriting choices McCartney talks about? What makes them so unique? Can you hear those things in the songs after he describes them? Does it change the way you listen to songs?

  • What were your favorite stories about the Beatles or McCartney's personal life? How do they relate to the music? What is the day-to-day life of a professional musician like?

TV details

For kids who love music

Themes & Topics

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