For Mary McCartney directing the enthralling documentary, If These Walls Could Sing on the history of London’s Abbey Road studio wasn’t just as a tip of the hat to her father Paul McCartney’s celebrated career, but to her own life viturally growing up there, watching musical history being made. And although Dad participates as one of the interviewees this is not just a story of The Beatles, but rather an eye and ear popping tale of a place where musical magic, on just about every level, was made, and continues to be made. The title tells it all as McCartney’s splendid documentary, which premiered at Telluride last September and is now available on Disney+, covers the waterfront of Abbey Road’s 90 years.
With subjects to help tell the tale like Elton John, Jimmy Page, Fela, Cilla Black, John Williams, and many others (including of course Paul and Ringo), McCartney manages to make it all come alive again, remarkably because there wasn’t a whole lot of archival footage available to help tell the story. As she explains in our conversation for this episode of my Deadline video series, Behind The Lens, the storied musicians who came to create at Abbey Road were more interested in making the music rather than documenting the making of it, so she had to get inventive and that is one of the many hallmarks of this wonderful film, a must for music fans, as is what she has to say about everything that went into its creation, right up to its closing with Celeste singing the perfectly chosen “Hear My Voice.”
McCartney has had a sterling career of her own as a photographer, and her portraiture really shows the influence of her mother, the late Linda McCartney as much as anyone in her life. The visuals now taken to the film medium come vividly alive.
To watch our conversation and go ‘behind the lens’ of Mary McCartney just click on the link above.
Join me every Monday and Friday during Emmy season for another edition of Behind the Lens.