Paul McCartney’s “The Love We Make,” debuting tonight (9/10) on Showtime, does more than capture the music icon’s journey of a decade ago — from being grounded on the tarmac on Sept. 11, to spearheading the memorable Concert for New York in Madison Square Garden the next month. It also brings back the feelings of unity and of caring people striving together toward healing that became the best part of those dark days
Directed by the legendary rock documentarian Albert Maysles, the film also includes concert performances and backstage encounters.
McCartney recently recalled that by the time he took to that stage — along with David Bowie, Elton John, Billy Joel, Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton and many others — he could almost feel “We were emerging from the fearfulness of the immediate impact” of the terror attacks. “And now you were seeing the emotion releasing through music, which I always think is a great thing. It’s one of the reasons I love music and I’m in it. You could see, particularly the firefighters and the volunteers and their families, and the victims’ families were able to release this emotion that has been so sort of pent up. It was a really great feeling. We actually felt like we were doing a bit of good.”
Speaking before a rapt audience of critics, McCartney went from chatting about his first visit to NYC — when Beatles fans sounded like “a billion seagulls screaming” at their landmark Shea stadium concert — to recalling how he wrote “Let It Be” after dreaming of his mother saying those words. He then enthralled listeners as he shared his views on the transformative, healing power of music:
“I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s magical,” he declared. “You know, there’s so much — what is it Shakespeare said, ‘There are more things in heaven and earth Horatio, than are dreampt of in your philosophy.’ There’s so much that we don’t know about. When you get down to the scientific thing about music, it’s vibrations. And you can actually measure them….The fact that it’s vibrations working on people, I think that’s part of the answer.”
McCartney believes science will eventually provide information as to the impact of music on the human body and psyche, “but the fact remains that whether or not we discover how it works, it works. It can bring you to tears, it can make you smile, it can make you flash back to a memory. People often say to me, ‘Thank-you for the music. You know it’s the soundtrack of my life.’ … I think the first word I used is what I’ll end up saying: it’s a magical thing. And I do mean that. Do you believe in magic, really? I do. I have to.
“For instance, just a story to quickly sum up: One of my most famous songs is ‘Yesterday.’ And like ‘Let It Be,’ ‘Yesterday’ came to me in a dream,” he went on. “But this time, it wasn’t just my mom saying a phrase. This time it was a whole tune in my head. I have no idea where it came from…This song that was to become very famous throughout the world — I just dreamed it. So there’s no way out of it for me — I have to believe that’s magical.”