Paul McCartney Debuts Video for 'Early Days'

Associated Press

Black and white clip relocates historic meeting of Paul and John to '50s Mississippi Delta, featuring a cameo by Johnny Depp.

“The idea was inspired by the chance meeting in 1957 that would change Paul, John, George and Ringo's lives forever,” explains L.A. director Vincent Haycock of his proposal for the video to “Early Days,” a track from McCartney’s latest album NEW. “This film is a poetic homage to the legendary beginnings of Paul McCartney and John Lennon’s relationship.”

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Explains Vincent: “Their story at its core is a universal one, two young kids who bond over their passion for music and form a band and friendship. This video is about them, and every band, and every kid who has suffered the ups and downs of starting a band, whether or not they became successful. The universality of their story was a big inspiration for setting the film in Mississippi during the ‘50s. This is a time period that inspired The Beatles — American rock and roll and the Mississippi Delta Blues of the ‘50s. ‘Early Days’ is about the spirit and inspiration young musicians find in each other.”

Vincent’s resume includes an Emmy nomination in 2004 for designing and directing the main title sequence for the TV show Nip/Tuck. Since then he’s gone on to work on music videos for artists such as Florence + the Machine, Cheryl Cole and Spiritualized. His patented unique freeform docudrama-style music promos earned him an MTV VMA for Best EDM video for the track "Feel So Close" by British DJ/producer Calvin Harris in 2012.

He originally sent a written treatment for “Early Days” to Paul, then developed the concept from there. “Paul generously shared some old stories with me that inspired many of the scenes in the video.”

Shot between L.A., Natchez, Mississippi and Faraday, Louisiana, Vincent spent almost a month working on the video. The casting involved an extensive process since it was important to Vincent that all the characters be as authentic as possible. His team took to street casting in the locations, utilizing local churches, schools and record stores to find people with genuine emotional connections to the music and history of the areas they were shooting in.

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Paul recorded his parts in L.A. over two days and the story unfolds around his intimate acoustic performance. By the end of the video Paul is playing with a group of blues guitarists, including Johnny Depp. Johnny, no stranger to a McCartney video and an accomplished guitar player too, stopped by on the day for a jam.

Vincent describes the experience of working with Paul as “a pleasure… Paul’s scene was incredibly fun to create. It was just him, some blues players and Johnny Depp jamming on set all day. Patti Smith also turned up on set and hung out, which made the crew very happy! One of my favorite days of filming ever.”

Paul’s 16th solo album, NEW (Concord Music Group), entered the Billboard chart at No. 3. Within months, it had sold almost quarter-of-a-million copies in America alone. The album also went Top 10 in 17 different countries, including No. 1 in Japan. Since its release it has achieved Silver sales status in territories including UK and France, Gold status in Japan and Platinum in Russia.

Paul just recently resumed his “Out There” U.S. tour in Albany over the weekend after a two-month bout with a viral infection that had him hospitalized and forced to cancel the Japanese leg of his tour as well as a scheduled South Korean date.