Remember when Paul and Linda recorded an orchestral version of RAM, about a week after recording the original album.
Paul was secretly unlisted as PERCY “THRILLS” THRILLINGTON, the conductor of the music heard on the vinyl. The album was ready and then like many projects of the time he abandoned it. He started forming Wings and didn’t want to invest time and energy putting the final touches on an album of his last SOLO album. So at some point in he gets the idea to begin a ad campaign to hype the name and the potential product when it is finally released.
They even came up with a model to play the part of the mysterious “where in the world is” Thrillington. The album is excellent in what it attempts to do. It is an easy listening album of its day and yet it does it with a wink and a nod to its being more than just elevator music.
“Percy “Thrills” Thrillington” was the pseudonym used by Paul McCartney to release in 1977 the instrumental version of RAM that was recorded 6 years before in 1971.
“I did one of my favorite little tricks, which was to use a pseudonym. Me and Linda sat around and we invented this character called Percy Thrillington. So we invented it all, Linda and I, and we went around southern Ireland and found a guy in a field, a young farmer, and asked if he minded doing some photographic modeling for us.
We wanted to find someone that no one could possibly trace, paid him the going rate, and photographed him in a field, wearing a sweater and then wearing an evening suit. But he never quite looked Percy Thrillington enough.” -Paul McCartney
For the record’s release, Paul and Linda devised a novel promotional scheme whereby the fabricated Percy Thrillington generated curiosity by taking out classified ads in the back section of British newspapers, making cryptic announcements such as “Percy Thrillington wishes to announce that, comforted by his specialist’s verdict regarding his condition, he has departed, all smiles, for Yorkshire.”
In addition, fake business cards were deliberately left in select locations around London, while radio and poster campaigns also tried to build a mystique. Ultimately, however, Thrillington failed to chart.
Then we started this whole business in the Evening Standard ad columns, which was the really fun thing, putting in things like ‘Must get in touch with… Thrillington’, as a result of which the newspaper columns picked up on it – ‘Has anyone seen this rubbish going on in the Evening Standard about Percy Thrillington?’ – and it was good publicity. It was one of our madcap publicity schemes, as if we were managing this character called Percy Thrillington. -Paul McCartney
Paul finally acknowledged he was Thrillington during a press conference on November 27, 1989, when journalist Peter Palmiere pressed him on the matter. “What a great question to end the conference. The world needs to know! But seriously it was me and Linda – and we kept it a secret for a long time but now the world knows! – you blew it!- (laughs) I was hoping to remain anonymous. I always like people not to know what I’m doing. That’s why I find the whole social networking a bit weird.
I think it’s something to do with having been Beatles famous. […] For years I denied any responsibility and authorship because then, for me, I just had something on people – it was a good feeling. I’d just say, ‘I’m sorry. I have no idea who this person is or why he has covered my album’. I basically enjoy lying.” – Paul McCartney
THRILLINGTON was released as an exact format of the album RAM is a delightful listen to when not having to think about a thing…. *Rating – 8.0
In 1977 Paul also recorded that album with Denny Laine at his newly improved Rude Studio in Scotland. It would come out early in 1978.
Next 1978….and the boat lets us off in LONDON TOWN….