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1980 (part 2) After McCartney II

Paul had more songs in the can for McCartney II (remember the proposed 18 track two album set) and these are the ones that didn’t make the final cut and my reviews of them, or others from that time period and unreleased tracks from late 1979-mid 1980.

“Coming Up” (live at Glasgow, 1979) The track that was the b-side world wide, except for the U.S. American radio stations played this and it went all the way to #1. Was recorded on last Wings tour, with one verse edited out and slightly different lyrics than the album version (Paul edited the song when he started working on McCartney II). A very nice version of this song, with live horn section driving it, so the song doesn’t have the electronic feel of the studio version. Rating – 8

“All You Horse Riders” A very odd song, featuring all sorts of electron sounding horse trotting sounds played and Paul serves as the announcer to the antics of the horses as they parade and jump etc… We all know Paul and Linda’s love of horses, but this one breaks down on the track, and needed to be destroyed. Rating – 3

“Mr. H. Atom” Heavy Linda vocal contribution in this new wave sounding song about the subtle differences between man and woman genetically. “Mr. H Atom lives in a flat on the male side of town….” Okay……. Rating – 4

“You Know I’ll Get You Baby” Fade in after “Mr. H. Atom.” A sped up electronic blues number with Paul adding odd voices and sounds of different nature and speed. “You know I’ll get you baby, you know I will” are the only lyrics. Rating – 5

“Bogey Wobble” Not related in anyway to Bogey music, but Paul having fun with the equipment, and experimenting with all the fades and knobs behind a basic pedestrian beat. Rating – 6

“Hanglide” Very Interesting beat (with tasty hand claps) and a broad sonic landscape, much like “Blue Sway.” This one could/should have been on the released album. Rating – 8

“Secret Friend” Another misstep not having this on the album, for even clocking at 10:32 this song remains a hidden gem. Outstanding production by Paul. Released on the 12” single of “Temporary Secretary.” Rating – 8.5

“I Can’t Write Another Song” A gentle Paul and Linda duet sung over electronic drums and acoustic guitar. Could he have flushed this out….? It leaves me wanting more…. Rating – 8

“Unbelievable Experience” Paul was still working out the words on this one…. Lots of pretend singing.. Using his new Orleans voice and sound. Didn’t have a bridge or middle eight, so a work in progress that was abandoned. Maybe, with care, and more work this could have been something good. Rating – 6

“Check My Machine” The song that started it all. It was the test song on the equipment and ended up being the B-Side to “Waterfalls” single. Paul even samples and alters Barney Rubble to open up the song…. When I first hear this back in the day, I was like….”What the…. he must still be smoking weed.”

Now I can see the work he went into to build off of this. Singing in a exotic falsetto, it came to us in two versions… one at 5:52 and one at 8:59 (the Archive Set release). If you like it, you love it. If you don’t, you hate it. I love it. A great song to dance with your cat or a small dog with…. I know, I have, much to my cat’s dismay. Rating – 8.5

“Blue Sway” Another sonic beauty, that was given a wonderful surfing music video a few years back (2011) that captures its nautical feel. Orchestration by Richard Niles really flushes it out…. No one is credited for the wonderful sax work, and I don’t think the horn is computer derived. Another of the three or four that could have made the initial release and only added to it. Rating – 8

Paul also had longer versions of “Coming Up,” “Front Parlour,” and “Frozen Jap,” all of which came out on the amazing Archive release in 2011.

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After McCartney II was released Paul continued to write many new songs. He was again very productive this year, and most would be featured in either of his next two albums, in addition to songs written for Ringo and a few more that have not seen official releases as of today.

On July 4th, Wings reconvened in Kent for some rehearsal. I don’t know what the vibe was after the drug bust, but it must have been a bit awkward at first. They ran thru 10 songs, which included “Ballroom Dancing” (released in 1982), The unreleased “Old Man Lovin’,” “Ranachan Rock,” “Nature Is Calling Me,” (maybe someone needed a bathroom break?) And “Takin’ On A Woman.” They also did a Paul favorite oldie, “Crackin’ Up.”

From July 11th thru July 21st Paul and Linda work with Ringo on two Macca compositions, “Private Property” and “Attention.” They also worked together on what would be the title for one of the two albums that came from these sessions, “Can’t Fight Lightning.”

In August Paul went into his home studio to lay down demos for the next project. 19 tracks were recorded, nearly all of them ending up on one of HIS next two albums.

September 7th, the 5th Buddy Holly week began.

On October 2nd Wings gathered again in Kent to begin rehearsal work on the next Wings album. George Martin was to return to produce the proposed record.

From October 31st thru November 10th Paul and George Martin recorded and mixed a song called, “We All Stand Together.” Old friend Eric Stewart of 10cc came in to help on backing vocals. No members of Wings were on this song which saw the light of day in 1984.

Between October 3rd and November 30th (on and off), Wings rehearsed and jammed to over 50 songs. But as the rehearsals progressed something must not have worked for Paul, as he came to the following decision…..“It was really a move away from solo stuff, as much as a move away from a definite group, because Wings had broken up for various reasons…

George (Martin) and I decided we weren’t going to do ‘Tug Of War’ with Wings because he felt — and I did too — by that time it was getting a bit restricting. We were having to do stuff a particular way because that was who was going to play it. We decided not to be as restricted, and just write anything, and then get in anyone we thought could play it. So this started a new era, working with whoever we thought was most suitable for the tune. If it was a thing that needed Steve Gadd’s particular kind of thing, we decided we’d get him, rather than just asking someone to be like Steve Gadd!”- Paul.

That musical open-mindedness was something which also appealed to George Martin: “One of the principles that I started off with Paul was — You are probably the greatest living and certainly a multi-songwriter, instrumentalist. Why have people who are not as good as you? Why not have people who are better than you at their particular thing?”

So, after the last Wings rehearsal on November 30th (where they mostly jammed to oldies), Paul and George Martin entered the studio, without Wings proper. Denny Laine hung in there for a few months more and Linda never left, but Steve Holley and Laurence Juber were only to return once more in January 1981.

McCartney and Martin began these sessions working on “Ode To A Koala Bear” and “Keep Under Cover.”

On November 26th, the long delayed film “Rockshow” premiered. Four years after their 1976 world tour…..and many band changes since.

Maybe seeing how little the band had grown in those four years helped change his mind on its future. Kind of like seeing home movies of happier times and realizing that the present times were not.

On December 7th, Paul recorded the acoustic introduction to what would be called the next album, “Tug Of War.”

On December 8th, 1980 Paul began work on a song that would become a B-side called, “Rainclouds.”

In the middle of the night early on December 9th the phone unexpectedly rang at the McCartney home, with Linda answering it…… Paul came into the room and saw Linda’s facial reaction. Upon picking up the phone he was told the news that had unfolded late that evening of December 8th in New York City….

Words can’t describe how those moments felt to Paul. The world was just learning, and was shocked, horrified and angered that John Lennon, a voice that changed a generation and the world, had been murdered for no apparent reason. Lennon was shot multiple times in the back by a deranged fan. John had met him earlier in that day and had even signed a copy of his new album, STARTING OVER for him….

On the night of December 8th, I was working swing shift at Valley Hospital Medical Center pharmacy in Las Vegas Nevada. It was around 7 o’clock (PST) or so when the radio that pharmacist Don Leveque and fellow technician Debbie Heck and I were listening to came on with the shocking news.

Debbie, looking at Don and I, blurted out “I bet it was over a drug deal.” I wanted to punch her in the face, but didn’t, as no one knew how he actually had died. To this day, I still would love to smack her smug fucking face for saying that….

Next….. What next…?

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