After John Lennon was murdered in December 1980, this event changed the mindset of Paul. He would not tour for the next nine years, even with multiple albums being released, and his love of live performances.Security and staying safe became the main thing in his life.
If the ex-Beatle who wrote, “Give Peace A Chance” could be killed for no reason, then why should he risk it? But Paul is constantly creating, coming up with project after project, song after song, idea after idea.
And as TUG OF WAR hit the stores and airwaves in May of 1982, nothing had changed. Just before its release date, in April 1982, Paul met up with Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones, to record what would become three songs. The first would be released by Jackson, and became the first single pulled from his mega-seller 1982’s, THRILLER.
They would reunite in early 1983 and they recorded two more songs which Paul released on his next album in 1983.Jackson called up the McCartney’s home on Christmas Day in 1981 and told Paul that he wanted them to get together “and make some hits.”
During his visit with Paul, the fatherly McCartney gave Jackson some financial advise. He told him to invest his money in song publishing, something he had already done to much reward. Jackson, listened and agreed, then giggled and told Paul, “One day I’m gonna’ own your songs.” Paul laughed and thought Jackson a wacky kid….. More on this major life changing moment for the two later on.
Well, Paul loves to create. And Paul loves success, and had gotten so much of it since 1962, that the lack of it must drive him crazy. As a solo artist, and a member of Wings, he had albums and songs that didn’t sell well (in relations to past sales) and critique’s of these that were downright bad.
So the chance to perform with a young man, who was nearing the apex of his “Beatle-like” fame, was a sure fire chance to grab onto that soaring comet. Paul was now approaching 40 years old, and a chance to stay relevant with the young music buyers is something he wanted to do.
The song they worked on in 1982 was “The Girl Is Mine,” which was a big hit for Jackson. It ended up being the weakest of ALL of the singles pulled from THRILLER, but it was a major hit.
“The Girl Is Mine” A mid tempo song that became a #1 hit about two men arguing (in song) about who the girl belongs two. It is a harmless song that ends in cringe worthy dialogue between the two which caused mocking laughter whenever it played on the radio at work. My co-worker Koko, the worlds biggest Jackson fan, and I could not really respond with anything other than, “it’s not THAT bad…”. The line spoken by Jackson, “I think I told you Paul, I’m a lover, not a fighter..” Indicated the opposite. Rating – 6.5
They also worked on the other two songs in 1983, one started by Jackson and added to by Paul off the original demo (which they used in the final mix) called “Say Say Say” and a track written by both called, “The Man.” George Martin produced both these songs.
After taking off five months, Paul and George Martin, reunited in September of 1982 and began recording more songs for Paul’s next album, which would come out in 1983…..
Very late in 1982 Paul began working on an idea which would be his next really BIG project. It would eventually appear to all in 1984. In addition to critically panned albums, other ideas Paul had dreamed up since leaving tThe Beatles included the unreleased full length “Rupert Movie,” “The Bruce McMouse Show,” and the various attempts at releasing “Cold Cuts And Hot Hits.” Add in the ideas which he did produce such as the lukewarm reception of “The James Paul McCartney TV Special,” and those which ideas which came out way too late to capture the audience, such as the “Back To The Egg TV Special,” “Rockshow TV special” and the “Wings Over America” film projects. But he was beginning to form the next HUGE idea that would actually get done….BUT would be the biggest flop of his career….
There were songs recorded in 1981-1982 that didn’t appear on TUG OF WAR, but came out with its release. “Rainclouds” The song Paul was working on the day John Lennon was killed. Written with Denny Laine, who with Linda and Eric Stewart contribute backing vocals that deliver with Wings like harmonies and an also wonderful contribution by Paddy Moloney on uilleann pipes. The B-side to “Ebony And Ivory” single. A good old fashioned Irish foot stomping jam equals great fun. I’m not sure if its sound could have fit on TUG, but taking the link out and placing this or the next b-side would have been fine with me. Rating – 8.5
“I’ll Give You A Ring” The B-side to “Take It away,” another classic McCartney deep cut. In the style of an old jazz tune, it features amazing lead and backing vocals that rival anything ever done with Wings. It pauses and shifts at the end into a thumping rocker with Denny’s guitar putting an exclamation pint on the whole song.Rating – 9
“Stop, You Don’t Know Where She Came From” A demo that was never recorded properly but still shows its character in 1:44. A song about about caution about a friend getting involved with a bad woman. A nice four to the floor vintage rocker that had possibilities. Paul uses his New Orleans upper end vocals to deliver the goods.. but it needed more work to bring the goods home and Paul chose not to. Rating – 7.5
“All In Love Is Fair” I’ve seen this listed as a Wings song, so maybe Laurence and Steve played on it… A working out of the basic song melody, with faux lyrics sung by Paul except for the title.. Sounds like the kind of song Paul could write in his sleep.Rating – 6
Denny Laine left during the recording of TUG OF WAR, and it’s a shame, for even though he is hidden in the background on this album he helped elevate Paul through some very tough years until this second phase of his solo career. He speaks only of good of Paul nowadays, but he really didn’t receive the credit and financial compensation he deserved for 12 years of hard work and dedication. Next, it’s 1983, and the road to Peace. Also Paul puts lots of his money where his mouth was….