Paul did a one off concert appearance on June 20th at the Prince’s Trust Concert. He performed “I Saw Her Standing There,” “Long Tall Sally” and “Get Back.” This performance went great and featured Elton John, Eric Clapton, Rod Stewart, Tina Turner, Phil Collins, David Bowie and Mick Jagger and Mark Knopfler.
Much better than his Live Aid performance in 1985, where his vocal microphone didn’t work for the first two minutes of “Let It Be.”
Just around the time that PRESS TO PLAY was released (August 22nd) Paul went into his home studio and laid down the next set of song ideas.
Of the eight tracks two (“Loveliest Thing” and “Beautiful Night”) would eventually see the light of day and one would morph into a finished track (“Without Permission” became part of the final “Loveliest Thing).
Richard Niles was brought in the months of September and October in the last aborted attempt to put together the Cold Cuts/Hot Hits album. Richard had worked with Paul as arranger on THRILLINGTON, and was an ideal alternative to the unavailable George Martin.
The lineup proposed was…..
Blue Sway Hey Diddle Mama’s Little Girl Twice In A Lifetime Waterspout A Love For You Did We Meet Somewhere Before Same Time Next Year Best Friend Cage Tragedy Thank You Darling Night Out Robber’s Ball
Like the first two attempts to get this project out, it never has seen the light of day, with most tracks available via bootlegs. We’ll discuss this at another time….
In December 1986 he did work on a track that would become a b-side on a CD-single in 1997. It was an instrumental called “Squid.”
He also cut the demo on December 29th for a song that would come out in 1989 called, “This One.”
In February of 1987, Paul recorded a mashup of songs in which he was still in control of publishing wise.
He merged “P.S. I Love You” and “Love Me Do” into a dance mix called “P.S. Love Me Do.” While no official release has happened he performed this song in concert in 1989. It has gone down among Beatles and Macca fans as maybe the worst thing he had recorded and signed off on.
It may have been a thumbing his nose to Michael Jackson, who outbid Paul and Yoko and on August 14th, 1985 gained control of the vast majority of the Lennon-McCartney catalog.
This ended any friendship and all attempts by Paul to buy back “Yesterday,” or “Hey Jude” etc.. were all rejected by Jackson up to his death. Jackson even lost control of many of them to Sony as his legal and financial woes worsened.
In early February Paul worked with Duane Eddy, on his version of the “Rockestra Theme” for his self-titled album.
In March, Paul again started a new album, with another new producer.
Phil Ramone was brought in to work with Paul after his success with Billy Joel, Chicago, The Band, Madonna, George Michael and Elton John among many others.
George Harrison had returned to recording studio and produced the outstanding “Cloud Nine” album in 1986. He had a hit album, a huge single and George even embraced his Beatles past with the song “When We Was Fab” which featured Ringo and Paul in the music video.
So now, Paul was also filled with a new idea for his next album, and he and Ramone began working on an album he would have called RETURN TO PEPPERLAND.
He recorded versions of 11 songs, including “Return To Pepperland,” “My Big Day, “Peacocks”, all of which are unreleased as of today.
He also recorded “Atlantic Ocean” and an early version of “This One.”
He did manage to record the only single Paul would release this year. They knocked out “Once Upon A Long Ago,” and it’s b-side, “Back On My Feet.”
The latter was the first song that Paul was to write together with his newest collaborator, Declan McManus, otherwise better known as Elvis Costello.
Costello had sort of replaced Eric Stewart as the current muse for Paul and “Back…” was the first venture together.
“Once upon a Long ago” was released only as a single in the U.K. for Christmas, with an interesting video of animation combined with Paul and a band playing it on top of a huge mountain.
It was also placed on the U.K. version of Paul’s second greatest hits package, called ALL THE BEST.
The song selections differed in the U.S. version with the U.K. with the British version having 3 more songs, different songs and different versions of songs. Odd.
Paul and Elvis would work much more together for the next year or so and produce songs from both of them and future albums.
So, RETURN TO PEPPERLAND was never finished and released and the greatest hits package his only major release in the United States in 1987.
“Once Upon A Long Ago” Recorded in March of 1987 and released in late November of that year, it does have a Christmas like feel, which is featured in the animation part of the music video. It has a nice violin and sax solo (it is the 80’s, right?) And I believe this is the first time Paul worked with session drummer Chris Whitten, who would become his drummer for the next few years. A very slick recording and Paul was probably correct not releasing it anywhere but England. Rating – 7
“Back On My Feet” I again got excited when I heard that Paul was working with Costello, as he was also a favorite of mine since 1977. You can feel the effect that Costello had. An interesting melody, and lyrics that are far more interesting than anything Paul had written in many years. I loved his vocals and the play-out growling by Macca had me jumping around. Rating – 8
I was further excited to hear that they were continuing their work into 1988…..
Next… Paul does something for the Russian people. Paul then picks up the Hofner for the first time in a while and a forms a new touring band and he has many new songs to play with….