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More Of The Year 1989

Oops. One track we missed is another major movie for Paul to offer a title track for. In this case, the 1986 comedy-spy film starring Chevy Chase and Dan Ackroyd, “Spies Like Us.”

This movie seemed like a sure thing, with both leads still near the top of their drawing power. The movie itself turned out to be just fair, and not the blockbuster envisioned by the studio.

The song itself, as a single release only, did fairly well, reaching number 7 on the US charts, and was Paul’s last top ten single until 2015.

Paul plays most of the instruments, joined by Eddie Ayer on synths. It features a rather rocking beat, with a lot of hidden sounds and voices blended underneath.

Linda, Eric Stewart (recorded around the time of PRESS TO PLAY), Kate Robbins and Ruby James help out on backing vocals. The music video features Paul,Chevy and Dan and their two stars wives, in the studio, pretending to record it, and highlights and dialog from the movie.

A shaped picture disc and 12” featuring various extended versions was also issued. Not a bad song at all, but again, not the knockout movie Paul must had envisioned. Rating – 8

It was backed by “My Carnival” on the 45, a song finally seeing the light of day from 1975 VENUS AND MARS era. It was recorded by Wings and helped vocally by Benny Spellman and The Meters.

In February 1989, Elvis Costello’s great album SPIKE was released, and teased the work that he and Paul had worked on together that would come out on Paul’s release.

Spike

“This Town” – Paul plays a killer bass on the opening track. He works the fret board like a bug on a hot street. Rating – 8.5

“Veronica” Paul cowrote this first single from SPIKE. A song inspired by Elvis’s grandmother, who had begun showing varying signs of dementia. Paul again plays bass, but this time he dusted off the vintage Hofner, not the Rickenbacker he had been using since The Beatles. An uptempo song with touching lyrics that was a moderate hit for Elvis. Rating – 7.5

“Pads, Paws and Claws” The last co-written song on the album.

“The next day we wrote “Pads, Paws and Claws” – which took its title from a children’s book about big cats that I’d found in a junk shop,– then we dashed off a little rock and roll tune called “Twenty Fine Fingers.”

We were now working on two or three songs a day. Whenever Paul and I completed a number, we’d go downstairs to the recording studio on the ground floor and cut a demo with just two guitars or the piano.
They remain the most vivid and uncluttered versions of our songs.” – Elvis

Paul doesn’t appear on the track but I would suspect he contributed the middle eight, which features a sprightly acoustic tempo change. Rating – 8
We’ll review all of the demos they laid down together at the end of this chapter.

On May 2nd Paul helped out with the charity single, “Ferry Cross The Mersey.”

As many outside Britain will know, 95 Liverpool fans were crushed to death at a football match in Sheffield on Saturday 15th April, 1989. Everyone wants to help after such a disaster, but the question is ‘how’. Pete Waterman, of the vastly successful Stock Aitken Waterman writing/production team, drives to Liverpool every week to present a Saturday morning show on Radio City.

On the day in question, Pete’s show reflected the city’s anticipation of Liverpool’s Cup semi-final and the chance of a Final against local rivals Everton. Driving home that afternoon, he heard the tragic news on his radio and turned back to Liverpool to see what he could do. Most requested record by distressed listeners was not the football anthem ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, but ‘Ferry Cross The Mersey’.

Pete decided a charity version must be recorded and immediately contacted Mike Stock to prepare the backing track.

Paul too was anxious to do something, so was delighted to get the call from Pete Waterman. He immediately accepted Pete’s suggestion and the logistics of recording Paul’s contribution were sorted out between them there and then.

Good intentions aren’t enough: like any other single, a charity record needs the right ingredients to make an impact. Pete decided the public had become used to ‘massed choir’ charity records and so chose five Liverpool artists to give a personal, less crowded effect.

The others were Gerry Marsden, who as composer and copyright holder waived all his rights, Holly Johnson (once of Frankie Goes To Hollywood) and the Christian Brothers (band name: the Christians).

The single was released on 2 May. The B-side is ‘Abide With Me’ from the Liverpool Cathedral service the day after the tragedy.

L.I.P.A. February 1989

Fame – I wanna live forever!” Well, Paul can’t arrange that, but he can certainly do his best to ensure that Liverpool has its own School for the Performing Arts. Depressed on visiting his old school, the now defunct Liverpool Institute in 1988, he remembered a friend saying after the Toxteth riots that the city needed a Fame type school with moderate fees.

Paul mentioned the idea to George Martin and made some enquiries, culminating in a McCartney open letter in the Liverpool Echo of 24th February. Via the Echo, Paul asked the people of Liverpool to say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to the idea: the response was overwhelmingly in favour. “I am sure,” Paul had said, “that if the answer is a positive one we will be able to attract interest from many other sources.”
George’s experience suggests Paul is right: the London School for Performing Arts and Technology should open late next year in Croydon. The money is coming from the government (under its City Technology Colleges programme) and the music industry, with the site being donated free by the local council.

“The Institute encouraged us all to be individuals,” said its last headmaster, Jack Sweeney. “It gave us an atmosphere in which we could all develop.” Paul confirmed that he “got a great start in life there” and “would love to see other local people being given the same chance.” It looks as if his wish may come true… Another Institute product millionaire Steve Norris, became MP for Epping Forest in December. When head boy, he had to drag the truants back to school from the Cavern!… Rock is certainly flirting with cap and gown these days. Bristol teacher Tim Cain scored an immediate hit with his GCSE music coursebook, featuring illustrated rock classics… West Lothian College of Further Education offers an HNC Business Studies (Music Management) course, including law, economics and publishing – 80% of graduates have found work in the music business; one discovered Fairground Attraction; Simple Minds’ manager was so impressed he promptly hired a student…. L.I.P.A. is still thriving to this day.

Other tracks Paul recorded in 1989 are

“Seems Like Old Times” Started in 1978 and again revisited in 1980 (both home recordings) I only wish this song had been finished and released. I have the two versions and became aware of this song in 1989 (it is not a true 1989 song). Upon listening to the words, I was immediately brought back to the 1974 meeting of Paul with John Lennon during his “lost weekend period” in Los Angeles. He and John with Stevie Wonder, Harry Nilsson, Ringo Starr etc.. assembled in the studio for some maniac jamming, released as the bootleg “A Toot And A Snore.” I sensed that this song was an homage to that night, albeit unproductive, but a tiny taste of what Paul missed the most from his past.

   Lyrics to “Seems Like Old Times”

The other day I met someone I had known in another lifetime
Old puzzle pieces lost without a trace fell into place in my mind
But we both knew what we were getting into

And we didn’t wanna stop
No we wouldn’t wanna miss it
Cause it seems like old times
So like long ago that I hardly even know
Who’s who anymore
What’s new anymore
So like long ago that it seems like old times

Familiar music man singing me a song from another lifetime
When urgent letters waiting for the post were uppermost in my mind
But he got through
Then before we knew it

Well we didn’t want to stop
Now we didn’t wanna do it
Didn’t want to stop
Cause we wouldn’t wanna miss it
Well it seems like old times
So like long ago that I hardly even know
Who’s who anymore
What’s true anymore
It’s so like long ago that it seems like old times

When you reappeared and the moment I had always feared
Was upon me I felt slightly weird that’s for sure
Now life is good to me though I don’t see who I used to see
No it’s not quite what it used to be anymore that’s for sure

So the other day I met someone I had known in another lifetime
Old puzzle pieces lost without a trace fell into place in my mind
But we both knew what we were getting into

And we didn’t wanna stop
No we wouldn’t wanna miss it
Didn’t wanna stop
No I wouldn’t wanna miss it

Because it feels, (pauses after error) yes cause it seems like old times
So like long ago that I hardly even know
Who’s who anymore
What’s new anymore
So like long ago that it seems like old times

Seems like old times

Rating – 8 (for the more flushed out demo that I wanted more of)

Then again it could have been Paul working on a title tract to the 1980 film starring Chevy Chase and Goldie Hawn.

You make the call…..

“Party Party” A funky song written by the entire band jamming at a rehearsal and then quickly turning into a song.
It was part of that cd ROCKS which I had bought prior to FLOWERS being released. It was filmed and included in the making of Flowers video. The entire band seems to be having a great time with this one. Rating – 7

“Good Sign” The B-side to the 12” extended release of “This One.” It’s just Paul, Robbie and Hamish. A very danceable track with all of the bells and whistles from this period of remixes and 12” singles. I have three different mixes of this song, and they all kind of same feel of many of the extended mixes of his material of the time. It now makes me think how much Paul still wanted to be relevant in the dance clubs (guess they weren’t called discos anymore). Nice, but dated in todays world. Rating – 7.5

“I Wanna Cry” Another ROCKS track and on the cd single (yes, they were a major part of this era) of “This One.” Paul attempts to give us another 12 bar blues, but this is clearly the weakest weapon in McCartney’s arsenal. Recorded during the sessions for CHOBBA B CCCP, and features Mick Gallagher on keys, Nick Garvey on bass and Henry Spinetti on drums. Paul handles the guitar and gives us a damn good solo on the break. Rating – 7

“All My Trials” The traditional song, recorded both in the studio and live (released in 1990 as a single on the Live Fantastic Highlights album) Hamish adds beautiful co-vocals at various points. Rating – 7

Included also in the CD single was McCartney’s tribute to John Lennon from the Liverpool concert where he did a mix of “Strawberry Fields Forever/Help/Give Peace A Chance.”

“The First Stone” Written by Hamish Stuart and Paul and added as a b-side to “This One” single and on the cd single as well. A social comment on religious people who judge others without ever checking their own personal behavior. This was the era of the PTL and various other televangelist scandals. A great little rocker, played by Paul, Hamish and Chris Whitten. Paul was open to writing with others in the 1980’s but it never went further with Stuart. Hamish and Paul share lead vocals…. Rating – 8

“Love Mix” Recorded in 1987 and intended for RETURN TO PEPPERLAND album. We’ll save the review for that album. It came out as a B-side eventually in 1997 on “Beautiful Night” single.

“Flying To My Home” The B-side to “My Brave Face” single. An outstanding mid tempo rocker, that dazzles at the start with wonderful group harmonies and is a wonderful homage to heading home from a destination. Paul’s distorted vocals are both confusing and amazing at the same time. Outstanding little deep deep track. Rating – 8.5

What an amazingly productive year from Paul.

Up next the demos…. Paul and Elvis and Paul and the new band…….

1989… the year that won’t end.

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