Early in 1999 the “songtrack” was remixed from The Beatles 1968 animated classic, YELLOW SUBMARINE. The production staff was Paul Hicks, Mirek Stiles and Peter Cobbin. It was later released on September 13th, 1999.
On January 22nd, Paul edited the future single from Linda McCartney’s WILD PRAIRIE, “The Light Comes From Within.”
From February 21st thru the 25th the songs for the future album, “WORKING CLASSICAL,“ were recorded. This album would feature 11 songs previously released by Paul recorded.
Armed with a few newly written songs and handfuls of slightly obscure 45’s and b-sides that he had always fancied from his youth, Paul returned to the studio for the first time in a long time to begin work on his next album from March 1st thru the 5th.
Like many times in his past, songs associated from his childhood have given him comfort, and these 5 days of sessions would serve in his healing process.
Paul had called Chris Thomas, the young Beatles engineer who had gone on to build a reputation among the punk revolutionaries of the late seventies before working on that last Wings album, Back To The Egg.
An old friend, an old hand at rock music, he was always eager to spend a few days in the studio with Paul and knew now exactly what spirit Paul needed to get going again. “He wasn’t thinking it was going to be the next big record,” Thomas says. “He was just free to enjoy himself.”
Paul dialed a few musician friends, enough to form a basic rock ‘n’ roll band, and booked time in studio two at Abbey Road, the ancestral homeland of his work as a recording artist. When Paul showed up, carrying his old Höfner bass, the faces were friendly and familiar.
Pink Floyd’s Dave Gilmour on one guitar, while another Liverpool veteran, Mick Green, held down the other guitar.
Ian Paice from Deep purple sat at the drums some days, Dave Mattacks played on others. Keyboard duties were divided between Pete Wingfield and Geraint Watkins.
As Paul had already told Chris Thomas, the point was for them to just play and have fun. Nothing should be fussed over; no time could be spent on applying spit and polish. They had a week to record as many songs as they felt like playing, and whatever happened was exactly what should happen. “We were just going to do the songs, and that was it,” Thomas says.
“No post production, all very quick.”
Paul had a list of songs he wanted to play. Mostly the titles of the records he had brought home to play during that first rock ‘n’ roll year in 1957. Elvis and Little Richard, Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent. He had a couple of originals he could throw in, too, tunes he’d written with the same three-chords-and-a-howl attitude. So he stepped to the mike and counted down the first song, and they were off.
“These were just incredible performances,” Thomas says. “The wild abandon came back, and his smile came back.”
Paul ‘s fingers were flying up and down the Höfner’s thin neck, the great surging bass runs that not only sustained the rhythm but also created a whole new layer of melody and harmony.
That was great, yet still not as awesome as his singing, which had renewed strength and vitality, plus also an unhinged wildness he hadn’t displayed in decades.
“When I asked him to do that for ‘Oh! Darling’ in 1969, he shrugged and said, ‘Well, I’m too old,’” Thomas says. “But now, thirty years later, he could do it again.”
Yes, he could. And then some.
For once, he held nothing back. Instead, he crafted a map to the headwaters of his musical imagination; a musical description of the link between his most overwhelming emotions and the artistry they fueled.
On March 15th, he was inducted in the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame. His daughter Mary was proudly wearing a T shirt that proclaimed, “It’s about fucking time.” Neil Young introduced him. Promised he would be inducted in 1995 by Jann Wenner, Paul said at his acceptance: “She (Linda) really wanted this,” holding up the trophy.
On the same day, Wings BAND ON THE RUN 25th anniversary edition was released which featured a second disc of interviews, stories and demos and live performances, in addition to the 1973 original album being remastered (again)
The Concert for Linda was a benefit tribute to Linda McCartney. It was held at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 10 April 1999.
The event was organized by two of their friends, Chrissie Hynde and Carla Lane. Comedian Eddie Izzard hosted the concert, with proceeds going to various animal rights charities. Hynde and Linda had worked together supporting various animal rights groups, including PETA.
Tickets to the show, with 5,000 people attending, sold out within an hour after going on sale.
Besides Paul McCartney’s unannounced performance, the show featured more than a dozen artists singing their own versions of Beatles’ material. Among the other groups performing were George Michael, The Pretenders, Elvis Costello, Tom Jones, Sinead O’Connor, Des’ree, Heather Small, guitarist Johnny Marr, Neil Finn, Marianne Faithfull and Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
McCartney was not expected to perform, as he had not done any shows since Linda died. However, he attended the event with his four children. After he took to the stage to thank the audience, at the urging of Chrissie Hynde, he sang one of his and Linda’s favorite 1950s songs, Ricky Nelson’s “Lonesome Town.” He was backed by members of the Pretenders, along with Costello. The song was Paul’s first recorded song since Linda died.
He followed that with his 1963 hit, “All My Loving.” Most of the night’s performers joined him on stage to provide the chorus. Costello said that for this particular event, “there was something incredibly poignant” about the song’s opening lyrics: Close your eyes and I’ll kiss you, Tomorrow I’ll miss you, Remember I’ll always be true.
After those songs, Hynde rushed over and gave McCartney an emotional embrace. Everyone then joined in for the closing song, “Let It Be.”
Paul was at the Dorchester Hotel, during the Pride of Britain Awards event later in April 1999, which McCartney had attended to present an award to an animal rights activist. It was there that he met Heather Mills. She had presented the Outstanding Bravery Award to Helen Smith, also making an appeal on behalf of the Heather Mills Health Trust. McCartney also presented an award dedicated to his late wife, Linda McCartney.
McCartney talked to Mills about donating to her charity – later giving her £150,000.
In the autumn of 1999, Mills and her sister recorded “VO!CE”, a song they wrote to raise funds for Mills’s charity, with McCartney agreeing to sing backing vocals. After recording the song in Greece, where Mills’s sister lived, running the independent label Coda Records, the sisters stayed overnight at McCartney’s estate in Peasmarsh, Sussex, in early November, where McCartney added vocals to the song.
This sure sparked the interest of the tabloids about his appearances with Mills at events.
On October 4th, 1999, RUN DEVIL RUN was released….
Next, new music, old music, new lovers…… the rest of 1999……