As 2000 began, Paul began to work on a few new projects. He was working on another book (the last work was his of his painting) that showed the completeness of his artistic abilities.
He also was working behind the scenes with his daughters on a TV special that would roughly show the history of his second band, Wings.
In addition, he began to again write new songs that would eventually become his new album later in 2001.
So 2001 began and in med-February he arrived at Wally Hensons Recording Studio in Los Angeles to begin the first of 11 separate sessions of work on his next album.
For this project he insisted a new producer in David Kahne (Fishbone, Sublime, The Strokes, Sugar Ray, The Bangles, Translator, Romeo Void, Stevie Nicks, Teddy Thompson, New Order, Lana Del Rey, The Outfield, Renee Fleming, Regina Spektor, Ingrid Michaelson, 78violet, and Alexz Johnson) and with a new recording band. The new band featured Rusty Anderson on guitar, Abe Laboriel Jr. on drums and Gabe Dixon on guitar.
Sessions lasted from February 16th-March 28th, and then a final season on June 19th.
On March 19th, “Blackbird Singing: Poems and Lyrics” book was released.
To many readers some of this book will be instantly recognizable as the songs that have formed the backdrop to every generation since the 1960s. Their lyrics have been learned, almost subliminally, by heart: ‘Eleanor Rigby’, ‘Band on the Run’, ‘She’s Leaving Home’, ‘Penny Lane’. But among the familiar are poems that have never before been seen. Sharing the preoccupations of the songs and including moving elegies to Paul’s wife, Linda, they give us unique access to the inner life of one of the most influential figures in popular culture of the last fifty years. They demonstrate, against an acknowledgement of the essential solitariness of existence, an irrepressible belief in the power of words and music to make things better. (from McCartney.com)
On May 11th, the documentary “Wingspan” was broadcast in the U.S.
Produced by the McCartneys’ MPL Communications, it was broadcast around the world to accompany the contemporary release of a 2-disc retrospective collection from McCartney’s solo career, titled Wingspan: Hits and History. An accompanying book, also titled Wingspan, based upon the documentary’s script as edited by Beatles’ historian Mark Lewisohn, was published in 2002.
Formed around an interview between Paul McCartney and his daughter Mary McCartney (who co-produced it with her then-husband Alistair Donald, its director), it uses the McCartneys’ film and photographic archive to tell the story of Paul and Linda’s founding of the band Wings in the aftermath of The Beatles’ split and of its gradual evolution during the 1970s, through several line-ups.
From an initial atmosphere of critical disdain and personal derision for both McCartneys the film charts the band’s progress to its commercial peaks of international success and acclaim before it suffers its own disintegration at the beginning of the 1980s.
Paul also recorded his version of the Ian Dury and Chaz Jankel song “I’m Partial To Your Abracadra” for the Dury tribute album NEW BOOTS & PANTIES album. Paul let’s loose on this limited edition single, and is backed by Ian’s original band, The Blockheads. Rating – 8.5
On September 11th, Paul and Heather Mills were in a plane in New York waiting for take off and out of the plane window could see the unfolding horror that was occurring at the site of the twin towers.
In addition for planning a benefit concert at Madison Square Garden, he wrote a song that summed up his feelings about the events.
The Concert For New York City was broadcast live on October 20th, and at the end Paul and the band performed the song “Freedom.”
The next day he and his new band and Eric Clapton went into a New York studio and quickly knocked off a studio version of “Freedom.” The song became a single released on October 29th.
The single was hurriedly added to the new album as a bonus track and on November 11th, 2001, Paul released his next album or original material, calling it DRIVING RAIN.
Next…. Turn on the wipers…. It’s raining outside….