2011 was another busy year for Paul, with many exciting events, projects and life changing moments throughout.
HP today announced the launch of Paul McCartney’s private cloud-based digital library.
The HP solution provides MPL Communications, Ltd. with instant access to its diverse media assets on an HP Converged Infrastructure ready for future growth.
McCartney’s collection currently includes more than 1 million items, including photographs; video footage from live concerts; rolls of film, videotapes and reels; music recordings; original works of art; as well as memorabilia. With HP, McCartney’s personal assets are now digitized.
“It’s really exciting because even if I’m out on tour anywhere in the world, I will be able to say, okay, ‘Wings 1976 tour’ and instantly, it will come up. You’ve got all the information, all the photos from it. And you’ll have written accounts – personal accounts and critical accounts – of what happened.”
Paul Named ‘Best Live Act’ – As Voted For By The Public At 36th Nordoff Robbins Silver Clef Awards.
Revealed at today’s awards ceremony by Absolute Radio hometime presenter Geoff Lloyd, was the winner of the Nordoff Robbins Best Live Act vote. This new initiative for 2011, in partnership with Ticketmaster and supported by the Evening Standard, Absolute Radio and O2, invited the nation to choose their favourite live act of the last 12 months from a shortlist of 30 compiled by Ticketmaster based on customer reviews made on Ticketmaster.com.
‘This is phenomenal news! To be voted the Best Live Act by the public when the competition was so amazingly strong is very special indeed. Thanks to Nordoff Robbins and all the fantastic work you guys do. Lots of love from Paul.’
In April and May of this year Paul worked on the next major unnamed release. With producer Tommy LiPuma, the recording sessions started in Los Angeles, in Capitol’s Studio A.
Over the course of 2011, time was also spent in New York, and then in Abbey Road, with some additional recording in Hog Hill Mill and in Westlake Studios, Hollywood.
“We ended up at Capitol A Studio, in that very iconic building (Capitol Records Tower, Hollywood), where Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, even Gene Vincent recorded.
I was thrown in the deep end, because I’m not a jazz player. I didn’t have a guitar or a piano to hide behind. I was just put on what the engineers told me was Nat King Cole’s mic, which was amazingly intimidating!
In front of jazz musicians, which again was pretty intimidating. I just had to find my way through this. And once I’d got over the intimidated feeling, it became a very pleasurable way to work.
There’s such a high level of musicianship on there. And the nice thing for me was, other than going in to do the vocals, I didn’t feel like I had to do much hard work. The players did all the hard work, and I was just in the booth, singing. There was one moment when we were having a puzzle over some slight problem, and I said, “I don’t mind. I’m in LA. I’m British. I’m a tourist. I’m in Capitol A Studio, I’m singing on Nat King Cole’s microphone – I’m on holiday!”
So, coupled with the fact that we were not working from musical charts, there is a very relaxed approach to it all.
Each day I would come in [to the studio] and we’d say, ‘OK, what do we want to try now? What are you in the mood for?’ I’d say, ‘How about this one?’ And we’d just figure it out from the sheet music.
Nobody had parts written. We just went through it. By the time I figured out how I wanted to sing it, Diana [Krall] and the guys had sorted out an arrangement, and we kicked it around among ourselves.
We’d say, ‘This sounds like a good idea, let’s try it,’ then we’d do a take or two, Al [Schmitt] would record it, then we’d go in and listen. It was a very enjoyable process. It was a labor of love kind of thing. We just had fun. We went in there and enjoyed the songs and enjoyed each other’s company. It was a great team, and I think it came out OK.”
The album would come out early in 2012.
The “Up And Coming Tour,” which began in March of 2010 finished up with four shows in South America (Peru, Chile and Brazil) and finished on June 11th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
On May 22nd Paul won the Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance award during the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards, for his performance of “Helter Skelter“, from the live album “Good Evening New York City.“
On June 6, 2011, Paul McCartney and daughters Mary and Stella attended a private viewing of the new “Linda McCartney: Life in Photographs” exhibition, which was opened to public from June 7 to 16.
The exhibition is made up of 26 images taken from the newly published and very recently released Taschen book ‘Linda McCartney: Life In Photographs’. The selection included in the book from Linda’s huge photographic archive – made in collaboration with Paul McCartney and his children – is a moving testament to a photographer of great subtlety and versatility.
The exhibition presents a unique opportunity to purchase exhibition-quality prints from a moving personal collection ranging from her early rock ‘n’ roll portraits, through the final years of The Beatles, via touring with Wings to raising four children with Paul, Linda captured her whole world on film.
Her shots range from spontaneous family pictures to studio sessions with Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson, as well as artists Willem de Kooning and Gilbert and George.
On June 13th, his second and third archive collections were released. They were his first solo album, McCARTNEY (1970) and McCARTNEY II (1980). Paul personally supervised all aspects of these two reissues. The remastering work was done at Abbey Road using the same team who recently remastered the complete Beatles’ catalog.
Both McCartney and McCartney II were available in a variety of formats originating with the single disc digitally remastered Standard Edition version of each album.
McCartney was made available as a 2-disc (2 CD) Special Edition featuring the original remastered album plus seven bonus audio tracks including the previously unreleased outtakes “Suicide” and “Don’t Cry Baby” plus a rare live 1979 recording of “Maybe I’m Amazed”.
For collectors, the reissue additionally were made available as a lavishly packaged 3 disc (2 CD, 1 DVD) Deluxe Edition which includes an exclusive bonus DVD featuring rare and previously unseen footage, an extraordinary 128-page hard bound book containing many exclusive and unpublished photos by Paul and Linda McCartney, original album artwork, downloadable hi-res audio versions of the remastered album and bonus audio tracks, an illustrated history of the making of the album, and expanded track by track information for the two audio discs as well as detailed historical information on the film content.
McCartney II was also made available as a 2-disc (2 CD) Special Edition featuring the original remastered album plus eight bonus tracks including B-Sides and alternative versions. The bonus audio CD includes the #1 hit “Coming Up (Live At Glasgow, 1979)” and holiday perennial “Wonderful Christmastime.”
The packaged 4 disc (3 CD, 1 DVD) Deluxe Edition of McCartney II included an exclusive bonus DVD featuring rare and previously unseen footage (including performances of ‘Coming Up’ and the new video for the unreleased track ‘Blue Sway’) but included an additional eight rare bonus audio tracks exclusive to this edition.
Additionally, the McCartney II deluxe edition contains an extraordinary 128-page hard bound book featuring many previously unpublished photos by Linda McCartney, original album and single artwork, downloadable hi-res audio versions of the remastered album, an illustrated history of the making of the album, and expanded track by track information for all three audio discs plus detailed historical information on the film content.
Both original remastered albums and bonus audio content also were issued as 2 disc 180gm audiophile vinyl editions which will come with an MP3 download of all included audio.
Lastly, the special and deluxe versions of McCartney and McCartney II were made available digitally worldwide.
In early July, Paul reunited with his band and began rehearsals for the next tour. This tour was called “On The Run.” It began on July 15 at the “new” Yankee Stadium and would continue throughout the year with 20 shows in 4 countries. (and also into 2012).
I had the pleasure of seeing him in N.Y. with my sister and brother in law again. This was now the fourth time I had seen him on the first or second night of a major tour, and my seventh show with Paul.
He, and his band were amazing as always. He came out looking amazing, like a teenager. But nearly three hours later, without even a water break he appeared to age right before our eyes…. It was a bit sad, but the man was approaching 70 years old. And again, the show was predictable and spectacular, from start to finish.
Recorded in mid-2011 and on October 3rd, Paul released his next classical work, OCEAN’S KINGDOM. Marking his first work in the world of dance, commissioned by the New York City Ballet and performed by The London Classical Orchestra, eager to tell a story through his music in four movements, Paul decided to focus on the purity of the ocean, creating a world featuring distinctive characters and a vibrant underworld kingdom. His collaborator Peter Martins created the choreography with the NYCB dancers.
Ocean’s Kingdom topped the classical charts and reached the Number 1 spot in the US and Number 2 in the UK.
Ocean’s Kingdom has four New York City performances in September at The David H. Koch Theater.
On October 9th, for the third and I’m sure the last time in his life he married again. Miss Nancy Shevell became Lady McCartney.
There were no sobbing girls collapsing into the arms of policemen as when he wed Linda Eastman in 1969, although fans from as far afield as Japan turned out for the occasion.
It was also far from rock and roll. Sir Paul, 69, and Miss Shevell visited the gym a few hours before the wedding, and returned for an evening reception in their back garden.“I feel absolutely wonderful,” Sir Paul said as he hugged his new bride. “I feel terrific. I feel married.”
The musician and Miss Shevell, 51, stepped out of Old Marylebone Town Hall to a shower of confetti.
The wedding party itself was a classy and elegant affair that looked like a magical enchanted scene from a woodland fairy tale, brought alive by the huge amount of love in the place. It was such a fun night too with much dancing and laughing until the early hours. A highlight for me had to be seeing Ronnie Wood on the dance floor cutting some moves to his own hit with The Faces, ‘Stay With Me’.
Certainly, pop star (turned wedding DJ) Mark Ronson pulled some great tunes out for the occasion including tracks from The Beatles, Amy Winehouse, Prince and of course some Macca solo material – ‘Coming Up’ went down particularly well.
As you’d expect, Paul and Nancy were on the dance floor all night clearly loving every moment. “Nancy and I want to thank everybody for the wonderful greetings and messages of goodwill that we received. We had a really great day with family and friends; it was relaxed, fun, emotional, heartfelt and a total pleasure for the two of us and everyone involved.”
On October 20th the NEW ‘Meat Free Monday Cookbook” was published.
On October 24the McCartney’s held a second party in New York to celebrate their marriage. Two weeks since their special day in London, the couple hosted a second reception at the Bowery Hotel on Friday night where guests included Dave Grohl, James Taylor, Yoko Ono, Keith Richards, Ralph Lauren, Elvis Costello, Billy Joel, Steve Van Zandt and Steve Buscemi.
Paul and Nancy said “We loved having all out friends and family together to share this lovely celebration with us.”
On November 28th the Blu-ray and DVD of the concert for New York was released. “The Love We Make” was shot on atmospheric 16mm black and white film with color inserts from the concert. It features cameo appearances from a host of well known faces including David Bowie, Steve Buscemi, Eric Clapton, Bill Clinton, Sheryl Crow, Leonardo DeCaprio, Harrison Ford, Mick Jagger, Jay Z, Billy Joel, Elton John and many more.
The Guardian describe the film as “an unexpected cinematic gem that has emerged out of the otherwise sombre occasion of the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.”
On December 15th Paul attended a concert by his son James. James tried making his own way in the music game, releasing a series of EP’s, and an album over the next few years. I owned all at one point and I can only rate his output as fair. He is a decent guitar player, but has a odd and limited voice and vocal range.
Paul helped him out on each of his releases with some production and some instrumentation but basically stayed on the outside of each release.
His songwriting was also not that bad, but other than few catchy hooks none of his releases have never inspired a re-listen.
I have heard he is kind of a cranky person, and he struggled with depression and indulgence after the death of his mom, and having no relations with Heather Mills, he fell out with dad for a few years. They have mended those fences, but it seems like he has stopped making music.
For a brief moment he even floated the ideas of forming a band with the sons of George, John and Ringo and call it the “The Sons of The Beatles.” Maybe this was during the indulgences era, as it only got as far as an idea.
On December 19th, after a few days of ominous tweets and posts, Paul announced the title of his next album. It was to be called ‘kisses on the bottom.’
Next….. Kisses and 2012….