2019 was another busy year for all things Paul McCartney.
I’m sure he kept writing new music throughout the year for the multiple projects he was working on.
But this was not a year which saw him the studio very often.
From the 2018 Wings RED ROSE SPEEDWAY deluxe edition, the previously unreleased “The Bruce McMouse Show” film saw a premiere in select cinemas around the world on January 21st.
The Bruce McMouse Show tells the story of how Paul and Wings came to meet the impresario Bruce McMouse.
Part concert film, part animated feature, it featured footage from Wings’ 1972 European tour, interspersed with animated scenes that introduce a family of mice living under the stage.
On January 30th The Beatles “Get Back” project was announced.
On the day of the fiftieth anniversary (January 30th, 1969) of the Beatles’ rooftop concert, it was announced that film director Peter Jackson was working on a documentary that covers the making of the Beatles’ 1970 album “Let It Be.“
It would be given a name and an initial release date in cinemas in March 2020, but would be delayed a couple of times due to the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.
Called “Get Back,” it would ultimately be released initially in three parts in November 2021 on Disney+ streaming service.
The announcement of the previously described “Travelers Edition” of EGYPT STATION was announced on February 14th (with love, I’m sure…).
On March 27th a school book Paul used as a teenager sold for £46,800 – nearly 10 times its estimate.
The exercise book – which features a doodle of a man smoking and a teacher’s critical comments – sold at an auction of Beatles memorabilia in Newton-le-Willows, Merseyside.
He used the exercise book at Liverpool Institute High School for Boys, where he was taught English literature by Alan ‘Dusty’ Durband.
Inside are 22 pages of essays he wrote on novels such as Thomas Hardy’s The Return Of The Native and John Milton’s Paradise Lost.
‘I’d answer the question first before challenging its truth,’ Mr Durband tells him on page three of the exercise book, from the 1959/60 school year. But the teenager, 17 or 18 at the time, showed promise, achieving marks from B- to B++ for his work.
The “Freshen Up” tour would resume on March 20th in Chile, pause on March 30th after Brazil. The resume again in New Orleans on May23rd, finishing on July 13th at Dodgers Stadium. 38 shows in 11 countries.
This is the last organized concert tour by Paul to this day as he has chosen not to with the advent of Covid-19. He says he wants to die onstage, and wants to tour again…
April 5th saw the release of the 1975 performance, PROFESSOR LONGHAIR LIVE ON THE QUEEN MARY on Vinyl, CD and Deluxe Formats.
Paul: “When we finished ‘Venus and Mars’, even though the album didn’t have a “New Orleans sound”, the flavor of us being there for so long is in there. For me, when I think of the album, I think of New Orleans.
So, we were going to have a launch party and I was looking around for something interesting, something exciting for us to do. And I heard that the Queen Mary – the old, original Queen Mary – was now in Long Beach, which is just outside LA. And it was now some kind of a hotel thing and was available for functions. You could hire it, you could hire the big ballroom. So we think, ‘Oh, well that’s perfect!
We should do that and we should have a guest-list with all the LA celebs and people like this’. Which meant it was a pretty cool guest-list!
So we’re thinking, ‘Oh, who’s going to entertain? Well, our favorites are currently The Meters and Professor Longhair.’ So we asked The Meters if they would back him and if he was happy to play with them. And everyone was happy. So that’s what we did: we booked them for the party! And then we thought, ‘Well, this an opportunity not to be missed. We should record it ‘cause they’re such favorite artists of ours!’ So again, we asked if they minded being recorded, which they didn’t, they were very happy to do that. And so we got this record out of it, which was very exciting.
I still remember the great thing The Meters used to do was that they used to start their act in their dressing room. So they would start off.. Somebody would have a drum. Somebody would have a tambourine. Somebody would have little claves. And they would just come into the hall from the dressing room playing. They just come walking in… [Carries on singing] Then they get up on the stage… [Sings…] Then they get their instruments on seamlessly …and suddenly it would be their opening number. It was such a great idea!
They’re playing… the whole band’s together. They’re playing these rhythmic things, signing, chanting, coming on. And as they get up on stage, one of them will drop his tambourine and pick up a guitar, and then the next one would get on the drums and lose his conga. They didn’t stop and then start again, they were just seamless. They just seamlessly became a live band.
That is a great way to start a show, yeah! They did that and then Professor Longhair came on and did his bit. And it was lovely. Really great!”
April 24th saw the announcement of the previously discussed “Station II” release.
Linda’s photos were exhibited in London from May 15th-19th.
Each year, Cardozo’s Journal of Conflict Resolution presents the International Advocate for Peace Award to an individual who is exemplary in the field of conflict resolution.
On May 28th The Cardozo Commencement Ceremony included the presentation of the International Advocate for Peace Award to Sir Paul McCartney from students of the Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution. In honoring McCartney, students cited five decades of songs that “celebrate love and understanding, empathy and connection—the foundations of peace that are the heart of the human struggle.”
July 5th brought the opening of Linda McCartney “Retrospective” (until January 12, 2020). A major photographic exhibition, which was curated by Paul, Mary and Stella McCartney and features iconic names and moments in music from the 1960s along with more intimate and emotional later work by the acclaimed and prolific photographer.
The retrospective featured a wealth of ephemera and archive material, which is being shown in public for the first time.
This will include one of Linda’s diaries from the 1960s, bringing new insight into the contemporary music scene of the era and the beginnings of her photographic career.
Cameras used by Linda and held in her archive will also be displayed along with photographic equipment and vintage magazines that have been uncovered from her expansive archive.
Polaroids and contact sheets will also be part of the exhibition which explore her creativity and use of the different photographic techniques.
The Retrospective will feature a section dedicated to the photographs Linda took in Scotland alongside the themes of family life, self portraits, nature and social commentary.
To celebrate the first UK showing of the Linda McCartney Retrospective, the limited-edition color vinyl LP pressing of WIDE PRAIRIE will be available exclusively for one month prior to the album’s general release at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow from the exhibition’s July 5th opening.
In addition Paul also donated a set of limited edition photographs by his late wife Linda McCartney to Glasgow Museums.
July 18th Paul announces he is working on writing his first musical, an adaptation of the 1946 Frank Capra motion picture, “It’s A Wonderful Life.”
Paul has partnered with British theatre and film impresario Bill Kenwright who will produce the show. Bill originally approached Paul three years ago after acquiring the rights to the much-loved film that over seven decades since its release continues to be a Prime-Time must for television audiences all around the world.
Paul and Bill both were born and raised in Liverpool, and both attended the Liverpool Institute High School (now LIPA – the acclaimed performing arts academy founded by Paul).
In addition to writing the music Paul has been working on the lyrics with the Tony Award winning English screen and play writer Lee Hall, who is also responsible for the book of the musical.
Speaking about this news Paul said:
“Like many of these things this all started with an email. Bill had asked if it was something I might be up for. Writing a musical is not something that had ever really appealed to me but Bill and I met up with Lee Hall and had a chat and I found myself thinking this could be interesting and fun. ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ is a universal story we can all relate to.”
Bill Kenwright said: “Working with Paul on “It’s a Wonderful Life” is a dream realized. To be honest I was hooked on first hearing him say “one/two/three/four” on the demo of the opening number! But since then it’s been an extraordinary journey – on every song I experience Paul’s unique gift of melody and composition. It’s musical theatre – but it’s always McCartney.
Paul attends the next LIPA graduation on July 26th.
On August 11th The Beatles announced the 50th anniversary boxset of “ABBEY ROAD.”
“Abbey Road” Presented with New Mixes in Stereo, 5.1 Surround, and Dolby Atmos; Expanded with Previously Unreleased Session Recordings and Demos to be released September 27th.
Abbey Road’s Super Deluxe box set presents 40 tracks – including “The Long One” Trial Edit & Mix for the album’s epic Side 2 medley – on three CDs (stereo) and one Blu-ray disc (Dolby Atmos, 96kHz/24 bit high resolution stereo, and 96 kHz/24 bit DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1).
The four discs are housed in a slip-sleeved 12” by 12” 100-page hardbound book with McCartney’s foreword; Martin’s introduction; insightful, in-depth chapters written by Beatles historian, author, and radio producer Kevin Howlett covering the months preceding The Beatles’ Abbey Road sessions, track-by-track details and session notes, the cover art and photo shoot, and the album’s reception upon its release; plus an essay by music journalist and author David Hepworth looking at the album’s influence through 50 years.
The book is illustrated with rare and previously unpublished photographs, including many taken by Linda McCartney; never before published images of handwritten lyrics, sketches, and a George Martin score; Beatles correspondence, recording sheets, and tape boxes; and reproduced original print ads.
The Super Deluxe digital audio collection presents all 40 tracks for download purchase and streaming in standard and MFiT formats, as well as in high resolution audio (96kHz/24 bit) for download.
Abbey Road’s limited edition Deluxe vinyl box set features all 40 tracks from the Super Deluxe collection on three 180-gram vinyl LPs. The album’s new stereo mix LP is packaged in a faithfully replicated sleeve, with the two Sessions LPs paired in their own jacket, presented with a four-page insert in a lift-top box.
The Deluxe 2CD set pairs the new stereo mix with versions taken from the session takes and demo recordings of its 17 songs, sequenced to match the album’s running order. The two discs are presented in a digipak with a 40-page booklet abridged from the Super Deluxe book.
The album’s new stereo mix is also available in 1CD and 180-gram 1LP vinyl packages, for digital download in standard and MFiT audio, and on a limited edition picture disc vinyl LP illustrated by the album’s front and back cover art images.
Abbey Road’s Super Deluxe and Deluxe vinyl box sets’ 23 session and demo recordings are presented in chronological order of their first recording dates. “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” leads the charge.
September 5th brought another delightful Macca surprise. The release of “Hey Grandude!” This is Paul’s 1st picture book.
“It’s about a character called Grandude who represents grandfathers everywhere.
He has four grandchildren and he calls them “Chillers”. They love him and they go on adventures with him and he’s kind of magical, so you’ll see that in the book. I wanted to write it for grandparents everywhere – and the kids – so it gives you something to read to the grandkids at bed time.” – Paul
He would read it out loud at Waterstones in London the next day.
Speaking of books…..On September 18, Benedikt and Marlene Taschen, along with Mary, Stella and Paul McCartney, hosted the launch of Linda McCartney “The Polaroid Diaries” at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
Guests included Ringo Starr, Chrissie Hynde, Twiggy, Sharleen Spiteri, Marc Newson, Rosemary Ferguson, Sheherezade Goldsmith and more.
After a private cocktail reception in the V&A’s Photography Centre, Mary and Stella McCartney – plus surprise guest Paul – joined 275 V&A members for a conversation about the book and Linda McCartney’s photographic work moderated by critic and author Ekow Eshun.
A book signing in the Silver Galleries of the museum concluded the evening.
Bringing together hundreds of unseen Polaroids from the 1970s to the late 1990s, the book provides intimate testimony to Linda McCartney’s legacy as a fiercely committed and experimental artist, and is TASCHEN’s second monograph of her work following the 2011 publication of Linda McCartney, “Life in Photographs.”
The book was released a week later.
The next day Paul and Ringo joined the 50th Anniversary Album Party!
November 22nd the entire catalog of Beatles singles were remastered and printed with the original sleeve in a box set called “The Singles Collection.” Since each of these new 180gm vinyl single were released in dozens of different sleeves worldwide, a wonderful cross-section of nationalities are included. It now sells in the $200 range. It includes a 39 page book and new “Free As A Bird/Real Love” single.
November 29th saw a limited edition picture disc new single released on RSD called “Home Tonight/“In A Hurry” (reviewed last post)
And if he did not have enough irons in the fire (PS..he’s writing a new album as well) It was announced on December 10th that Netflix and Gaumont are producing a new animated feature based his book “High In The Clouds.”
The new animated adventure follows an imaginative teenage squirrel named Wirral, who finds himself pulled into a ramshackle gang of teenage rebels who live high in the clouds. After he accidentally antagonizes Gretsch the owl, the tyrannical leader (and fabulous singer!), who steals the voice of anyone who upstages her.
Maybe this or next year we will see many of this behind the scene works come to fruition.
Next, 2020… Paul goes into lock-down…oops, I mean rock-down.