2013 was another incredible year of activity and accomplishment from the approaching 71 year old mark Sir Paul McCartney.
January saw him enter the studio with son James, and the results have Paul backing him on “Thinking About Rock & Roll.” This track, produced by David Kahne appear on James 2013 album, ME.
In this time frame saw him come together with Giles Martin for the first of the NEW sessions. Giles, son of George , had worked extensively with Paul on his multiple Beatles remix projects. They worked on six tracks, all of which would see the light of day in the next year or so.
Also in this same time period Paul reunited with director Michel Gondry (“Dance Tonight” video) on recording new music (Playing bass on a few songs) for the “MOOD INDIGO” soundtrack album and film.
In February he met up for the second time with producer Paul Epworth on material for the new album. They finished three songs from the next album. Epworth is again credited as co-writer of each track.
So he is working in different directions with four producers who are interpreting each of these tracks in their own way. So the new album will sure be a buffet of ideas and sounds and I couldn’t imagine it having any threaded theme or concept. Lots of talented fingers in this pie.
Paul and Nancy attended the concert of James on March 27th. April had Paul doing overdubs and mixing the tracks he has been recording since 2012.
After some rehearsal time the next major tour for Paul and his band began on May 3rd.
Overall this tour would not officially end until October 22nd, 2015.
Over 2 1/2 years, 99 concerts in 18 countries.
Like all of Paul’s tours, there are many highlights and stories. Like the night in Goiana, Brazil (the second show of the tour) when the stage was swarmed with grasshoppers.
The Esperanca Grilo, which translates to the Hope Grasshopper, swarmed the stage, equipment, and even the band and crew during the show. McCartney even made notation of the grasshoppers during “Hey Jude”, as he sang the line “The movement you need is on your shoulder”, turning to his shoulder, singing to the grasshoppers.
This, like most tourism featured new and exciting stage and sound upgrades, which included a scissor-lift platform that carried McCartney 20 feet into the air. Not quite Kiss, but still refreshing.
Paul also was a tad flexible with the set list that changed over the 2 1/2 year tour. It would also eventually feature music he was just finishing up. Five new Beatles songs he had never sung in concert were included.
The tour pause of July gave Paul a second session with Giles Martin.
They finished three songs, and this ended the recording for the year, and for any music associated with the NEW album.
He highlighted the iHeart Music Festival in Las Vegas on September 21st. He also appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! two days later. And two days after that he played three songs for the 23rd Simply Shakespeare Benefit, in Santa Monica at The Broad Stage.
In New York on October 7th, the band played on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.
Two nights later (October 9th) he played at The Frank Sinatra School of the Arts. Her performed to students and teachers at the Astoria, Queens school. He performed 13 songs stopping his set for friendly Q&A with students from the school. Dedicating the title track from his ‘NEW’ album to wife Nancy, Paul informed the enthusiastic audience the day was also their second wedding anniversary.
The concert took place on what would have been John Lennon’s birthday and Paul paid tribute by performing ‘Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!’ with his band.
The Frank Sinatra School of the Arts was set up by singer Tony Bennet and his wife Susan Benedetto in 2001.
On Thursday October 10th, Paul and his band performed an impromptu concert in New York Times Square. He played on a stage fitted into a tractor tailor that pulled up at 46th Street and Broadway, by the TXS Booth. Paul appeared with his four man band, and offered songs from his new release. No Beatles or Wings songs were performed.
“You’re a lovely audience,” McCartney said before ending his 15 minute show. “Let’s do this the same time tomorrow – just kidding.
On October 11th, Paul released his next solo album. Paul said: “The original idea was to go to a couple of producers whose work I loved, to see who I got on with best – but it turned out I got on with all of them! We made something really different with each producer, so I couldn’t choose and ended up working with all four. We just had a good time in different ways.
The new album is called….. NEW. Next, the album is reviewed. Then the remaining track from this period and finally the rest of the busy year 2013.
In January 2012 Paul decided to audition some young producers for his next album of all original material.
To start with, there was no particular plan for Paul’s sixteenth studio album. He had a batch of songs that needed to be put down, and the idea of doing it with a new producer, with someone who could bring something different from him.
The initial intention was to go in and work with a handful of big-but-youthful names, and see which turned out the best.
First, there was Paul Epworth, co-writer and architect of Adele’s monstrously successful ‘21’, and innumerable cool indie records.
And there was Mark Ronson, the man perhaps most notable for making Amy Winehouse’s classic recordings but, even putting that to one side, also with a jaw-dropping impressive collection of credits.
Also, with strong links to Paul’s past but also focused firmly on the future, there were Giles Martin and Ethan Johns.
First up for a dose of fun was Paul Epworth, who did what anyone presented with 20 new Paul McCartney songs to record would do, and decided put them to one side and jam something more.
“Save Us” was the first song to be recorded.
“I feel like I thrive as a producer from getting in a room with somebody, and making music from scratch,” says Epworth. “He came down for a meeting, to sit down and have a chat, and within an hour we were in the live room with him on bass and me on drums – that was definitely a pinch yourself moment! – and within 20 minutes we had this riff together, which became the first song on the record.” “Save Us” was that song.
McCartney arrived empty-handed. “I was like, ‘OK, what am I going to do here?‘” he recalls. “I’m very open – I just don’t wanna bore myself.”
Epworth was assertive. He mouthed a muscular, hurtling rock beat, telling McCartney that this was the tempo and energy he should hit. “I said, ‘That’s a good idea, let’s get lively, let’s not get all deep and serious,‘” McCartney says. “So he jumped on the drum kit, I jumped on the piano, we multilayered it, I put chords in, structured it a bit, and started blocking out the words.
Normally with me it’s melody and lyric at the same time – I’ll follow the train of thought, and the lyrics and melody all come at once. But when you’re improvising, you don’t have words, you don’t know what the song’s about. You just know how it feels and how a vocal might sound, so you go ‘wada bada bada wado biddo woo’ in order to get the melody, then you find words that fit the blocking.
It’s hard not to get caught up in that kind of excitement. It’s similar to my Fireman project and I like working like that. It’s always a motivating thing for me, having to clear the backlog before I can write more, to realize you suddenly have enough for an album.
But Paul (Epworth) had an idea for us to write something new. So even though I had 20 songs, the first one we put down, the opening track, we wrote in the studio just off the back of Paul’s (Epworth) enthusiasm.”
Second, he hooked up with Ethan Johns. They spent a day working together at AIR Studios, London, before moving to Abbey Road for two extra days. During that time, they focused on one track, “Hosanna“.
“I hooked up with Ethan Johns, the son of my friend Glyn Johns, who I had worked with on Beatles and Wings recordings. Ethan, a full bearded Glastonbury man was easy to get along with and I got a feeling that his style suited my more acoustic songs.
He’d done Kings of Leon records, so I knew there was an authenticity and a realness about what he did. I brought him ‘Hosanna’” – a tender, tentative acoustic ballad – “and I said, ‘I wrote this song.’ He said, ‘Why don’t you go in and sing it?’ So I did that and said, ‘Should I do it again? Should we fix it up?’
He said, ‘No, that’s beautiful the way you did it. I think that’s enough.’ I thought, ‘OK, this is the way he works: He’s gonna be very raw, he’s gonna want it to spill out, don’t think about it too much, just say it.”
Johns said, “I got a call saying, Would you like to go into the studio with Paul? And of course I said, ‘I would love to! It was very low-key. Let’s just go and hang out for a few days, play some music, have a bit of fun and see what we come up with.”
“The first day we had was remarkable. He walked in with this incredible song “Hosanna,” we threw up a couple of microphones and within four hours we had this great track. I think we did an edit between the first two takes. It had an incredible feel – a really evocative piece of music. A very interesting lyric, and the performance was great.
Then we started to experiment with it, and I put a bunch of psychedelic strangeness on it. You have fun. ‘Oh, try this! Do that!’ It’s just very inspiring to be around.
The first thing he said was, ‘What do you feel like doing?’ I could have said, ‘Let’s spend the day making percussion loops with drum machines,’ and he would have been, ‘Great! Let’s do that!’ I don’t think he ever said ‘No,’ which is kind of the mark of who he is as an artist, really. He’s always up for trying something new.”
“It was revelatory for me, recording Paul in that space having listened to the sound of those Beatles records. He plugged in his bass, I put a microphone in front of it, walked upstairs into the control room, pushed the fader up, and that sound came out of the speakers immediately.”
“I didn’t have to do anything! It was a pretty major light bulb for me. People get so fixated on the equipment and the gear, and those things are important – but ultimately, the bass sound on Revolver is Paul. Paul could be playing anything and he will get that sound.”
McCartney and Johns got together for a second time (finishing a second song) before Paul moved onto producer number three, Mark Ronson.
On March 6th Paul released a nine track live album, recorded at Capitol Records Studio called iTunes LIVE from Capitol Studios.
Recorded and filmed on February 9th, 2012 at the legendary Capitol Studios. This performance was streamed live on iTunes, to celebrate McCartney’s new studio album Kisses on the Bottom.
The complete video performance aired on PBS as a special film, with surrounding interview clips, on September 7th and was later released on DVD and Blu-ray on November 13th as “Live Kisses.”
The complete version of the live from Capitol Studios performance was later included on Kisses on the Bottom – Complete Kisses.
On February 9th Paul capped a day in which he received his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame by singing in the legendary Capitol Studios. He revisited a majority of Kisses on the Bottom in the same historic setting where he had recorded half of it. This album of standards had been released two days earlier, and guests who’d played on it—including guitarists John Pizzarelli and Anthony Wilson, pianist/vocalist Diana Krall, and vibraphonist Mike Mainieri—returned for the live festivities.
It was McCartney as strictly vocalist as he put his distinct spin on the string-backed “Home (When Shadows Fall)” and the gently swinging “We Three (My Echo, My Shadow and Me).” He also gave the performance debut of his new song “My Valentine,” with Joe Walsh of Eagles fame on acoustic guitar.
The album of this live in the studio release came out on March 6th. ————————————————-
On February 10th Paul was named MusicCares Person of the Year. Proceeds from the dinner and concert will provide essential support for MusiCares, which ensures that music people have a place to turn in times of financial, medical and personal need.
To cap off an incredible week, Paul appeared at the 54th annual Grammy Awards on February 12th. Paul received the Award for Best Historical Album, for the re-edition of “Band On The Run“ and performed twice on the show.
The first performance was ‘My Valentine’ along with Diana Krall, with Joe Walsh on guitar. Then Paul closed the prestigious ceremony with ‘Golden Slumbers’, which ended with an onstage jam with Rusty, Brian, Joe Walsh, Dave Grohl and Bruce Springsteen! A true one-off moment.
Dave Grohl, of Nirvana fame, had the idea of creating a documentary about the history of the Sound City recording studio in Los Angeles (where Nirvana recorded its album NEVERMIND in 1991). He invited various artists to record the soundtrack, including Paul in early April.
“I just knew Dave. He stood in for our drummer one day as he couldn’t play. It was a couple of years ago. Dave is a very likable guy, super enthusiastic, he’s really on the ball. And he just bought this desk from Sound City and was making a documentary.
He said what I want to do is have a couple of mates to come over to my studio – where he now installed his famous recording desk – and jam. And I’m gonna film it and make a documentary on the board. So I said “l don’t know about the board (from Sound City), but I’m happy to come over and jam”. So he said “Right, what are we going to do?”.
He said, “Maybe we should do Long Tall Sally”. And I said, “Well I’ve done that, I don’t want to recreate something I have already done. Let’s just make something up.”
So I showed up there with this crazy guitar a friend of mine has given me. It’s a cigar box guitar, but it sounds like the hottest piece of kit on earth. You plug it in and it’s just fabulous… it just takes over, it’s amazing, it’s like it’s alive. And there was a little amp that came with it. Actually, Johnny Depp gave it to me.
I was so excited by it, I took it over and I think Dave was a bit surprised. I think he thought I might play bass. He said I’ve got a couple of friends here. So I said, Okay let’s make something up.’ I started playing this guitar and Dave joined in and Krist and Pat joined in and we made the track, we made it up,
I started screaming “Mama” and just ad-libbed it like a jam and then I sat down with them and said “What do think about structure?” and Krist said “Structure is good!”. “Okay let’s just structure it”, so we said “This should be the verse, this should be the middle eight”. Then we did it again, but this time not as a jam but a little bit more structured. And it turned into “Cut Me Some Slack”.
And then I heard these guys talking “It’s been like 20 years since we last played together” and it turned out to be the Nirvana guys and I must say that I didn’t realize that I was there in the middle of this Nirvana reunion. The organic aspect of just showing up for a jam and then we made this track it’s something a major label should have spent six months planning, but it just came out of the blue and I love that.” ————————————————-
Around this same time Paul got the band together and spent a few days rehearsing his his “On The Run” tour.
The tour (which began July 15th, 2011) restarted again on March 24th and continued until November 29th, 2012. Overall, he performed 40 concerts in 18 countries.
In May, Paul recorded the soundtrack from the video game, “Destiny.”
———————————————— On May 21st RAM was released as the third archive collection. It was available in the following formats.
Standard Edition: 1 CD digipak Single disc, digitally remastered 12- track standard edition Special Edition: 2 CD digipak Remastered album and 8-track bonus audio CD including rarities, b-sides and the hit single, ‘Another Day’. Deluxe Edition Box Set: 4 CD/1 DVD box set & download Remastered album, bonus audio CD, remastered Mono album, Thrillington CD, bonus film DVD, 112 page book, 5 prints in vintage style photographic wallet, 8 full size facsimiles of Paul’s original handwritten lyric sheets and mini photographic book of outtakes from the original album cover photo shoot. Hi-Res: 24bit 96kHz files of the remastered and bonus audio CD, accessed via a download code inserted on a card within the deluxe edition package Vinyl: 2LP 180gm, gatefold vinyl with download. Remastered album, bonus audio disc plus digital download of all 20 tracks Limited Edition Mono Vinyl: 1LP, Remastered mono album
Digital: RAM was available for download across a variation of digital configurations including Mastered for iTunes and High Resolution.
“Ladies and gentlemen, this is an album from a long, long time ago, when the world was different. This is an album that is part of my history – it goes back to the wee hills of Scotland where it was formed. It’s an album called RAM. It reminds me of my hippie days and the free attitude with which was created. I hope you’re going to like it, because I do!”
To pre-promote the release, Paul re-released the single “Another Day/Oh Woman, Oh Why” on April 21st. ———————————————— The “On The Run” tour (which began July 15th, 2011) restarted again on March 24th and continued until November 29th, 2012. Overall, he and his band performed 40 concerts in 18 countries.
July saw Paul reunite with producer Mark Ronson to do more new recording.
On June 4th he performed as part of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert, outside Buckingham Palace on The Mall, London.
“It was so special in so many ways. You’re only doing 15 minutes, which makes it different from all the other gigs so you’ve just got to concentrate all your energy into that 15 minutes and make it tell. The fact we’re playing for the Queen was very special. Seeing all the people stretching down Pall Mall was great, as was meeting members of the Royal Family afterwards. It was a great weekend to be British.”
June 25th saw Paul appear on “The Ronnie Wood Radio Show.” The guys reminisce and chat about Paul’s songs and the songs that have influenced him. The show featured intimate performances by Paul. The show, Ronnie and guests in a studio, listening to great music, swapping rock ‘n’ roll stories and jamming along to records.
On July 14th, Paul joined Bruce Springsteen and his E Street band on stage at the Hard Rock Calling music festival following a performance by the American rock star that had lasted more than three hours.
Bruce greeted Paul by saying “I’ve been waiting for this for 50 years”. Springsteen, known for his long performances, had exceeded the curfew by half an hour.
He welcomed McCartney to the stage to sing Beatles hits I Saw Her Standing There and Twist and Shout. But after singing two Beatles hits both performers were forced to leave the stage in silence after their sound equipment was turned off – meaning they were unable to thank the audience.
The band had stood for some minutes, bemused and bowing, before speaking their thanks into switched-off microphones to growing jeers. ———————————————
July 24th and 26th saw Paul and his band rehearse for the upcoming Olympic Games opening ceremony, which was just a week away.
July 27th saw Paul perform at the opening of the 2012 summer olympics, held in London, at London stadium. Over 27 million people tuned in to watch the opening ceremony in the UK alone, with Paul providing a thrilling and fitting finale.
The universally acclaimed event pulled in the highest viewing figures in the UK in almost 15 years.
After midnight Paul took to the stage to perform ‘The End’ and a euphoric ‘Hey Jude’ that had all the stadium on their feet and singing along.
Speaking directly after his performance Paul said, “Thanks for the great response guys. Tonight was terrific, great, really cool. There was some talk of maybe being to playback but we decided against it and went live, live, live! It was a trip and very exciting. It was a great opening ceremony”. ———————————————-
August 11th saw Paul lending his talent for the 3rd “Apollo in the Hamptons” benefit. At $5000 a ticket as a fundraiser for Harlem’s legendary theater, McCartney was a surprise addition to a lineup of entertainers that included Bon Jovi, Usher, Pharell Williams and Jennifer Hudson. He joined the Isley Brothers on stage for a once-in-a-lifetime rendition of ‘Twist and Shout,’ the classic that the Isley’s turned into a hit in 1962. The Beatles, of course, followed suit with their own hit cover in 1964.
While onstage, McCartney acknowledged the Apollo’s influence on the Beatles, asking the audience, “Where would we have been without you? In Liverpool. We would have stayed there.”
Paul reunited with Diana Krall in early September. They may have recorded new versions of “It’s For You” (the McCartney song given away to Cilla Black in the 60s) and “Tomorrow” (the 1971 Wings track from “Wild Life“), as well as two unknown original songs. It is unclear what the motivation could have been for those sessions. It is also possible that the cover of “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)” had also been recorded or completed during that session. ————————————————- Mid September had Paul back with Mark Ronson for their third recording session.
September 8th Paul made a surprise performance at the Concert with Africa Express in London. After a morning in Paris where he was awarded with the French Legion of Honor, he rushed back to King’s Cross to perform with the Africa Express collective. Before the show Paul said, “I’ve loved African music for years. I went to Lagos in the 70s and came back friends with with Fela Kuti. I’ve always wanted to do an Africa Express show.”
Paul’s first appearance on stage was with Rokia Traore. Later in the evening Paul returned to the stage to perform his tracks ‘Coming Up’ and ‘Goodnight Tonight’.
He was joined on stage by musicians including Albarn, drummer Tony Allen, Gruff Rhys of the Super Furry Animals, ngoni player Bassekou Kouyate, former Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones, the singers Rokia Traore, Terri Walker, Fatoumata Diawara, Martina Topley-Bird, Shinghai Shoniwa and Seye. The collective played two Wings songs from 1979, Coming Up and Goodnight Tonight.
After the show Diawara told The Guardian, “It was like a dream come true.”
September 18th had Paul in New York City at the Steinway Hall to perform in Project: Harmony. One of Motown’s prized musical instruments, a nine-foot 1877 STEINWAY grand piano, made its debut at a charitable event to benefit Motown Museum where Motown founder Berry Gordy and Paul McCartney played it for the first time following its extensive restoration.
With 100 patrons of Motown Museum in attendance, guests had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear Paul McCartney share with the audience why he was moved to support the restoration of this piano—one of the many instruments that helped create the legendary Motown Sound—following a visit to Motown Museum in July 2011.
“We were wandering around Studio A inside Motown Museum, when I saw this piano I thought, I can’t come to Motown and not tinker on it. Once I realized it was unplayable, I called STEINWAY & SONS and they also realized…this piano was part of a major moment in history. And, now people in the future will record on it and keep the legacy of Motown alive.”
September 20th had Paul in Avatar studios to record “Hope For The Future” for the video game “Destiny” soundtrack. It would also be released as a single on a digital EP.
More recording took place in later November.
——————————————————————————– November also saw Paul in the studio recording “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” as part of a charity project for the victims of the Hillsborough Disaster.
After a few days of rehearsals Paul and his band performed at MSG in New York on 12/12/12’s The Concert For Sandy Relief. Paul, with his band, solo (“Blackbird”), with Diana Krall (“My Valentine”) and with the surviving members of Nirvana played seven songs.
The fundraising concert is thought to have been the biggest music broadcast event in history having potentially reached an estimated two billion people.
Dave, Krist and Pat – performing live for the first time in nearly 20 years – premiered a new track with Paul titled ‘Cut Me Some Slack’. All proceeds from the benefit went to the Robin Hood Foundation who distributed the funds to those in need after the devastating November storm.
Finally, (whew) Paul rehearsed on my birthday again on December 13th and then appeared again on episode #10 of Season 38’s SNL.
He appeared in sketches with host Martin Short, played “My Valentine,” joined by the Nirvana band on, “Cut Me Some Slack.”
He closed the show with a children’s choir and sang “Wonderful Christmastime.”
While many a musician is often asked about the tunes that have influenced their songwriting, it is not a question Paul McCartney ordinarily gets to answer.
Paul offers a glimpse into “the songs which inspired the songs” with the release of those standards he grew up listening to in his childhood—plus two brand new McCartney compositions.
With the help of Grammy Award-winning producer Tommy LiPuma and Diana Krall and her band—as well as guest appearances from Eric Clapton and Stevie Wonder, McCartney’s new album is a deeply personal journey through classic American compositions that, in some cases, a young Paul first heard his father perform on piano at home.
As authentic and daring a musical statement as he could make, this is the album Paul has been thinking about making for more than 20 years – and probably the last thing his fans are expecting.
“In the end, it was ‘Look, if I don’t do it now, I’ll never do it,” he says. Paul believed it was about time “the songs me and John based quite a few of our things on” received the recognition they deserve.
“When I kind of got into songwriting, I realized how well structured these songs were and I think I took a lot of my lessons from them. I always thought artists like Fred Astaire were very cool. Writers like Harold Arlen, Cole Porter, all of those guys – I just thought the songs were magical. And then, as I got to be a songwriter I thought it’s beautiful, the way they made those songs.”
Paul enlisted the help of LiPuma and Krall and her band—who delivered ultra-high quality musicianship and were completely in tune with Paul’s restraint and feel for the music.
In the studio, the recording of this album was also a new challenge for Paul who, for the first time ever, performed exclusively in the vocal booth without no instrument – no guitar, no bass, no piano – which led to a vocal performance like no other in his career.
“It was very spontaneous, kind of organic, which then reminded me of the way we’d work with The Beatles. We’d bring a song in, kick it around when we found a way to do it we’d say ‘Okay, let’s do a take now’ and by the time everyone kind of had an idea of what they were doing, we’d learnt the song. So that’s what we did, we did the take live in the studio.”
“It was important for me to keep away from the more obvious song choices so, many of the classic standards will be unfamiliar to some people. I hope they are in for a pleasant surprise.”
The phrase ‘Kisses On The Bottom,’ comes from the album’s opener ‘I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter’. Originally made a big hit by Fats Waller in 1935, the song opens with the lines ‘I’m gonna sit right down and write myself a letter and make believe it came from you. I’m gonna write words oh so sweet. They’re gonna knock me off of my feet. A lot of kisses on the bottom , I’ll be glad I got ‘em’.
Kisses on the Bottom peaked at number 3 on the UK Albums Chart and number 5 on the US Billboard 200, while also topping Billboard magazine’s Jazz Albums chart.
In addition to the standard release, the album was made available in a “Deluxe” edition, which added the songs “Baby’s Request”—written by McCartney and originally recorded by Wings for their 1979 album Back to the Egg—and another cover, “My One and Only Love“.
In November 2012, an expanded edition of Kisses on the Bottom, subtitled Complete Kisses, was released exclusively on the iTunes store.
The latter release features the fourteen-track album with four bonus tracks, and the complete iTunes Live from Capitol Studios performance. ——————————————————
Paul McCartney : Vocals Tommy LiPuma : Producer Diana Krall : Piano, Rhythm arrangement Karriem Riggins : Drums Robert Hurst : Bass John Pizzarelli : Guitar Al Schmitt : Mixing and recording engineer Steve Genewick : Additional engineering Fernando Lodeiro : Assistant engineer Elliot Scheiner : Additional engineering Brian Montgomery : Additional engineering
(This is the basis of the studio team unless noted on the individual songs.)
Lead on the floor by Diana Krall, who did all of the arrangements. Her husband, Elvis Costello and Paul are dear friends and even co-wrote for a short period. She is quite frankly the most talented classy woman in music today in my opinion. Her shows and albums are all works of art.
Paul wrote (a nice thank you) “If I Take You Home Tonight” for her and it was recorded appears on her 2015 album, WALLFLOWER.
Tommy LiPuma, RIP, was the man uncharge behind the equipment.
What a great band she picked, Diana’s. These are some of contemporary jazz’s best . They alone make this album good. Listen to it for what it is. Do not expect anything but what it tells you it is, a look back. A look back with great love and greater care to songs that we can never forget. What would a 20 year old Frank Loesser songs sound like today ? Or Irving Berlin today?…
His voice is wonderful, But I wish he had beaten Rod Stewart to the punch. His slight fragility are charming. Rod had four albums of classics, I think. Harry Nilsson was the first. He made in the wonderful 1972’s, “A Little Touch Of Schmilsson In The Night.”
Additional players: Andy Stein – Violin
“I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter” A 1935 popular song with music by Fred E. Ahlert and lyrics by Joe Young. It has been recorded by Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Dean Martin, Sarah Vaughan, Don Cherry, Bill Halley and has become a standard of the Great American Songbook.
Paul is mixed way up under the headphones. It’s so sweet and flows like leaves in a breeze. Rating – 8.5 “Home (When Shadows Fall)” A song written by Harry Clarkson, Geoffrey Clarkson and Peter van Steeden in 1931. It was covered by many artists over years (Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong (twice).
“There’s a track called ‘Home’ that I remember from my dad’s era. It’s funny, when I suggested that one, Diana said, ‘Oh my gosh, I thought I was the only person on earth who knew that song.’ I actually used to do an instrumental version of it, before The Beatles. I liked the chords, so I used to play a little guitar instrumental when me and John were just getting it together. So I had nice memories of that one.”
He almost talk sings, as these songs are a picture of the time they were written. This album is going to be a crier if he passes before me. Not a song I remembered, but still has that floating down a lazy river feel. Rating – 7.5
“It’s Only A Paper Moon” A 1932 song with music written by Harold Arlen and lyrics by Yip Harburg and Billy Rose. The song was written for an unsuccessful Broadway play called The Great Magoo. Hit recordings by Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald and Benny Goodman transformed this song into a jazz and pop standard.
I tapped along, as this was familiar. Rating – 7
“More I Cannot Wish You” A 1950 song written by Frank Loesser for the Guys And Dolls. “Some of the songs we’ve done on the album are songs that I didn’t know. Like, “More I Cannot Wish You”, is actually from the stage show Guys And Dolls; it didn’t make the film. But I thought it was such a poignant little song. And what totally did my head in is, it’s a guy, the grandfather, singing to a young girl. With me having a young daughter it’s very poignant.”
This is perfect for Paul, sounding very much of a slow paced McCartney written song. Sounds like it was made to tell the story in the play. Wonder why they cut it from the film? Marlon Brando sang it. Rating- 8.5
“The Glory Of Love” A song written by Billy Hill, recorded by Benny Goodman in 1936, whose version was a number one pop hit. In 1951, R&B vocal group, The Five Keys, had their biggest R&B hit with their version of the song, hitting number one for four weeks.
Mike Mainieri : Vibraphone John Clayton : Bass Jeff Hamilton : Drums Anthony Wilson : Guitar
The second band. With Diana and Paul and the same production team. I will note them with a * next the song title.
They have slowed up the versions of this song I have heard many times. Rating – 7
“We Three (My Echo, My Shadow And Me)” A 1939 song written by Nelson Cogane, Sammy Mysels and Dick Robertson. It was a hit song in 1940 for both The Ink Spots and Frank Sinatra with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, both versions reaching No. 3 in Billboard. Not bad. I find that I may have to take a break. Like too much sugar too quick. I’m treating it as an intermission in the show. Rating – 7.5
“Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive” A 1944 song written by Harold Arlen and the lyrics by Johnny Mercer. The song was nominated for the “Academy Award for Best Original Song” at the 18th Academy Awards in 1945 after being used in the film Here Come the Waves.
Paul’s voice is the star here, as this slightly uptempo song swings. There are slight backing vocals by Paul that rounds things nicely. Rating – 8.5
“My Valentine” “I was in Morocco with Nancy, who’s now my wife, and we were having a nice holiday but it was raining rather a lot. I said, “A pity it’s raining” and she said “It doesn’t matter, we can still have a good time.” And I’m like that, too, I don’t mind at all.
So there was an old piano, slightly out of tune, in the foyer of the hotel. And there was this lovely Irish guy who knew so much old stuff, like Beautiful Dreamer, If You Were The Only Girl In The World … Again, stuff from my Dad’s era. I used to enjoy listening to him and he put me in mind of that genre.
So one afternoon, when it was raining, I was in that foyer, and without anyone noticing except a couple of waiters who were clearing up, I sat at the piano and started knocking around with this little tune: “What if it rained? We didn’t care. She said that someday soon the sun was gonna shine … ” So we did that one and eventually I had the pleasure of working with Eric (Clapton), who put a lovely acoustic guitar part on.
And by the way, I forgot the important ingredient, the day I wrote it was Valentine’s Day, a fairly important fact! It was our first dance, very romantic.”
Paul’s single from the album, featuring at least a half dozen music videos. A very tender love song, with the L.S.O. providing sweet backing, and Mr. Eric Clapton on acoustic guitar. Nice, vintage Paul, even if it led a rush to the restrooms and food in concert. Rating – 7.5
“Always” A song written by Irving Berlin in 1925 as a wedding gift for this wife. Over the years, it was recorded by many artists of various styles, including Franck Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Harry Nilsson, Peggy Lee, Tony Bennett, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Leonard Cohen, Phil Collins…
Another with the L.S.O. and Paul sings it in a breathy slightly higher range. The song itself is wonderful for a nearly 100 year old composition. Rating – 8
“My Very Good Friend The Milkman*” A 1934 song written by Johnny Burke and Harold Spina, which was a hit for Fats Waller. Eric Clapton covered it in 2010.
Another song with Paul singing in a slight breathy fashion. He whistles, he bobs, he bounces….he’s Paul. Ira Nepus adds much on trombone. Rating – 7
“Bye Bye Blackbird” A 1926 song written by the American composer Ray Henderson and lyricist Mort Dixon. It was first recorded by Gene Austin in 1926. Ringo Starr recorded it in 1970 for his album “Sentimental Journey.” “I never learned how to play all those old songs. All I ever did was sing them, at the family sing-songs. They’re quite complicated, the chords and things. I’d have a bash, and I did eventually become the sort of family piano player, at New Year, as my Dad got a bit older and I got a bit more capable.
But I was always busking it; he knew the real chords, and I had to busk my way around. But it was good enough for the family sing-song. A lot of these songs, like Bye Bye Blackbird, were ones that I’d sung along with.”
The L.S.O. adds a wonderful touch of drama as Paul speak sings the pre-verse. Great song I’ve heard from many, including Trini Lopez, and Ray Bolger on “The Partridge Family.” This much slower version isn’t what I am used to. Trini, live at P.J.’s, with a rollicking crowd clapping along is.. Rating – 7
“Get Yourself Another Fool” a 1949 song written by Frank Haywood and Monroe Tucker. It was recorded by many artists including Sam Cooke.
Eric Clapton on blues electric and The L.S.O. give this song the needed tension. McBride’s double bass drives the rhythm. Outstanding lead vocals within his normal range makes things sweeter for me. Rating – 8.5
“The Inch Worm” A song written by Frank Loesser and originally performed by Danny Kaye in the 1952 film Hans Christian Andersen. Mary Hopkins covered it on her 1969 album “Post Card“, produced by Paul McCartney.
Over the years, the song has been recorded by many singers, including David Bowie – who said the song was the inspiration behind his 1980 hit “Ashes To Ashes.” “Ashes To Ashes wouldn’t have happened if it hadn’t have been for Inchworm. There’s a nursery rhyme element in it, and there’s something so sad and mournful and poignant about it. It kept bringing me back to the feelings of those pure thoughts of sadness that you have as a child, and how they’re so identifiable even when you’re an adult.”
Awww…a children’s choir make this a song a delicate butterfly spinning in the wind. A wonderful counting counter melody. Rating – 8
“Only Our Hearts*” The song was recorded with a totally different set of musicians compared to the other songs of “Kisses On The Bottom“. The song features Stevie Wonder on harmonica. This was their first collaboration since the recording of “Tug Of War” in 1981.
“Stevie came along to the studio in LA and he listened to the track for about ten minutes and he totally got it. He just went to the mic and within 20 minutes had nailed this dynamite solo. When you listen you just think, ‘How do you come up with that?’ But it’s just because he is a genius, that’s why”.
Paul really belts out this one, as this song about past love had to stir memories of Linda, even with his happiness with Nancy. Stevie Wonder offers a nice harmonica instrumental on the break, but maybe this isn’t the song for it? Rating – 7
“Baby’s Request” “Before we started the album I played Tommy [LiPuma] a couple of songs that were written in the style of the album that we were about to make. And he said, ‘Oh, we should try that.’ That was originally written, very much in this style, for The Mills Brothers.”
Nearly note for note remake of the 1979 Wings song. Perfect song for the album, but would have liked to see something new other than the horn solo instead of guitar. Wait!!! Paul and Diana throw in a coda and skip on to the play out. Rating – 8
“My One and Only Love” A popular song with music written by Guy Wood and lyrics by Robert Mellin. Published in 1953, the song originated in 1947 as “Music from Beyond the Moon” with music by Guy B. Wood and lyrics by Jack Lawrence. Vocalist Vic Damone recorded this version in 1948. In 1952, Robert Mellin wrote a new title and lyrics for the song, and it was republished the next year as “My One and Only Love”. When Frank Sinatra recorded it in 1953 with Nelson Riddle, it became known.
Beautiful song, well done by all. Not sure if the background sound made (Brushes maybe?) in the arrangement is supposed to be rain, or if I am listening to a slightly used copy? Either way I like it…. You can’t have a song as well written as this with Paul McCartney singing it and give it less than.. Rating – 8
“The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)” It was written in 1945 by Robert Wells and Mel Tormé. The original 1946 recording (Nat “King” Cole Trio) was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1974. It has been recorded many times over the years (by Mel Tormé, Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra…).
To be noted that Paul McCartney, being a long-time vegetarian, changed the original lyrics from “some turkey and some mistletoe” into “some holly and some mistletoe“.
Like Santa, Paul delivers the goods. He does this slow classic justice, and the album ends with a thumbs up and a smile. Rating – 8
Overall this album grades out at 7.73/10.
While it is not one I will go back and re-listen to often, if at all, KISSES ON THE BOTTOM is a very nice album, done with care and some outstanding musicians. It will probably be listened too at the end of the end and bring huge tears, which gently fall into my open smile.
Next, Paul works on somethings new. The rest of 2012.
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.’
Beginning around this time frame Paul really turned his attention to performing. He has always loved playing for adoring crowds, and I’m sure even at this time he still wishes it was still he, John, George and Ringo belting out all of the hits on stage. This is what he wanted in 1969 and has been a major part of his post Beatles career.
He really began to enjoy and savor this pleasure of performance. As more friends and performers from his past passed away, he understood the magic of living in the moment. He now would always stop at one point in each show, stand center stage, close his eyes and take in the crazed applause and atmosphere of the minute. In effect he was telling us to do the same. ———————————————— I realize that financially, music had now become a touring and merchandising business, with less new product coming off the shelves of these “classic rockers” and recording just a way of releasing creative juices, rather than finding a way to the top of the charts. The industry, and time had changed all of that.
Paul, again, saw this, and this was the first year in which older releases were repackaged for new consumption. This time, instead of a CD of newer technology remastering, things were packaged in multiple ways at different price levels. They were called “the archive editions.”
They went as simple as multi disc releases, with remastered original and bonus tracks, to deluxe editions, in special packaging which included, demos, alternate tracks, live and soundtracks, booklets, DVD’s and related trinkets.
Since 2010 was the year of his first “archive” release, this was just the start.
Today, we see his re-releases can now cost hundreds of dollars, and even the last George Harrison re-issue of his 1970 ALL THINGS MUST PASS included a beyond deluxe package and a $1000 price tag.
Touring, and the merchandising table now was how artists made a living. The tours of Paul over the next decade would each easily gross in the 200-400 million dollar range. Ticket prices to see Paul up close went from the $30 I spent in 1976 to see him in row 10 to over $700 to see him somewhere up close in 2018……
His recordings became further apart, and his long hidden projects became more important and took years to fruition. As I write this, he still has an animated movie to come out from a single he wrote in the early 2000’s, with a newly written soundtrack. He writes books for children, books on his songs and analysis of his lyrics He even a broadway musical based on the classic film, “It’s A Wonderful Life” in the works, again with all new music written.
He has embraced his Beatles legacy even more, doing multiple TV specials and even overseeing the progress of the upcoming Peter Jackson remake of “Let it Be” this fall.
Even the horrifying effects of the worldwide pandemic, covid-19 didn’t slow him down, as he stayed at home and made an album, much like his first solo album, in his living room, playing all the instruments and producing every sound himself. It and the remix album, which came out this year, became his first #1 albums in decades.
Vinyl is also back in a whole different way, with reissues and the new releases offered in choices of colors, themes and looks, each with a price tag that would buy us 10-30 albums back in the day.
Paul has continued to check off all of the projects that he had on his to-do list. The most ambitious and hard working musician of the rock era, even dusted off an idea that he and John Lennon had kidded about in the mid-1960’s, an album of standards that they heard as they grew up.
As 2010 arrived it also was a continuation of all of the years of his creativity and output being acknowledged and honored by industries, publications, politicians and organizations.
His personal life was now happy, and non-toxic, involved again with a woman who only had a positive effect on him and his family. His children have all turned out happy and healthy, with each having carved out their own careers to various degrees of success. But no horror stories at all from the offspring of the most famous living musician on the planet.
So 2010 arrived and Paul went back to work…..
On January 10th the entire 12 song L.A. Amoeba show was released FREE to subscribers of The Mail On Sunday and the Irish Sunday Mail newspapers in the U.K and Ireland. Premium website members were able to download the concert, which didn’t see an official remixed release until 2019.
He got together with Steve Martin , and his band, The Steep Canyon Rangers, and contributed lead vocals on the track “Best Love” for their album, RARE BIRD ALERT.
In March he began preparing session work on his next project, to be called KISSES ON THE BOTTOM. “I met with Tommy (LiPuma), and we just hung out, talking about the old singsongs, and we found we had a lot in common. But we tried to work out a slightly different approach and used a selection of songs that wouldn’t be the obvious ones, like The Way You Look Tonight, songs that everyone tends to cover.
We looked for songs that were a little more unusual. It’s a good idea to go slightly off-piste. Even to the extent where I didn’t know some of them.”
After those few days spent together, Tommy LiPuma was tasked to recruit musicians for the project – he decided to approach Diana Krall and her band. “When I told Diana about the project with Paul, she said, ‘Look, if you need me for anything, I’d love to be involved’. I said, ‘Yeah, that makes sense. Let us just get to the point where we start assembling the material.’ She knows this music so well — nobody knows the period better than she does — and she also plays absolutely fantastic stride piano. So, having her play a key role was a natural choice and, fortunately for everyone, Paul agreed. He knew of her and, I think, he’d heard some of her records and recognized that she’s very talented.”
Behind the scenes work began on the future archive sets of 1973’s BAND ON THE RUN and 1970’s McCARTNEY. These would be the first to be released. BAND ON THE RUN was released on November 2nd, 2010.
In mid March he assembled his touring band and began rehearsals for the planned massive summer tour. The tour would be called the “Up And Coming Tour.” It began on March 28th in Arizona and ended on June 10th 2011, with 40 shows in 9 countries. He played in Miami on April 3rd, but I didn’t go as it was the day before Easter, and I didn’t want to go alone.
In between the spaced out show days he came to the Library of Congress on June 1 to thank the Librarian of Congress for naming him the recipient of the third Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.
A star-studded audience packed the Coolidge Auditorium that evening to enjoy an all-too-brief, yet very intimate, performance of Macca’s music.
Joining the Librarian of Congress, Library staff, members of Congress and other invited guests included previous Gershwin Prize winners Paul Simon and Stevie Wonder; and also singer/songwriter Elvis Costello, jazz great and Library Living Legend Herbie Hancock, Foo Fighter Dave Grohl (also of Nirvana fame), Jack White of the rock group the White Stripes, Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels, singer Emmylou Harris, comedian Jerry Seinfeld and singer Faith Hill.
All were in town to toast the former Beatle, and several were set to perform in a concert at the White House the next night, where the President and First Lady would officially bestow the Gershwin Medal on McCartney.
On June 2nd The Gershwin Award Concert took place. The prize commemorates George and Ira Gershwin, the legendary American songwriting team whose extensive manuscript collections reside in the Library of Congress.
The prize is awarded to musicians whose lifetime contributions in the field of popular song exemplify the standard of excellence associated with the Gershwins.
As the evening wound down, McCartney paid sly tribute to the first lady with an accordion-backed “Michelle” and ended the concert with three of his most enduring songs: “Eleanor Rigby,” “Let It Be,” and “Hey Jude.” For “Jude,” he invited his fellow performers and the first family onstage to help lead the room along in its famous na-na-na coda. “I don’t think there could be anything more special than playing here,” McCartney said. “We’re thinking of making it a regular thing.“
On July 1st he performed at The Old Vic 192 Summer Party. Hosted by Kevin Spacey, Artistic Director and Sally Greene, Chief Executive at The Old Vic, the birthday celebration feature entertainment by Paul McCartney and live art auction hosted by Oliver Barker, Senior Director at Sotheby’s.
Kevin Spacey commented: ‘We are thrilled Paul McCartney will lend his extraordinary talents on the evening alongside brilliant artists who’ve generously donated their artworks for auction. It’s set to be quite a night!
In aid of The Old Vic Theatre Trust, all monies raised will go to safeguard the 192 year old iconic building, to make great theatre available to all and to mentor the next generation of creative talent.’
As a surprise to celebrate Ringo’s 70th birthday, Paul joined Ringo Starr’s All Starr Band onstage July 7th at New York’s Radio City Music Hall. Paul performed The Beatles classic ‘Birthday’. The last time Paul and Ringo performed together was on the same stage last year for the David Lynch Foundation benefit show.
“I’ve never actually seen his All-Starr show. I was enjoying the show along with the audience, but when it got to ‘A Little Help from My Friends’, the people in the row in front of me were looking at me like ‘What’s happened? Shouldn’t you be up there as one of his friends?’ I’m going ‘Shh!’ Ringo did not know. I swear he was just so gobsmacked.” – Paul
Ringo said ‘I’m going to the dressing room.’ Barbara [his wife] said ‘Hang on just a minute.’ And then we started up ‘Birthday’ with Joe Walsh and the band, and then he finally realized what was going on. He came leaping back on stage and said ‘l wasn’t going to sit that one out.’ Happy 70th, Ringo.
(When Paul surprised Ringo (on his 70th birthday!) by coming onstage after the July 7th, 2010 performance of his all-starr band, he led the band into a performance of his “Birthday,” a song he wrote and was recorded on 1968’s The Beatles (The White Album). On hand to document this magical moment was Ringo’s photographer, Rob Shanahan.
I showed quite a few of the photos he and others took on this post, but he also took the following photo, which he reproduced in very small numbers. He autographed and dated each. My amazing sister, Susan Badke, in the best gift I have ever gotten, had it framed and sent to me…. I only can imagine the happiness and inner hysteria this happy moment of love shared by these two legends felt on the other side of the lens and by all who attended. Thank you Sue, Rob and Paul and Ringo.)
On October 18th The Beatles two 1973 greatest hits packages were remastered and released on the same day. Called the Red and Blue albums on release, but technically called 1962-55 and 1967-70.
October 26th saw Paul on Later…with Jools Holland. He played three tracks from ‘Band on the Run’ (in promotion for the soon to be released Archive Edition) watched by the likes of the Black Keys, Neil Diamond, Elvis Costello and Alice Cooper. Surely one of the most stellar Jools Holland line ups yet!
On December 4th, Paul was awarded a Kennedy Center honor. Paul McCartney was finally awarded with a Kennedy Center Honor in Washington. He had been selected as an honoree in 2002 but had been unable to attend because of an “inescapable personal obligation”, his cousin’s previously planned wedding.
After initially saying that McCartney’s award would be postponed until the following year, the Kennedy Center announced in August 2003 that “Paul McCartney will not be receiving a Kennedy Center Honor.” He, therefore, had to wait seven more years before being awarded.
December 9th saw Paul appear Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Paul paid tribute to his former bandmate John by performing ‘Here Today’. He also showed some typical Paul humor by duetting with the show’s host on a hilarious version of ‘Scrambled Eggs’. You may know the tune better these days as ‘Yesterday’ – the most covered song of all time – but when Paul was writing the legendary track, he used the words ‘scrambled eggs’ as lyrics while he worked on it.
Spending the week in New York City he appeared as musical guest on the December 11th SNL, hosted by Paul Rudd. Paul helped to make the episode the highest rating of the season. With 7.6 million viewers overall, the NBC show outscored every Saturday non-sports primetime show on every major English language network since March 2008.
Paul impersonated Camilla Parker Bowles, played a tiny harmonica and, performed five songs including Wings ‘Jet’ and ‘Band On The Run’, Beatles classics ‘A Day In The Life’ and ‘Get Back’ and John Lennon’s ‘Give Peace A Chance’ to mark the 30th anniversary of Lennon’s death.
Paul and his band stayed in New York and for my birthday (he was making a habit of this, right?) on December 13th he played at the famed Apollo theater in Harlem.
The 1400-strong audience included celebrities such as Jerry Seinfeld, Alec Baldwin, Martha Stewart, Tony Bennett, Ben Stiller, Kevin Bacon, David Byrne, John McEnroe, Steven Van Zandt, Jann Wenner, Lorne Michaels, Keith Richards, and Ronnie Wood all of whom were joined by millions of radio listeners as the set was broadcast live for Sirius XM Radio subscribers.
Without the lights and video screens of a stadium show, the focus was all on the music and Paul played an unforgettable show that wowed the lucky critics in attendance. Associated Press noted that in a trim black suit with white shirt and hair still black and in a modified mop top, McCartney looked almost unnervingly like he did decades ago, especially when he held his Hofner bass‚ while Entertainment Weekly declared that with a full set plus two encores, there were too many stand outs to list.
On December 17th he was back in London at the intimate 100 Club.
Paul and his band played a lunchtime show at the historic venue, in what was his smallest show since his headline-grabbing gig at the Cavern Club in Liverpool back in 1999. The show, which was a prelude for two UK shows on the 18th and 20th of December, was a once in a lifetime opportunity for fans to watch music‚ most loved icon up close and extremely personal. Those lucky enough to have gotten tickets witnessed a rare and special moment as the most successful songwriter in the history of popular music performed a 27 song set to one of the smallest audiences he ever performed to.
“I’ve played all sorts of different venues over the years and this kind of show presents a different kind of challenge to performing in a stadium. I love performing and I love connecting with audiences, be it in a stadium or arena or in a club. I’m looking forward to being able to interact with fans on a face to face basis, not to mention the smell of sweat and beer! It felt fantastic you, know because going back to the roots, reminded me of the cavern and beyond, and it was really nice. It‚ a great little venue and you know so we were happy to be part of the campaign to save it as a venue cos it’s too good to lose, it’s a great little central London venue.
We had a great time. It’s great playing those little clubs and the audience is so up close I mean forget it, it’s like you’re having dinner with them. But it was great it was really cool and we enjoyed it we felt we played good, and we felt the audience responded well, and it was great we had fun.”
Paul and his band finished the year on December 18th with a 32 song set at the HMV Apollo, in Hammersmith, London.
(Despite more heavy snow in the capital, Paul’s fans were out in force the following night too as Macca took to the stage at London’s Hammersmith Apollo for the first time since Wings played there 35 years ago.
In what turned out to be the venue’s fastest ever selling show, it was a real treat to see Paul playing such an intimate gig when we’re all so used to seeing him sell out stadiums and wow enormous festivals. It was obviously a special moment for Paul himself too, as he looked round on stage and told the audience There are so many memories here. I’m just going to take a moment to take it all in. After another truly amazing show, one reviewer for The Express summed it all up better than I can, saying after over 50 years in the music business, he has an instinctive rapport, making us laugh, dance and even cry in equal measure.)- Show review
The second concert will see Paul return to his roots as he travels home to Liverpool to play the 02 Academy Liverpool for the first time on December 20th.
Paul’s last appearance in Liverpool was in June 2008 at Liverpool’s Anfield Stadium as part of the cities celebration for their year as European Capital of Culture.
“I always love playing to a home audience and for me it’s the perfect way to end the year. We’ve had great fun with the stadium shows this year and looking forward to the more intimate vibe of these ones. Christmas is the perfect excuse for everyone to let their hair down and rock out. We are looking forward to celebrating with the good people of London and Liverpool.” The 36 song set ended another amazing year.
On February 9th, Paul appeared on the 51st annual Grammy awards in L.A. and sang “I Saw Her Standing There” with friend and Foo Fighter Dave Grohl. He lost to John Mayer in Best Male Pop Vocal Performance of “That Was Me.”
On April 4th, at Radio City Music Hall he performed at the benefit CHANGE BEGINS WITHIN concert.
He did 10 songs with his band and then was joined on the encores by everyone, including Ringo, Mike Love, Eddie Vedder, Sheryl Crow etc….
He headlined Coachella Festival on April 17th, thrilling all with a 36 song set.
He and the band headlined the opening of the new Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel/Casino on April 19th with a 34 song set.
He jumped onstage and joined Neil Young at Hyde Park on June 27th’s Hard Rock Calling 2009 Festival.
He did a short 9 show summer stadium tour of the US (plus July 9th as a warmup show in Canada) called Summer Live ’09. I had the honor of seeing him on July 21st at one of his three shows at the new Citi Field. I attended with my sister and brother in law.
This time he had an opening act, The Killers. He had appeared on the marquee of The Ed Sullivan Theater on the July 15th Late Show with David Letterman to promote the gigs and tour. The tour ran from July 17th thru August 19th.
ECCE COR MEUM had two 2009 performances in Australia.
On Monday 26th October Paul co-chaired Chance and Chemistry: A Centennial Celebration of Frank Loesser, a concert benefiting the Actors Fund in Broadway New York City.
Frank Loesser has been called the most versatile of all Broadway composers, having supplied both music and lyrics for such varied works as Guys & Dolls, Where’s Charley?, The Most Happy Fella and How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying.
Paul hit the stage at Broadway’s Minskoff Theatre to perform “On A Slow Boat To China”, he then returned to the stage at the end of the night to take a bow with all the show’s performers, including Brian Stokes Mitchell, Michelle Lee, John Stamos and Art Garfunkel.
Paul performed at Children in Need Rocks the Royal Albert Hall on November 12th.
Every year, BBC Children in Need creates magic moments that raise huge amounts of money for disadvantaged children, and this year the UK’s finest musicians helped raise more than ever with a spectacular show at the Royal Albert Hall.
For Children in Need 2009, Gary Barlow and Take That are adding to the magic by inviting Paul and an all-star line-up of rock and pop’s finest, who in total have amassed over 50 UK number one hits, to take part in Children in Need Rocks the Royal Albert Hall.
Paul McCartney sat at the piano and kicked off a stunning ‘Hey Jude’ finale to the show with the mega guest list of star performers belting out the ‘na na na na na-na-na-na’ chorus.
From December 2nd thru December 22nd Paul and his band played 8 concerts in 5 countries. He called this short tour GOOD EVENING EUROPE!
“This is my chance to bring our current show home to where it all began. Starting in Hamburg, ending in London and rocking everywhere in between. I’m very much looking forward to ending the year on a high.”
As a birthday present to me he and his band performed on the finale of X factor 2009, broadcast on the BBC…. They did “Drive My Car” and “Live And Let Die.”
Recording wise, he helped out Matt Berry’s WITCHAZEL album, supplying backing vocals on “Rain Came Down.”
He also helped friend Yusef Islam (Cat Stevens) on the album, “Roadsinger.”
“I’m in Love Again” came out on Klaus Voorman’s A SIDEMAN’S JOURNEY album on July 7th.
The AMOEBA’S SECRET live show came out as an 4 track EP download on MPL/Hear Music in 2009.
Finally, all of The Beatles album were remastered, mono (except for ABBEY ROAD) and stereo versions of the originals.
Oh, and he was also named Songwriter of the Year by ASCAP, he launched the “Meat Free Monday” campaign, he attended The Beatles Rock Band launch, and he had a DVD of the Citi Field shows “Good Evening New York City” DVD come out….. all in 2009.
In 2008, STANDING STONE had three performances, in two countries. ECCE COR MEUM, it had twenty one performances in three countries.
Paul and his band attended and performed a five song set at the Brit Awards 2008, on February 20th. He received the “Outstanding Contributor To Music” award.
On June 1st, at Anfield Stadium in Liverpool, Paul headlined The Liverpool Sound. It was a show to celebrate the city’s year as European Capital of Culture. Brilliantly supported by The Kaiser Chiefs and The Zutons, the ex-Beatle – who last played in Liverpool exactly five years ago – gave a magical show with a blockbuster 27 song set of hits from his Fab Four, Wings and solo career that had the sold-out stadium on its feet for a full two hours.
With touching tributes to George Harrison – on ‘Blackbird’ and ‘Something’ – and Linda, mingled with raucous renditions of ‘Hey Jude’ and ‘Live and Let Die’ the audience knew they were witnessing McCartney at the very top of his game.
Special guest Dave Grohl – of the Foo Fighters – joined on drums and vocals to take the show into rock ‘n roll overdrive which, after an encore that memorably featured ‘A Day in the Life’ and Lennon’s anthemic ‘Give Peace a Chance’, sadly but spectacularly ended with an amazing firework display.
On June 14th, He performed at Independence Square, Kiev in the Ukraine. Over 350,000 concert goers braved adverse weather conditions as Paul McCartney played the biggest concert in the Ukraine’s history. Throughout the day the heavy rain and thunder put a question mark over weather the show would even be able to take place but as soon as Paul McCartney took to the stage at 9:30pm, greeting the crowd in Ukrainian, the skies cleared.
He kicked off the two and a half hour concert with ‘Drive My Car’ and then performed a show the likes of which Kiev had never seen. The concert took place in Kiev’s historic Independence Square.
The crowds filled all the roads surrounding the square and the concert was shown all around the city on screens that were specially put up for this event.
The concert was also beamed live to six major cities (Harkiv, Dniepropetrovsk, Sevastopol, Lviv, Donetsk and Odessa) across the Ukraine where over 195,000 people came out to watch the show. The show was also broadcast live on Ukraine TV.
It’s estimated that the total amount of people that watched the Independence Concert in the Ukraine was more than 10 million. Paul and his band played 33 songs. The audience spanned generations and sang along with every word, the massive crowd made an overwhelming sound when they joined in with Paul on ‘Hey Jude’ and the elaborate stage featured some of the biggest screens ever used for an outdoor show as well as lasers and fireworks.
After the audience had thought the show was over, Paul returned to the stage waving a Ukrainian flag before ending the night with an emotional performance of ‘Yesterday’ and rocked up ‘Sgt. Peppers’.
Throughout the day Paul spent time meeting locals and fans that had waited over 40 years for their hero to come to this part of the world. He was given a special performance by a choir of children that perform Beatles songs and presented with a traditional Ukrainian stringed instrument, the kobza, by the Ukrainian Beatles fanclub.
On June 19th he recorded “I’m In Love Again” for Klaus Voormans A SIDEMAN’S JOURNEY album.
He boarded a plane on July 18th, and headed to New York City, where with the help of local police escort he made it just in time (15 minutes from airport to the show) to Shea Stadium, where he hoped close out the last concert event to be held at the soon to be demolished baseball stadium, Billy Joel’s “Last Play at Shea.”
Just before 11:20pm Paul jumped on stage, surprising not only Billy Joel but also the sold out audience as he launched straight into I Saw Her Standing There. “It’s so cool to be here on the last night”, Paul told the 55,000 strong audience. “I came here a long time ago. We had a blast that night and were having another one tonight.” Paul then closed the night with his seminal anthem Let It Be, with Billy Joel on backing vocals.
On July 20th, the band traveled to Canada, and played a 38 song set at Quebec’s 400th anniversary show at Plains of Abraham.
And finally on September 25th, the band traveled to Ganey Yehoshua Park, Tel Aviv, Israel for the 33 song set at the Friendship First Concert.
Paul McCartney has nearly visited Israel on two previous occasions. The first was with The Beatles at the height of Beatlemania in the mid 60’s, however at the time because Israel was short of foreign currency the promoter was unable to raise sufficient funds.
After applying to a government committee for help the promoters appeal was declined as it was thought The Beatles might corrupt their youth. Some even believed that artistically The Beatles were not of a high enough standard!
The second miss was with Wings in the late 70s, when the shows were cancelled after problems with the venue.
Israels ambassador to Britain, Ron Prosor, apologized to The Beatles during a trip to Liverpool for the misunderstanding. In a letter he wrote: There is no doubt that it was a great missed opportunity to prevent people like you, who shaped the minds of the generation, to come to Israel and perform.
2008 gave Paul a chance to visit parts of the world he hadn’t had a chance to.
The DVD of ECCE COR NEUM was released on February 18th.
Linda McCartney’s photographs went on display at the James Hyman Gallery from April 24th to July 19th. Paul received an honorary music degree by Yale University on May 26th.
Another graduation was attended at LIPA on July 25th.
The biggest news of 2008 was on early in the year, on February 18th. The announcement of the divorce from Heather Mills McCartney.
The case was heard in court 34 at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.
At the start of the proceedings Mills asked for £125 million, but McCartney offered £15.8 million. Before the court case, Mills had employed the accountancy firm Lee and Allen to examine McCartney’s publishing company, business assets, and properties, claiming that she had a tape recording of McCartney admitting his true worth, but the presiding judge, Mr Justice Bennett, based his decision on a forensic valuation of McCartney’s finances completed by accounting firm Ernst & Young.
The hearing took six days, finishing on 18 February 2008, with the judgment being made public on 17 March that year.
Mills was eventually awarded a lump sum of £16.5m, together with assets of £7.8m, which included the properties she owned at the time. The total was £24.3 million plus payments of £35,000 per annum, for a nanny and school costs for their daughter.
In his judgment, Mr Justice Bennett stated: ‘The husband’s evidence was, in my judgment, balanced. He expressed himself moderately though at times with justifiable irritation, if not anger. He was consistent, accurate and honest. But I regret to have to say I cannot say the same about the wife’s evidence. Having watched and listened to her give evidence, having studied the documents, and having given in her favor every allowance for the enormous strain she must have been under (and in conducting her own case) I am driven to the conclusion that much of her evidence, both written and oral, was not just inconsistent and inaccurate but also less than candid. Overall, she was a less than impressive witness.‘
Regarding her career, the judge said: ‘I find that, far from the husband dictating to and restricting the wife’s career and charitable activities, he did the exact opposite. He encouraged it and lent his support, name and reputation to her business and charitable activities. The facts as I find them do not in any way support her claim.‘
In anger at the judgment, Mills poured a jug of water on the head of Fiona Shackleton, McCartney’s solicitor, in the courtroom.
The divorce was granted on 12 May, and the preliminary divorce decree was finalized six weeks later.
In August, the first public photos of Paul and Nancy Shevell appeared. The couple gave their first public show of affection in an impromptu photo call outside Sir Paul’s London home in St John’s Wood.
McCartney, 65, and millionaire New York socialite Miss Shevell, 47, had been seeing each other with increasingly regularity since November 2007, but have always tried to play down their relationship.
On November 24th, the third album release of The Fireman, ELECTRIC ARGUMENTS appeared. Paul wrote all of the songs and played all of the instruments, with production by Youth. A much different affair this time, as the songs now featured vocals. A review of all three releases will follow that of his general releases. Singles were pulled from it and it received very good reviews at the time…
The other songs that Paul recorded in the time frame while making MEMORY ALMOST FULL.
(The first three recordings we discussed in a previous post- 2006. But now rated here!)
“The Very Thought Of You” (w/Tony Bennett). From DUETS: AN AMERICAN CLASSIC Lush, Gentle and tender ballad, led by Bennett, whose voice has only seemed to get better. Maybe this session and the previous Noel Coward inspired the future KISSES ON THE BOTTOM album. The two trade voices and harmonize on the phrase “my love.”, and Paul holds his own, but songs like this were made for Tony. Rating – 8
“Heal The Pain” (w/George Michael) A song that George did on his own (and wrote) but it truly comes to life with this re-make with Paul. The two harmonize brilliantly and each take alternating leads on this wonderful pairing. Outstanding track that should have been a major hit. Rating – 9
“I Want To Walk With You” (w/Allen Toussaint) For Fats Domino, and Paul does his best New Orleans Fats voice. Allen is on piano and his production gives the exact copy of the original hit. Nice, but nothing new is added. Rating – 7
“222” Opens with some nifty piano and Paul scats in a upper register, slowing for a breather then he picks up the drumming on the second verse and it slows with horns. 222”, released as a bonus track of the special edition version of “Memory Almost Full“. The song was written for his youngest child, his daughter Beatrice, when she was aged 2.
A promotional video was directed by Marco Sandeman. The song also appeared on the soundtrack of “Comes A Bright Day“, a film directed by Simon Aboud, the second husband of Mary McCartney, Paul McCartney’s oldest daughter. Paul plays all except for clarinet. A very jazzy piece for the little lady. Rating – 7.25
“I Want To Come Home” Written for the Robert De Niro film, “Everybody’s Fine.” A nice little piano and strings ballad that Paul plays all on for another film that failed to live up to the hopes of producers. Rating – 7.5
“I Want To Love You” A throwback 80’s sounding piano love ballad by Paul. A bit of an odd lyric about learning from “your school….” Nice, but we’ve heard this before. Rating – 6.75
“Why So Blue?” Acoustic ballad in the style of “Vanilla Sky” with lush orchestration. The tempo shift and overall piano playing gives it a CHAOS AND CREATION feel. Interesting sound and very nice lyrics.
‘Weary carriage horses stand in single file Someone at a crowded bus stop Wears a friendly smile Touching nerves that No one’s heard from in a while Papers from the same old file
Why so sad My fine young friend?’
A bonus track on the deluxe CD release. Rating – 7.75
“Nod Your Head” (Sly & Robbie Instrumental Mix) From the maxi CD of the single. Interesting, but only for completists like myself. Rating – 6.5
“Nod Your Head” (Sly David short Mix) Sly David talks over the original track and gives it a reggae spin… See previous review Rating -6.5
“Walk With You” (w/Ringo Starr) From Ringo’s Y NOT album. Paul plays bass and lends outstanding backing vocals. A very touching song from these two soulmates. Rating – 8
“In Private” Another from the deluxe CD version of the album. Paul plays all on this mid tempo instrumental that has a nice little uptempo ending. Not bad…. Rating – 7.5
After MEMORY was released Paul and his band performed a 20 song set at the Electric Ballroom on June 7th, 2007.
The next night the band performed 4 songs on Later…with Jools Holland.
On June 13th they performed in NYC at the Highline Ballroom.
On June 27th, They performed live at Amoeba Records in L.A.
Some screamed adulations. Others danced with religious fervor. Hundreds waved peace signs in the air with eternal devotion. Many wept at the sight of him. Outside the unfortunate were forced to stand and peer through windows just to get a glimpse of a living icon. Sir Paul McCartney was singing “Drive My Car”…inside a record store. Amoeba Music Hollywood was chosen as McCartney’s next stop on a promotional “mini tour” for his new album “Memory Almost Full.”
Only an hour after the official announcement on Monday the tried and true McCartney fans began to line up outside the store with lawn chairs and McCartney memorabilia in hand. By Wednesday night a lucky seven hundred fans, some coming all the way from Japan, were let into the show. Beatlemania descended upon Amoeba for the biggest show in the store’s history.
Fans camped out on the street for days for this once in a lifetime chance to get up close and personal with one of the most famous, beloved, and enduring musical icons of the last fifty years. Celebrities like Woody Harrelson and Alanis Morrisette could be found in the crowd but none could compare to the arrival of Ringo Starr.
Although only coming to lend support to a friend the former Beatle drummer was practically mobbed as he stood in the crowd to watch the show.
On July 5th they performed a 25 song set at the iTunes Festival in London.
They also did a 23 song set at The Olympia, in Paris on October 22nd.
Back in London on the 25th they did Electric Proms, a 24 song set at The Roundhouse.
The Electric Proms was a new festival organized and hosted by the British Broadcasting Company. In only the second year they managed to present Paul McCartney for this full length show. The artists who participate for the Electric Proms are encouraged to do something different and out of the ordinary. McCartney, like other artists, played some of the songs accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra along with his back up band.
Other 2007 events was Paul attending the 1st anniversary of The Beatles LOVE show in Las Vegas on June 26th.
On July 27th he again attended LIPA’s graduation ceremony.
On August 23rd, the DVD box set “The McCartney Years” was released. Spanning four decades THE McCARTNEY YEARS is a three volume DVD collection, featuring some of the world s best-loved music that has become the soundtrack to all our lives.
VOLUME ONE and VOLUME TWO contain the definitive collection of McCartney music videos. Starting in the 1970s with Paul McCartney’s first solo single Maybe I’m Amazed, the DVD includes the Wings promo video for Band On The Run as well as hits from the 1980s such as Say Say Say, and the 1990s with Biker Like An Icon. It finishes with 2005 s Fine Line.
The films can be viewed either in chronological order or as play-lists that have been personally arranged by Paul featuring his exclusive voiceover commentaries. VOLUME THREE includes live performances taken from three classic McCartney live shows; ROCKSHOW filmed on Wings 1976 World Tour, new edits of Paul s seminal UNPLUGGED in 1991 and Paul s now legendary headlining performance at 2004 s GLASTONBURY Festival.
THE McCARTNEY YEARS is also packed with bonusfeatures and extra never before seen footage and performances, including Let It Be from LIVE AID, archive interviews with Melvyn Bragg and Michael Parkinson, alternative versions of music videos and the full-length 2005 documentary Creating Chaos at Abbey Road.
My sister was so kind to send it to me, but for some reason it stopped being able to play a few years after that. I read that this was a common problem.
In early December he headed into his Hog Hill studio and started work on the next The Fireman album, ELECTRIC ARGUMENTS.
Whew…. A busy year for Paul and he headed into an eventful 2008 by performing “Dane Tonight” with Kylie Minogue on New Years Eve on Jools Annual Hootenanny.
Paul listened to the held back recordings he made with producer David Kahne back from 2003-2004, Paul decided what he liked, what to change and what to add. In addition he had some written new songs to work on..
So from January thru February 2007 he worked again with Kahne and finished up with what would be his next studio album, released in June of this year.
His last classical work, ECCE COR Meum, had eight performances in four countries in 2007.
In 2007 he helped out another of his legends, Fats Domino, on a tribute album called, GOIN HOME. Fats New Orleans home and his life (as so many experienced) were devastated by Hurricane Katrina in the summer of 2005. Paul lent his vocals on the track, “I Want To Walk You Home.”
On June 4th, 2007 the new album appeared. The album was the first release on Starbucks’ Hear Music label. MEMORY ALMOST FULL reached the Top 5 in both the UK and US, as well as Denmark, Sweden Greece, and Norway.
The Grammy-nominated album sold over 2 million copies worldwide and has been certified gold by the RIAA for shipments of over 500,000 copies just in the United States.
The album was released in three versions: a single disc, a 2-CD set, and a CD/DVD deluxe edition, the latter of which was released on November 6th, 2007.
The cover is a stark photo of a chair (Paul is shown in various poses on the chair on the inner booklet).
Some people mentioned that the album’s title, Memory Almost Full, is an anagram of “for my soulmate LLM” (the initials of Linda Louise McCartney).
When asked if this was intentional, McCartney replied; “Some things are best left a mystery”.
“I must say, someone told me [there is an anagram], and I think it’s a complete mystery, because it’s so complete. There does appear to be an anagram in the title. And it’s a mystery. It was not intentional.”
The album’s title was actually inspired by a message that came up on his mobile phone. He thought the phrase summed up modern life. It was also McCartney’s first album to be available as a digital download.
Promotion for the album came in several forms, such as a worldwide listening party at over 10,000 Starbucks stores on the day of the album’s US release, with an approximation of 6 million people hearing the album. It was ranked at number 90 on the top-100 of the Billboard Year-end chart, and number 177 on the UK year-end chart.
The album won awards for the Best PR Campaign award at the Music Week Awards ceremony, and the Online/Digital Campaign award by New Media Age.
“Dance Tonight” The song was released as a download single in the United Kingdom on 18 June 2007, McCartney’s 65th birthday.
On 1 July, the song peaked at number 26 in the UK charts. The song was also nominated for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance at the 2008 Grammy Awards.
In the United States, it was released as the second single from the album. The song also debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 69. It marked McCartney’s final appearance in the Hot 100 until 2015.
The left-handed mandolin used for the song, shown delivered to him by mail in the music video, was purchased by McCartney from a guitar shop he frequents in London.
Whenever he would play the mandolin, his three-year-old daughter Beatrice would be moved to dance, after which McCartney states that the song “wrote itself”. It was the last song recorded for the album, and was included on the album at the last minute.
The song is also included in an iPod + iTunes advertisement featuring a black and white McCartney walking down a colorful, animated street while performing the song. “That kick drum sound you hear at the beginning and throughout the track is actually Paul stomping on a piece of wood with his foot,” David Kahne recalls.
“I found the great thing about it was that I didn’t know how to play it, because it’s tuned like a violin so I had no idea what the chords were. This was good because it took me back to when I was a teenager being presented with an instrument you didn’t know how to play.
So I had to figure it out for myself. I found one chord, then another one, then a real strange chord, very simple shape, but an odd chord, I still don’t know what it is but it sounded great. This was over Christmas 2006.
With this little instrument at home over the holiday I started doing this little thing, stomping in the kitchen, just enjoying myself, trying to find chords, and then I start singing ‘Everybody gonna dance tonight’ got that little thing going, and every time my little girl would come running in and start dancing, so I fell in love with this song and with the mandolin and the whole hoe-down aspect and eventually it kind of wrote itself.
I liked it so much I thought I’ve got to record this so I ran in quickly and did it and stuck it on the album. It seemed like a good atmospheric opening.
A couple of weeks ago we made the video, which was great fun. It’s directed by Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind) and stars Natalie Portman and Mackenzie Crook. We had a good time doing it.”
A nice, simple little toe-tapper that starts out slow and does build up steam as it chugs along. Interesting way to start an album, with a song that was inspired by dancing children (Paul has done this before, hasn’t he?). A great song to pick up the cat or small dog and give them a spin around the room. Nothing much here, song wise, but you are sure humming it the minute it finishes. He is in fine voice on this track, and also on the entire album, as about half or more was recorded up to four years earlier. Kahne and he have a good understanding what to put in or leave out of a Paul song. Rating – 8
“Ever Present Past” Sometimes I just sit down and try to write a pop song. I’ve done it throughout my life and it’s an interesting thing to do, to try to make something catchy. It was released as the first single in the United States.
Nice bit of power pop, with Paul playing all of it again, and it chugs along like a cozy drive on a mountain road. Nice hook, into the title, and the childhood references made me realize that on this album Paul was beginning to write about things other than what he was seeing then. Looking back, looking ahead, summing up emotions from real or “made up” characters. With this album and CHAOS AND CREATION we get more of this from Paul, especially looking back with fondness of his youth, his Beatles legacy, and his feelings about simple things, such as sights, sounds and smells…. A great music video is made, that shows multiple Paul’s dancing with multiple girls in odd connecting rooms. He certainly was still trying hard in a good way to be contemporary, even at 65. Rating – 8
“See Your Sunshine” “That is pretty much an out-and-out love song for Heather. The album was done before, during and after our separation. I didn’t go back and take out any songs to do with her. I don’t want to deny those times. When you’re going through a separation it’s always tempting to put all that behind you, but I don’t think that’s right.
I’d already recorded most of the song, and when the time came to put the bass on it I played a fairly straightforward track. Then I was messing around, because I thought it was done, so just for my own pleasure I started goofing around, playing way too much, and afterwards I joked, saying, ‘Whoa – that was way over the top!’ David Kahne said, ‘No, that’s great – do another take like that. I think that’s exactly what the song needs.’
That was dangerous, because I pulled out every trick in the book and just had fun playing. But when I listened back it all seemed to make sense. I was going where I wouldn’t normally go, throwing in notes that I didn’t think were needed, but somehow it fitted. I think I only did two takes.”
Nice mid tempo number, with all of the music handled by Paul, with a sweet Motown feel middle eight, and great soulful lead and sweet backing vocals. A wonderful mix made this one a deep cut gem. Rating – 8.5
“Only Mama Knows” “This really is like a short story. I’ve done that in the past, not always writing from a personal perspective. It’s good, because you use your imagination more, and that’s something I enjoy. I wrote about Eleanor Rigby, but I don’t know a woman who picks up rice in a church, and nor do I know anyone stranded in the transit lounge of an airport, as in Only Mama Knows.
It’s interesting because it takes you out of yourself. You can become an alter ego. It doesn’t have to be Paul McCartney singing it – it can be this other guy singing. It’s good to do; it lets you have another vocal approach, another emotional approach.”
-McCartney uses his band to flush out this exciting rocker that starts and ends like a classic ELO number. His vocal is mixed a bit too deep in the song for me, but he really lets loose throughout. Rusty’s searing lead guitar lights the road the band takes. Rating – 8.5
“You Tell Me” “I started off just remembering summers: ‘Were we really there?’ ‘Was it real?’ Sometimes, for a lot of people, memories – particularly childhood memories – seem so golden and you think, ‘Did it really not rain all summer or am I just imagining the sunny bits?’ And then the phrase ‘You tell me’ began to be the theme of the song.
I wrote it out in Long Island, during one of those summers. I was looking at a red cardinal – and for someone English that is kind of magical, seeing a bright red bird coming out of a tree – so he appeared in the lyric. A lot of what’s in the lyric was there as I was writing. It became a tribute to golden summers.”
David Khane: “‘You Tell Me’ is maybe the saddest song he’s ever written. McCartney’s vocal was recorded in a single pass, joined by beautiful vocals from the band members. The backward/forward organ, used to create a mood, is followed by a quiet count-in from McCartney. “I was really happy he let me include the count-in. It’s iconic.”
Paul and the band take a big step back on this slow gentle reflective track. Paul takes this vocal in an upper register, a sign of his future voice. The backing vocals are short but sweet and touching. A song that does leave you happy or sad, depending on what you came into it with. Rating – 7.5
“Mr. Bellamy” “Who is Mr Bellamy? I don’t know – I just make them up. I like giving characters names and trying to make them fit.’ Sometimes I don’t actually know where I’m going, so then I look at just what that verse is, and in this case I got a picture of a guy sitting on top of a skyscraper and all the people in the street – the rescue team, the psychiatrist, the man with the megaphone shouting: ‘Don’t jump’ and the people shouting: ‘Jump’.
So I fished around for a name and came up with Bellamy, which sounded like someone who might want to jump. And I just followed the story through. The end is like a pull back with a camera – there he is, little Bellamy sitting on the ledge, enjoying it up in the clouds. And that’s how we recorded it, as a sort of film.”
A wonderful song, with a Sgt. Pepper feeling to the sounds, lots of twists and turns vocally, and really made me think of vintage Paul. I could go for this every time. This sounds so good under the headphones, with great lyrics and a surprising coda tacked onto the end. I just love the ride the song takes me on, then realize that it’s a crowd talking down a suicide jumper. “Come down, come down, come down to me…..” I love it. Rating – 8.5
“Gratitude” “I’ve always had a couple of voices. Originally you’re just a kid at home, like everyone else, and then you start to dream of being a singer. My heroes then were rock ’n’ rollers, so my ballad voice was based on Elvis and the scream voice was me trying to be Little Richard. So on this track I was just thinking of how much there is to be grateful for in life, and I wanted to put that into song and use the gritty voice to do it with.”
Paul plays all in another soulful ballad. After a few listens you realize how good this man is, on one you hear that bass, the next, the great vocals, the next the great playing and amazing middle eight. It leaves me breathless. Rating – 9
“Vintage Clothes” “For me this is about my clothes from the Sixties and the fact that what’s out comes back – fashion going round in circles. I meet quite a few young guys in bands and a question they always ask is, ‘Did you keep the clothes?’ As a matter of fact I did. That to me is where the song is coming from. The message is: vintage clothes are great but don’t live in the past.
It’s the opening of a medley. The next four songs are designed to run together, with this as the opener.”
Oh my goodness, what a song. Paul and the band take this retro sounding song about retro fashion and start the medley merry go round with a knockout. Rating – 9
“That Was Me” “People often say they can remember more from their childhood than they can from a month ago. I think that is a fact of life – I don’t know why. So all I had to do for this song was to think back. And immediately I go back to Liverpool, where there was a little place we could escape, beautiful little woods where, come springtime, there would be these carpets of bluebells. It was a magical place. There’s something about me at the bus stop that’s a big part of my memories – going to school, coming home from school, going to the pictures, going to your friend’s house. So all of these things got in there.
‘The cellar’ is the Cavern, ‘Royal Iris’ is a ferry boat they had – they’d call them riverboat shuffles, and some of our earliest gigs were on them. So these are just exciting memories of mine, and I connected them.”
I am going crazy, on this look back to early Beatle days. Paul speak sings with a backbeat that can’t stop the feet from pounding. And then he takes it up a notch on the second half of the song with his best screaming Little Richard vocal. Amazing performance from start to finish. Rating – 9.5
“Feet In The Clouds” “Because of the retrospective mood of this medley, it then goes back to school and teachers. I had a real motley bunch of teachers at the Liverpool Institute High School for Boys. Some of them were complete maniacs.
Whereas I wrote about golden summers in You Tell Me, school was very dark and gloomy. The building itself wasn’t the lightest of places – it was built in 1825. This seemed to affect the attitude of the teachers. They were a dark bunch of people. So the song is like a therapy session for me.”
He slows things down to a sweet shuffle on this look back and forward at the same time…. His use of the word VERY six times in a row is a bit odd, but I guess he found it very very very very very very hard…. A bit of auto-tune made my ears perk up, as he doesn’t seem to over do it. It ends in a rollicking finish into….. Rating – 8.5
“House Of Wax” “There’s something about chords in a song that can take you to a place. In this song they are not complex but there’s something in the tonality of them that takes you to what the vocal becomes. And I like the lyrics: ‘Lightning hits the house of wax, poets spill out on the streets, to set alight the incomplete remainders of the future.’ It’s quite surreal. I enjoyed singing them because of those chords and the mixture of the melody and the lyrics.”
David Khane: “The guitar solo was a big deal for me. Those sections were blank; we didn’t know what we were going to put there. I heard ‘Taxman’ on the radio, for which he’d done the solo, and I thought how great it would be if he would just rip in those big breaks. So I asked, ‘Instead of making a more complex part, can you just play guitar solos?’ He said, ‘Okay,’ sat in the control room with his Casino plugged into the Vox and just whipped it up, and literally, a half-hour later, they were done. I’ve never heard him play guitar like that. He just pushes the notes sharp perfectly at the right time.”
Dark and dangerous road taken by Paul. Not a sound we hear very often by him, and it is a nice change. His lead vocals are heavy echo laden, but the performance by the band is magnificent. It is bombastic at points and the short electric guitar by Paul on the break is outstanding as is Rusty’s on the playout. Paul is singing about “wild demented horses” here. We’ve taken quite a journey since “Dance Tonight.” Rating – 9
“The End Of The End” I’d read something somebody had written about dying and I thought, ‘That’s brave.’ It seemed courageous to deal with the subject rather than just shy away from it. So I fancied looking at it as a subject myself. I like the Irish approach of a wake, where it’s celebratory. I remember once an Irish woman wished me well by saying, ‘I wish you a good death’, and I said, ‘Say what?’ I thought about it later and actually it’s a great thing to wish someone. I thought, ‘Well, what would I like?’ Jokes, a wake, music, rather than everyone sitting around looking glum, saying, ‘He was a great guy’ – though they can do a bit of that, too.
So that led into the verse, ‘On the day that I die I’d like jokes to be told and stories of old to be rolled out like carpets.’ I have played it to my family and they find it very moving because, you know, it’s Dad. It’s a strange combination, because you’re talking about a serious subject. But I’m dealing with it lightly.”
The song also features a double quartet of strings.
Okay, a song that is so sad and sweet I can’t help but cry my eyes out. For one day myself, and all that I love, and if I am around when Paul is taken, this song says it all. Rating – 9
“Nod Your Head” “Well, that End Of The End brought the party down, didn’t it? It was going to be the last track on the album, but we thought we couldn’t leave everyone going, ‘Oh God, I’m not going to listen to that again.’
So we had a little stompy rocker called Nod Your Head and we thought we’d let them off the hook.
I think it’s good to talk about difficult subjects and then to get off it and just rock out. So that was the feel of making the album. Get some personal thoughts out (Gratitude, The End Of The End), talk about my childhood, talk about love, about beautiful memories. Try and get everything said, but with a feeling of optimism and enthusiasm. I thought if I could accomplish it all then that would be a good thing to do.”
Paul is right, I needed a few minutes to gather myself after the end, and his solo insanity here is needed. Kind of a rocking throwaway, but interesting as he does a little ass kicking on the way out the door. The “worst” song on the album, rating wise, but for the listener a cold towel of reality to wipe the sweat and tears off with. Rating- 7 ————————————————
14 plus years after it’s release I am a bit surprised how much I love this album, and how good it is in the context of his entire output. The album grades out score wise at 8.46/10 which now places it fourth on my ratings list. A great album that seemed to come out of nowhere and has refused to go away.
Next, songs that were bonus non-album tracks and others from this period and into the year 2008.
He celebrated LIPA’s 10th anniversary on January 30th.
His 2005 US tour won a Total Production International award on February 5th for best set design (Roy Bennett).
On March 3rd he and Heather spoke out publicly against baby seal killing. They, dressed in orange thermal jumpsuits, traveled in helicopters with a dozen journalists, and members of the Humane Society of the United States and the British-based Respect for Animals.
Paul recorded (as executive producer) his fourth classical album (WORKING CLASSICAL, A LEAF and LIVERPOOL ORATORIO) from March13-17, 2006. ECCE COR MEUM, (“Behold My Heart”) is an oratorio in four movements, scored for choir and orchestra.
The album’s origin lay in a commission from Magdalen College, Oxford: Paul was asked to compose a piece for the opening of a new concert hall at the college.
Following Linda’s death in 1998, however, the performance was delayed, eventually premiering in 2001, with a studio recording taking place in 2006.
Each of its four movements begins with unaccompanied voices, and the text combines both English and to a lesser degree, Latin.
“Something I found out later, being a complete innocent in the field, was that most people find a text and set it to music, which it would have been very convenient to know that, but I didn’t. So I started writing the music and then putting my own text to it, which is probably completely the wrong way around to do it. It didn’t matter. I suppose, you know, in that respect, it meant that it was a bit less conventional.”
The album was released on September 25th.
It would also win the best album award on May 2nd, 2007 at the Classical Brit Awards.
The DVD would be released on February 4th, 2008.
On April 11th, Capitol and Apple records announced the release of the remastered American releases of BEATLES VI, HELP, RUBBER SOUL AND THE EARLY BEATLES. These were the final albums issued in the U.S. whose track listing was different than British releases. For some reason, REVOLVER wasn’t included.
On May 18th, he announced his separation from wife Heather. The couple announced the split yesterday after less than four years of marriage in a statement that blamed their inability to conduct a “normal” relationship on the “constant intrusion into our private lives”.
But their parting shot at the media only triggered a new round of speculation about how much of Sir Paul’s estimated £800m fortune Ms Mills McCartney could claim as the mother of their two-year-old daughter, Beatrice Milly.
Paul took to his website to dismiss suggestions that his second wife had married him for money: “There is not an ounce of truth in this. She is a very generous person who spends most of her time trying to help others in greater need than herself. I’m very sad to see that some insensitive people would choose a moment like this to spread these vicious rumors.”
Hmmmm…. If only this had been true.
On June 16th and 17th he, Ringo, Olivia Harrison and Yoko attended The Beatles LOVE preview shows.
Preview performances ran from June 2 to June 29. During these shows, changes were made nightly based on audience reaction, cutting or adding sections to add polish.
The 30th of June saw the show open. In attendance at the gala opening on June 30 were McCartney, Starr, Ono, Cynthia Lennon, Julian Lennon, Olivia and Dhani Harrison, and George Martin.
It was the biggest reunion of the Beatles’ ‘family’ since the band’s breakup. At the end of the show, McCartney, Starr, Olivia, Ono and Martin went on stage. McCartney requested the crowd, “Just one special round of applause, for John and George!”
The album of the show (mixed the last two years by George and Giles Martin) was released on November 20th of 2006.
The DVD of highlights from the 2005 US tour was released on November 13th as “The Space Within US.” The feature-length concert film delivers live performances of more than two dozen Beatles, Wings and McCartney solo songs spanning four decades. It includes footage from Pauls personal wake-up call to the astronauts aboard the international space station, as well as 35 minutes of exclusive bonus material and includes new interviews with McCartney and his band, the pre-concert film, soundcheck songs.
In 2006 Paul appears on Tony Bennett’s DUETS album, performing “The Very Thought Of You.”
He performed on George Benson and Al Jarreau’s GIVIN’ IT UP album, singing with them on “Bring It On Home To Me.” Abe Laboriel Sr. was the bass player on this track, among the players.
Finally Paul and George Michael teamed up on his TWENTY FIVE album on the amazing Michael written track, “Heal The Pain.”
2006 ended with Paul in another transitional period. So, he dusted off the eight songs he had done with David Kahne early in 2004 as 2007 arrived……. Next.