After the new album was released to very high praise from the fans and the critics, Paul immediately began his US tour, which was again sponsored by Lexus.
I again got into my car, with my sister, Mary Pontek, back at my side. This time we saw the first show of the new tour, in Miami American Airlines Arena on September 16th.
Two promotional records were released in conjunction with Lexus to promote the artist, tour, record and car brand, MOTOR OF LOVE and NEVER STOP DOING WHAT YOU LOVE.
We stayed downtown for the night and enjoyed authentic Cuban food pre-show. The show was very good as usual, with a pre-show film of his this time. He and his band came out as the film froze on a photo of his legendary bass guitar…
By this time I realized and told my sister that Paul would probably re-tell many of the same stories I had heard before songs, and if he did something he liked or was funny, he would include it on the rest of the tour. Paul was still Paul, but his set list and overall show was feeling a bit familiar to me at this point.
There was a moment where he summoned the piano from below the stage, which was cool. The it would slowly drop out of view when he went back to electric or his hofner bass. The second show, in Tampa, by accident he fell into the huge hole as the piano was dropping down and amazingly and luckily he was not hurt at all. His head came popping up to the delight of the shocked crowd. He chose not to repeat this feat on any shows, other than telling the story at each….
Again, the show was increasingly Beatles heavy, with a few Wings and fewer solo, and only one or two deep cuts.
The tour lasted 37 shows and ended on November 29th in Los Angeles and even ventured into Toronto, Canada for one show. He promoted the new album and tour on Lexus commercials, which used the first single “Fine Line” as the theme of their ads.
He did numerous radio, print and TV appearances to promote the album.
Paul also did his 5th Adopt-a-Minefield Gala charity performance for wife Heather. It consisted of a 12 song soundcheck for the lucky few, followed by a 12 song show for attendees.
Paul also attended the graduation ceremony of the L.I.P.A (Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts) in July of 2005. Tim Wheeler from Ash, Bee Gee Robin Gibb and lyricist Guy Chambers had honorary degrees conferred on them.
He also released “Jenny Wren”and “This Never Happened Before” as singles, and “Really Love You” and “Rinse The Raindrops” from TWIN FREAKS as well.
None made major impact on the Billboard charts, and the CHAOS releases featured non-album songs.
NON-ALBUM SONGS RELEASED
Comfort Of Love (“Fine Line” CD single) A ticking clock leads into this piano driven song that grows more lush and intense as it builds. Very much in the sound of CHAOS. A nice little tune, but best kept off the album. Rating – 7
Growing Up, Falling Down (“Fine Line” 7” Single)
“Growing Up, Falling Down” was one of the two tracks on “Chaos And Creation In The Backyard” which featured player Pedro Eustache (the other one was “Jenny Wren“). Pedro Eustache played Dijeridu and Duduk on this track.
He commented, “What can I say, it was a once-on-a-lifetime experience… absolutely amazing. What struck me the most was Sir Paul’s genuine, down-to-earth humility, his serious, no-nonsense work ethics, as well as the depth of his musical sensibility.”
A wonderful surprise of a non-album song…. Interesting and odd, and would have been a fine addition to the album. The idea of making mistakes as one “grows up” is dealt with beautifully, in love and maybe in his musical relationships. Wonderful production and arrangement throughout and Eustache’s Dudak gives it a middle eastern feel. Rating- 8.25
“Summer of ’59” (“Jenny Wren” 7” single) An acoustic bopper featuring sweet multitrack vocals and a 50’s style which describes Paul’s impression of that period in his life. Rating – 7.75
“This Loving Game” (“Jenny Wren” Maxi-CD Single) A piano ballad, with an interesting soulful vocal by Paul. Nice chord change in the middle eight, that leads into a rocking it up the rest of the way. Another very nice track left off the album, and a welcome addition to the collection. Rating – 8
“I Want You To Fly” (“Jenny Wren” CD single) Paul uses the electric piano to begin this ballad. It slowly builds up steam. A song of encouragement and support which features a more “breathy” lead vocal and in his upper register. It ends with an odd bit of phrasing….. “Rising and falling like snow in the night….” Rating – 7.5
“She is So Beautiful” (Japanese album bonus track) A more traditional stripped down piano/acoustic guitar ballad (for Heather?) that Paul is the master of. A tender instrumental break back into the melody ends it leaving you with a smile. Rating – 7.5
Paul appeared on guitars on the Stevie Wonder track “A Time To Love,” from the 2005 album of the same name.
On October 3rd, the book “High In The Clouds” was released. High in the Clouds is a children’s adventure novel written by musician/songwriter Paul McCartney and Philip Ardagh, illustrated by Geoff Dunbar, and published by Faber and Faber.
As writer/producer and animator/director, McCartney and Dunbar had collaborated on the 1984 animated film Rupert and the Frog Song, and High In The Clouds was scripted and sketched for several years by the two of them as another film to be released in 2022. It was announced in 2013, seven or eight songs were written for it in 2015, production by Gaumont was announced in 2017 and it will be shown on Netflix on release. Whew………….
NOTE: I think we are going to continue with album reviews this way, first, with a statement by Paul about the individual songs. Then I follow with my quick analysis and rating. We will do this through 2021’s IIIMAGINED (unless we have new material!).
The use of Nigel Godrich as producer on this album was a great move. In addition to being a fine musician on his own, and a fantastic younger producer, Nigel also had the nerve to tell Paul to record the album basically on his own (which has always forced Paul to creative highs) but he had the stones to tell Paul on a few occasion that the songs were not up to his standard, or to make Paul tweak the tempo or verse. In other words, he took charge of the studio, which could be quite daunting when producing one of the four men who changed the face of music.
CHAOS AND CREATION was a very successful album with the fans and with the critics. It garnished three grammy nominations, and Paul went out of his way to promote it, knowing it was a major step up from 2001’s DRIVING RAIN.
The cover, taken by younger brother Michael of the young teen Paul in his backyard at his Liverpool home, is an amazing shot in relation to his future. I took a photoshop editing class in 2001 and used the same photo as the cover of an “imaginary” album by Paul, so I was floored to see this four years later (see photo below).
————————————————- The Album
“Fine Line” “It was just the opening line, ‘There’s a fine line between recklessness and courage.’ I just kind of followed on from that idea that you’ve got to choose which of the two you’re going to do, you know, be reckless or courageous so that was lyrically based on that.
I brought it into the studio in Los Angeles and I was working it out and on that little bit there’s a little riff that goes around the Fine line bit and when I was playing that I made a mistake and I went to a wrong bass note and Nigel goes, ‘That’s great. That’s it.’ I went, ‘Actually it’s a wrong note.’ He said, ‘No, no, check it out. Listen to it.’ ‘Ooh, I see what you mean.’ It just didn’t go where you expected it.”
-I love the jazzy chords and feel. The production and playing is perfect on this song. Paul’s voice is still at the top of its game. Sweet, short middle eight and play out made this his best opening track since “Too Many People.” Rating – 9
“How Kind Of You” “It’s something I’ve done for a long time but recently I’ve started to notice more perhaps, like how some people talk, what phrases they use and I’ve got a couple of sort of older posh English friends who instead of saying, ‘That’s very nice of you,’ or ‘Thanks a lot,’ where I come from – they might say, ‘How kind of you,’ and, you know, so I just started with that phrase and this whole idea.”
-The drone note adds much needed tension to this slow building piano ballad. On this track and basically the entire album, Paul really wrote wonderful lyrics that only enhanced each track. His drumming on this track and the album, while technically sparse, always seems to find that sweet spot, listening wise. It is a song and again, an album where the songs were very healing emotionally. Rating – 8
“Jenny Wren” “With Jenny Wren it’s one of those things: I love to play acoustic guitar. I want to go and play my guitar in the great outdoors’ so I went into a spot in one of the canyons there, lovely nature spot, getting away from all the traffic and everything, and just found a little spot and just sat down and started playing. I just had a lot of fun, wrote the basis of it there outdoors in the canyon, lovely day, went back home that night to where we were staying and sat around while dinner was getting made and just sat around with the girls and sang it and made it up.”
-Paul is a very underrated acoustic guitarist and on this grown up sister to “Blackbird” he again makes the guitar the lead singer, using the same finger picking style he learned from Donovan in Bangor, India in 1968. Another tender track that cradles you emotionally. Rating – 8.5
“At The Mercy” “At the Mercy was one that I wrote on a day off in LA. So this one was just made up like on the Sunday when I was having the weekend off. We’d worked all week. So on the Sunday I just sort of thought ‘Oh I’d like to take this in tomorrow’ and have a new completely new thing that he hadn’t heard that I hadn’t heard. Just very, very fresh. I took it in to Nigel next day and said ‘What do you think of this?’ And he said ‘Oh great, great.’ It became his favorite, you know.
So we just worked on it and that was it. It was basically that it was finding a couple of chords that were kind of dark enough to get this sort of message that life can throw you curve balls and what do we do about it?”
-Have I found my favorite track on the album? Maybe my favorite McCartney track ever….. It once again hit the heart of what was pulling at my heart at the time. Another piano ballad that is perfect in feel and tone…. ‘Sometimes I rather run and hide than face the fear inside.’ It breaks out in glorious explosion of musical color at just the right time to lead us safely. Rating – 9.5
“Friends To Go” “The funny thing about it was I felt as if I was almost George Harrison during the writing of that song,” said McCartney. “I just got this feeling, this is George. So it was like I was writing – I was like George – writing one of his songs. So I just wrote it, it just wrote itself very easily ’cause it wasn’t even me writing it.“
-The funny thing for me was I heard George the first time I heard it, long before I heard Paul confirm it. I even imagined one of George’s slide solos and fills dotting it, completing it. Another slow builder that leaves me satisfied. Rating – 9
“English Tea” “Again it was this fascination with sort of how people speak, how some English people speak. So I just started playing with that idea, of English tea. And then as I say there’s one particular older English person I’m thinking of who instead of saying ‘Do you want a cup of tea?’ might say ‘Would you care for a cup of tea?’ It’s just the way they say it, and I love that. ‘Would you care?’ and in this case ‘Would you care to sit with me, for a cup of English tea?’ And so I really went to town on that whole fruity way of talking, that whole fruity language that I like. It’s I think it’s very endearing, very English, and I even managed to work in the word ‘peradventure’ which I was very proud of.”
-A song that John used to call Paul’s granny music. When he played it in concert that fall, I swear half the audience went to take care of business. Initially I didn’t like it, but his very English “Penny Lane” vocals and production do make this a sweet addition to the whole package, especially now that Paul can no longer sing like this. Rating – 8
“Too Much Rain” “The actual inspiration for Too Much Rain is Charlie Chaplin’s song, “Smile.” It’s a great song and the idea of Smile (sings) Smile even though your heart is breaking Smile when your heart is breaking do do. That’s a nick, a direct pinch from that so it’s ‘Laugh when your eyes are burning Smile when you’re doing this and Sigh when you’re that’.. So it was really that it was hints for feeling horrible, you know when you’re really down this song could get you up.”
-It was nice for Paul to admit using Chaplin’s masterpiece as the linchpin of this this lovely song of hope and optimism. Like “Mamunia,” The rain isn’t bad, if you embrace the feeling you get from the freedom of feeling it run down your back. Here, the analogy of too much rain, is that it will end at some point….. Rating – 9
“A Certain Softness” “A Certain Softness is just a straightforward love song, to me. I like things like Brazilian music, I like that sort of rhythmic, Latin kind of thing. I think it’s sexy, very romantic, and I was actually on a holiday, where I do a lot of writing because it’s where I’ve got a lot of time. Here’s me, I go on holiday to work! I don’t think of it as work, it’s more, I just enjoy just sitting around.”
-A lovely latin love song, with the finest middle eight hook on the album, that makes me so happy, it almost always brings me to tears.
‘If I could even find the words to tell her I wouldn’t want to anyway ‘Cos that would only break the spell And you know very well I couldn’t betray her.” Brilliant…. Rating – 9.5
“Riding To Vanity Fair” “Vanity Fair, I originally had as quite an up tempo sort of thing. It was all kind of staccato and very fast and, came in one evening where things had all kind of laid back a bit more.’ I sort of swamped it right out, just took it right down which changed the mood completely but this was particularly the one that Nigel didn’t like.…’ It was all these little short phrases so he encouraged me to try and go somewhere else so I ended up with keeping the first line which was what he liked so it was, ‘I bit my tongue. I never talked too much….’ And got those run much more smooth. Kept the kind of meaning about you’re approaching someone for friendship and they just kind of don’t want to know.
They’re just kind of rejecting you and it’s not about any particular person, it’s about anybody who’s like that which I think we all meet in life, you know, you’re in a great mood with somebody and, ‘Well, I bit my tongue. I didn’t talk too much,’ and it’s one of those songs where you get your own back on those people by writing a song about them and whoever it applies to, people who are just generally a bit sort of you know a bit yuck.” We liked the track. It was nice and dark and quite moody. Nigel had messed around with some sort of echoey things, got kind of quite spooky but yeah, we re-worked it here, right here in the studio and kept working at it till we liked all the words and all the tune and finally I said, ‘O.K. we like this one now,’ and it made its way back onto the album so it was worth all that work.”
-Great lyrics and clarity in the message of the song. It was so refreshing to see Paul so focused on every track of this album. I got the feeling on initial listens that this was about his Beatles days, and John Lennon, even if Paul says it’s about nobody in particular. Rating – 8
“Follow Me” “Follow Me was one of those songs that kind of almost wrote itself. You know, sometimes you’re feeling great about your life, not always but you’ve been lucky. So I was sort of messing around in that region and thinking of the same sort of thing, you know.
What is it? It’s just somebody very important in your life or is it spirits of goodness or whatever it is, something kind of great so it was just like, (sings) ‘You lift up my spirits, you shine on my song, whenever I’m empty, you make me feel whole, I can rely on you to guide me through any situation, hold up the sign that reads, Follow Me.’
-Initially, one of my favorite songs on the album. Now, it’s middle of the pack. The only song (the first recorded) Paul recorded with his band. Coincidence? The most flushed out song, sonically, and still a song that tears me up a bit, and always made me think of all of the dogs and cats I’ve had. Rating – 8
“Promise To You Girl” “It started as a piano thing. You know, I just wanted to … It’s a little two part piano thing. The right hand is doing the melody a bit and then the bass has got a definite part instead of just vamping away so it was just like a little mathematical problem trying to work out how I could do this and I just started singing it. I could hear the Motown guys, the Funk Brothers putting a backing track to that.
Then I had this other little bit that is on the front of it, (sings) ‘Looking through the backyard of my life, Time to sweep the fallen leaves away, Gave my promise to you girl.’ And that ends it as well. It’s really two little songs put together and then when we came to do it in the studio it was multi-layered because it was just me so I think I started off with the piano and then put a bass on it, put a bit of drums on it and then Nigel started encouraging me to play some guitar licks and things so that was quite complicated, all a lot of little bits, but I think it sounds like a band in the end, you know.”
-Along with “A Fine Line,” the two album uptempo tracks, with moments of early Wings on the vocals and synth use. Rating – 8
“This Never Happened Before” “Never Happened Before is a straight love song and, you know, I’m a lover not a fighter as they say. I love that, I love to do that so this one was really exactly that. The chords, it’s always a big help if you get a nice little chord sequence and the opening chords to the verse of that go a nice place so they settle you down with your melody and you feel like you’re going somewhere, so that was what was happening and wrote it and recorded it, one of the very first things we did with Nigel at Rak, that was one of the things to see if we could sort of get it on and I thought, ‘This is good. We’re going to go somewhere with this’.
-Gentle, floating down a river love song. It must be nice to find a love and feel this way. I’m not sure if this is for the new wife, because he certainly felt this way about Linda. Great doubled tracked vocals and lush production doesn’t swallow it up. It is the kind of piano ballad that Paul writes better than anyone, but doesn’t sound like the cookie cutter ones we have discussed in albums past. Rating – 8.5
“Anyway” “I don’t know, but I was getting this feeling as if it was the deep south of America, like Charlestown, Savannah, something about the chords, I think. There was just something reminding me, almost sort of Randy Newman kind of thing, I thought I was doing. As always it turns out nothing like him but at the time I think I’m doing this thing, so that was going on.”
-Another beautiful love song, lush and gentle that comforts and saddens if you don’t have this in your life. A wonderful pace pickup during the instrumental break into the final verse. Wonderful way to end the album, or does it….? Rating – 9
“I’ve Only Got Two Hands” (Hidden Track) We’d done a lot of the album. We were almost finished and we just thought, you know, ‘How about opening the album with just something for nothing, not like a song? Let’s just open it with like a little jam thing, a noise, just something to get your attention, then we’ll go into the first song,’ so we said, ‘O.K. great,’ and I always like that where you sort of throw away the rule book and you go, ‘O.K. let’s just do something completely different’. It’s not a song, it’s not a thing, you just go and play a bit and Nigel said, ‘Why don’t you just have a couple of ideas, songs, and we’ll make them. They don’t need to be long. We’ll just see which one works,’ so he said, ‘Just go and do two things. While you’re doing one, do two,’ so I thought, ‘O.K. I’ll do three just to show him,’ so I came out here.
The piano was set up here and just sort of started doing the first little vibe, second little vibe and I said, ‘O.K. I’ve got a couple of ideas here,’ so he said, ‘That’ll do,’ so we recorded the piano bit first’. Just really nothing, just in your face, sticking your tongue out and, we were joking. It was like as if the grown-ups had gone away, you know, they’d left us the studios, so ‘O.K. come on, then,’ and I just got on the drum kit, just thrashed that out and we recorded in the space of like about ten minutes, well, maybe an hour, but we just did all three of them and in the end instead of choosing one of them for the beginning we stuck three of them all together and put them at the end.”
-The other side of Macca that we love, the let’s smoke a bit and turn on the tapes and see what happens. Must be nice to be this talented. It came at the time when a few artists were still leaving hidden tracks at the end of albums… but this was the end of that time…. A much better idea to have it at the end rather than the opener… Rating – 7.5 (we won’t count this toward the whole album rating as this is a bonus for us….)
Overall the album grades out as a 8.615/10, making it THE THIRD HIGHEST graded album yet. It has stood the test of time, and it may be his most healing of albums if this is what is needed for me. I love it.
Next, the other 14 songs Paul put out in this time period that weren’t official album tracks and up to the end of 2005. Quite a year for Sir Paul, right?
A one off recording session in January led to a return to the Super Bowl on February 6th in Jacksonville’s ALLTEL Stadium. Paul and his band were invited and accepted the honor of performing at the Patriots vs Eagles halftime show.
They rocked their way through an explosive four-song set, performing the classics Drive My Car, Get Back, Live And Let Die and Hey Jude.
Watched by a record 144.4 million viewers in the US, the Super Bowl is the nation’s highest-rated TV program annually and the most-watched single-day sporting event. Paul’s performance was broadcast in more than 200 countries worldwide.
On March 10th in Helsinki, Finland, Standing Stone was performed again.
In April Paul had his 6th and FINAL recording sessions for the upcoming album.
On April 18th, Paul announced his new fall US tour. My sister, Mary, and I, we circled the opening night of September 16th in Miami, my second time seeing his tour opening show….
On April 21st Paul performed solo at the “Stars In The Sky” benefit for the Association of Hole in the Wall Camps. He played “Lady Madonna” on piano, and “Yesterday” on acoustic.
He appeared again at the 5th annual Adopt-A-Minefield Gala on May 28th, performing “All You Need Is Love” and “Let It Be.”
On June 14th the DVD, “Paul McCartney In Red Square” was released. This features footage from two of the most eagerly anticipated live shows of all time.
Despite being banned from the Soviet Union in the 1960s, The Beatles’ albums gave hope to many who could only access their music through the black market and these shows in Moscow’s Red Square in 2003 and St. Petersburg’s Palace Square in 2004 were a celebration not only of Paul’s music but also a general sense of freedom.
Featuring classic tracks and clips of interviews in which Paul talks about his and the Soviet Union’s past relationship and the ultimate celebration that took place in Moscow’s Red Square.
Also on June 14th, Paul released TWIN FREAKS, the remix album he did with DJ Freelance Hellraiser. We will review this with other The Fireman “assorted albums” after we have reviewed Paul’s regular, live and classical releases. So, sometime in 2022…. Hint… I love it.
On July 2nd Paul and the band performed at Live 8 in Hyde Park, London. Live 8 was a string of benefit concerts that took place on 2 July 2005, in the G8 states and in South Africa.
Run in support of the aims of the UK’s Make Poverty History campaign and the Global Call for Action Against Poverty, ten simultaneous concerts were held on 2 July and one on 6 July. On 7 July, the G8 leaders pledged to double 2004 levels of aid to poor nations from US$25 billion to US$50 billion by the year 2010. Half of the money was to go to Africa.
More than 1,000 musicians performed at the concerts, which were broadcast on 182 television networks and 2,000 radio networks.
By July 28th, Paul had settled on a name for the new album, CHAOS AND CREATION IN THE BACKYARD. This is probably based on the photo taken by brother Mike. It shows (peeking through the back door window) a young teen Paul playing acoustic guitar in his own backyard.
He went into Abbey Road studios with a small audience on July 28th and filmed a one hour special called “Chaos and Creation at Abbey Road.” This would be shown as a television special after the upcoming album release later that fall.
Chaos and Creation at Abbey Road was a live concert given by Paul McCartney at Abbey Road Studios, specifically Studio 2, where many of The Beatles’ recordings were made.
Chaos and Creation at Abbey Road was meant as a promotion for McCartney’s album Chaos and Creation in the Backyard. As the audience was of close friends and selected fans, the concert was intimate in nature and was littered with monologues and song fragments. It was shown on BBC Two in the United Kingdom on 17 December 2005, and on PBS in the United States on 27 February 2006.
McCartney plays left-handed and right-handed guitars, drums, harmonium, double bass, Mellotron, and even wine glasses in a reworking of Wings song “Band on the Run“.
He also reworks the Beatles’ track “Lady Madonna“, which he calls “Old Lady in New Clothes“, with a much slower tempo and swing melody line. The bass McCartney uses on his performance of “Heartbreak Hotel” once belonged to Bill Black, Elvis Presley’s bass player who died in 1965.
With Nigel Godrich, producer of his latest album, offering assistance, McCartney runs casually and charmingly through a set list that includes four songs from the new CD, several reworked old favorites, and some surprises – both very old and impressively new. “Friends to Go,” “How Kind of You,” “English Tea” and “Jenny Wren” are the selections from “Backyard.” In his introduction to “Jenny Wren,” McCartney makes a musical connection to “Blackbird,” then plays it – along with the pre-Ringo Starr Beatles composition “In Spite of All the Danger,” and versions of two rethought Beatles classics.
On September 12th….just four days before the tour started I excitedly bout the new album, and the cd single of the first single….
Born on October 28th, 2003 Beatrice McCartney….. Any doubts that this child was NOT the product of Paul and Heather need look at the young lady, now approaching 18 years old.
Beginning in 2004, Giles Martin and his father, George began remixing Beatles material for the Cirque du Soleil’s Las Vegas Mirage Casino stage show, LOVE, which would also be released in album form.
This process would take place over the next two years, under the direct supervision of Paul, Ringo, Yoko Lennon and Olivia Harrison.
Work also started in 2004 on the remix album, TWIN FREAKS. Paul and co-producer, DJ Freelance Hellraiser. In the summer of 2004, he toured Europe with Paul, opening each show with a 25-minute set of remixed McCartney songs. This led to the idea of creating a full album of re-mixes.
At the end of February, Paul reunited with producer David Kahne and recorded seven songs for what was going to be Paul’s next album.
In April, Paul has a change of direction, meeting up with producer Nigel Godrich.
Godrich was best known for his work with the English rock band Radiohead and is sometimes referred to as the “sixth member” of the band.
He is also a member of Atoms for Peace and Ultraísta.
Godrich has also worked with acts such as Travis, Beck, Ride, Ultrasound, Jason Falkner, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Pavement, Here we go magic, Brazzaville, Air, Natalie Imbruglia, The Divine Comedy, The Sundays, U2, Metric, and R.E.M.
They recorded one track together with playing all the instruments, and with Paul really enjoying the experience on this “test track” he decided to proceed further working with Godrich.
Paul and his band recorded the next track that would be part of the next album, when Godrich suggested he should not use his band and instead, record all future tracks by himself, ala McCartney I and II.
Paul agreed and explained to his understanding band mates and the recording got seriously underway by the two with Paul’s newest batch of material.
After Paul met with Capitol records chairman on May 28th and played him tapes of both sessions, they mutually agreed to shelve the Kahne recordings and proceed forward with recordings with Godrich.
They would have five such session that would continue into November of 2004.
In 2004 the American fans were treated to a Beatles surprise with the remixing of the first four U.S. Beatles releases in a box set. These U.S. versions were different than the official British releases (less tracks, different titles and covers to make more money) and must have brought back old listening memories to the grown up baby boomers.
On May 24th thru June 26th Paul and the band toured 12 European countries, playing 15 shows.
Besides his love of performance, this may have been another way as well for Paul to reward his band and staff with income they would now not be getting on the work in progress next album.
He also worked with Brian Wilson in 2004 on Brian’s, GETTIN’ IN OVER MY HEAD album. He played and sing on the track, the appropriate “A Friend Like You.”
On September 20th he released a new single called “Tropic Island Hum,” which was the title song of the animated video it was featured in.
On September 27th of 2004, he released “The Music And Animation Collection” DVD. The collection of three beautifully animated short films introduced a new character to rank alongside Rupert and the Frog Chorus, namely Wirral the Squirrel. Paul introduces the short films, all directed by Geoff Dunbar, and the final short, Tuesday, features a closing monologue by Oscar-winning actor Dustin Hoffman.
An annual, non-profit charity concert organized by Neil Young, the Bridge School Benefit Concert has seen performances from the likes of Thom Yorke, Bruce Springsteen, Fleet Foxes and R.E.M.
On 23rd October 2004, Paul joined a stellar line-up of acts to perform a solo set and also collaborate with the fellow artists on the bill, including Tony Bennett.
Next…. 2005, and amid all the CHAOS comes the CREATION of a masterpiece.
2003 was here and Paul as always went back to writing new songs.
I guess this is a silly line, as he really never, except at a few certain periods in his life, never stopped writing songs or thinking of his next project since The Beatles had formed.
Long time fan Wendy Whitworth got the ultimate birthday present at her party on February 22nd when her husband hired Macca himself to play at the bash – for a fee of $1 million.
TV executive Wendy was stunned and left in tears of joy at her 50th birthday party – as she and 150 guests were given a private 90-minute rock show by Macca and his band at a party in San Diego, California.
Mr. Whitworth offered Paul McCartney $1 million dollars to play a personal show for his wife. Macca agreed – but then he instantly gave away the massive fee to charity.
Paul played the birthday concert – one of the smallest gigs of his life – only on condition that he could donate the $1 million fee to Adopt A Minefield, the anti-landmines charity backed by him and his wife Heather.
Wendy, the executive producer of CNN’s “The Larry King Show,” had no idea of the surprise in store when she joined family and friends including Larry King and NBC Today show host Katie Couric.
The party began at 7.00 pm; two hours later an announcement that “now we’re going to play a bit of rock and roll for Wendy” – and to her shock Macca and his band took to the stage.
Paul, for whom the show was also a warm-up gig for his upcoming concert tour of Europe that starts next month, then led his band through a 19-song set.
Paul further surprised Wendy when he called her up onto the stage, presented her with his gift of 50 roses, and then had her dance at his side as he led his band through the Beatles rock song “Birthday.” Paul said: “Normally I don’t do this sort of gig, but I was chuffed (delighted) to do it because it was a win-win show. Ralph gets to be the great husband for organizing the surprise, his wife gets a rocking party, I get to rehearse the band for the tour and, most important, Adopt-A-Minefield gets $1 million. It was a very human evening and we all had a fabulous time”.
The next leg of touring began as The Back In The World Tour, which consisted of 33 shows in 13 countries. It ran from March 25th (Paris, France) until June 1st (Liverpool, England).
They had another surprise show on May 30th at The Cavern, in Liverpool.
Paul McCartney held his end of world tour party at the Cavern Club. For the people who came to the door of the Cavern Club that night, the poster on the door told them it was a private retirement party.
Little did they realize that Paul McCartney was downstairs. The following day Paul performed to an audience of 30,000 on an outside stage at King’s Dock.
In 2003, Paul helprd out his lead guitarist, Rusty on his solo album, UNDRESSING UNDERWATER on the track “Hurt Myself.”
He also offered his song “Calico Skies” for the charity album, HOPE (War Child), Hope is a 2003 compilation album released by the War Child charity in conjunction with Daily Mirror to aid the victims of the Iraq war. It featured contributions from Travis, New Order, Paul McCartney, David Bowie and George Michael.
He performed again at Heather’s 3rd annual Adopt-A-Minefield Gala on September 23rd, performing 10 songs.
The album CONCERT FOR GEORGE was released on November 17th.
He also had his 1980 song “Temporary Secretary” remixed to help promote the album, A SECRET HISTORY. McCartney authorized remix master and deejay Matt Edwards, better known by his monikers Rekid or, in this case, Radio Slave, to create an extended dance mix of “Temporary Secretary” for release as a promotional-only 12-inch single in December 2003.
The one-sided single sports the classic black Parlophone label and is the only release of Radio Slave’s nearly seven and a half minute mix of the song. Only 500 copies of the disc were made and all of them were numbered and distributed mainly to key radio stations in Europe.
On October 22nd and 23rd Paul reunited with Dave Stewart to re-record the song “Whole Life” again. Stewart, from The Eurythmics, recorded “Whole Life” for Nelson Mandela’s AIDS awareness campaign (they had previously recorded this song in 1995).
The backing of the track was done by Paul’s live band.
Rusty Anderson remembers: “Well that was interesting because it was all of sudden last minute where Paul went into the studio and, “Oh yeah Dave Stewart’s coming by and we’ve got this song that I want to finish up”.
I wasn’t sure if, I thought well Dave Stewart plays guitar you know maybe I won’t even be part of this so I don’t know what he’s really talking about. So, but then we all got together and we all sort of did it live so it was cool. Dave Stewart played acoustic and Paul and I played electric and Brian played bass and Abe played drums. It was really fun actually. It was kind of cool meeting Dave Stewart who I never met before. Just getting in there and really quickly getting the song together. Then we all got around the mike, I guess the four of us, Paul, Abe, Brian and I did all the background vocals and then pretty quickly it was mixed that night.”
LET IT BE NAKED and BACK IN THE WORLD were also released on CD in 2003.
2004 began and surprise… Heather is pregnant and much more….
I found this period in my relationship with Paul and for himself as an entertainer were at a cross in the road. While I found DRIVING RAIN pleasant to listen to, it became for me an album I could put on, and play in the background and do other things and maybe hum away at a few or the melodies or sing a few of the phrases.
I didn’t dislike it, but it failed to move me to play it.
The cross in the road was massive fame and massive success vs the new road. That road was critical success and self fulfillment. Paul, though he never lost sight of the other road, chose the new road. He would (most recently) enjoy the occasional foray into the other (Two #1 albums in 2020 and 2021) but it was in a new market, where sales of 10,000-20,000 copies of a physical release could reach the top of the chart. This is a long way from The Beatles (the ‘White Album” which sold 24 million copies).
I think when Paul passes his music will experience a massive increase in popularity spike, like many have before him.
So, as a fan, I chose to accept any and all releases and tours and could only hope they would continue. At around this time Billy Joel announced he would no longer create and release new music. While the thought of this for Paul (who has admitted he would like to be wheeled out on stage in his 80’s (we are keeping an eye out on this one)) was scary, I felt he still had more music inside him….
While reviews were generally positive for DRIVING RAIN, sales were way down for Paul. This was the first album which went in that direction for Paul. After this, each release would get for the most part “fantastic” reviews but the sales would be much less.
Two reasons for this…. Paul was now in his 50’s and music had moved in a new direction with young hip-hop and pop stars now dominating the charts.
Secondly, with the growth of the internet and result of sites such as Napster and all that followed in file sharing, artists were no longer selling their music in record stores throughout the nation.
This would lead to the ending of so many iconic “record stores” and end of vinyl (until it made it’s incredible comeback in the last half decade). From the mid 2000’s the artist now made most or all of their money in touring, merchandising and reissuing back catalog in limited edition/deluxe/box/special edition etc releases.
All of the singles released from DRIVING RAIN would fail to chart in any decent fashion, and Paul soon began to accept these realities. He would continue to record at his own whim, release albums at his own pace, with singles pulled from them without the anticipation of Beatles/Wings/Early solo sales.
Reviews and attention to his legacy seems to move to the forefront. Touring regularly and re-embracing his Beatles past even further became the new normal and continue to this day. ————————————————— Songs recorded in the 2001-2002 time frame not on the DRIVING RAIN album.
“Good Rockin’ Tonight (home recording)” Paul on acoustic guitar backed by Linda. I may have put this track in the wrong year, as it may date from much earlier. Still, he could knock these early classics out in his sleep. Mono recording, so very informal, but it must stay in my collection. Rating – 7
“India”. The unreleased song appears in the “Secret Website” show that was accessible through the “Back to the US” DVD. Nice little jam, probably played during pre-show soundchecks. Wouldn’t have minded if this was on the album, flushed out just a bit more. Rating – 8
“Vanilla Sky” We can add this to the list of McCartney songs destined for motion pictures that appeared to be a blockbuster, that weren’t. Especially when he records the title track. This was written for the Tom Cruise thriller that was made when Tom was seemingly at the top of his game. Nominated for an Oscar for top song, but didn’t win. The movie was not the next “Mission Impossible” but this sweet acoustic ballad was not the reason. The double track vocals make this breezy one that deserved a bit more attention. Paul did break it out on the second leg of the 2002 tours and the BACK IN THE WORLD CD. Rating – 8.5
“Mary’s Song” – Played live instrumental which he jokes to the crowd about his fingers never leaving his wrist and only using two fingers on the fretboard. Was this the track that Kanye West used as the basis for “All Day?” This is followed by a jazzy New York City song that is also played before a crowd that occasionally bursts into laughter. I’m not sure where I stole these from, but I’m not getting rid of them. Rating – 7.5
“Yvonne” A demo of the song Paul wrote with Eric Stewart back in the 1986 PRESS TO PLAY era, and served as guide when Paul didn’t record it, and gave it to Eric to use on a later 10cc album. Eric then changed the beat, words and ruined the song. This is the definitive version of a song he should not have given away. I’m not sure why I have all theses odd songs in my I tunes under Driving Rain extras? Rating – 8.5
“Maybe Baby” The title track to the British comedy. They played it over the ending credits. True to the Buddy Holly original, only rocked up and given the full Jeff Lynne production. Outstanding full sound, and could easily have fit on The Russian Album or RUN DEVIL RUN. A classic ass-shaking version of the song. Rating – 8.5
“Waiting For The Train To Get In” A soundcheck that was only done once and I somehow have this one. Paul appears to be making up the words, but maybe could have had something more with it, with the soundcheck as a starting point. Rating – 6.5
“Voice”. A little dance track that Paul does, but sadly, we have to hear Heather commenting on the purpose of the track. I think this may have to do with children who have lost limbs to landmines left after periods of civil war. Or to just the handicapped in general. Sounds good, but it is only if you are in the mood for electronic dance music of the period. Rating – 7.5 (Paul) and 5 (with Heather).
“A Love For You” A song Paul has worked on many times, over a period of many years, beginning with the the Ram sessions. This song was also intended for every version of the unreleased COLD CUTS projects. This is one that Paul couldn’t get out of his head to end up somewhere, but not on a proper release. This is the final version which he re-mixed and maybe re-recorded parts for the 2003 motion picture “The In-Laws” starring Albert Brooks and Michael Douglas. He also had a versions of “Live And Let Die” and “I’m Carrying” in the movie. Again, the movie was not the huge hit he or the studio thought it would be….. sigh…. I always liked this song but have heard at least three different mixes of it. This is probably the best, sonically. Rating – 8
“From A Love To A Friend (alternative mixes)” The first is a remix which comes in at 3:49, as the album version is 3:44. I feel the same way about this version, as it is one of the stronger songs on DRVING RAIN, bot musically and lyrically. Rating – 8
The longer 5:28 remix, is mixed mostly with Paul in the background vocally, and the lushness and sounds brought to the forefront. Probably form a cd single which included all three versions. This is my favorite, but probably not the most album friendly. Rating- 8.5
———————————————- As 2003 got here stories began to circulate in the press (as he and Heather were constantly hounded) of major ups and downs in their relationship. He announced to give up smoking pot for Heather (was he no longer “Mother Nature’s Son lying in his field of grass?), stories of loud fights and engagement rigs heaved into the ocean. Stories of how the children (especially Stella) did not care at all for the new “Lady” McCartney, and I wondered how this would effect him creatively. Stories of Heather’s semi-sordid past relationships…..
On November 29th, 2001, George Harrison was taken to the next place. Before he left us Paul had very intimate moments with him. They spoke, laughed, cried and Paul held his hand and told him of his love. He had gotten a chance with this childhood friend, former band member who shared the most intense moments that any human could on the planet.
He hadn’t had the same chance with John, and for this I’m sure he was quite happy to have had the chance to straighten any rough spots out with George before his death.
George also, with Yoko and Ringo, allowed for the progress of the remastering and remixing all of the “Let it Be” tapes beginning in 2002. The final result would be a two disc set called “Let It Be Naked.” The first disc was the album Paul had envisioned back in 1970, stripped of all of the Phil Spector gloss and excess.
The second disc was a single track called “Fly On The Wall.” This 30 minute track was short musical bits, conversation etc…. The 2021 Peter Jackson movie I think will be in this spirit, showing the fun and unity that the original film and album couldn’t.
2002 For Super Bowl XXXVI (36), Paul agreed to participate in the pre-game gala of the Rams/Patriots clash. He had a slight change in his band, as multi-talented Brian Ray (worked with Etta James/Smokey Robinson) was suggested by drummer Abe to replace Gabe Dixon.
Gabe had begun to record a solo album (which Paul helped out on) and decided to leave the working arrangement with Paul. He did this under good circumstances, but one wonders why? Brian Ray continues to play with Paul on every tour and nearly every album to this day.
McCartney and his band were the last of the pre-game ceremony artists to perform and he delivered an inspired “Freedom” to the New Orleans Superdome crowd.
With Ray now in the touring band, rehearsals were in order for the first leg of 2002 tours, “Driving USA Tour.”
Paul “Wix” Wickens returned on keyboards and is credited as Musical Director. New to the fold were Rusty Anderson, Brian Ray, and Abe Laboriel Jr.
Paul McCartney’s then-fiancée Heather Mills accompanied him on the tour and was in the audience for every American performance.
The tour began on April 1, 2002 when the American leg was kicked off in Oakland, California.
The official release chronicling the first U.S. leg of the tour was the CD and DVD Back in the U.S., which itself would be promoted by another leg in the States.
The second American leg was followed by visits to Mexico and Japan. A remix of The Fireman tracks and a performance by Cirque du Soleil opened each show.
I saw the next to last show (May 17th) in Ft. Lauderdale National Car Rental Center. I went with my sister, Mary Pontek, and while it was supposed to be the last show, he added another on the 18th due to sold out ticket sales.
We went and had a blast. He and the new band were great, but the crowd really only got fired up for the older songs, with the DRIVING RAIN tracks seemingly an invitation to the concession stands of rest rooms.
On June 3rd Paul performed with many other superstars at the “Party At The Palace.” He performed “Blackbird” and then went into a spontaneous version of “Her Majesty.”
On June 11th, Paul married Heather Mills at Castle Leslie, Glaslough, Ireland.
Paul assisted a track with Lulu, called “Inside Thing (Let ‘Em in)” which was a mass of the two songs with Paul scating vocally in the background.
STANDING STONE was performed again twice in 2002. First, June 29th in Switzerland and then again, November 1st in Tel Aviv, Israel.
On September 18th he appeared again at the 2nd Adopt-A-Minefield Gala in Los Angeles. This is a charity which Heather was heavily invested in. Brian Wilson also performed solo and with Paul.
His paintings were exhibited in Liverpool from May 24th- August 4th called “The Art Of Paul McCartney.”
Paul went back on the road again, starting on September 21st, calling this leg “Back In USA.” It was sponsored by Lexus and visited cities and venues he hadn’t earlier that year. They perfumed 23 shows, before heading to do three shows in Mexico and five shows in Japan.
On November 29th, he assembled with a variety of superstars for “A Concert Of George.” Performing at Royal Albert Hall in London, the concert was a tribute to George, from those that loved and worked with George through the years.
On the 29th November 2002, one year to the day that George left us, his closest friends gathered to celebrate his life in the only way they knew how – by playing his music.
The first half of the show provided an insight into George’s spiritual self as Anoushka Shankar and a 16-piece orchestra of Indian musicians performed a special composition by her father and George’s mentor, Ravi Shankar. The piece was entitled “Arpan”, which means offering. Within the piece Ravi expresses aspects of George’s moods and spiritual aspirations. “Arpan” includes Eric Clapton playing a haunting acoustic solo.
The second half gave the audience a rare sighting of members of the Monty Python team performing some of George’s favorite skits, including participation from a surprise guest. This was a tribute to George’s well-known sense of humor.
The night then moved to Eric and friends giving the performance of their lives singing George’s songs. All the musicians that George worked with over the years, from The Beatles to the Traveling Wilburys, dedicating their time to learn the songs and perform them as a tribute to their dear friend.
Eric Clapton led the band with Jeff Lynne singing “I Want To Tell You”, “Inner Light” and “Give Me Love”. Jools Holland and Sam Brown gave “Horse To The Water” its first live outing. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers gave a particularly resounding performance of “Taxman” as well as “I Need You” and the Wilbury’s number, “Handle With Care”.
Ringo Starr caught everyone with a tear in their eye with a rendition of “Photograph”, a composition he wrote with George, which seemed to sum up how everyone felt.
Paul treated everyone to a little bit of Ukulele – one of George’s favorite instruments and joined Eric and band for “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and “For You Blue”.
Billy Preston had everyone out of their seats and singing along with “My Sweet Lord”. The band then came together to give a rousing version of “Wah-Wah”
Joe Brown closed the evening with the old standard; “I’ll See You In My Dreams”, a loving and appropriate sentiment.
Finally, on November 11th, Paul released another live album, BACK IN THE U.S.A.
Next, other songs recorded during this period that weren’t on DRIVING RAIN and on to 2003…..
Driving Rain, the 12th official solo studio album by Paul, was released on November 12th, 2001.
This was another in his quickly recorded albums, following the lead of RUN DEVIL RUN. DRIVING RAIN was finished in basically two weeks.
He had a new recording band, with whom he intended to use as his touring band in 2002, to promote the album, and get back on the road for the first time since 1993.
The albums cover, a selfie taken by Paul on a Casio wristwatch with its built in camera. This was still at a time when watches such as this were just coming into the mainstream.
Many of the songs on the album were inspired by his new love interest, Heather Mills. By this time the press and the public knew of their relationship. Behind the scenes, things were not ideal.
Paul’s children were not fans at all of Mills, as were many of Paul’s fans.
Myself, after reading about the life of Mills at this time, I was sort of in the middle. While I wanted Paul to be happy and over the pain of losing Linda, I couldn’t quite get the words “gold digger” out of my head.
We will have a profile of Mills life and character in a future posting.
But back to the new album.
I bought it, like all of Paul’s others, the day it was released.
The cover was odd, but interesting. As Paul was now aging, having a very grainy photo of him on the cover was not only the best image this watch could produce, but a way of hiding this reality.
Paul had cut his hair very short in this period of his life.
Back in 2001 I was NOT blown away by this album, but today I have my headphones all charged up and will give it a listen with an open mind. Paul’s music, as discussed before (i.e. ear candy), can grow on you in different ways as it ages.
One last thing, as he has yet to come out with any sort of remastered archival issue of this release (it’s now approaching 20 years old) which indicates Pauls feeling of it in his overall musical cannon of work.
The disc was inserted and I pushed play. ————————————————————————————–
“Lonely Road” – “Lonely Road’ was also written in Goa, where I was enjoying the beach and the sea and generally chilling out in the new century. Again, I had a few moments in the afternoon, which is always a good time for me, a quiet spell when it’s always cool for me to go off and fondle my guitar.
The songs basically wrote itself in about an hour. It is what it is, this song, you can make of it what you want to make of it. To me it’s not particularly about anything other than not wanting to be brought down. It’s a sort of anti-being brought down song, which is for anyone and everyone.”
Paul made a nice music video for this one. He double tracks his vocals, which are still as strong as ever on this track and the album. He starts out in in his regular singing voice and ends the song in classic letting it rip Macca. A nice way to begin the album. Rating – 8
“From A Lover To A Friend” “From A Lover To A Friend’ was a patchwork of a couple of bits I’d had, which I liked but I didn’t think I’d finished up the songs. That turned out to be a good thing because I got together with my man Eddie at my studio in England and we were going through these demos; I’d liked this bit and liked that bit and we just stitched together a couple of bits that weren’t meant to go together but they just felt like they would go together. Interestingly for me, just to make one or two cuts work for the edit and not chop into the vocal, I had to add a strange extra bar in, so the collage had some odd bars – instead of it all being 4:4, it was like 5:4 in places or 2:4, which was something I like.
And when I played the demo to the guys everyone was all very keen on faithfully following all those little 5:4 bars, just to give it a different musical structure. The other thing about the demo was that part of it was a rather, shall we say tired late-night demo, a bit out-of-it demo, but it had a very intimate quality in the voice and so I tried to keep that and not clean up the record so much that I’d lose that lazy late-nightness.”
I prefer the remix version (which comes in about a minute and a half longer) but this is a sweet little track. Double tracked jazzy vocals are the highlight. The band isn’t needed in this one. Rating- 8
“She’s Given Up Talking” She’s Given Up Talking’ was about someone I know whose kid had gone to school and wouldn’t talk all day that she was in school. For a year she wouldn’t talk at school and his idea of her giving up talking seemed like a good title to me. I wrote the song a couple of years ago; when I was on holiday in Jamaica and remembered this story of this girl who wouldn’t talk to the teachers or anything – which I ended up thinking that was a pretty good strategy for school, I wish I’d have thought of that. Of course I would have just got caned, they were wise to that kind of shit, my school. Then I hastily put together the middle of ‘She’s Given Up Talking’ here in LA.”
The overall track has a robotic, electric feel (especially the drumming). My complaint with song and many on the album is with the lyrics…. In my opinion this is one of Paul’s least imaginative albums, lyrically. Rusty Anderson guitar play is the highlight for me. Paul’s vocals are run through a filter for most of the song. Rating – 6.5
“Driving Rain” ‘Driving Rain’ was written out here in Los Angeles – there was a lot of rain out here in February and so on our day off we went off for a drive in this little Corvette that I hired, we drove off up the Pacific Coast Highway and went on up to Malibu and had a bit of lunch. In the evening, feeling great after a nice day out, I was sitting around at the piano and I just started writing something half-based on the day out.
The funny thing about the song ‘Driving Rain’ was that the alarm system in the house we were renting in Los Angeles was always on. There was a little electrical, LED box on the wall and it always said ‘Something’s Open’. I thought what the FUCK good is that? And no matter if you shut every window and door in the whole bloody place, this alarm always said ‘Something’s Open’. Not very reassuring, but in the end I thought fuck it – and I took the words into a song; I thought, right, ‘Something’s open – it’s my heart’. I just used is as an opening line of ‘Driving Rain.’ So in that case the creativity came from this junk of an alarm.”
1-2-3-4-5….. Let’s go for a drive. 6-7-8-9-10, let’s go there and back again. A song that sounds great for a drive, great production, but the lyrics bring me down to earth. Paul really tries on this and every track. He isn’t mailing this one in, for sure. He knew this was his first album of all-new material in six years. Sound is lush. Rating – 7
“I Do”. – “I Do’ was the third of the India songs. It was one of those ‘if you only knew’ songs, like just talking to someone; ‘if you only knew, that it’s OK from my side’. It’s like a communicative statement to someone – ‘whatever you think at any given time, remember this – I do’. Like I may be goofing off but essentially I wrote this song to say it’s OK.”
Producer Kahne uses sound samples for the orchestration. Paul sings the first verse in regular voice then switches to an upper register for the remainder. An easily to forget middle eight… Nothing that makes me want to play it again. Rating – 6.5
“Tiny Bubble”. – “Tiny Bubble’ was a demo that I made up at my little studio in Scotland. It was just a stream of consciousness thing about all the world’s a tiny bubble.
On the record we’ve left in a few of the rough edges, a few of the studio noises, which makes for a good sort of atmosphere. We hadn’t tried to tidy this album up too much, it’s still got a sort of raw freshness to it.”
Gabe Dixon on Hammond organ drives the song. Weak lyrics again drag the song down (“all the world is a tiny bubble floating inside, those of us who notice are expected to hide”). Even the catchy pop melody can’t get this one fully off the ground. Rating – 6
“Magic”. – “There Must Have Been Magic’ This is about meeting Linda – ‘it must have been magic the night that we met’. I met Linda in a club and I always thought years after, particularly after she died, that if I hadn’t stood up that night in a club we might never have met again. It was something I never normally did; I wouldn’t normally stand up as someone was about to leave and say ‘Er, excuse me, hello.…’ I didn’t do that. It was a bit embarrassing for a young guy to do that. I didn’t normally do that but it was just one of those things that I felt I just had to do that night. Because if I hadn’t done that I might not have met her again.”
The sentiment on this one is very nice, which the lyrics fully describe. The bass line attempts to add some dimension to its stationary beat. Rating – 6
“Your Way” – “Your Way was a song that I wrote at the same time as I wrote ‘She’s Given Up Talking’, on holiday in Jamaica. It’s got a little country feel to it; it’s the first song with which we tried harmonies with the guys in the band and the nice thing about the guys is they can all sing.”
It’s got quite a country feel to it….with Rusty on pedal steel guitar. Everyone helps Paul on backing vocals. There’s even some knee slapping going on. Overall, while it is not offensive, it doesn’t affect me as many Paul songs have. Rating – 6
“Spinning On An Axis” Spinning On An Axis’ – I was sitting in New Hampshire, visiting American relatives. The sun was going down and me and James, my son, were talking about how the sun actually isn’t going down, we’re turning around away from it. We had a little keyboard thing there and James was playing a little riff on it and I was doing a parody rap thing, just goofing off with no real melody, on those thoughts of spinning on an axis. I had my little cassette with me and I happened to tape that as a little reminder.”
Musically, this is interesting. Paul does indeed sing in a rap-like manner, with silly lyrics….
‘I watch the sun go down With some sorrow And now I know it’s gonna’ Come back tomorrow Ain’t no reason It has to do that It’s the season of the culture bat.’
Okay….. Rating – 6
“About You”. – “About You was written in India, in Goa. We had such a relaxing start to an Indian holiday which was at the beginning of 2001.
It was exciting, I hadn’t been back to India since the Maharishi days, which was 25 years or so ago. It was great to look around a bit more. We started off in Goa, relaxed beach time, and one afternoon I wrote ‘About You’ on a little travel guitar I’ve got which has it’s own amp in it. I picked some words out for the song after seeing a copy of The India Times which was lying around.”
A song that sounds like a tribute to his new love for getting him out of his sadness….. Rating – 6.5
“Heather”. ‘Heather’ – there’s a funny story about this track. It actually came about early one morning. I’d got up and was just jamming on the piano and Heather, who doesn’t know all of The Beatles songs because she’s young, said ‘That’s great – which Beatles song is that?’ I said ‘It’s not, I’m just making it up’. And she’s like ‘What? Now? Making it up now?’ Yeah. Suddenly she’s saying ‘Get it down! You’ve got to get that down, get it on a tape, now!’ I’m saying ‘No, it’s OK, I’m just noodling’, but she’s insisting ‘get it down!’, so we found a little dictaphone and played it into that. And then she said ‘By the way, what’s it called?’ ‘Oh’, I said, ‘It’s called ‘Heather.”
Basically an instrumental that breezes by until the one verse.
‘I’m gonna fly to the moon Check in outta spaceFind me a suitable plot Build myself a place There I will stay For a year and a day Until the cares of my life blow away. And I will dance to a runcible tune With the queen of my heart Heather
Was Paul being honest about this for his adopted daughter of Linda’s or is this really for the new…. Heather? Rating – 5.5
“Back In The Sunshine Again” ‘Back In The Sunshine Again’ was written in Arizona about five years ago; the idea of getting out of the English winter and into the Arizona sun was very appealing, so I started writing it – with the help of my son James, who contributed to the riff and the bridge. I finished the song in California, shortly before I started the album. It’s a good time, back in the sun song – about leaving behind all our troubles and moving forward into the sunshine, which also fits with my present mood in life, my present situation.
James came and played rhythm guitar on the session with the band, he was the only guest artist on the album – which was fitting, as he had helped me write it.
Paul gets a bit bluesy on this one… his echo laden vocals and odd falsetto at certain points miss their target. A bit too busy production throughout. Rating – 6
“Your Loving Flame” ‘Your Loving Flame’ was written on the 36th floor of the Carlyle Hotel in New York, just because I thought I was walking into a Cole Porter movie – the room had a grand piano and a plate glass window overlooking Central Park. I wrote that really fast.
Paul piano love song we have heard before. Not bad, but we have heard this before, haven’t we? Rusty’s short solo on the break is the best part of the track along with the Wings like backing vocals. Rating – 6.5
“Riding Into Jaipur” Making up a song is always a great pleasure, it doesn’t seem like hard work to me. ‘Riding To Jaipur’ – funnily enough the melody for this was written outside of India. I had a back-packing guitar, a little Martin travel guitar that is absolutely slimmed down to nothing and weighs sort of zero ounces. I had one of those that Linda had got me as a “prezzie.” I took it when she and I went to The Maldives for a holiday. My particular back-packer – and I haven’t noticed this on other people’s – seems to have a bit of a sound on certain frets like a sitar, and because I was in the middle of The Indian Ocean, the two came together in that song. I didn’t have a title for the song, but when I went to India this year I took a train to Jaipur. It was a very exotic over-night train journey and I did some words that were in the same vein as that original melody. So those two things came together.
The most interesting song on the album, sonically it does take you into the world the song was created in.. Vocal effects add to the etherial feel. Rating – 8
“Rinse The Raindrops” ‘Rinse The Raindrops’ – “I’ve only ever written a couple of songs where the lyrics came first. I was sailing and some words came to me that I wasn’t sure whether they were a poem or a song. I liked them and sort of wrote a rough melody for them in my head. But then we were in the studio one day and I fancied doing something different with the guys. We’d come to the end of my more prepared tunes, so I thought I’d do something crazy with this.
I took the two verses, it’s only got two verses, and very hastily wrote a bridge and an instrumental bridge for it. I showed them the bits on an acoustic and then got onto bass and we just jammed the song for half an hour or so. David reckoned I sang the verse about 48 times. Because I was doing just the same lyric, I just sang it every way I could think of so that hopefully he could get something out of that. We went home and left him to stay up until four in the morning to work on it. We came in the next day and David said ‘I couldn’t get it down any shorter than this’, he’d collaged together all the bits he liked, and it’s like a ten-minute song. It reminds me of festivals in summer, hippies and bands jamming. There’s a good energy to it.”
Frantic level of effort from the band, led by heavy electric piano. The song changes tempo mid song and speeds up even more. Rudimentary lyrics roll by with no effect on me…. Rating – 6
“Freedom” McCartney, who said the attacks affected him emotionally, wrote the song the day after the attack. In the song, the narrator declares freedom to be a “right given by God” that he will “fight for.” The lyrics were thus in seeming contradiction with the antiwar sentiment associated with McCartney’s former act, The Beatles. But at The Concert for New York City where he first played the song live, McCartney explained to the crowd, “It’s about freedom. That’s one thing these people don’t understand. That’s worth fighting for.”
The song was released in two versions: a single billed as a studio version (recorded in Quad Studios, New York), and a hidden track on McCartney’s Driving Rain album billed as a live version. It appeared “hidden” because McCartney halted the pressing of the album to include the track at the last minute, and the artwork had already been completed. Both versions feature Eric Clapton on lead guitar, with McCartney’s touring band backing him.
The live, album version also featured studio overdubs from the sessions that produced the single version.
Another song where the sentiment was much better than the song itself. While maybe he envisioned this becoming his “Imagine” as a statement on the condition of that days world, it did not do that. A simple song, which doesn’t take advantage of Clapton or the stage it had to be heard. Rating – 6
Overall the albums 16 tracks grade out at 6.53/10. Not one of my favorites, twenty years on….
Next, the other songs of 2001 and on to the road…..
As 2000 began, Paul began to work on a few new projects. He was working on another book (the last work was his of his painting) that showed the completeness of his artistic abilities.
He also was working behind the scenes with his daughters on a TV special that would roughly show the history of his second band, Wings.
In addition, he began to again write new songs that would eventually become his new album later in 2001.
So 2001 began and in med-February he arrived at Wally Hensons Recording Studio in Los Angeles to begin the first of 11 separate sessions of work on his next album.
For this project he insisted a new producer in David Kahne (Fishbone, Sublime, The Strokes, Sugar Ray, The Bangles, Translator, Romeo Void, Stevie Nicks, Teddy Thompson, New Order, Lana Del Rey, The Outfield, Renee Fleming, Regina Spektor, Ingrid Michaelson, 78violet, and Alexz Johnson) and with a new recording band. The new band featured Rusty Anderson on guitar, Abe Laboriel Jr. on drums and Gabe Dixon on guitar.
Sessions lasted from February 16th-March 28th, and then a final season on June 19th.
On March 19th, “Blackbird Singing: Poems and Lyrics” book was released.
To many readers some of this book will be instantly recognizable as the songs that have formed the backdrop to every generation since the 1960s. Their lyrics have been learned, almost subliminally, by heart: ‘Eleanor Rigby’, ‘Band on the Run’, ‘She’s Leaving Home’, ‘Penny Lane’. But among the familiar are poems that have never before been seen. Sharing the preoccupations of the songs and including moving elegies to Paul’s wife, Linda, they give us unique access to the inner life of one of the most influential figures in popular culture of the last fifty years. They demonstrate, against an acknowledgement of the essential solitariness of existence, an irrepressible belief in the power of words and music to make things better. (from McCartney.com)
On May 11th, the documentary “Wingspan” was broadcast in the U.S.
Produced by the McCartneys’ MPL Communications, it was broadcast around the world to accompany the contemporary release of a 2-disc retrospective collection from McCartney’s solo career, titled Wingspan: Hits and History. An accompanying book, also titled Wingspan, based upon the documentary’s script as edited by Beatles’ historian Mark Lewisohn, was published in 2002.
Formed around an interview between Paul McCartney and his daughter Mary McCartney (who co-produced it with her then-husband Alistair Donald, its director), it uses the McCartneys’ film and photographic archive to tell the story of Paul and Linda’s founding of the band Wings in the aftermath of The Beatles’ split and of its gradual evolution during the 1970s, through several line-ups.
From an initial atmosphere of critical disdain and personal derision for both McCartneys the film charts the band’s progress to its commercial peaks of international success and acclaim before it suffers its own disintegration at the beginning of the 1980s.
Paul also recorded his version of the Ian Dury and Chaz Jankel song “I’m Partial To Your Abracadra” for the Dury tribute album NEW BOOTS & PANTIES album. Paul let’s loose on this limited edition single, and is backed by Ian’s original band, The Blockheads. Rating – 8.5
On September 11th, Paul and Heather Mills were in a plane in New York waiting for take off and out of the plane window could see the unfolding horror that was occurring at the site of the twin towers.
In addition for planning a benefit concert at Madison Square Garden, he wrote a song that summed up his feelings about the events.
The Concert For New York City was broadcast live on October 20th, and at the end Paul and the band performed the song “Freedom.” The next day he and his new band and Eric Clapton went into a New York studio and quickly knocked off a studio version of “Freedom.” The song became a single released on October 29th.
The single was hurriedly added to the new album as a bonus track and on November 11th, 2001, Paul released his next album or original material, calling it DRIVING RAIN.
Next…. Turn on the wipers…. It’s raining outside….
Other things Paul did in 1999. On May 28th he recorded an electronic dance track called “Clean Machine” to promote the Linda McCartney Racing Team – the song was available on the team website.
The Linda McCartney Racing Team was a British professional road bicycle racing team. The team began in 1998 with Linda McCartney Foods, maker of vegetarian food, sponsoring vegetarian riders and staff. The company was started by Sir Paul McCartney’s wife, Linda. Team success would promote vegetarianism and Linda McCartney Foods. The team was to compete in Britain before expanding to international events.
On September 8th he recorded the song “Nova,” which would be included on the album A GARLAND FOR LINDA. This album was released on April 25th, 2000. It will be reviewed on with all of his classical based releases.
On September 16th, 1999 he had a one off session and recorded “Maybe Baby.” Produced by Jeff Lynne, this would appear in the closing credits of the 2000 British motion picture of the same name. Again, another song for a movie that was not a success.
After RUN DEVIL RUN was released and the incredible live show (December 14th) at The Cavern Club Paul settled in for the rest of the year.
The DVD of the making and performance of his STANDING STONE was also released in 1999.
And a soft back book of his art work (with Egypt Station on the cover) was also released called Paintings 1988-98.
Behind the scenes his relationship with Heather Mills continued to intensify.
Y2K did not end life as we know it… so on to 2000…..
On March 6th Paul inducted James Taylor into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
On March 9th he recorded “That’s All Right Mama” for the album GOOD ROCKIN’ TONIGHT: the legacy of sun records.
Standing Stone was performed six times in three countries, including a May 4th performance in New York City (Church of St. Ignatius Loyola).
On May 25th Paul received the Fellowship of the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters.
“I remember coming here the very first time with my mates John, George and Ringo and sitting back there. It was just fantastic to be part of this whole song writing thing. It was always just the greatest award, the greatest thing to get for songwriters and it still is many years later.”
The experimental album, LIVERPOOL SOUND COLLAGE was released on August 21st. We will review this album when we review all of Paul’s Fireman and odd releases .