On October 16, 2020, there was a marketing push on social networks to promote Paul’s music playlist. Except that this time, when listening to “Coming Up” and “Waterfalls”and “Oo You” or “Man We Was Lonely”, we see a die rolling on the screen and stopping with the number “3” (the die animation was also made available on all tracks of the “McCartney” and “McCartney II”).
Also, the playlist was published at 3.33pm British Standard Time !
On October 19, various journalists and fans received three dice as a promo item from Capitol Records.
On October 20, the following three photos were published on the official social media accounts of Paul McCartney.
Those three photos would be the latest clue, as the official announcement came on October 21. But the marketing promotion didn’t end with the announcement.
On October 23, it was reported that some “McCartney III” stamps were seen on sidewalks in Hollywood and Manhattan.
It was also announced that McCartney III would be released December 11 on Capitol Records across digital platforms, on CD, and on LP manufactured by Third Man Pressing.
Vinyl configurations will range from standard 180g to a Third Man Edition of 3000 hand-numbered red vinyl copies, a ‘333’ Edition sold only via Third Man Records online store and limited to 333 copies on yellow-with-black-dots vinyl created using 33 recycled vinyl copies of McCartney and McCartney II, a U.S. indie retail exclusive pressing of 4000 hand-numbered white vinyl LPs, and more.
Here is the list of physical formats / limited editions made available as pre-order on the day of the announcement:
Black LP Black CD Deluxe digital album (splatter cover) McCartney III (333 Edition) McCartney III (Exclusive Third Man Records Version Red LP) McCartney III (Exclusive Newbury Comics – Pink LP) McCartney III (Target exclusive, Green LP) McCartney III (Exclusive Orange LP) McCartney III (Exclusive Blue LP) McCartney III (Exclusive Violet LP) McCartney III (Exclusive Blue LP) McCartney III (Exclusive Yellow LP) McCartney III (Indie exclusive Spotify Limited Edition White LP)
McCartney III (Exclusive White CD) McCartney III (Exclusive Red CD) McCartney III (Exclusive Blue CD) McCartney III (Exclusive yellow CD) McCartney III (Green cover, CD) McCartney III (Limited Japanese edition)
McCartney III (Smokey Tint Cassette) McCartney III (Test Pressing)
Starting from 4 December 2020, McCartney sent via his Facebook page the first post of a series of 12 daily posts unveiling the titles of each of the 11 new tracks from his new album through murals painted in 12 different cities all over the world.
Each mural is showing the title of a new track, an excerpt from its music score and its author along with the album title and its release date.
McCartney also asked all musicians to post their video covers of his 11 new songs through his special website #12DaysOfPaul.
During his appearance on The Howard Stern Show on 15 December 2020, McCartney revealed that American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift originally decided to postpone the release of her album Evermore by one week to respect the original 11 December release date of his album.
Upon learning this, McCartney decided to release his album on 18 December instead so that Swift could move forward with the rollout of Evermore as initially planned.
On 17 December, a day before the album release, two live appearances were revealed for that day: one on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and a YouTube Released special featuring Chris Rock, alongside the release date for the lead single “Find My Way”, which was released at the same time as the album.
In November 2021 a mini-documentary about the creation of the previous year’s Third Man Records 333 edition of McCartney III using recycled McCartney and McCartney II records was released.
McCartney III had strong sales internationally. The album debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart on Christmas Day 2020, marking his first number-one solo album in his home country in 31 years (since 1989’s Flowers in the Dirt).
The album reached the top spot by selling 33,079 album-equivalent units.
The album also reached the top 10 of many other European markets. In the US, the album debuted at number two on the Billboard 200–behind Taylor Swift’s Evermore.
The placement earned McCartney the feat of being the first artist to have a new album at the top or second-top of the chart in each of the last six decades.
McCartney III was also the top-selling album in its debut week in the US, outselling Swift’s Evermore and Eminem’s Music to Be Murdered By – Side B in pure sales.
The album also recorded the third largest US vinyl sales week since Nielsen SoundScan tracking era began in 1991.
At Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 to reviews from professional publications, McCartney III has an average score of 81, based on 23 reviews, indicating “universal acclaim.”
So, quite a roll out, and a second #1 in a row. Next, Since there was no touring, we will describe what else happened in 2020 concerning Paul.
“I’m very lucky because I have a studio that’s, like, 20 minutes away from where I live.
We were in lock down on a farm, a sheep farm with my daughter Mary and her four kids and her husband. So I had four of my grand kids, I had Mary, who’s a great cook, so I would just drive myself to the studio.
And there were two other guys that could come in and we’d be very careful and distanced and everything: my engineer Steve, and then my equipment guy Keith.
So the three of us made the record, and I just started off. I had to do a little bit of film music – I had to do an instrumental for a film thing – so I did that.
And I just kept going, and that turned into the opening track on the album. I would just come in, say, “Oh, yeah, what are we gonna do?” [Then] have some sort of idea, and start doing it.
Normally, I’d start with the instrument I wrote it on, either piano or guitar, and then probably add some drums and then a bit of bass till it started to sound like a record, and then just gradually layer it all up. It was fun.”
“Long Tailed Winter Bird”
The process first sparked when Paul returned to an unreleased track from the early 90s, ’When Winter Comes’ (co-produced by George Martin). Paul crafted a new passage for the song, giving rise to album opener ’Long Tailed Winter Bird’ — while ’When Winter Comes’, featuring its new 2020 intro ’Winter Bird’, became the new album’s finale.
“‘Long Tailed Winter Bird’ started as a piece of film music which I extended. The title came about because it was extended into a full length song, we just called it ‘Long Tailed Winter Bird’ – there is actually in my bird book I saw a long tailed duck, a long tailed winter duck I think, anyway.” – Paul
-One of my favorite McCartney opening tracks ever. It truly shows off Paul as the musician of our lifetime, as he slowly builds and changes the song just enough to keep it fresh. This is not an album of 3 minute pop gems, however it is an album to be listened to, at least a few times. It even helps to maybe be a tad bit “loose.” You have to immerse yourself in the sonic landscape and all Paul is giving you. Here it is, wall to wall guitars, both acoustic and electric. The lyrics don’t even matter at all…. The few that there’s even some backwards effects! Rating – 8.5
“Find My Way”
“That was written at the beginning of lockdown. It was a very scary time. Other scares we’ve had – SARS, avian flu – they seemed to happen to other people. But this was happening to everyone, people you knew, everyone in the world. Some of my friends, some people I knew were close to going under with it. I was thinking about people who worry more than I do.
And I know one or two people which are just kind-of worried about life. And it’s not that I don’t, it’s just that I deal with those worries and think “No, it’s ok, there’s a way out of this” and I can generally find some optimistic exit from a bad situation.
But there are some people who do get overwhelmed with it. So I think I was addressing those people and thinking “you never used to be so anxious but now you are, so let me be your guide, let me help you, to find the love that is inside you.” It just felt like a natural thing to say, so that’s what it’s about.” – Paul
-Slightly awkward drum production (I wished they were brought up your face). The hook is wonderful, with the old man voice leaving me smile. This is classic Paul, as good as anything he has written in the last 40 years. You either love it with the new vocals, or punish it because you know what 1985 Paul would have torn the shit out of this one. Still…. Not bad at all. He even adds a coda where he goes his best surf runs on his NEW old telecaster. Rating – 8
“Pretty Boys” The lyrics for “Pretty Boys” are inspired by Paul seeing bicycles for hire around New York and London.
“It was also inspired by certain photographers who have been known to get out of the line in the studio. The “objects of desire” in the song are male models. “You can look, but you’d better not touch…”
“I’ve been photographed by many photographers through the years. And when you get down to London, doing sessions with people like David Bailey, they can get pretty energetic in the studio. It’s like “Blow-Up”, you know? “Give it to me! [Expletive] the lens!” And it’s like: “What? No, I’m not going to.” But I understand why they’re doing that. They’re that kind of artist. So you allow it. Certain photographers — they tend to be very good photographers, by the way — can be totally out of line in the studio.
So “Pretty Boys” is about male models. And going around New York or London, you see the lines of bicycles for hire. It struck me that they’re like models, there to be used. It’s most unfortunate.”- Paul
-Acoustic that took a few years for me to settle in on it. The sound is full and as lush as he has ever sounded. He pulls back the lead vocal and slightly flattens it out in the mix, letting the instrumentation take over a bit. Rating- 7.5 (interesting ideas for a song though)
“Women And Wives” “I wrote this when I was in Los Angeles and I had just been reading a book on the Blues artist Leadbelly, so I was trying to get in this bluesy mood so I played on the piano, played some simple chords and started singing in what I imagined was like bluesy [sings], so that was that and then I recorded it at the studio in England.” – Paul
-I heard more 68’ Fats in this one. The vocals aren’t really that affected as certain podcasts gripe that it’s (his vocal singing style) way overdone. I don’t. The style fits its, like it did with “Lady Madonna.” It just doesn’t have the magical hook that takes it from the decent to his upper level. Rating – 7
“Lavatory Lil’” One thing we know about ‘Lavatory Lil’ is this, that the character is based on someone who Paul worked with, that turned into a bit of a baddie.
Paul recorded the song using a vintage 1954 Telecaster guitar gifted to him by his wife Nancy. To get the great blues rock sound on the song, Paul played the Telecaster through his Vox AC30 amp.
“Lavatory Lil” is a parody of someone I didn’t like. Someone I was working with who turned out to be a bit of a baddie. I thought things were great; it turned nasty. So I made up the character Lavatory Lil and remembered some of the things that had gone on and put them in the song. I don’t need to be more specific than that. I will never divulge who it was.” – Paul
-A toe-tapper. On spot vicious lyrics and great production. Paul’s vocal sound so good, as is his ripping solo. I think it’s about Heather, but some people never know…. Rating – 8
“Deep Deep Feeling” Deep Deep Feeling’ is the longest song on ‘McCartney III’ clocking in at nearly eight and a half minutes. It’s also one of the most experimental tracks on the album.
Paul used his Brenall 1/4″ reel-to-reel to layer guitar parts and create what he referred as the “guitar orchestra”. The often resulted in their being 40 guitar tracks for each chord. Paul did consider editing the track’s length. But, as the sessions came about by accident, he decided to leave it uncut and let the album be about him having fun.
“This was from a kind of jam that I had done, I’d wanted to get in a particular mood, a very sort of empty, spacey mood so I did that and then the vocals on top of it, I just made up stuff so it was just a combination of ideas that became an eight-minute song.
-A slow builder you must let yourself become totally immersed in the soundscape to appreciate. I don’t think Paul has ever recorded a song quite like this. At 8 1/2 minutes, it may seem too long, but it is not. It is a slow moving musical journey. Nice change of pace when he brings the piano into the groove. Outstanding, on all levels. Rating – 8.5
“Slidin’” “Slidin’” was started during the sessions for Paul’s previous studio album “Egypt Station”. The song’s riff came about by Paul jamming with his live band. Before playing a gig, Paul will often perform a soundcheck set of an hour or longer. The riff from “Slidin’” came from the soundcheck jam at his Dusseldorf show in May 2016.
To achieve the heavy drum sound that opens the track, Paul recorded the tom-toms at double speed. When played back at normal speed, the drums are then an octave lower and the effect creates a deeper tone.
-Paul rocks the hell out of this one, helped by the band. One of two tracks that were started before “Rock down.” Paul’s vocals are sweet, but buried in the mix. Rating – 8
“The Kiss Of Venus” ‘The Kiss Of Venus’ was inspired by a book about the movements of the planets. The book discussed the ‘pentagram of Venus’ and used the poetic term the kiss of Venus. Along with Paul’s singing and guitar, the only other instrument to appear on the track is a harpsichord.
While often associated with Baroque music, Paul is a big fan of the harpsichord and has used it throughout his career, and on recent songs like ‘New’ and ‘Fuh You’. Paul also plays harpsichord on ‘Find My Way’ and ‘Pretty Boys’ on ‘McCartney III’.
-Classic Macca acoustic charmer. His fragility in voice now lends itself as delicate and gentle. The harpsichord break was a nice touch. Rating – 7.5
“Seize The Day” Whilst Paul didn’t start out intending to be a philosophical song, it turned out to be just that. ‘Seize The Day’ was written during lockdown when the world was learning to live with COVID-19.
After writing the line, ‘Yankee toes and Eskimos’, Paul came up with ‘Can turn the frozen ice’. Paul realized he was writing about how not every day will be sunny. The song then turned into a reminder that we should hang onto the good times and ‘Seize The Day’.
-Paul has told of this message quite a few times in his storied career. Again, live in the moment. Behind the scenes in this simple song reveal quite a rocking rhythm track. Rating – 7.5
“Deep Down” “That was just a jam I had. I had a beat I liked and chords that I liked and I didn’t really have much of an idea but I had had this thing that said “get deep down, wanna get deep down” as this idea.
I didn’t quite know what I meant by deep down except I want to have a deep relationship with you or whatever so I just really kept going on it. Some songs you know you don’t quite know where you’re going; you’ve just got half an idea and it’s really just that you’re enjoying the groove and that one was one of those, I just thought of ideas as I went along.”
-Maybe one of the most soulful tracks Paul has ever written. In a sort of faux-hip hop beat and vocal style, Paul takes this middle of the road to the far extremes. He really lets loose his best 2021 growls as he takes us “deep down.” Rating – 7.5
“When Winter Comes” The history of the song started 28 years before, as it was recorded on September 3, 1992, along with “Calico Skies” and “Great Day“. ‘When Winter Comes’ was originally recorded with George Martin at the mixing desk and unearthed during the research for Paul’s 2020 ‘Flaming Pie’ reissue.
Considering the song too good to be released as a bonus track, Paul decided to make a short film to accompany it.
-When this song came on to end the album the hairs on my arm stood upon as the 1992 voice came in on this sweet acoustic ditty. The sound of the voice of a lifetime at its peak makes me happy and sad. Happy, we have so many incredible vocal performances in his life. Sad, the voice has changed. Aged, fragile, but still amazing. A wonderful way to take us to the finish line. Rating – 8.5
Overall the album grades out at 7.86/10, which places it 11th out of the albums I’ve graded.
Next, the massive rollout of McCartney III and the rest of 2021…
When the 2019 “Freshen Up” tour pauses after the Dodgers Stadium show, plans have already been laid out for 2020. The initial schedule for Paul this year was to headline the 50th edition of the Glastonbury Festival and to continue his Freshen Up tour with a new European leg.
The COVID-19 crisis put a halt to the daily routine of billions of people throughout the world, forcing people to stay confined at home and all gatherings to be cancelled, including concerts. Everything had to be cancelled.
Think about just HIS touring and performing plans… every show, city, industry connected would not see a penny this year that the shows would have brought with it..… Billions of dollars of revenue for of thousands of people and business based on this one man. And then multiply this by nearly every live event scheduled world wide.
As I write this… it’s still far from good, but there was still NO vaccines available.
So, Paul, who doesn’t need another penny to survive, but realizes that all the others do…. Must be heartbreaking for him, to have to shut down on the heels of a new album (EGYPT STATION) that had found only praise. The clock is ticking…..
To compensate, Paul joined a couple of live-streamed events, like One World: Together At Home or ‘Round Midnight Preserves…
But he also gathered his daughter Mary, her children, and they gathered and stayed at Paul’s home, with Paul and Nancy. Safe and sound. Oh, Paul has a recording studio set up in the home.
So, he pulls out old and new fragments and ideas, and slowly begins to put things down, for a form of release.
As they forms of release became more polished songs, he began to change the concept. He would record something and bring it to the dinner table and have the family listen.
In 1969 and 1970, after the band he was in split up, he took new wife Linda and daughter Heather and recorded this way on 4 track Studer and he gave us I.
In 1980, after his drug bust, and mental realization that the NEXT band would break up, he again holed up with family and on two 4 tracks hooked he gave us II.
With nothing but unknowns in the world he was again holed up, and 77 year old Paul with his state of the art home studio came up with III. ————————————————-
On July 31st, 2020, the album FLAMING PIE received the next treatment in the archive series.
It was released on formats including 1. 5CD/2DVD/4LP Collector’s Edition strictly limited to 3,000 numbered copies issued in a cloth wrapped two-piece collector’s box — will feature everything in the Deluxe Edition plus a marbled art print portfolio of six silkscreened Linda McCartney art prints, exclusive vinyl versions of the remastered album cut at half speed across 2LPs in an exclusive gatefold sleeve, an LP of home recordings in a hand-stamped white label sleeve, and “The Ballad of the Skeletons” – Paul’s 1996 collaboration with Allen Ginsberg, also featuring Philip Glass and Lenny Kaye – released for the first time on vinyl and cut at 45 RPM with vinyl etching and poster.
5CD/2DVD Deluxe Edition Deluxe Edition Box Set comprised of the original album remastered at Abbey Road Studios, 32 bonus audio tracks including unheard home recordings and demos, alternative studio recordings, rough mixes and B-sides including selections from Oobu Joobu parts 1-6, Flaming Pie At The Mill CD (Paul’s hour-long tour of his studio), video content including the In The World Tonight documentary, original music videos, EPKs, interviews, performances and behind-the-scenes material, a 128-page book containing previously unpublished images by Linda McCartney, expanded album artwork from the archives and the story behind the album written by Chris Heath – including track-by-track information, recipes and new interviews with Paul, Ringo Starr, Jeff Lynne, Steve Miller and key album personnel, studio notes, handwritten lyrics, the 1997 Flaming Pie issue of Club Sandwich, the official newspaper of the Paul McCartney Fanclub, downloadable 24bit 96kHz HD audio, and more.
3LP (remastered album cut at half speed across two 180g LPs in gatefold sleeve with booklet, plus single 180g LP of unreleased home recordings in hand-stamped white label sleeve both housed in a slipcase
2LP (remastered album cut at half speed across two 180g LPs in gatefold sleeve with booklet
2CD (remastered album + 21 tracks of bonus audio)
All digital pre-orders included ‘Young Boy’ EP. Also available as a stand alone purchase, the EP recreates the 1997 ‘Young Boy’ maxi single and features the remastered Flaming Pie single ‘Young Boy,’ a home recorded version of the song, the original B-side ‘Looking For You,’ and excerpts of ‘Oobu Joobu Part 1’ also from the original single.
The two music videos for the track were restored and published on the same day.
Two additional EPs will be available for pre-order with ‘The World Tonight’ arriving on June 26 and ‘Beautiful Night’ on July 17. ———————————————- On April 18th Paul played at Hog Hill Studio on One World: Together At Home.
“I’m very honored to be part of this program tonight that celebrates the true heroes: Our health care workers all around the world. As this COVID-19 pandemic is a global crisis, we all have to come together to fight it on a global scale. Let’s tell our leaders we need them to strengthen the health care systems all around the world so that a crisis like this never happens again. My mother Mary was a nurse and midwife just after and during the second World War, so I have a lot of time took for the doctors, the nurses and all the medical staff that keep us healthy. We love you, thank you.”
He performed that bluesy old man voice version of “Lady Madonna.” His heart was in the right place, but not one for the highlight reel. ———————————————- June 20th, same thing but for ‘Round Midnight Preserves.’
Preservation Hall hosted a concert to benefit the COVID-19 relief efforts of the Preservation Hall Foundation. It featured performances by Preservation Hall Jazz Band,Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl, Elvis Costello, Irma Thomas, Dave Matthews, Beck, Jon Batiste, Jim James, Arcade Fire, PJ Morton, Nathaniel Rateliff, and more!
Spotify matched donations to the Preservation Hall Foundation, dollar for dollar, up to a collective total of $10 million.
Paul plays the trumpet in the rendition of “When The Saints Go Marchin’ In.” The trumpet was the first instrument Paul learned to play, before switching to the guitar. The trumpet he used belonged to Louis Armstrong kindly loaned from the Louis Armstrong estate”)
“Happy Birthday Louis Armstrong. Thanks for lending me your trumpet!” ————————————————
In a worldwide exclusive for Radio 2, to mark what would have been John Lennon’s 80th birthday, Sean Ono Lennon interviews Julian Lennon, Paul McCartney and Elton John in two-part documentary on October 3rd and 4th.
“I look back on it now like a fan, how lucky was I to meet this strange teddy boy off the bus, who played music like I did and we get together and boy, we complemented each other!” – Paul ——————————————— “Come Together” Paul re-records the classic with The Smokin’ Mojo Filters (Paul Weller, Noel Gallagher etc..) in 1995 and it finally comes out on September 9th, on The HELP Album.
Paul and Joe Walsh, Lenny Kravitz, Sheryl Crow and others lend background vocals on “Here’s To The Nights” on Ringo’s ZOOM IN EP. It would come out in 2021. ———————————————- It was also announced on February 16th that a documentary 12 years in the making was going to may see the light of day. Charlie Lightning was to halve filmed the Glastonbury 2020 festival performance to cap off his film.
‘I’ve worked with Paul McCartney for 12 years and I followed him. I am still working with him, it’s not finished. I’ll be with him at Glastonbury,’ -Lightening
The film includes interviews and looks to cover Paul’s decade in the Beatles, his second band Wings and his subsequent solo career. ‘He’s helped me with what I do and I adore him. He’s trusted me and to have someone like that to see up close and work with – that’s inspiring, it makes you better at what you are, it makes you want to be better.’
The concert was cancelled and no hint on ANY release day for this documentary. George had an amazing three hour tribute by Martin Scorsese. I can only hope for the same here. ———————————————- October 16th…. It began. It started with just a picture of a die. And showed us the 3 dots.
2019 was another busy year for all things Paul McCartney.
I’m sure he kept writing new music throughout the year for the multiple projects he was working on.
But this was not a year which saw him the studio very often.
From the 2018 Wings RED ROSE SPEEDWAY deluxe edition, the previously unreleased “The Bruce McMouse Show” film saw a premiere in select cinemas around the world on January 21st.
The Bruce McMouse Show tells the story of how Paul and Wings came to meet the impresario Bruce McMouse.
Part concert film, part animated feature, it featured footage from Wings’ 1972 European tour, interspersed with animated scenes that introduce a family of mice living under the stage.
On January 30th The Beatles “Get Back” project was announced.
On the day of the fiftieth anniversary (January 30th, 1969) of the Beatles’ rooftop concert, it was announced that film director Peter Jackson was working on a documentary that covers the making of the Beatles’ 1970 album “Let It Be.“
It would be given a name and an initial release date in cinemas in March 2020, but would be delayed a couple of times due to the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.
Called “Get Back,” it would ultimately be released initially in three parts in November 2021 on Disney+ streaming service.
The announcement of the previously described “Travelers Edition” of EGYPT STATION was announced on February 14th (with love, I’m sure…).
On March 27th a school book Paul used as a teenager sold for £46,800 – nearly 10 times its estimate.
The exercise book – which features a doodle of a man smoking and a teacher’s critical comments – sold at an auction of Beatles memorabilia in Newton-le-Willows, Merseyside.
He used the exercise book at Liverpool Institute High School for Boys, where he was taught English literature by Alan ‘Dusty’ Durband.
Inside are 22 pages of essays he wrote on novels such as Thomas Hardy’s The Return Of The Native and John Milton’s Paradise Lost.
‘I’d answer the question first before challenging its truth,’ Mr Durband tells him on page three of the exercise book, from the 1959/60 school year. But the teenager, 17 or 18 at the time, showed promise, achieving marks from B- to B++ for his work.
The “Freshen Up” tour would resume on March 20th in Chile, pause on March 30th after Brazil. The resume again in New Orleans on May23rd, finishing on July 13th at Dodgers Stadium. 38 shows in 11 countries.
This is the last organized concert tour by Paul to this day as he has chosen not to with the advent of Covid-19. He says he wants to die onstage, and wants to tour again…
April 5th saw the release of the 1975 performance, PROFESSOR LONGHAIR LIVE ON THE QUEEN MARY on Vinyl, CD and Deluxe Formats.
Paul: “When we finished ‘Venus and Mars’, even though the album didn’t have a “New Orleans sound”, the flavor of us being there for so long is in there. For me, when I think of the album, I think of New Orleans.
So, we were going to have a launch party and I was looking around for something interesting, something exciting for us to do. And I heard that the Queen Mary – the old, original Queen Mary – was now in Long Beach, which is just outside LA. And it was now some kind of a hotel thing and was available for functions. You could hire it, you could hire the big ballroom. So we think, ‘Oh, well that’s perfect!
We should do that and we should have a guest-list with all the LA celebs and people like this’. Which meant it was a pretty cool guest-list!
So we’re thinking, ‘Oh, who’s going to entertain? Well, our favorites are currently The Meters and Professor Longhair.’ So we asked The Meters if they would back him and if he was happy to play with them. And everyone was happy. So that’s what we did: we booked them for the party! And then we thought, ‘Well, this an opportunity not to be missed. We should record it ‘cause they’re such favorite artists of ours!’ So again, we asked if they minded being recorded, which they didn’t, they were very happy to do that. And so we got this record out of it, which was very exciting.
I still remember the great thing The Meters used to do was that they used to start their act in their dressing room. So they would start off.. Somebody would have a drum. Somebody would have a tambourine. Somebody would have little claves. And they would just come into the hall from the dressing room playing. They just come walking in… [Carries on singing] Then they get up on the stage… [Sings…] Then they get their instruments on seamlessly …and suddenly it would be their opening number. It was such a great idea!
They’re playing… the whole band’s together. They’re playing these rhythmic things, signing, chanting, coming on. And as they get up on stage, one of them will drop his tambourine and pick up a guitar, and then the next one would get on the drums and lose his conga. They didn’t stop and then start again, they were just seamless. They just seamlessly became a live band.
That is a great way to start a show, yeah! They did that and then Professor Longhair came on and did his bit. And it was lovely. Really great!”
April 24th saw the announcement of the previously discussed “Station II” release.
Linda’s photos were exhibited in London from May 15th-19th.
Each year, Cardozo’s Journal of Conflict Resolution presents the International Advocate for Peace Award to an individual who is exemplary in the field of conflict resolution.
On May 28th The Cardozo Commencement Ceremony included the presentation of the International Advocate for Peace Award to Sir Paul McCartney from students of the Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution. In honoring McCartney, students cited five decades of songs that “celebrate love and understanding, empathy and connection—the foundations of peace that are the heart of the human struggle.”
July 5th brought the opening of Linda McCartney “Retrospective” (until January 12, 2020). A major photographic exhibition, which was curated by Paul, Mary and Stella McCartney and features iconic names and moments in music from the 1960s along with more intimate and emotional later work by the acclaimed and prolific photographer.
The retrospective featured a wealth of ephemera and archive material, which is being shown in public for the first time.
This will include one of Linda’s diaries from the 1960s, bringing new insight into the contemporary music scene of the era and the beginnings of her photographic career.
Cameras used by Linda and held in her archive will also be displayed along with photographic equipment and vintage magazines that have been uncovered from her expansive archive.
Polaroids and contact sheets will also be part of the exhibition which explore her creativity and use of the different photographic techniques.
The Retrospective will feature a section dedicated to the photographs Linda took in Scotland alongside the themes of family life, self portraits, nature and social commentary.
To celebrate the first UK showing of the Linda McCartney Retrospective, the limited-edition color vinyl LP pressing of WIDE PRAIRIE will be available exclusively for one month prior to the album’s general release at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow from the exhibition’s July 5th opening.
In addition Paul also donated a set of limited edition photographs by his late wife Linda McCartney to Glasgow Museums.
July 18th Paul announces he is working on writing his first musical, an adaptation of the 1946 Frank Capra motion picture, “It’s A Wonderful Life.”
Paul has partnered with British theatre and film impresario Bill Kenwright who will produce the show. Bill originally approached Paul three years ago after acquiring the rights to the much-loved film that over seven decades since its release continues to be a Prime-Time must for television audiences all around the world.
Paul and Bill both were born and raised in Liverpool, and both attended the Liverpool Institute High School (now LIPA – the acclaimed performing arts academy founded by Paul).
In addition to writing the music Paul has been working on the lyrics with the Tony Award winning English screen and play writer Lee Hall, who is also responsible for the book of the musical.
Speaking about this news Paul said: “Like many of these things this all started with an email. Bill had asked if it was something I might be up for. Writing a musical is not something that had ever really appealed to me but Bill and I met up with Lee Hall and had a chat and I found myself thinking this could be interesting and fun. ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ is a universal story we can all relate to.”
Bill Kenwright said: “Working with Paul on “It’s a Wonderful Life” is a dream realized. To be honest I was hooked on first hearing him say “one/two/three/four” on the demo of the opening number! But since then it’s been an extraordinary journey – on every song I experience Paul’s unique gift of melody and composition. It’s musical theatre – but it’s always McCartney.
Paul attends the next LIPA graduation on July 26th.
On August 11th The Beatles announced the 50th anniversary boxset of “ABBEY ROAD.”
“Abbey Road” Presented with New Mixes in Stereo, 5.1 Surround, and Dolby Atmos; Expanded with Previously Unreleased Session Recordings and Demos to be released September 27th. Abbey Road’s Super Deluxe box set presents 40 tracks – including “The Long One” Trial Edit & Mix for the album’s epic Side 2 medley – on three CDs (stereo) and one Blu-ray disc (Dolby Atmos, 96kHz/24 bit high resolution stereo, and 96 kHz/24 bit DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1).
The four discs are housed in a slip-sleeved 12” by 12” 100-page hardbound book with McCartney’s foreword; Martin’s introduction; insightful, in-depth chapters written by Beatles historian, author, and radio producer Kevin Howlett covering the months preceding The Beatles’ Abbey Road sessions, track-by-track details and session notes, the cover art and photo shoot, and the album’s reception upon its release; plus an essay by music journalist and author David Hepworth looking at the album’s influence through 50 years.
The book is illustrated with rare and previously unpublished photographs, including many taken by Linda McCartney; never before published images of handwritten lyrics, sketches, and a George Martin score; Beatles correspondence, recording sheets, and tape boxes; and reproduced original print ads.
The Super Deluxe digital audio collection presents all 40 tracks for download purchase and streaming in standard and MFiT formats, as well as in high resolution audio (96kHz/24 bit) for download.
Abbey Road’s limited edition Deluxe vinyl box set features all 40 tracks from the Super Deluxe collection on three 180-gram vinyl LPs. The album’s new stereo mix LP is packaged in a faithfully replicated sleeve, with the two Sessions LPs paired in their own jacket, presented with a four-page insert in a lift-top box.
The Deluxe 2CD set pairs the new stereo mix with versions taken from the session takes and demo recordings of its 17 songs, sequenced to match the album’s running order. The two discs are presented in a digipak with a 40-page booklet abridged from the Super Deluxe book.
The album’s new stereo mix is also available in 1CD and 180-gram 1LP vinyl packages, for digital download in standard and MFiT audio, and on a limited edition picture disc vinyl LP illustrated by the album’s front and back cover art images.
Abbey Road’s Super Deluxe and Deluxe vinyl box sets’ 23 session and demo recordings are presented in chronological order of their first recording dates. “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” leads the charge.
September 5th brought another delightful Macca surprise. The release of “Hey Grandude!” This is Paul’s 1st picture book.
“It’s about a character called Grandude who represents grandfathers everywhere.
He has four grandchildren and he calls them “Chillers”. They love him and they go on adventures with him and he’s kind of magical, so you’ll see that in the book. I wanted to write it for grandparents everywhere – and the kids – so it gives you something to read to the grandkids at bed time.” – Paul
He would read it out loud at Waterstones in London the next day.
Speaking of books…..On September 18, Benedikt and Marlene Taschen, along with Mary, Stella and Paul McCartney, hosted the launch of Linda McCartney “The Polaroid Diaries” at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
Guests included Ringo Starr, Chrissie Hynde, Twiggy, Sharleen Spiteri, Marc Newson, Rosemary Ferguson, Sheherezade Goldsmith and more.
After a private cocktail reception in the V&A’s Photography Centre, Mary and Stella McCartney – plus surprise guest Paul – joined 275 V&A members for a conversation about the book and Linda McCartney’s photographic work moderated by critic and author Ekow Eshun.
A book signing in the Silver Galleries of the museum concluded the evening.
Bringing together hundreds of unseen Polaroids from the 1970s to the late 1990s, the book provides intimate testimony to Linda McCartney’s legacy as a fiercely committed and experimental artist, and is TASCHEN’s second monograph of her work following the 2011 publication of Linda McCartney, “Life in Photographs.”
The book was released a week later.
The next day Paul and Ringo joined the 50th Anniversary Album Party!
November 22nd the entire catalog of Beatles singles were remastered and printed with the original sleeve in a box set called “The Singles Collection.” Since each of these new 180gm vinyl single were released in dozens of different sleeves worldwide, a wonderful cross-section of nationalities are included. It now sells in the $200 range. It includes a 39 page book and new “Free As A Bird/Real Love” single.
November 29th saw a limited edition picture disc new single released on RSD called “Home Tonight/“In A Hurry” (reviewed last post)
And if he did not have enough irons in the fire (PS..he’s writing a new album as well) It was announced on December 10th that Netflix and Gaumont are producing a new animated feature based his book “High In The Clouds.”
The new animated adventure follows an imaginative teenage squirrel named Wirral, who finds himself pulled into a ramshackle gang of teenage rebels who live high in the clouds. After he accidentally antagonizes Gretsch the owl, the tyrannical leader (and fabulous singer!), who steals the voice of anyone who upstages her.
Maybe this or next year we will see many of this behind the scene works come to fruition.
Next, 2020… Paul goes into lock-down…oops, I mean rock-down.
Paul and Capitol released the new double single “I Don’t Know/Come On To Me” as a downloadable stream on June 20th, 2018.
An exclusive record store day of 5000 (hand numbered) 7” vinyls were issued later that year on November 23rd.
August 15th saw the second single, “Fuh You,” released.
Lyric videos were released on YouTube for the first singles “Come On To Me”, “I Don’t Know”, and “Fuh You”. Eventually, official music videos were released for “Fuh You”, “Back In Brazil” and “Come On To Me”.
The music videos are a creative departure from many of McCartney’s previous music videos in that they each focus on the lives of ordinary people with McCartney only appearing briefly (on stage) in the conclusion of “Back In Brazil”.
On July 6th we saw the limited release of The Beatles “Yellow Submarine”/“Eleanor Rigby” 7” picture disc. The single was in conjunction to the new restoration of the film to 4k on its 50th anniversary.
Paul and his magnificent band took the new album on the road for the “Freshen Up” tour.
Before kicking it off he had his band play a warm-up “secret” concert at Grand Central Terminal that was live-streamed on YouTube. Music only videos of each performance were later uploaded to his YouTube channel.
It started on September 17th in Quebec, Canada. Four more Canadian shows followed, and onto four shows in Japan and five shows in Europe, finishing on December 16th at the O2 Arena in London.
He also headlined Austin City Limits Festival in Austin , Texas on October 5th and the 12th. In between he did a 14 song set at a private party for Patriots owner Robert Craft at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass.
The tour would continue in 2019 with five shows in South America in March of 2019 followed by sixteen shows in North America from May23rd, finishing on July 13th at Dodger Stadium…. And that was it.. World health events most assured cut what would have been more dates on an album that Paul was very willing to go out and promote. ————————————————-
The week after EGYPT STATION was released it became the first McCartney solo album to go to number #1 in the USA since 1982’s TUG OF WAR. The Target edition and European editions included two bonus tracks.
It was also released on… Limited Green Vinyl by Spotify.
Limited Red Vinyl by Barnes & Noble
He did tons of interview and promotional appearances in support before and on its release.
It was was very well received by the critics as well.
I found the review by Rob Sheffield in Rolling Stone as the definitive look. It starts…. ‘Make a list of all the songwriters who were composing great tunes in 1958. Now, make an overlapping list of the ones who are still writing brilliant songs in 2018. Your list: Paul McCartney.
May 7th, 2019 (just 8 months after it’s release) saw the release of EGYPT STATION, “Explorer’s Edition.” The Explorer’s Edition was comprised of the original record plus a second album, Egypt Station II.
The bonus disc collects all songs released during the Egypt Station voyage, from studio tracks including the surprise single ‘Get Enough’ to live performances captured at stops such as Abbey Road Studios, The Cavern and Grand Central Station. It was available in both black and limited multi-color vinyl.
As if this wasn’t enough….on May 10th, 2019 we would also see the release of EGYPT STATION “Travelers Edition.” It included three previously unreleased tracks. The “Traveler’s Edition” was limited to 3,000 copies.
The collection included the following:
A Limited Edition Concertina Tri-Fold Deluxe 180G Vinyl Double Black Disc Pressing of Egypt Station.
An Exclusive Limited Edition Bonus 180G Vinyl Pressing of Egypt Station II in “Night Scene” blue, featuring three previously unreleased tracks — ‘Frank Sinatra’s Party,’ ‘Sixty Second Street’ and extended cut of Egypt Station single ‘Who Cares’ — as well as four live performances of Egypt Station tracks taken from Abbey Road Studios, The Cavern Club, LIPA, and the performance at Grand Central Station.
Limited Edition Egypt Station Concertina CD.
Exclusive Limited Edition collector’s Egypt Station Blue Cassette.
1.Vintage-style embossed Egypt Station artwork suitcase.
An exclusive copy of a handwritten note from Paul.
A fold out, vintage-style Egypt Station illustrated map suitable for framing.
Travel memorabilia including “travel itinerary”, postcards, baggage tickets and first class ticket.
Egypt Station luggage stickers
Travel journal featuring copies of Paul’s handwritten lyrics
Two Egypt Station lithographs of Paul’s paintings
500+ piece jigsaw puzzle
Egypt Station playing cards
Additional hidden surprises and rarities.
Originally sold in the $250 range, it now averages between $500-$1000 online.
On October 19th, 2018 announcement of the next set of Archive Releases. This time it would encompass the entire late 1971- mid 1973 period, WILD LIFE/RED ROSE SPEEDWAY. More on these when we focus on 2019. ———————————————— Being a first generation fan, I remember plunking down my $5-$7 for all the Paul’s albums when they came out, and then playing them to death on my tiny “sound system.”
Being a completest today requires credit cards with a large limit, or a bank account to match.
It is very hard to decide what to buy to listen to and enjoy and alter it’s pristine state OR buying and leave unopened and watch it’s cost become even more unreachable in time…
I find I fall mostly in the former.
More on this madness in the 2020’s.
Here then are my reviews of the studio tracks that were bonus to both the Explorer’s and Traveler’s editions. The bonus “live” tracks will be covered when all of Paul live is reviewed…
“Get Started” Acoustic bopper that leaps and bounds with Wings era vocal swirls and electric jangles. Filled with Paul’s sweet hooks and Tedder’s production is spot on. Finishes with a delightful “foxy lady”sounding coda, Paul howling us into the night. Rating – 8.5
“Home Tonight” Double tracked vocal and handclaps on this brassy ass shaker. Paul sounds like he’s having a blast. A homage to finding a safe place to land air the end of the day. Rating – 8
“In A Hurry” A woman story song that sounds much like his band from the 60’s. He notches up the tempo in the repeated chorus. A cascade of sound combinations that we’ve never heard from Paul, which combining studio and live performance sounds. It even features a mini sax solo. A short reprise ends this odd mix of sounds. Rating – 7.5
“Nothing For Free” I did three tracks with Ryan and “Fuh You” is the one on the album and then there’s two others, they’re nice.
We only had a week, because there was a time when Greg was doing something else and my manager rung up and said you could maybe get with another producer, just to switch it up a bit, so he sent me some suggestions and I liked Ryan’s stuff.
I rang him, and I think we decided he’d come to my studio for a week and we’d just see how we went. I said, ‘I’ve got a lot of songs we could do,’ but in the end, he just fancied making it up, so we just, you know, we went in with nothing, just got a beat, got a thing, got an idea for some lyrics and just built it up, you know, but he knows what he’s doing.
“Okay Okay, Okay”….. I absolutely love this song. It should have been on the album proper, but just having it here completes me. If this song had been on any album during Paul’s run of the charts years, this would be considered a classic. I’m starting to think maybe Ryan Tedder should produce Paul in 2022 if given the chance. The soundscape and thought on the final mix is one of the finest of Macca’s entire cannon. Paul’s slightly distorted vocals make it almost hard to realize it’s him. How did this song not gave any special attention other than in my being? Rating – 9
“Frank Sinatra’s Party” The history of the song starts more than 40 years ago, the melody coming from “Fishy Matters Underwater“, a demo recorded in July 1976.
Only Paul could take a fragment from a home demo tape made 42 years earlier and revision it as a reggae soaked peek into the that early 1960’s time period when the Rat Pack were the kings of show business. Rating – 9
“Sixty Second Street” Acoustic ditty formed around the double meaning title. Could easily have fit on any Simon & Garfunkel album. A few interesting jazzy tempo changes keep your ears perked. Paul is the master of all. Rating – 8
“Who Cares” (full length) Paul cut the extended play-out from this version to include on the original album. So I love it based off that, and the added interplay between drums, acoustic, electric and bass for the extra 2 minutes are sweet, but not really needed. I however, also want this version for selfish reasons. Rating – 9
“Get Enough” Slightly fragile piano ballad that has Paul auto-tuning again, and even hitting falsetto auto-tune on the bridge. The intensity builds and then mid-way the song turns the chorus into a homage of Beach Boys wall of harmony.
Wow, didn’t see that coming. Would have loved an entire song of only that. Still, another like nothing we have ever heard from Paul, and repeated listens only makes you like it more. Rating – 8
I apologize for the length, but the motherfucker is just so busy working…. I feel he knows there are only so many sundowns left and he will spend each adding to the treasures he’ offered.
This post will deal with JUST the review of Paul McCartney’s 17th solo album release, EGYPT STATION.
The next post will recall the roll out, the diversity of product offered and the critical and chart results, as well as additional tracks that were released with future versions that were soon released.
And we’ll finish with what else happened in 2018… But that’s the next post….. But NOW! ———————————————— The Album
The cover is a wonderful display of Paul’s artwork. He created the piece “Egypt Station”in 1999. It was the featured in his book, “Paintings.”
“My original inspiration was similar to a picture we were talking about the other day, with Egyptian symbols and shapes I got from looking at a reference book on Egypt. I was interested in the way they drew sunflowers, so two appear on the left and on the right. It was a nice shape, so I took that and then I also love the way they symbolize trees. I like the way they reduce a tree to just some very simple symbols.”
———————————————— “Opening Station” “When we decided we were going to call the album “Egypt station”, I liked the idea of making a montage of sounds that were sort of like a station, so we found one station and then we added another one to it, the sound effects of real stations, and then we started to make up some little noises that we added to make it like a dream, so the idea being that, this kind of dream location was where all this music was going to emanate from. And you set off on a journey and each song becomes a different station. I liked the words ‘Egypt Station.’ It reminded me of the ‘album’ albums we used to make…
‘Egypt Station’ starts off at the station on the first song and then each song is like a different station. So it gave us some idea to base all the songs around that. I think of it as a dream location that the music emanates from.” -Paul
-Much like his previous albums TUG OF WAR (1982), which opened to a montage of sounds of struggle, and PIPES OF PEACE (1983), which opened to a montage of sounds of war/chaos/conflict, EGYPT STATION perfectly sets the mood which puts the listener in the station, waiting to board..
I like the idea that each song would be a stop on the line. Each song would then represent a feeling or emotion or maybe even be inspired by the location stopped at.
I don’t think the concept was kept up, as to me it feels like a group of songs book-ended by the opening and closing stations….
In this instance it’s more like The Beatles SGT. PEPPER’S album, where the concept was loosely connected by the title track and its reprise. Pepper was envisioned initially as each song would be “recorded” by a different band.
The Turtles 1968 album, THE BATTLE OF THE BANDS, is the only album I know that stuck with this concept from start to finish. Each track was credited to different “bands.”
Still, a wonderful way to feel like I have boarded and await the next adventure.
Rating – N/A While it is listed as a track, I am not going to rate it…. Unlike other “links” that Paul has included on RAM/WILD LIFE/TUG OF WAR, this instrumental works perfectly as it is intended. The train has left the station….
“I Don’t Know” “I wrote this after going through a difficult period. Like people have nothing sort of madly serious or anything, but just one of those days when it’s like, “Oh my god, am I doing wrong here?”, you know. And sometimes that’s a good way to write a song, because you’re coming from your soul.
And we often used to say that writing a song was like talking to a psychiatrist, a therapist or something. Because you’re saying it… You are saying it in a song rather than in a room to a specialist. Yeah, so it was me just thinking this problem out, and putting it into a song.” – Paul
-A track which features only Paul and producer Kurstin. A gentle piano introduction leads into a magnificent mid-tempo ballad. Vintage McCartney, showing vulnerability we don’t often see from him. Just a wonderful song, lyrically, production and perfect way to start our journey. Rating – 9
“Come On To Me” “This sort of a pick-up song, and I’m imagining myself, probably in the sixties, going to a party and seeing someone and thinking “oh okay, how do I make an approach here?”. So it’s a sort of, it’s an imaginary song, a fantasy song about a guy seeing someone and thinking “we should try and find a place to be alone here, and maybe exchange information and stuff, and hey you look like you flashed a smile and said to me you wanted so much more than casual conversation. So would you come on to me, or am I going to come on to you?” -Paul
Three music videos showing three different characters, working the night shift and dancing on the song “Come On To Me”, were produced, and finally mixed together into a fourth version. All those videos were released in October 2018.
-Paul uses his band on this sexually charged rocker. Nice tempo change. Love the fact that Paul used the Mrs. Mills piano, also used on “Lady Madonna.” While the idea of then 76 year old Paul getting frisky caused a bit of stink in the Beatle community, I found it refreshing. The foot never stopped tapping. Brian Ray’s sitar and Paul on harmonica were surprises. Nice little coda at the end, with classic Paul bass runs (which he seems to do less of in his later albums). Rating – 8.5
“Happy With You” “Yeah, I was on holiday and I was just noodling around on the guitar, and I was thinking about the days when I had a lot of free time and used to just sort of lie around basically doing nothing all day, and getting a bit stoned and… just doing nothing really. Busy doing nothing.
And so I got this little riff on the guitar and the words came to me, you know: “I used to lie around all day, I used to get stoned, I used to like to get wasted, but these days I don’t.” So it’s a song about growing up. There’s a period in your life – in some people’s lives – when they’re not being as productive, or not being as organized or disciplined as they may later turn out to be. So this was basically it.” -Paul
-While I always loved that Paul was open about his enjoyment of smoked herbs in the past, here he tells of just enjoying life and love, clear eyed. Good for him. Rating – 7.5
“Who Cares” “With “Who Cares”, I was thinking about a song where you actually are talking to the people who may listen to it. And in my case I was imagining young fans, or young people who might hear this, and who are going through some sort of problem where they’re being picked on, being put on.
These days it would be internet bullying, trolls and all that. In my school days, it would have just been bullies and people just generally picking on each other. So I know that has happened all over the world to millions of people.
So my thing was to kind of try and help, almost kind-of give some sort of advice. So the song says, you know: “have you ever been fed up with being bullied? Has this ever happened when people have called you names, have done mean things? Has this ever happened to you? Well, who cares. And then in a twist at the end of that chorus is like “Who cares? I do”. -Paul
In December 2018, a music video for “Who Cares“ was released. The video follows a story of a woman played by Emma Stone visiting a psychiatrist played by Paul. ‘Who Cares’ features a message of universal positivity rendered in vivid colorful detail.
-Paul and the band knock this one out of the park. Outstanding melody, lyrics that hit at the heart of the subject. Paul even tries his best to take it up a notch vocally at the end. This is an excellent song, with an even better video. He had me at Emma Stone. Rating – 8.5
“Fuh You” “With this one I was in the studio with Ryan Tedder whereas the rest of the album has been made with Greg Kurstin… We were just thinking of ideas and little pieces of melody and chords and the song just came together bit by bit. And then I would try and make some kind of sense of the story.
So it was like ‘Come on baby now. Talk about yourself. Tell the truth, let me get to know you’ and basically I wanna know how you feel, you make me wanna go out and steal. I just want it for you. So that was the basic idea and it developed from there… sort of a love song, but a raunchy love song. There you go – “Fuh You.” -Paul
In September 2018, a music video for “Fuh You“, filmed in the streets of Liverpool, was published. The black-and-white video opens with a teenage couple sharing a kiss on a front doorstep before the girl’s mother intrudes and sends the boy home. The enamored young protagonist then wanders the streets of Liverpool, singing and dancing along with “Fuh You” as he makes his way home.
-I think Paul tries very hard to be contemporary with this one, as it’s production is very radio friendly. However, for 76 year old Paul, it misses the mark slightly. Rating – 7.5
“Confidante” “It’s a love song to the guitar, how the guitar was my confidante, and I told you every little secret thing, and, in fact, unlike my other so-called friends, you stood beside me while I fought. So it became a symbol of the guitar as a mate, as a friend, as a confidant.” – Paul
-Wonderful homage to his 6 string friend. Just Paul. Builds nicely with outstanding acoustic guitar throughout. Well done. Rating – 8.5
“People Want Peace” “I had played a gig in Israel quite a few years ago, and I wanted to go to Palestine before I went to Israel, because I was very aware of the political situation there. So I didn’t want to just look like I was ignoring Palestine playing in Israel, although that was where the date was, the gig.
So I made arrangements to go into Palestine across the border, and go to a little music school and shake hands with the kids, and hang out and listen to them playing some music. Just to show solidarity with the Palestinian people.
And then when I came back into Israel I then met with some cool people from a group called One Voice, a political group, kind of thing, a movement. And we ended up wearing their badges on our show in Tel Aviv. So the whole idea was a peace mission, really, because these kids were great. I say kids, they were kind of young adults. And I’d say to them, “what is it? What do you want to do, you know?”. They say “All we want to do is just live in peace, raise our families, you know, and be able to just get on with our lives in peace”.
And so that tied in with something that when I was a kid. I’d asked my dad and said – you know, we were seeing all the wars and stuff, on the newspapers, on TV and so I’d said to him “what is it? You know, do people want peace or do they just like to fight?”. And he sort-of looked at me, very quietly said “No, no, son, people want peace. It’s the politicians and the leaders who get into wars. It’s not the people”. So that always struck me as a great phrase.” -Paul
-A little too big a production for me. Paul has given us songs (and albums) about peace and love before. The middle eight is very much like the middle eight from the unreleased 1986 track “Return To Pepperland.” Overall, a nice track with a nice message. Rating – 7.5
“Hand In Hand” “Sometimes songs just come to you, sort of late at night. And I’ve got a piano at home, and in actual fact this particular piano happens to be my dad’s old piano, so it’s special to me. And I was sitting there one night and I just started to find these chords that are the beginning of Hand In Hand. And it’s basically a love song. And as I wrote it, I was imagining me and Nancy about to go through life hand in hand. It was written in the early stage of our relationship.
And then I started to think, ‘Yeah, well, this is a lot of people.’ You know, there are millions of people in that situation, where they’ve got someone they love, and they want to go through life hand in hand, and to be a partnership of some kind.
And it was nice, actually, when we recorded it, we had two lady cellists. That’s all there is on there beside the band. And it was very sweet ’cause at the end of it we liked what they’d done, we said that’s great, thank you. And one of them sort of said, ‘Oh, you know what? I’m getting married for the second time, and I’m a little bit nervous, but this song has made me think it’s going to work out all right.’ So we thought, that’s it! You know, that’s a reason, right there, for writing that song.” -Paul
-Fragile touching vocal on this tender love song to Nancy. Pedro Eustache’s King bansori Indian Flute is lovely when combined with Vanessa Freebairn-Smith’s cello. Rating – 7.5
“Dominoes” “One of the interesting things about songs is they often come from something that happens in your life, and your song is the reaction to it. It could be something very small. You just sort of have an argument with someone and you can just go off and think “I’ll just play guitar for a while, get out of it, you know, get over it”. And this kind of started like that.
So it’s just a people song about how things are really all right but they don’t always seem to be alright. And then I got this image of dominoes, you know, when people line up those millions of dominoes and then they drop the first one and it goes through this whole sequence.
So I imagined that as being symbolic of life and, you know, how one little action can have such a big effect on this huge line of dominoes. And then when I recorded it, it seemed I wanted to do it very personally as a sort of personal song. You know, even though he goes through all this stuff, and all these dominoes fall over and life goes on and in fact in the end it’s okay.
-A album highlight for me. Fantastic production. Paul sounds like a teen, and the song is filled with more hooks than a pirate convention. The bass line flows like a gentle stream. And Paul gives us what he brought to The Beatles in 1966, an ending filled with guitar Brennel tape loops. I’m going gaga as Paul scats softly on the outro. “It’s been a blast.” Rating – 9
“Back In Brazil” “So I was in Brazil on tour… This is one of those nice free days where there was nothing planned and I had a piano in the room of the hotel room, so I got this little riff and got this idea of “Back in Brazil”. There was this girl who dreams of a future far far better world, she meets a man and he fits him with a plan. You know, so it’s a story about a couple and trials and tribulations…
Things are going well and she plans a date but he can’t come cuz’ they got him working late… And so it was just an imaginary story of two young Brazilian people and it’s kind dance-like so I wanted to put Brazilian rhythms and get the flavor.” -Paul
-A nice change up. The Latin flare was a pallet cleanser. Pedro Eustache is back on Bamboo Flue and Dadook. The video didn’t overwhelm me. Actually, only “Who Cares” was the only one to feature McCartney. Very 10cc ending…. Rating – 8
“Do It Now” “Do It Now” is an expression my dad used to say. It’s funny, you know, as you get older, you remember things that your parents or maybe teachers or friends said, and if there’s a catchphrase.
And my dad’s big catchphrase was “do it now”. You know, you would sort of say, “No, well, I’ll do it later”, and he would say, “No, do it now”. And he used to say “DIN” so that was just his particular little catchphrase. And I always thought, DIN, that’s a great name for a record label… Anyway, this has always been in my mind, this “Do it now” thing. So I was looking for an idea to write this song about, so then I started off, okay, I’m on a journey, I’ve been invited to go somewhere, so if I’m going in my imagination somewhere, and the idea is that if I don’t do it now, I may never get to this place.
Basically it’s a song, an imaginary journey suggested by the fact that my dad would have said, “Go on that journey now, don’t leave it till it’s too late”. So there it is. Do it now.” – Paul
-Another subject Paul has dealt with in past songs, the “live now” because life is short message. Lovely backing by the massive orchestra takes Paul’s message and sends it to us on a cloud. A great message. Rating – 8
“Caesar Rock” “Caesar Rock. Okay there’s some times when I get in my studio with my engineer Steve Orchard and we just start making up stuff. We will just have no idea what we’re gonna do but we’ll play with things we are interested in. So I might just start off with a drum machine, do something and put a little piano on it, or put the bass on it, and then maybe some ideas on it.
It’s a nice way of working – I think of it as being kind of lazy, because it feels to me like you’ve got a day off. In truth, you haven’t, because you’re making a song. But there is this feeling of freedom: ‘You don’t really have to do this, it’s not a proper song, we’re making it up’. I went in one day and we started making this song and then I was playing with a little auto-tune thing that I’d been familiarized with by working with Kanye. So I thought, ‘I fancy having a go at this’ and in a way it’s a bit sacrilegious. I know a lot of people say: ‘Oh, no no no, you shouldn’t do that, that’s for hip hop and we wanna hear your voice pure’. But then I started thinking “are you kidding me”… You know you listen to some of the Beatles records, Tomorrow Never Knows, and we were never that, you know, nothing was that sacred. So I had a go, and sang: “She’s a rock” and put that through the Auto-tuner.
So it was “she’s a rock” but then we started referring to it as Caesar Rock because we were just having fun and so we just built it up. So I like that. I like this song because it’s slightly oddball, you know. It starts in one tempo and then it completely changes. That kind of thing sums it up: It’s a song where anything goes and I like it because of that.
And then we got then a group of people in the studio, some of the engineers, some of the guys who were hanging around. I said okay, come on, we all gonna go in and just be this big chorus thing. So I was going: “She’s a rock, yeah”. Then we were just adding things. And at the end I had this zany idea – because anything goes in a song like this – of: “I’ll just shout ‘she’s got loyalty’ and the answer will be ‘like a Royalty’”. Then, “she’s got symmetry” – “anonymity”. I mean, it was quite surreal lyrics, but we’re having fun with it. And the other thing I loved about it just right at the end of the track – I still don’t know how this happened – but it must have been me that shouted “she’s got matching teeth”. And everyone was just “She’s got matching teeth?”… I like the idea of matching teeth. I mean I was playing with that as an album title, Matching Teeth. Yes! So I mean that was one we had a lot of fun with Caesar rock!” -Paul
“I always think of things like these as being happy accidents. It happened more recently, too, on the song “Caesar Rock,” from my album “Egypt Station.” Somehow this drum part got dragged accidentally to the start of the song on the computer, and we played it back and it’s just there in those first few seconds and it doesn’t fit. But at the same time it does.”
-Never realized that the false intro was a mistake. Paul steps up and gives his best growls. Mid 70’s Paul would have taken off my eyebrows off with this one. Pulsing, aggressive and fully satisfying. Fantastic ending with Paul and the band chanting…. “Matching teeth?” Rating – 8.5
“Despite Repeated Warnings” “I was in Japan and I was reading a newspaper – I think it was like the Tokyo Times, Japan Times or something – and there was something about climate change and it’s typical, you know, the way people are kind of not doing anything about it. “It’s all gonna be fine, don’t worry, oh yeah sure there’s icebergs melting but it doesn’t matter, it’s not melting in London so don’t worry about it, you know.” And the phrase was in this article, it started off “Despite repeated warnings, they’re not listening”.
You know, it’s the idea. I like that phrase “Despite repeated warnings”. I thought, yeah, that sums up a lot of people’s feelings. And then thought, well, what I’ll do is I’ll do a kind of song where I used symbolism and so the person will be symbolic of certain politicians and people who argue that climate change is a hoax, and we know a few. So I’ll do it about that and I’ll get somebody to symbolize one of those people.
So I thought, okay it’s a sea captain and he’s steering a boat and he’s gonna go towards the icebergs but he’s been warned, and he’s going because he thinks he’s right, and he thinks they’re all making too much of it. The usual arguments you know…
So that’s what it’s about. It’s a sort of story like the Titanic. If they’d been warned, hey, you’re gonna sink from icebergs, and if the captain said “it doesn’t matter, it’ll be fine”. So it’s that, using that kind of idea, so there’s a sort of mad daft captain, and then there’s all the people on the boat who know he’s got it wrong. So it’s very symbolic for what’s going on in some areas of politics in my mind. So it’s one of those songs like Band On The Run or Live And Let Die that is kind of episodic and it’s kind of an epic production. That is it, and it is hopefully trying to remind people that climate change is not a hoax, and that we should avoid having a mad captain steering us towards the icebergs. – Paul
-Multi-part song that seems only Paul can write. Odd in that the next full track is also a multi-part song. We all understand the messages here. Paul delivered this as our country (USA) was splitting in two. “The best crew on the planet” Fuck you Donald. Rating – 8
“Station II” “Station II” is a continuation of the opening soundscape, that takes us back to the station. It’s an imaginary station and, you know, I like the idea that it’s a train station or it’s a radio station. It’s just some imaginary place, so we had fun just making up a soundscape.” – Paul
And then at the end of it, we thought it would be a nice idea to vaguely, in this big station, hear someone plugging in a guitar like he is a busker coming to play some songs and earn some money. So you hear him plug in and he plays a riff. It’s the beginning of one of our songs called “Hunt You Down”.
So he plays a dum dum dum, dum dum dum and then it gradually gets louder until it becomes the real song. -Paul
-Rating N/A. Like “Opening Station” in thought, but the use of the busker plugging in his guitar and leading into “Hunting You Down” was brilliant.
“Hunt You Down” “That’s a three-part song, which goes from this sort of rocker, Hunt You Down, and the words are: “I can’t find my love, no matter how hard I try,” you know, “She’s giving me the run-around,” just kind of like blues complaining lyrics. “Yeah, my woman done hurt me, I can’t find my love…” you know, it’s that kind of thing. So I’m having fun with that, and doing this rock ‘n’ roll piece, and that became Hunt You Down.” – Paul
Q: You mentioned that Prince inspired the song “Hunt You Down” on the new album. I also recall you saying he inspired the song “If You Wanna” on Flaming Pie. Has Prince inspired other songs and were you a big fan?
A: “I can’t think of other songs he has inspired, but those two definitely. I was always a big fan. I went to see him in concert a few times and wrote to him saying how much I enjoyed his guitar playing particularly. I met him a few times. The last time was a couple of New Year’s ago, when he played a New Year’s gig. I’ve always been a big fan.
And then it goes through, into another song called…..
-After a few listens I really do hear the Prince influence in this ass-kicking rocker. Great way to open the three part closer. Rating – 9
“Naked” And again it links through, ’cause there’s like a tempo change at the end of Hunt You Down. It goes from 4/4 into 3/4, and goes into this other song, which is a very simple song that I’d recorded pretty much on my own. It’s a simple song about ‘I’ve been naked since I was born.’ And, you know, this thing we go through that’s life, that everyone goes through it, and in a way there are many situations that you find yourself where you’re kind of naked, socially.
You can sort of feel naked: “I don’t know how to deal with this,” you know. So that’s what the song is about, that’s my take on that. As I say I played it myself, and sang it myself in the studio.” – Paul
-Odd, but interesting second part, not bad on it’s own, but loses some of the energy of “Hunt You Down.” Rating -7
“C-Link” And then that links on to another thing we called C-Link in the end, which it just me totally indulging myself in wanting to play guitar.
And the original take on it is about 11 minutes, I think. But it’s just me really enjoying playing electric guitar. ‘Cause I always say to people, people often say, ‘Why do you still do it?’ I say: “‘Cause I love it. I love this thing.”
And I’m still thrilled with having the privilege of being able to go up to an amp, turn it on, get my guitar, plug it in and play it very loud. It’s a thrill, and that’s never stopped being a thrill.
And then there were certain little phrases that were kind of more melodic than others. A lot of it’s just bluesy phrases, there were one or two in there that suggested something else.
So we orchestrated a few of the phrases, and made it a little more of a composition.
It was an idea that I fancied doing. I fancied doing it for a long time, of just getting someone – it turned out to be me – I was just going to get someone to play blues guitar against an orchestra holding a chord. In this case it was C, and then C minor, just the orchestra hold this chord forever and ever and ever, and then this guitar playing over the top of it. And actually I was always gonna ask Eric Clapton to do the blues guitar – so Eric, if you’re listening… But this time it turned out to be me – you know, D.I.N. – I’d better go round to it. And so, I did. And that finishes the album.
Right at the end of that session… you just hear a little ‘Whoo!’ and that’s it. Egypt Station. -Paul
-All I can say is I want to hear the 11 minute version. Paul lets his hair down and gives us some sweet blues licks. Nice…. the train slows at pulls back into Egypt Station, our journey now ending. A very enjoyable ride, indeed…. Rating – 8.5
Overall I have not included either of the “Station” songs into the final rating, and I have split the final medley into three parts, with the rating for each. So for the 16 rated tracks I have a final album score of 8.16/10.
Not bad at all for a 76 year old man, in a young persons game.
Next: The rest of 2018, the rollout of EGYPT STATION and additional music recorded at the time.
Paul spent much of the early part of the year, writing, recording and mixing what would be his next solo album.
He continued working with producer Greg Kurstin.
Kurstin has been associated with releases which have cumulatively sold more than 60 million albums worldwide. He has been nominated for 10 Grammy Awards, including Producer of the Year in 2010 and 2014. In addition to three other Grammys, Kurstin won Producer of the Year (Non-Classical) in 2017.
Kurstin co-wrote, produced and played most of the instruments on the record-breaking 2015 Adele single, “Hello.” Among others, he has worked with Sia, Beck, Kelly Clarkson, Ellie Goulding, Pink, the Shins, Tegan and Sara, Lily Allen, and Little Boots. He often plays guitar, bass, keyboards and drums, and engineers and programs the records he produces.
An “exceptionally accomplished” musician, Kurstin began his career as a jazz pianist and later co-founded Geggy Tah. He has collaborated with Inara George in The Bird and the Bee since 2004.
Paul also began to lay down a few tracks with American producer Ryan Tedder. Tedder, a member of OneRepublic, also has written songs for and produced U2, Adele, Beyoncé, Maroon 5, Demi Lovato, Ariana Grande, Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Lopez, Westlife, Hilary Duff, Ed Sheeran, One Direction, Big Time Rush, Camila Cabello, Taylor Swift, Leona Lewis, Zedd, Hailee Steinfeld and MØ.
Work would continue with Paul’s new material thru roughly mid, 2018, then the assembling of the roll out began….
Besides his new album, Paul’s involved in the re-mixing of 1968’s THE BEATLES (the white album) on it’s 50th anniversary.
This is the first time The BEATLES has been remixed and presented with additional demos and session recordings.
The album’s new edition followed 2017’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Anniversary Edition releases.
To create the new stereo and 5.1 surround audio mixes for ‘The White Album,’ Martin and Okell worked with an expert team of engineers and audio restoration specialists at Abbey Road Studios in London. All the new ‘White Album’ releases include Martin’s new stereo album mix, sourced directly from the original four-track and eight-track session tapes. Martin’s new mix is guided by the album’s original stereo mix produced by his father, George Martin.
“In remixing ‘The White Album,’ we’ve tried to bring you as close as possible to The Beatles in the studio,” explains Giles Martin in his written introduction for the new edition. “We’ve peeled back the layers of the ‘Glass Onion’ with the hope of immersing old and new listeners into one of the most diverse and inspiring albums ever made.”
The BEATLES (‘White Album’) releases include:
Super Deluxe: The comprehensive, individually numbered 7-disc and digital audio collections feature:
CDs 1 & 2: The BEATLES (‘White Album’) 2018 stereo album mix
CD3: Esher Demos
Esher Demo tracks 1 through 19 sequenced in order of the finished song’s placement on ‘The White Album.’ Tracks 20-27 were not included on the album.
CDs 4, 5 & 6: Sessions 50 additional recordings, most previously unreleased, from ‘White Album’ studio sessions; all newly mixed from the four-track and eight-track session tapes, sequenced in order of their recording start dates.
Blu-ray: 2018 album mix in high resolution PCM stereo 2018 DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 album mix 2018 Dolby True HD 5.1 album mix 2018 direct transfer of the album’s original mono mix
Deluxe: The BEATLES (‘White Album’) 2018 stereo album mix + Esher Demos The 3CD; 180-gram 4LP vinyl box set (limited edition); and digital audio collections pair the 2018 stereo album mix with the 27 Esher Demos.
Standard 2LP Vinyl: The BEATLES (‘White Album’) 2018 stereo mix 180-gram 2LP vinyl in gatefold sleeve with faithfully replicated original artwork. ———————————————— In addition, on December 7th, Paul’s 1972 WILD LIFE and 1973’s RED ROSE SPEEDWAY were re-released in archive form. The 11-disc Paul McCartney and Wings 1971–73 numbered limited edition “super deluxe” compilation features not only the entire contents of the Wild Life 4-disc numbered limited deluxe edition and of the Red Rose Speedway 6-disc numbered limited deluxe edition – but also the exclusive live album, Wings Over Europe.
The collection features 20 previously unreleased, newly mixed live tracks recorded over the course of 5 shows, an introduction featuring Paul recounting memories of the 1972 tour, a 96-page photo book including previously unreleased images by Linda McCartney and Captain Snap, a replica of the 1972 Wings Over Europe tour program, and access to downloadable 24/96kHz unlimited high-resolution audio versions.
PAUL McCARTNEY AND WINGS: WINGS 1971-73Paul McCartney Archive Collection Limited Super Deluxe EditionBoth Wild Life and Red Rose Speedway Limited Deluxe Editions, plus: Exclusive and numbered edition, 7-color screen print on corrugated board. Exclusive Wings Over Europe 96-page photo book with screenprinted cover. Facsimile of the Wings Over Europe 1972 European tour program.Brand new stereo mix of tracks played on the 1972 tour on CD.
These two archive were also available as individual releases…
WILD LIFE was available in the following formats:
Limited Deluxe Edition
Numbered heavy weight kraft board slipcase. Cover silkscreen printed.
128-page essay book written by David Fricke.
Folio containing; 48-page facsimile notebook, 12 replica medium format Polaroid pictures, plus ‘The Ball’ album launch party invite.
CD portfolio containing 3CDs & 1DVD.
WILD LIFE will also available on:
2CD – Special Edition
2LP – 180 Gram vinyl with MP3 download card
Digital Download/Streaming – Standard & Special Edition
RED ROSE SPEEDWAY was available in the following formats:
Limited Deluxe Edition: A Numbered edition, color printed silver metal board slipcase.
A 28-page essay book written by Amanda Petrusich. Including 5 replica handwritten lyric sheets, and a photo print. A 64-page Wings Over Morocco photo book.
The Bruce McMouse Show folio containing; 14 replica hand-drawn sketches by Paul McCartney, facsimile dialogue sheets and the unreleased film restored and remixed on DVD and 5.1 HD Blu-Ray.
CD portfolio containing 3CDs & 1DVD.
2 CD – Special Edition
2 LP – 180 Gram vinyl with MP3 download card
Digital Download/Streaming – Standard & Special Edition
A 2LP recreation of the Red Rose Speedway original “Double Album” on 2LP – 180 Gram vinyl with MP3 download card.
And, since Pau’s fans MUST have unlimited cash to re-spend on things already owned the following albums were re-released in limited colors.
WINGS GREATEST (blue) THRILLINGTON (marbled red/black) NEW (pink) CHAOS AND CREATION IN THE BACKYARD (gold)
Paul was active in 2018 outside go the studio. He was in the audience on January 16th, at Stella McCartney’s Autumn Winter presentation at SIR Studios in Los Angeles.
“A semi-historical music location in L.A. is somewhere I feel very at home. It’s very natural for us to have parties in L.A. All my friends seem to have moved here.” – Stella
Although Stella said she wasn’t sure whether her father had ever made use of the SIR Studios facilities at Wilcox Avenue and Sunset Boulevard.
The fashion designer dubbed the event, which included clusters of collection-clad models flanking the performance stage and scattered throughout SIR Studios, a “Stella-bration,” but it was so full of musical talent — on- and off-stage — that one of our fellow fashion journalists more accurately described it as “Stella-chella.”
In addition to sets by Bridges and Grimes, the presentation-turned-party included the musical stylings of BØRNS, St. Vincent and Beck, who performed a handful of songs (several backed by a 10-member choir) before closing out the night with an enthusiastic version of “Where It’s At.”
The performance that had everyone on their feet and waving their cellphones in the air came from a Beatles cover band called Dr. Pepper and the Jaded Hearts Club Band (whose members include Muse’s Matt Bellamy and Dom Howard), which performed a blistering set that started with “I Saw Her Standing There” and ended with “Helter Skelter,” both of which had the Paul up onstage and singing along.
Spotted taking in that spectacle in front of the stage was Goldie Hawn and daughter Kate Hudson, Michael Keaton, Paris Jackson, Selma Blair, Amy Poehler, Katy Perry, U2’s the Edge, Emma Roberts, Ringo Starr, Christina Aguilera and James Corden.
Paul spent June 9, 2018 in Liverpool along with English television host James Corden, filming an instance of Corden’s show “Carpool Karaoke”.
The day ended with a surprise gig at the Philharmonic Dining Rooms pub, where Sir Paul debuted an upbeat new song, “Come On To Me“, which would be formally announced and released on June 20, 2018.
As rumors swirled online regarding a new album release around this time period one day on his website Paul posted a strange symbol….
The rumor mill was at full speed…
Friday came and went without the new Paul McCartney album a television report said was headed our way, but the Beatles legend continues to drop hints that something big may be announced soon. This morning, that included tweeting out an image that looks an awful lot like an album cover, featuring what appears to be a red ticket on a yellow background with his name and the letters “N.B.P.” on it. McCartney had been hinting at at releasing new music this year, mentioning on his website in January that he was “putting the finishing touches” on a new album.
Interest was once again piqued earlier this week when McCartney was announced to appear on CBS’s The Late Late Show this week, singing with host James Corden and showing him Beatles-related landmarks in Liverpool, U.K., as part of the popular “Carpool Karaoke” segment.
Footage eventually emerged of the Fab One debuting a brand new song called “Come Home to You” during a recent surprise show at a small pub in Liverpool. “This hasn’t been released yet. … It’s the first time we played it for anybody,” McCartney says before he and his band count into the appealingly choppy rocker.
McCartney also tweeted daily photos from a recording studio, theoretically taken during recording sessions for the new album. He also tweeted a curious drawing, which turns up on either side of the “ticket” on this new image.]
Days later it would be announced… a new double single to be released followed by a new album. On September 7th, EGYPT STATION was released……..with another tour, “Freshen Up,” to start on September 18.
Another busy year for Paul, both in and out of the recording studio.
Paul started work early in the year on what would be his next studio album in 2018.
Paul helped out Ringo in Los Angeles in February, while both were working on their own albums. He assisted Ringo on two tracks from his 2017 album, GIVE MORE LOVE. These tracks were “We’re On The Road Again” and “Show Me The Way.”
“They talk when they’re both in L.A. Ringo just asked him, ‘Look, I’m doing an album. Could you play on it?’ And Paul was so nice. He came by on his day off on a Sunday. And he worked hard, too. Those weren’t easy songs he played on. The bass on the ballad ‘Show Me the Way’ … that’s a difficult ballad. So he had to work on that a bit. We definitely put him through his paces. But the guy’s the greatest. (He’s) humble. He came in to help his friend on a Sunday when he had his day off. What else can you say?
I think (Paul) was initially a little taken back by what Lukather wrote. It’s a little more sophisticated than some of the stuff Ringo’s done in the past. I think Paul was looking at and listening to it. He doesn’t read charts. He has his own notation. […] I’ve brought that up to Ringo. ‘I can’t believe Paul doesn’t read charts.’ He goes, ‘We’re all buskers.’ They just played, just played by ear. -Bruce Sugar, engineer. ————————————————— The Archive Collection saw its most ambitious release on March 24th. The 1989 FLOWERS IN THE DIRT came out in a 2CD SPECIAL EDITION, 2LP VINYL AND 3CD+DVD DELUXE EDITION BOX SET FEATURING PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED DEMOS, UNSEEN ARCHIVAL VIDEO, NOTEBOOK OF PAUL’S HANDWRITTEN LYRICS AND NOTES, LINDA McCARTNEY FLOWERS IN THE DIRT EXHIBITION CATALOGUE, 112-PAGE HARDCOVER BOOK. DOCUMENTING THE MAKING OF THE ALBUM AND MORE…
Paul also helped out the Foo Fighters, playing on their CONCRETE AND GOLD album. Paul was again in L.A. that March/April working with producer Greg Kurstin, who also producing the album for The Foo Fighters at the same time. Paul played drums on “Sunday Rain.”
“You don’t generally think of him as a drummer,” the Foo’s drummer Taylor Hawkins (who sang on the track) says. “But he laid that track so fucking effortlessly. He never even heard the song – Dave kind of explained it to him with an acoustic guitar. And he was like, ‘Yeah, yeah. I think I know what you’re doing.’
McCartney played two takes; they used the first. “He was so fucking good,” Grohl says. “We played for an hour, then took a break and had bagels and tea.
I thought we were done – I didn’t want to rag him out – so I was out having a cig, and someone goes, ‘Hey, Paul wants to jam some more.’ He rounded everybody up, and we jammed for hours: ‘Let’s write some songs, man!’ “Well, you know,” says McCartney. “Once you get the meter running…”
The band got together around this time (mid-April) and rehearsed for the upcoming Japan Leg of the “One On One” tour. They played 5 shows in Japan, then returned for another North American leg on July 7th in Miami. I saw him for the last time on July 10th at Amalie Arena in Tampa. The show was very familiar to past tours , always excellent, but now had become too expensive for me.
I will always have memories of all eight concerts in my heart.
They took a break after the July 26th show in Hollywood, and resumed in early September and October in the North East. A second latin America leg lasted from October 12th until October 28th. The Tour ended after the Oceanian leg, which stretched from November 30th in Perth, Australia, and ended December 16th in Auckland, New Zealand.
And in the middle of all this he worked on his new album as well as the mixing the next set of the archive collection albums (WILD LIFE/RED ROSE SPEEDWAY) for 2018 release.
Speaking of releases, May 26th saw 50th anniversary release of SGT. PEPPER’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND, as part of new box sets. Presented with New Mixes in Stereo and 5.1 Surround Audio; Expanded with Previously Unreleased Session Recordings, Video Features & Special Packaging, Previously Unreleased 1992 Documentary Film, ‘The Making of Sgt. Pepper,’ Restored for Anniversary Edition’s Super Deluxe Boxed Set.
“Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Fields Forever” were reissued as a 7” single (and included as the final tracks on the original album to minor controversy)
And the re-releases kept flowing on November 7th. The following albums were re-released as limited edition color vinyl. This would open up eyes for Paul, and now has become common for his next three album releases, much to my wallets chagrin.
BAND ON THE RUN (white) McCARTNEY I (red) McCARTNEY II (clear) PIPES OF PEACE (silver) RAM (yellow) TUG OF WAR (blue) VENUS AND MARS (red and yellow) WINGS AT THE SPEED OF SOUND (orange)
As fans and collectors, it has become quite daunting. But nothing like we will see in the next few years.
Some special moments of 2017 had Paul and Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen took to the stage together at Madison Square Garden on September 15th for a NY take-over!
They performed ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ not once… but twice! And if that wasn’t cool enough, Paul joined Springsteen’s guitarist Stevie Van Zandt on stage on November 4th at The Roundhouse in London to welcome him to the UK!
Finally in 2017, May 26th saw the film “Pirates Of The Caribbean,” dead men tell no tales. The film included a cameo from Sir Paul.
“Well we really wanted him in a movie. Keith Richards was part of the previous ones and we really loved that, but he couldn’t make it because of a tour. So we made a very short list of people who we wanted in this one, and Sir Paul was at the very top of that list. Johnny Depp has his number so he just simply texted him. They texted back and forth and we were a little bit a part of that, and their lingo got more and more pirate-y. That was just amazing and then we had a few days of shooting in Vancouver so we could fit that into the schedule for everybody. He came and it was just an amazing shoot.” – Aspen Sandberg, co-director.
“Yeah, I’m loving it. [Johnny Depp] got me a lot of favors in the past. He’s been in some of my music videos. So you know, it’s a way of repaying him. My character is Jack’s uncle who he was named after and I’m an old pirate awaiting execution just like he is. It runs in the family, I’m afraid to say. I started telling him about my Liverpool relatives and I told him a few stories and that he (his Uncle Jack) always used to tell jokes. Jack was the family joke teller. And then last night before filming, we had a little meeting, a little bit to eat, a bit of wine, and it kicked it around. Johnny come up with a load of ideas.
I spun off it and I thought “okay, he’s going to bed, he must be tired and everything”. Well, he typed the whole thing up and he had it all as a script this morning, very impressed.” – Paul
Much like 2015, Paul spent most the entire year outside of the recording studio. More than likely he was still writing many new songs behind the scenes.
One song, “In The Blink Of An Eye,” was written and recorded for the animated film, “Ethel &Ernest.”
The film is based on the 1998 graphic memoir of the same name written by Raymond Briggs, and follows Briggs’ parents, Ethel and Ernest, through their period of marriage from the 1920s to their deaths in the 1970s. McCartney’s song plays over the end credits of the film.
“I knew that Paul McCartney was a big animation fan and I knew that Raymond Briggs’s book Fungus the Bogeyman had influenced Paul’s 1980s track, “Bogey Music.” So I wrote a letter to Paul to see if he was interested in composing a track for Ethel and Ernest, which he did on Fungus the Bogeyman headed paper!
It obviously worked and we were thrilled when Paul said he was interested. We met up and he produced a CD which included a track called Mum and Dad theme. This eventually became In the Blink of An Eye which we have used in the film. – Roger Mainwood, director.
It is probable that he also worked on new material, which would see the light of day in 2018, at both Henson Studios and at his Hog Hill Mill studio.
He also wrote the song “Songbird In A Cage,” for Charlotte Gainsbourg. It would appear on the 2017 album, REST. Paul also played drums, guitar and piano.
He also recorded and released a range of ten animated love theme Mojis for Valentine’s Day, partnering with Skype.
“It turned out to be a great laugh at the same time as challenging because you suddenly realize you’ve got to compress a musical interpretation of an expression into less than five seconds. It was like doing a huge crossword puzzle and coming up with all these solutions. And at the same time it was musical so it was great practice for me in the studio.”- Paul
In March and April, he reunited with his band for “One On One” tour rehearsals. These legs of the tour would feature 35 shows in 9 countries, (headlining summer festivals in Belgium and The Netherlands) and ending on December 16th.
June 25th saw him headline a 14 track show at the 10th annual Dine and Disco for Children In Need. 80 auction winners raised over 2 million pounds.
He co-headlined the Saturday October 8th night of Desert Trip (with Neil Young).
December 20th had Paul back in New York, appearing on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon.
Jimmy Fallon, the Roots, Paul McCartney and the cast of “Sing” teamed up Tuesday night for an acappella version of McCartney’s song “Wonderful Christmastime” complete with “bum-bums,” “da-da-das” and plenty of holiday cheer.
The video, shot in a “Brady Bunch”-style colorful split over a snowy backdrop, opens with Fallon and the Roots and gradually adds more voices and characters.
And he performed “Helter Skelter” at a private New Years Eve party. Russia’s Roman Abramovich’s exclusive New Year’s Eve party on the Caribbean island of St. Barts saw Paul McCartney join The Killers onstage for a surprise performance.
2016 in addition saw the release of Ron Howard directed, “The Beatles: Eight Days A Week- The Touring Years.”
A limited Limited 12” test pressings of the Timo Mass remix of “1985,”the closer on Paul’s 1973 BAND ON THE RUN. It sold out in hours, and it went straight to number one in the record shops stocking them.
The 1968 album, McGough & McGear was remastered in 2016. The album was produced by Paul. The 1968 John and Paul produced track, “Lullaby” appeared on the 2016 compilation of the British group, Grapefruit.
The compilation PURE McCARTNEY was also released in 2016, containing 67 highlight tracks. It appeared as regular and deluxe editions.
LIVE AT THE HOLLYWOOD BOWL, the remastered 1977 album of the 1965 recorded concert by The Beatles was released on September 9th. It was remastered and produced by Giles Martin.
“A few years ago Capitol Studios called saying they’d discovered some Hollywood Bowl three track tapes in their archive. We transferred them and noticed an improvement over the tapes we’ve kept in the London archive. Alongside this I’d been working for some time with a team headed by technical engineer James Clarke on demix technology, the ability to remove and separate sounds from a single track.
With Sam Okell, I started work on remixing the Hollywood Bowl tapes. Technology has moved on since my father worked on the material all those years ago. Now there’s improved clarity, and so the immediacy and visceral excitement can be heard like never before. My father’s words still ring true, but what we hear now is the raw energy of four lads playing together to a crowd that loved them. This is the closest you can get to being at the Hollywood Bowl at the height of Beatlemania. We hope you enjoy the show…” – Giles Martin
Finally all three Beatles “Anthology” disc sets were remastered in 2016.
Paul didn’t spend much time in the recording studio in 2015, instead most was spent touring or working on other projects.
February of that year saw him record a song for his upcoming “High In The Clouds” animated film. This film has yet to come out as of the end of 2021, but is still a viable project which we hope to see in the next year or so.
“I’m getting involved in an animated feature film. That’s my focus at the moment. It’s the same kind of thing, and again I get to write to some sort of specification in my own mind. One of the first things in this film is a female rock star who runs this animal city – it sounds crazy – so I have to write her number. It had to be one in which she gets everyone in her power, so it needed to be a good soul number. I had fun doing that and I’ll be recording that next year with a female singer.”
That singer was “Lady Gaga”, and the session was produced by Greg Kurstin, who would again work with Paul three years after this on his album, EGYPT STATION. So cross your fingers, and maybe someday we will hear/see the results of this. By May of 2015, he announced he had written seven or eight songs for the film.
March 2nd-30th saw Paul and Steve Orchard remixing the 1982 TUG OF WAR album, for its archive release. This is the first of the archives that was totally remixed, rather than remastered.
Besides some studio rehearsals for the Japanese and European legs of the “Out There” tour, that was it. —————————————————
All of the songs that Paul worked on with others in 2014 came out as singles for Kanye West and Rihanna and The Hollywood Vampires in 2015.
He also contributed to Diana Krall’s WILDFLOWER album, as she recorded his song, “If I Take You Home Tonight.” ————————————————— The “Out There” tour continued until October 22nd. 2015’s legs consisted of Japan/Korea in April, Europe in May and June, and finishing in the US in June and October.
In addition, Paul and his band headlined The Firefly, Lollapalooza and Rosklide festivals that summer. ————————————————- October 2nd saw the release of both TUG OF WAR/PIPES OF PEACE album archive sets. Both were issued in various formats and price ranges, with the deluxe versions including DVD’s and books in their box sets. For the first time, a Vinyl exclusive at barnes and Noble was issued.
This would be the start of very limited vinyl releases of McCartney albums, with each variation owning a special color or pattern which is quite maddening and very expensive for Paul fans. There are 50th editions coming out now, half-speed masters of releases which had been archived just in the same last few years.
NEW (from 2014) would come out in 2016 with deluxe vinyl versions, as did 2018’s EGYPT STATION, and 2021’s 3IMAGINED (the follow up to 2020’s McCARTNEY3, just months after their initial release). ————————————————— “Say Say Say” was reissued as a single in conjunction with the “Pipes” archive. ————————————————— Beatles related, Paul inducted Ringo into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in February.
He also contributed art work, for the Grammy Signature book auction for MusiCares and a video for Stevie Wonder’s Grammy Salute.
————————————————- February 22nd saw Paul win Pollstar Concert Industry “Major Tour of The Year” award for 2014.
He received the PRS award on the 50th anniversary of his writing “Yesterday.” Robert Ashcroft CEO, PRS for Music also commented that, “Yesterday is not just an iconic song in Paul’s body of work but an iconic song of the last century. PRS has collected rights for the composition since it was released fifty years ago and in that time it has inspired countless writers, been covered by countless artists and has resonated with musicians, radio broadcasters and the public in a way that goes beyond words. It is this ‘magic’ that PRS wanted to recognize in this unique award.” ———————————————— He again gave a master class in songwriting at LIPA and attended the graduation ceremony on July 28th.
He protested AGAINST fox hunting, spoke up FOR Meat Free Monday and Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Day. ————————————————- He made a cameo on the Netflix BoJack Horseman (season 2, episode 4) animated sitcom on July 17th.
In the episode, Mr. Peanutbutter (Paul F. Tompkins) throws his wife Diane (Alison Brie) a surprise party, despite the fact that she hates both surprises and parties. The party is immediately ruined after they get into a big fight. Throughout the episode, it’s hinted that Paul McCartney is hiding inside a giant birthday cake. Throughout the entire episode a potential McCartney appearance is teased, but you don’t think much of it.
Then in the episode’s final moments, long after the party ended, McCartney actually bursts out of the cake, but no no one’s around to see or know he was there. ————————————————- A handmade Stevenson Brothers rocking horse signed by Paul McCartney was auctioned on eBay, from November 19 to November 29, 2015. It raised £8,300 for the Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool.
Paul also contributed to Refugee Auction.
A treasure trove of collectible items gathered from famous musicians, actors and artists for an eBay auction to benefit refugees affected by the brutal Syrian conflict. Bidding was from November 26th to December 6th, with all funds raised going to the International Rescue Committee (IRC).
Paul’s personal donation from included a jewelry box, vinyl, CDs, Linda McCartney poster of The Beatles, and a selection of books.
Linda and Mary McCartney’s “Mother Daughter” photos exhibition was in New York from November 20th till December 6th.
Finally, The Beatles 1 album was re-released as 1+, and included a DVD of all their music video’s.
And really finally The Beatles music catalog was made available on all streaming platforms on December 24th. Merry Christmas and it was about time….