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GIVE MY REGARDS TO BROAD STREET (album 1984)

The album that was Paul’s next official release, the soundtrack of the film, which included the music as it was in the film, including dialog from the film itself rather than a faking it completely on camera after recording it proper in a studio. So this is very authentic and every sounds really nice, as usual.

Just one major issue…To factor these songs it was rather amazing that so many Beatles songs would be done, and released in a film this way, as complete remakes, nearly identical to The Beatles, and he also does songs he had just released on record. Filming began in very late 1982 and Paul’s latest album out at the time has two songs in the film. Interesting……and not in a good way.

The cover is a black background with a pasting of a “worried and thinking” Paul….where did the tapes go?? A image of Harry, the suspected roadie who had the tapes when they went missing. For no reason the big blue box holding the tapes has an outer glow and inside even more. An obvious nod to their value, a-la diamonds or precious metals that have had the same effect in films and television. The opened case with glowing inside.

The album

“No More Lonely Nights” This tender ballad features Paul on Paino and vocals, joined by Eric Stewart and Linda on backing vocals. Herbie Flowers handles the bass, Stuart Elliot does a good Ringo sound on drums, Ann Dudley on synthesizers and the best part of the song, David Gilmour of Pink Floyd fame on electric lead. His fill lines and two solos make this song very very special. One of the last great singles.

Would have been a record breaker if released at his peak popularity period, but this was approaching the middle of a difficult period of not any major success, and with failures happening in this period. It is a song that can’t be improved on. Rating – 9.0

“Good Day Sunshine” It was a great song back in 1966, it still is a good song, and this exact as possible re-recording of it sounds really good here, I just didn’t need this. Rating – 6A full soundtrack of new and great songs, with a better conceptualized theme and maybe this film could have worked.(Maybe the tug and pipes singles videos could have been held back and involved and allowed Paul to remain in various characters in shorter roles..)“Yesterday” Another spot on remake with a larger horn section and no strings. Not needed. Rating – 6

“Here, There and Everywhere” See “yesterday.” Rating – 6

“Wanderlust” Needed less that The Beatles tracks. Hate the 80’s drum sound. Rating – 5

“Ballroom Dancing” Goes well with the films dance hall, band in blue and fight/dance choreography. An extra verse has been put in. Ringo’s sad drumming continues. He is lifeless. Rating – 5

“Silly Love Songs/Reprise”. Awful remake of this song in the worst 1980’s wash of production. Rating – 4

“Not Such A Bad Boy” One of the two new songs. This is kind of a rocker, but doesn’t move me in the least. Rating – 5.5

“So Bad” Another unneeded song from an album less than a year old, and not a big hit. Rating – 5

“No Values” Second new track, not nearly as bad as “Bad Boy” but sounds like it was recorded in a garage. And not in a good way. It just doesn’t move me at all. When it shows some life, he ends it… Rating – 6

“For No One” Remake with string quartet while Ringo still looks for those sticks…. Why not something new? Rating – 6

“Eleanor Rigby”. Paul looks and sounds great. A slightly different arrangement of the original. Rating – 6

Paul daydreams into “Eleanor’s Dream” Interesting variation of the original. It is the first time many of us hear Paul in this setting. He had released the two themes in his life so far, from “THE FAMILY WAY” and “THE HONORARY CONSUL.”The film get wacky and all over the place with the vintage dream but his first dabbling into classical for me. Rating – 8

“The Long And Winding Road” Paul takes his gentle piano ballad he and George Martin drown it in a wash of 80’s saxes and too much percussion and too quick. Rating – 5

“No More Lonely Nights” (play-out version)They take a great piano song and make it a extended mix dance track. Bad idea. Rating – 4

“Goodnight Princess” Sweet 1930’s style final song of the night played by the band. Rating – 7

Wow, I really didn’t seem to like it. It rates out as 5.91/10

One of our lowest rated album, so far.

Next, songs given away and 1985…..

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Give My Regards To Broad Street (1984)

At some point in 1984 the word came out that Paul was going to release a new full length movie in the fall, called “Give My Regards To Broad Street.” As a super fan I was excited. Now could I not be….

It is a take off of the old show tune, “Give My Regards To Broadway.”

One of the main plot points takes place at the actual London railway station, Broad Street (which closed in 1986….maybe because of the movie?)

Paul came up with the idea, and chose to write the screen play. It was produced by Andros Epaminodas. Andros resume included assistant to the producer and actor on 1971’s “A Clockwork Orange,” as well as assistant to the producer on Barry Lyndon (1975) and The Shining (1980) and producer of Stealing Heaven (1988).

The director job went to Peter Webb, whose credits prior to this film were 14 episodes of the British television shows, Whose Baby? (1973), 2 episodes of Shadows (1975), 2 episodes of The Tomorrow People (1978). His only film credit was the 1979 short, Butch Minds The Baby. Not exactly Marty Scorsese…. And after Broad Street…nothing. Yikes…

Paul gathered the crew and from very late 1982 thru most of 1983 they filmed and put the film together and planned on this late 1984 release.

I was still married, living in Las Vegas and the local rock station had a contest and gave away tickets for a special screening the day before release. I won two tickets (which I have in my collection) and took my wife to the theater, all excited. Also winning was my friend and co-worker, Koko, and her then husband, and we sat behind each other.

Paul had also finished the short animated film Rupert And The Frog Song and it was shown before hand (it was around 15 minutes). And it was fantastic, colorful and filled with childlike warmth and whimsy. It was a tasty appetizer for the main event. The film started….

Okay, here are the good things. It’s 90 minutes of Paul, playing music, on film, in many interesting locations and scenes with Linda, Ringo etc.. and this alone is a reason to watch. He has scenes where he re-imagines Beatles songs…. And gives us a few new songs.

The single, released before the movies release, “No More Lonely Nights” was out and moving up the charts. The only problem…. was the plot….

Paul being driven to a destination but is stuck in traffic and begins jotting down notes on a pad…. We get into his head. He has an album due to his record company. The tapes go missing. The evil businessman gives them 24 hrs to find them or he will own the label.

So in the 24 hrs of Paul’s life he records (George Martin and Geoff Emerick appear), he films a television segment (“Ballroom Dancing” come to rollicking life), he practices with a band and has a couple of fantasy segments as he is in deep thought (“Silly Loves Songs” becomes some sort of futuristic break dancing madness and “Eleanor Rigby” becomes some Sherlock Holmes era picnic turned into chase and escape).

He also drives around looking and thinking. There are sub plots involving Ringo and a reporter (his wife Barbara) and Tracey Ullman and her angry boyfriend, Sir Ralph Richardson as an old and wise confidant helping him find the glowing blue box of tapes. Finally, as Paul sees the Broad Street station on his drive, he remembers the roadie (to whom the tapes disappeared with and is presumed to be the guilty one based on his past) had left via this station.

He finds the tapes (the roadie accidentally got locked in a bathroom those 24 hrs) and gets them delivered with seconds to spare…. Only to have Paul arrive at his destination in the car, waking up from the nap he had while in traffic…. It was all a dream!

At various points I would turn and look back and stare in horror at Koko, whose look back to me was the same…. What the…..?

We left the theater, confused, disappointed but like I said. It was a Beatle on the big screen for 90 minutes. And the music ranged from not bad to good to very very good.

Paul fully embraced his Beatles past (not a bad selling point) by re-recording “Good Day Sunshine,” “Yesterday,” “Here There And Everywhere,” “For No One,” “Eleanor Rigby” and “The Long And Winding Road.” He also re-records solo era songs “Wanderlust,” “Ballroom Dancing” and “Silly Love Songs.”

He has three new songs, with “Lonely Nights” as well as “Not Such A Bad Boy” and “No Values.”

Funny trivia about the movie. Ringo refused to be part of any re-recording of classic Beatles tracks, so while Paul sings them in the recording studio Ringo comically fakes looking for his drum sticks and finds them just when Paul starts on a non-Beatles song….The film premiered for the public the next day to horrifying reviews, and was out of the theaters in ONE WEEK….A major disaster at the time.

I can watch it, warts and all, as a time in my life and for all of the music and visual excitement. So since the Wings over America and world tour of 1976, he’s had bad reviews for LONDON TOWN, BACK TO THE EGG, McCARTNEY II, PIPES OF PEACE and now the film Broad Street. Except for TUG OF WAR and FROG Song animated short, it has been a tough 8 year stretch.

And also the drug bust of 1980, two more drug busts in early 1983, the death of John Lennon…..

Also, some video game manufacturer developed the film as a game. Would love to see footage of this 1985 product in action.

The album of the soundtrack sold very well, as did the single, “Lonely Nights” and we will review it..

Next, reviewing the soundtrack to “Give My Regards To Broad Street,” and 1985 and what followed…..

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After PIPES OF PEACE (the end of 1983 into 1984)

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The album PIPES OF PEACE was a successful album, sales wise, but not up to the sales of TUG OF WAR. It went to only #15 in the U.S. and #4 in the U.K. It still was a platinum disc, and the single “Pipes Of Peace” did go to #1 in the U.K.

“Pipes,” the single, was only issued as the B-side to “So Bad” in the U.S., which got to #24 on the charts.The reviewers were not kind in its critique of the album, with most giving it 2 or 3 stars out of 5, a major drop from TUG OF WAR. Even as “Say Say Say” was on top of the charts at the end of 1983, Paul returned to the studio on December 11th to record an instrumental track that played out during the credits of his next film project. ———————————————————————————————————————–

Songs that were recorded and considered for either album in that entire 1980-1983 range that didn’t appear on either TUG or PEACE…“Simple As That” The demo was recorded in 1983 and the finished version was released on the 1986 album, THE ANTI-HEROIN PROJECT: IT’S A LIVE-IN WORLD.The song is about making a decision, yes or no, or in this case dead or alive.

I know it isn’t easy to refuse.

A lot of thoughts are flying thru’ your head.

Tell me this before you have to choose.

Would you rather be alive or dead?

It’s as simple as that

Would you rather be alive or dead?

It’s as simple as that, it’s so simple.

I guess this is why this song was selected for this album.The demo is raw with pulsating guitar and Paul on drums, bass and electronics, and has completely different lyrics. The album takes the same basic framework, and slows it with a reggae beat, with the new “decisions lyrics” and now features Linda, and children James, Mary and Stella on backing vocals. Both are interesting variations of the same structure. Rating – 8

“Ode To A Koala Bear” A piano driven mid-tempo rocker that features great vocals by Paul and that Wings like harmony of Linda and Eric. Paul plays fuzz bass in addition to everything. Released as the B-Side of “Say Say Say.” Inspired by one of his children toys, this was also the last song Paul worked on while John was alive. Rating – 7.5

“Christian Bop” Recorded in 1981 and released in 2015 with the deluxe archive edition of PIPES. In bootlegs it has been listed as Christian POP. Parts of the basic melody were incorporated in Paul’s LIVERPOOL ORATORIO (1991). A sprite orchestra driven instrumental. Rating – 7

“Twice In A Lifetime” Another of the piano ballads we talked about in “Through Our Love.” Heavy 80’s production (including the required sax solo on the break), it all sounds nice, but doesn’t stay in your head once it’s done. Rating – 6.25

“We All Stand Together” The title track and central theme from the short animated film, “Rupert and the frog song.” Finally released in 1984 to much acclaim. Started in late 1980 by the last Wings band, a wonderful little children’s song with Paul doing nearly all of the human (an operatic woman sings a line in the middle) and frogs and cats vocals. Aided by a children’s choir, this was issued as single in the U.K. only. Ultra-lush and bombastic at parts (to drive the video) even features Paul on kazoos to simulate bees…. Rating – 7.5

“It’s Not On” Recorded in 1982, in what could have been a continuation of the “average persons” theme. Super interesting song, feature Paul alone, with altered voices, tempo shifts and general weirdness. Wished this could have been included on either of the albums, but finally came out in the 2015 archive set. “Some things, like buttons, are left undone…. It’s not on.” I love this insanity. Rating – 9

The Theme From “The Honorary Consul” John Williams conducted this from the movie of the same name, featuring Richard Gere, Michael Caine and Bob Hopkins. A slow Spanish acoustic guitar driven instrumental melody that could have been written by anyone, except this was written by and heavy promoted as being written by Paul. Rating – 6.25

Meanwhile he continued to record music for his next album, which would be the soundtrack for the film which he wrote, with himself, Linda, Ringo, Tracey Ullman, Bryan Brown staring in, “Give My Regards To Broadstreet.”

Next……. 1984 (not Orwell or Bowie) and film successes and failures.

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Paul Gives “Peace” A Chance (1983)

1983 started with Paul continuing as he had done in 81 and 82. He began finishing songs that they had laid down in both of those years, plus new songs he had wrote since then. All were intended for the next album, which came out October 31st of this year.

In addition, in late 1982 Paul had dreamed up and started work on a new and massive project…..

A Hard Days Night

Help!

Yellow Submarine

Let It Be

All are films which Paul had appeared in, and whose music was featured. He also wrote music which was featured in films, such as Live and Let Die, Same Time Next Year, The World According To Garp, Once Upon A Time In America, Twice In A Lifetime, Vanilla Sky, The Royal Tenenbaums, The In-Laws, Funny People and Maybe Baby.

He, along with The Beatles made numerous promotional films over a decade before MTV was even an idea. And he continued to make numerous short musical films, and release concert films, and start unfinished films. Seeing Elvis on the big screen was a “that’s what I want to do” moment for him….

So quietly (I knew of no such work in progress at the time) he began jotting down ideas on a potential movie plot…. And then deciding at some point in 1983, screw it…. I’ll write the screenplay.

Starting in February thru March 1983 he went back into the studio to work on music for said film project.

In June he went back to work on the next album, starting to come up with the final mixes, combined with starting a few new recordings. After the August 31st mixing of a song that would become the b-side of his next single, he put the music side of the next album to bed. But obviously there was album art design, music video work to be done as well as planning out the entire promotional campaign.

Filming and recording more music for the film began in November 1983, just after the new album would be released, and continued until July of 1984. The proposed film was slated for a fall of 1984 release…..

On October 3rd, the first single pulled from the album was released, combined with an amazing music video that was dominating play on the red-hot new MTV channel. Both featured the hottest property on the planet, Jackson.

On October 31st the new album was released. It was called, PIPES OF PEACE, the other side of TUG OF WAR’s coin. George Martin had envisioned TUG as a more funky album, but PEACE ended up with the funkier songs and feel.

By this time in music, Funk/Pop/Dace music was dominating the charts, with artists such as Prince, Wham, Madonna and Michael Jackson combining all three styles with much success. I brought the album and scurried home to listen to it…. Excited as a kid on Christmas Day.

The front cover shows a single chair, with five pipes of various size, shape and use (smoking vs music) with a single hand holding one.

Opening the gate-fold sleeve on the rear cover shows Paul body as the hand hand reaches around to the the front cover. On an opened tripod a large tribal smoking pipe (identical to the one leaning on the chair) is mounted on top, like a camera or a telescope.

My first thought is that Paul looks slightly older and a bit stoned in his extremely casual dress.

My emotional go to before even listening was back to Paul’s love of weed…. Was Paul saying, that with music (the musical pipes) and smoking pipes (the tribal peace pipe maybe filled with something medicinal) that peace could be the alternative to war? I may have been seeking my own inner peace before placing the needle on the turntable….

“Pipes Of Peace” A song which produced the second best music video of Paul’s career, when he plays multiple roles as an English and German soldier who interact during a cease fire holiday break in war torn WWI. The two soldiers exchange photos of each others wives, while the soldiers from both sides play soccer, laugh and drink and stop the war…. Until a random shell hits nearby and both sides quickly retreat to their respective bunkers and trenches. Upon their arrival both soldiers now realize that that have accidentally kept the photo of the other mans wife, but still find comfort in having it on hand, and both settle back into the war scene in with each photo clutched to his heart.

Tender, well directed and staged and Paul’s best acting performance of his career. He must have thought, Hey making these videos is fun….. I would love to do more and bigger ones….

About the song…. Sounds of war begin and suddenly a voice breaks in. A gentle piano ballad that kicks in and a nice little toe tapper. Played mostly by Paul, with pan flute and tabla players brought in. Linda and Eric Stewart backing vocals with Paul have a children’s choir like quality. The opening verse is repeated and it ends in a bed of lush orchestration. Rating -8

“Say Say Say” The demo was cut by Jackson and Paul added his bass, and they worked out the lyrics and arrangement together. Jackson insisted that Linda sing backup vocals, and again with Eric Stewart joining in. Another amazing video, a silly romp with Paul and Linda and Jackson as a turn of the century hustlers going from town to town selling their “goods” and performing.

It is a lovely production as well, with both men looking as good as they ever will, especially Jackson. He should have stopped the surgeries at this point. He looked amazing. LaToya plays his love interest. It is fun, visually beautiful and it got played a hell of a lot on MTV. It allowed the song to stay at number one in the charts into 1984.

About the song…. Okay, at first I was like yes, Paul has grabbed the comet, but Jackson was quite taken by Macca and his past as well. Look at every photo I post of them during these times and they dress alike, and make the same facial gestures. Michael was like a son of Paul during this time period, and the song continued Jackson’s domination of the charts and airwaves, as his THRILLER continued to sell like mad, over a year and a half after its release.

“Say Say Say” is an awesome pop song, with both performers knocking it out of the park. The mix is perfect, the sound is solid and still sounds amazing today. If it weren’t for the events that followed by Jackson regarding Paul, and the deterioration of Jackson late in his life, this would be a highlight for them both to remember. It still shines like a bright star in the sky, but one we don’t really ever look at anymore.

Paul remixed this song on his deluxe archive release and switched the alternating vocals in the opposite way. Verses that Jackson sung, we now had Paul singing etc…. Dance remixes of this still get the bones a bounding on the dance floor. Rating – 9

“The Other Me” The song brings us back to reality. Not a bad little disco-like melody, but one of the worst line of lyrics of Paul’s. (“I acted like a dust bin lid”). Paul plays everything and features a nice double tracked vocal at the end. I still found myself tapping my foot…. Rating – 6.5

“Keep Under Cover” An odd song… it opens slow and soft then kicks into a Beatles like march. Started in 1980…. With heavy strings added. Eric, Linda and Stanley Clarke on bass. Rating – 6.5

“So Bad” Paul brings his “Girlfriend” falsetto back, with Ringo on drums, Eric (he was kind of the new Denny) on vocals and electric guitar and Linda on vocals. Very Wings like, it also was a single and a music video was made with Paul, Ringo and Eric playing and Linda snapping away wit the camera. A nice song, but a bit too lush for my taste. Rating – 7

“The Man” The third and final Macca/Jacko collaboration. This one doesn’t really get enough footing. Paul plays everything again with Linda and Eric singing backing vocals as usual. They try hard, it sounds good, but it is missing something. Tasty guitar work by Paul on the break and the play-out. Rating – 6.5

“Sweetest Little Show” Another Paul only song. A oldies like fell that has a wonderful acoustic break that breaks into applause and then a quick return to the verse before ending on a off note…. I like it…. Rating – 8

“Average Person” Starts as “Show” fades, with heavy Linda backing vocals, joined by Denny Laine and Eric Stewart. Ringo drumming is functional at best. Outstanding production by Martin, with all sorts of noises and sounds within the mix. Silly lyrics about the average people described had me head scratching. Rating – 6.5

“Hey Hey” Paul plays nearly all gets funky with bass player Stanley Clarke, who co-wrote this one. Basically an instrumental except for shouting “Hey Hey.” A tempo change gives a Clarke to stretch out the bass for a short time, a nice touch. They shout out “That’s all” as the song fades. Rating – 7

“Tug Of Peace” It takes the intro to “Tug Of War” and melody of the same and brings it into funky town with the counter melody and lyrics of “Pipes Of Peace.” One of the first mashups ever done, I would say. Interesting that it is done on the album where one of the songs is on. Right? They all shout out…”Hey, new ending” Rating – 8.5

“Through Our Love” The first time I heard the kind of ballad Paul would write the next 10-15 years, usually as a closer to his albums. Heavy orchestration by Martin. It isn’t terrible, but it never moves me. It is a clear of example of 1980’s over-production. Rating – 6

The entire album “sounds” slicker then an oil spill in the head phones, but overall the album is lacking something that all of Paul’s best albums have…. Making me want to listen again and again with those magical ear-worms missing for the most part. The highlights are great, the title track, “Say Say Say,” The acoustic break on “Sweetest Little Show” and of course the the three music videos are all great in retrospect.

The grades are in and PIPES OF PEACE gets 7.14/10, a bit better than I expected….

Next, songs left off PEACE and what started in 1984…..

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After TUG OF WAR and more (1982)

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After John Lennon was murdered in December 1980, this event changed the mindset of Paul. He would not tour for the next nine years, even with multiple albums being released, and his love of live performances.Security and staying safe became the main thing in his life.

If the ex-Beatle who wrote, “Give Peace A Chance” could be killed for no reason, then why should he risk it? But Paul is constantly creating, coming up with project after project, song after song, idea after idea.

And as TUG OF WAR hit the stores and airwaves in May of 1982, nothing had changed. Just before its release date, in April 1982, Paul met up with Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones, to record what would become three songs. The first would be released by Jackson, and became the first single pulled from his mega-seller 1982’s, THRILLER.

They would reunite in early 1983 and they recorded two more songs which Paul released on his next album in 1983.Jackson called up the McCartney’s home on Christmas Day in 1981 and told Paul that he wanted them to get together “and make some hits.”

During his visit with Paul, the fatherly McCartney gave Jackson some financial advise. He told him to invest his money in song publishing, something he had already done to much reward. Jackson, listened and agreed, then giggled and told Paul, “One day I’m gonna’ own your songs.” Paul laughed and thought Jackson a wacky kid….. More on this major life changing moment for the two later on.

Well, Paul loves to create. And Paul loves success, and had gotten so much of it since 1962, that the lack of it must drive him crazy. As a solo artist, and a member of Wings, he had albums and songs that didn’t sell well (in relations to past sales) and critique’s of these that were downright bad.

So the chance to perform with a young man, who was nearing the apex of his “Beatle-like” fame, was a sure fire chance to grab onto that soaring comet. Paul was now approaching 40 years old, and a chance to stay relevant with the young music buyers is something he wanted to do.

The song they worked on in 1982 was “The Girl Is Mine,” which was a big hit for Jackson. It ended up being the weakest of ALL of the singles pulled from THRILLER, but it was a major hit.

“The Girl Is Mine” A mid tempo song that became a #1 hit about two men arguing (in song) about who the girl belongs two. It is a harmless song that ends in cringe worthy dialogue between the two which caused mocking laughter whenever it played on the radio at work. My co-worker Koko, the worlds biggest Jackson fan, and I could not really respond with anything other than, “it’s not THAT bad…”. The line spoken by Jackson, “I think I told you Paul, I’m a lover, not a fighter..” Indicated the opposite. Rating – 6.5

They also worked on the other two songs in 1983, one started by Jackson and added to by Paul off the original demo (which they used in the final mix) called “Say Say Say” and a track written by both called, “The Man.” George Martin produced both these songs.

After taking off five months, Paul and George Martin, reunited in September of 1982 and began recording more songs for Paul’s next album, which would come out in 1983…..

Very late in 1982 Paul began working on an idea which would be his next really BIG project. It would eventually appear to all in 1984. In addition to critically panned albums, other ideas Paul had dreamed up since leaving tThe Beatles included the unreleased full length “Rupert Movie,” “The Bruce McMouse Show,” and the various attempts at releasing “Cold Cuts And Hot Hits.” Add in the ideas which he did produce such as the lukewarm reception of “The James Paul McCartney TV Special,” and those which ideas which came out way too late to capture the audience, such as the “Back To The Egg TV Special,” “Rockshow TV special” and the “Wings Over America” film projects. But he was beginning to form the next HUGE idea that would actually get done….BUT would be the biggest flop of his career….

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There were songs recorded in 1981-1982 that didn’t appear on TUG OF WAR, but came out with its release. “Rainclouds” The song Paul was working on the day John Lennon was killed. Written with Denny Laine, who with Linda and Eric Stewart contribute backing vocals that deliver with Wings like harmonies and an also wonderful contribution by Paddy Moloney on uilleann pipes. The B-side to “Ebony And Ivory” single. A good old fashioned Irish foot stomping jam equals great fun. I’m not sure if its sound could have fit on TUG, but taking the link out and placing this or the next b-side would have been fine with me. Rating – 8.5

“I’ll Give You A Ring” The B-side to “Take It away,” another classic McCartney deep cut. In the style of an old jazz tune, it features amazing lead and backing vocals that rival anything ever done with Wings. It pauses and shifts at the end into a thumping rocker with Denny’s guitar putting an exclamation pint on the whole song.Rating – 9

“Stop, You Don’t Know Where She Came From” A demo that was never recorded properly but still shows its character in 1:44. A song about about caution about a friend getting involved with a bad woman. A nice four to the floor vintage rocker that had possibilities. Paul uses his New Orleans upper end vocals to deliver the goods.. but it needed more work to bring the goods home and Paul chose not to. Rating – 7.5

“All In Love Is Fair” I’ve seen this listed as a Wings song, so maybe Laurence and Steve played on it… A working out of the basic song melody, with faux lyrics sung by Paul except for the title.. Sounds like the kind of song Paul could write in his sleep.Rating – 6

Denny Laine left during the recording of TUG OF WAR, and it’s a shame, for even though he is hidden in the background on this album he helped elevate Paul through some very tough years until this second phase of his solo career. He speaks only of good of Paul nowadays, but he really didn’t receive the credit and financial compensation he deserved for 12 years of hard work and dedication. Next, it’s 1983, and the road to Peace. Also Paul puts lots of his money where his mouth was….

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TUG OF WAR (1982)

I got married on May 1st, 1982. The #1 song in America on that day was “Ebony And Ivory.” So it was with much enthusiasm and excitement to me that it was on the new album, and on its release day.

I went into Tower Records, located on the Las Vegas Strip, near Sahara Avenue. I bought both the vinyl and the cassette to listen to in my car. But I held off listening until I could get home… ———————————————————————————-

This album marked the beginning of a new phase in the career of Paul. Now he was strictly a solo artist, and with his slow and re-emerging love of his Beatles past.

The death of John Lennon has made many give him saint like status, and all the accolades that come with it. John was the leader. John was the creative one. John was the experimental one. John was the rocker of the band, etc….

The things in Lennon’s past which were less than saint-like in behavior and action were now swept aside emotionally by most of the world press. All of his bad life and musical decisions, swept under the rug for the most part.

Paul has now spent the last forty plus years trying to rewrite this impression of his place in the entire Beatles lore. From this point in time he began as accepting and embracing his past, instead of turning his back on it, as he had for the most part during the last twelve years.

He only played oldies the Beatles recorded (“Long Tall Sally” etc..) during the initial Wings tour, and only a handful of Beatles songs during his 1975-6 world tour, and added a just a few more Beatles songs during the short 1979 Wings tour. Paul was intent of proving himself in the same way “post Fabs” as he had in the Beatles.

Starting with this album, the past was now becoming as important to him as the present and the future. TUG OF WAR was produced by his former Beatles producer, George Martin. Paul had only had a one off recording session with Martin in the recording of “Live And Let Die” In 1973.

On this album he also brings Ringo Starr in to play and perform on music videos. He had also recorded with George in 1981, and jammed with him and Ringo at his old drummers wedding reception. Thus began a thawing of their unusually cool relationships since the LET IT BE sessions.

So Paul took his time with the release of the album. He realized how much scrutiny would occur on its release. What would he say, if anything, about the tragic death of his writing partner, and dearest friend?

I sat at home and prepared myself mentally as I opened up the new album. The front cover is very nice, with a photo of Paul in the studio taken by Linda. Both the front and back covers color palette are both cool and soothing (mostly reds, blues and some whites), and the interesting use of space and shapes I thought worked very well.

I followed along with the included lyrics on the record sleeve, absorbing all of the recording information as the needle was placed on the turntable.

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“Tug Of War” The title track is a song about the struggles of opposing sides. We think of this as a game played at picnics, but I think here, after Lennon’s murder, it’s more symbolic, as in good fighting evil. The peace loving John to be killed as he was being kind to his killer….

After the breezy approach to McCartney II, the slick production of Martin brings McCartney back to his Beatles days. Paul wears many hats and inputs musically, but the responsibility of the final vision of the sound now belongs to Martin.

It opens with sounds of struggles and flows into acoustic and vocals and orchestration. The backing vocals with Eric Stewart, Linda and Paul are as equal to Wings best, with the touch of 10cc added to the mix. A bit too much echo in the mix, but a nice way to open the album. Denny Laine adds guitar. Rating – 8

“Take It Away” Another single pulled from the album. It features Ringo, Eric, Linda and George Martin (electric piano). A tasty bass line drives this mid tempo toe tapper. A great little music video of the band playing for a record contract and awaiting “the man” (played by John Hurt). Steve Gadd plays drums. More great Wings/10cc like backing vocals. The horns add a very nice touch on the fade out. Rating – 8

“Somebody Who Cares”. Written the night before recording it. Lathered in a bit too much echo. Great acoustic work by Paul. Denny Laine adds guitar and synthesizer. Eric and Linda vocals are perfect. Steve Gadd on drums and percussion, and Stanley Clarke on bass round out the mix. Rating -8

“What’s That You’re Doing” The first Stevie Wonder/Paul collaboration. Paul basically plays all except for Wonder on synthesizer. Eric and Linda’s backing vocals are limited but effective. A bit of talking by Stevie during breaks in the vocals. Paul even let’s out a Beatles “Whoooo..” They even let out a “we love you, yeah yeah yeah, we love you, yeah, yeah yeah.” They trade lines and verses, much like “Ebony and Ivory.”

Paul’s voice is in top shape, on this and the whole album. A bit of funk from Paul, a nice change. A tad too busy at points, but a nice set up for…. Rating – 7

“Here Today” A song written as a conversation with John, if he were still alive. Paul knows he will never get a chance to say these things anymore, so he does so in this tender, heartfelt tribute to his forever best friend and writing partner.

Paul on multi-vocals and just a string section are needed. It sure brought a tear to my eye the first time I heard it, and he plays it in every concert he has done for the last two decades. I’ve seen him cry onstage after he is done. Beautiful words written by Paul…. “For you were in my song” is as good as it gets. I’ve seen him struggle to get the words out as he performs it. It has lost its effect slightly over the years, but it is a lesson to all of us. Tell the people that you love that you love them while they are “here today”…. Rating – 8.5

“Ballroom Dancing” A toe tapping ballroom style dance number… Linda, Eric, Ringo, Denny fill out this excellent arrangement by Martin. The mid song tempo change is perfect, as is Paul’s delivery. Paul would redo this song and add a verse a few years later, but this song is just fine as it chugs along. Even the narration by Peter Marshall adds to that 1950’s ballroom style dances and contests he may have seen on television that Paul remembered from his youth. A nice pick up emotionally after “Here Today.” Rating – 8

“The Pound Is Sinking” This is a song about the financial crisis that was happening world wide at the time. Linda, Denny, Eric are aided by Stanley Clarke on bass. Great production by Martin, with sounds of coins in the beginning and the end add to the sonic environment. Many of the currencies noted don’t exist in modern day.

An interesting song that only Paul can come up with. A series of tempo shifts in the middle keeps you guessing. The “hear me my lover” part, which was another song he linked up with “Something that didn’t happen” part. Very 10cc at parts. Rating – 8

“Wanderlust” A true story of the 1978 boat adventure while recording LONDON TOWN. It’s about them being warned they all might be busted at sea. Ringo’s drumming is just as you would imagine. Denny plays a very discreet bass. The middle eight has that nautical feel. Linda and Eric add backing vocals. Very nice arrangement of the verses to end the song. Rating – 8

“Get It” Another song to stretch out the feet and pop around a bit. Carl Perkins adds his trademark electric guitar sound and vocals. Recorded at the same time they did the amazing “My Old Friend.”

They sound like they are having a blast on this one. They trade lead verses as well on this one. Synthesizer work by Paul add that fun steel guitar sound. Carl’s laugh at the end leads into…. Rating – 7.5

“Be What You See (link)” Trippy little link with Paul alone… Hey, it has vocorder on it, right! Rating – 7

“Dress Me Up As A Robber” A slightly odd song, featuring Paul going in a few directions, with different vocal styles… Linda, Eric on backing vocals and Denny on guitar and synthesizer. Rating – 7.5

“Ebony And Ivory” The song you love, or the song you hate. I know the concept is old (Spike Milligan had a song with the lyrics “Black notes, white notes, and you need to play the two to make harmony, folks!” The figure of speech is much older. It was popularized by James Aggrey in the 1920s, inspiring the title of the pan-African journal, The Keys, but was in use from at least the 1840s).

“Ebony and Ivory” is a song about keys on the piano (black and white) compared to the state of world race relations. There is even a version of this by Paul alone, but if you love this version, then this is the proper version. Stevie plays drums and he and Paul handle all the rest of the instruments and vocals.

Interesting, that on all songs that had special guest stars sing, no Linda, Eric or Denny. It was like Paul was saving these superstars for his own pleasure. A massive hit single, featuring a music video with Stevie and Paul (the video was filmed apart) sitting and hopping around a giant keyboard. They again swap verses, as Paul would do with Michael Jackson the next year.

Some people think this should have been a stand alone single, and the excellent tracks still on the shelf at this point like “Rainclouds” and “I’ll Give You A Ring” should have been added, but after “Robber” ends I must hear Stevie’s drum roll into this fine closer….Rating – 7.5

The album, which I hadn’t listened to in quite a while still sounds fresh and inspired and worthy of the praise it got upon release. Did it get too much praise, which it got a lot of?

The overall rating comes to 7.75 out of 10.

Not the highest rating we’ve had, but should end up in the upper end when we finally arrive at present day…. It sure brings back good memories of the those days, from John’s passing to my marriage, which received a lot lower rating, in retrospect.

Next, songs left off of TUG OF WAR, and what was to come after WAR?….it was peace.

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AFTER JOHN (DECEMBER 9TH, 1980)

On the evening of 8 December 1980, John Lennon, was fatally shot in the archway of the Dakota, his residence in New York City.

The perpetrator was Mark David Chapman, an unemployed resident of Hawaii. Chapman stated that he was incensed by Lennon’s lifestyle and public statements, especially his much-publicized remark about the Beatles being “more popular than Jesus” and the lyrics of his later songs “God” and “Imagine”.

Chapman also said he was inspired by the fictional character Holden Caulfield from J. D. Salinger’s novel The Catcher in the Rye.

Chapman planned the killing over the course of several months and waited for Lennon at the Dakota on the morning of 8 December. During the evening, he met Lennon, who signed his copy of the just-released album Double Fantasy.

John Lennon December 8th, 1980

Lennon then left with wife Yoko Ono for a recording session at Record Plant Studio. Later that night, the couple returned to the Dakota. As they walked toward the archway entrance of the building, Chapman fired five hollow-point bullets from a .38 special revolver, four of which hit Lennon in the back.

Chapman remained at the scene until he was arrested by the police. Lennon was rushed in a police cruiser to Roosevelt Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

A worldwide outpouring of grief ensued on an unprecedented scale. Crowds gathered at Roosevelt Hospital and in front of the Dakota, and at least three Beatles fans committed suicide.

On December 12th Yoko requested 10 minutes of silence around the world, instead of holding a funeral. Chapman pleaded guilty to murdering Lennon and was given a sentence of 20-to-life imprisonment. He has been denied parole ten times since he became eligible in 2000.

On the morning of December 9th, Paul was in shock. He had just lost his beloved writing partner, dear friend in an instant. He had mentally left Wings, and I’m sure somewhere in his mind the thought of working again with a now creative Lennon existed. No matter how bad things had ever been between them as the Beatles split to the jabs in print and on record, there could never be another musician or person who could’ve taken the place in McCartney’s heart but John.

So, Paul decided to seek comfort in the studio that day, and be with George Martin, rather than staying at home.Instead of continuing work on “Rainclouds” the men (and I believe Denny Laine was in the studio that day as well), laughed, cried and spent the day sharing John stories and grieving together. At one point they were both looking out a window and a truck drove by with the name LENNON FURNITURE on the side. Goose bumps material.

As McCartney was leaving the Oxford Street recording studio when reporters asked him for his reaction; he looked distraught and glassy eyed, chewing gum and quickly responded, “Drag, isn’t it?”

When publicized , the response was widely criticized. McCartney himself regretted the seemingly callous remark. He later said that he had intended no disrespect and simply was unable to articulate his feelings, given the shock and sadness he felt over Lennon’s murder.

Reporter: What was your reaction to the death of John Lennon this morning?

Paul McCartney: Umm, very shocked you know. It’s terrible news.

R: What were you recording today?

P: I was just listening to some stuff you know. I just didn’t want to sit at home.

R: Why?

P: Well, I didn’t feel like it.

R: What time did you hear the news?

P: This morning some time.

R: Very early?

P: Yeah

R: Stunned, isn’t it?

P: Yeah……..drag, isn’t it?

The death of John Lennon is something Paul has had to come to grips with, but it has forever left a void in his heart. —————————————————-

Paul came back into the studio one more time (December 14th) in 1980, working on material that would be spread over his next two albums….

1981

1981 became the first year since 1962 in which Paul released no new material.

In early January, beside working on the new album, Laurence Juber and Steve Holley came in for the last Wings sessions. Again, another attempt at the long held project, Cold Cuts and Hot Hits.

After many months of silence “Paul called up and said I’m going to have George Martin produce this record and he does not want it to be a Wings album. He wants it to be a McCartney album and use session players, casting it on a per song basis.” “I figured that was pretty much the end of it, but then Paul added that he wanted to get together in January 1981 to work on the long-running Cold Cuts project.”

“I remember particularly “A Love For You”, because I had always liked that song, and I put some slide guitar on the track. At the sessions, Paul also put new vocals on “Waterspout” and “My Carnival”. The last song we worked on was a remix of “Same Time Next Year”. Ironically that was the first and the last track recorded during my tenure at McCartney University” – Laurence Juber

“One of the jokes I’d been waiting to use for the minute Wings spit was to say, ‘Wings fold’! But, as it turned out, Wings didn’t actually fold, they just sort of dissolved, like sugar in tea.”- Paul

Paul continued working with George Martin, Denny Laine, Eric Stewart, Linda and now, a series of special guests came in and added to the mix. Ringo, Steve Gadd, Stanley Clarke, Stevie Wonder, Carl Perkins and Michael Jackson among them.

Session work moved to Martin’s AIR studios in Montserrat from February 2nd thru March 3rd. Paul helped on Perkins’ “My Old Friend.” Sadly, this studio was destroyed in a hurricane a few years later.

In March-April Paul, Linda and Denny helped George Harrison invitation with backing vocals on the Lennon tribute, “All Those Years Ago.”

Paul then wanted George to record some backwards guitar on a track he was working on, (“Wanderlust”) but it never happened.

Sessions returned to Martins’ AIR studio in London, and after the March 30th recording of “Ebony And Ivory,” Paul took a short break until working with Jackson in May.

Macca and Jackco (ironic wearing of cancelled tour jacket)

The album, “Concerts For The People Of Kampuchea” was released on the same day( March 30th).

In between these dates Denny Laine quit Wings, and working with Paul on April 27th. He had no-showed a session and his wife, Jo-Jo told Paul on the phone that he had quit.

On the very same day Ringo married Barbara Bach, his wife till the present day. The three surviving Beatles jammed in a relaxed environment during the reception.

On June 10th, The 1979 Wings Back To The Egg special aired finally on UK television.’

Paul and Martin picked back up in July through the rest of the 1981, working on recording and mixing finished tracks which would be spread over the next two releases.

The 6th Buddy Holly Week was celebrated again in early September.

1982

Session work resumed again, on and off, from January until April 16th (second sessions with Michael Jackson, this time for Jackson’s next album, THRILLER).

March 29th saw the release of “Ebony And Ivory” as the first single from the new album.

On April 26th, Paul’s third solo album was finally released, amid much fanfare. Expectations were very high because of press of Martin’s return as producer, the success of “Ebony And Ivory” and how the death of Lennon would affect Paul’s first release afterwards…..

The album was called, TUG OF WAR. Next….

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1980 (part 2) After McCartney II

Paul had more songs in the can for McCartney II (remember the proposed 18 track two album set) and these are the ones that didn’t make the final cut and my reviews of them, or others from that time period and unreleased tracks from late 1979-mid 1980.

“Coming Up” (live at Glasgow, 1979) The track that was the b-side world wide, except for the U.S. American radio stations played this and it went all the way to #1. Was recorded on last Wings tour, with one verse edited out and slightly different lyrics than the album version (Paul edited the song when he started working on McCartney II). A very nice version of this song, with live horn section driving it, so the song doesn’t have the electronic feel of the studio version. Rating – 8

“All You Horse Riders” A very odd song, featuring all sorts of electron sounding horse trotting sounds played and Paul serves as the announcer to the antics of the horses as they parade and jump etc… We all know Paul and Linda’s love of horses, but this one breaks down on the track, and needed to be destroyed. Rating – 3

“Mr. H. Atom” Heavy Linda vocal contribution in this new wave sounding song about the subtle differences between man and woman genetically. “Mr. H Atom lives in a flat on the male side of town….” Okay……. Rating – 4

“You Know I’ll Get You Baby” Fade in after “Mr. H. Atom.” A sped up electronic blues number with Paul adding odd voices and sounds of different nature and speed. “You know I’ll get you baby, you know I will” are the only lyrics. Rating – 5

“Bogey Wobble” Not related in anyway to Bogey music, but Paul having fun with the equipment, and experimenting with all the fades and knobs behind a basic pedestrian beat. Rating – 6

“Hanglide” Very Interesting beat (with tasty hand claps) and a broad sonic landscape, much like “Blue Sway.” This one could/should have been on the released album. Rating – 8

“Secret Friend” Another misstep not having this on the album, for even clocking at 10:32 this song remains a hidden gem. Outstanding production by Paul. Released on the 12” single of “Temporary Secretary.” Rating – 8.5

“I Can’t Write Another Song” A gentle Paul and Linda duet sung over electronic drums and acoustic guitar. Could he have flushed this out….? It leaves me wanting more…. Rating – 8

“Unbelievable Experience” Paul was still working out the words on this one…. Lots of pretend singing.. Using his new Orleans voice and sound. Didn’t have a bridge or middle eight, so a work in progress that was abandoned. Maybe, with care, and more work this could have been something good. Rating – 6

“Check My Machine” The song that started it all. It was the test song on the equipment and ended up being the B-Side to “Waterfalls” single. Paul even samples and alters Barney Rubble to open up the song…. When I first hear this back in the day, I was like….”What the…. he must still be smoking weed.”

Now I can see the work he went into to build off of this. Singing in a exotic falsetto, it came to us in two versions… one at 5:52 and one at 8:59 (the Archive Set release). If you like it, you love it. If you don’t, you hate it. I love it. A great song to dance with your cat or a small dog with…. I know, I have, much to my cat’s dismay. Rating – 8.5

“Blue Sway” Another sonic beauty, that was given a wonderful surfing music video a few years back (2011) that captures its nautical feel. Orchestration by Richard Niles really flushes it out…. No one is credited for the wonderful sax work, and I don’t think the horn is computer derived. Another of the three or four that could have made the initial release and only added to it. Rating – 8

Paul also had longer versions of “Coming Up,” “Front Parlour,” and “Frozen Jap,” all of which came out on the amazing Archive release in 2011.

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After McCartney II was released Paul continued to write many new songs. He was again very productive this year, and most would be featured in either of his next two albums, in addition to songs written for Ringo and a few more that have not seen official releases as of today.

On July 4th, Wings reconvened in Kent for some rehearsal. I don’t know what the vibe was after the drug bust, but it must have been a bit awkward at first. They ran thru 10 songs, which included “Ballroom Dancing” (released in 1982), The unreleased “Old Man Lovin’,” “Ranachan Rock,” “Nature Is Calling Me,” (maybe someone needed a bathroom break?) And “Takin’ On A Woman.” They also did a Paul favorite oldie, “Crackin’ Up.”

From July 11th thru July 21st Paul and Linda work with Ringo on two Macca compositions, “Private Property” and “Attention.” They also worked together on what would be the title for one of the two albums that came from these sessions, “Can’t Fight Lightning.”

In August Paul went into his home studio to lay down demos for the next project. 19 tracks were recorded, nearly all of them ending up on one of HIS next two albums.

September 7th, the 5th Buddy Holly week began.

On October 2nd Wings gathered again in Kent to begin rehearsal work on the next Wings album. George Martin was to return to produce the proposed record.

From October 31st thru November 10th Paul and George Martin recorded and mixed a song called, “We All Stand Together.” Old friend Eric Stewart of 10cc came in to help on backing vocals. No members of Wings were on this song which saw the light of day in 1984.

Between October 3rd and November 30th (on and off), Wings rehearsed and jammed to over 50 songs. But as the rehearsals progressed something must not have worked for Paul, as he came to the following decision…..“It was really a move away from solo stuff, as much as a move away from a definite group, because Wings had broken up for various reasons…

George (Martin) and I decided we weren’t going to do ‘Tug Of War’ with Wings because he felt — and I did too — by that time it was getting a bit restricting. We were having to do stuff a particular way because that was who was going to play it. We decided not to be as restricted, and just write anything, and then get in anyone we thought could play it. So this started a new era, working with whoever we thought was most suitable for the tune. If it was a thing that needed Steve Gadd’s particular kind of thing, we decided we’d get him, rather than just asking someone to be like Steve Gadd!”- Paul.

That musical open-mindedness was something which also appealed to George Martin: “One of the principles that I started off with Paul was — You are probably the greatest living and certainly a multi-songwriter, instrumentalist. Why have people who are not as good as you? Why not have people who are better than you at their particular thing?”

So, after the last Wings rehearsal on November 30th (where they mostly jammed to oldies), Paul and George Martin entered the studio, without Wings proper. Denny Laine hung in there for a few months more and Linda never left, but Steve Holley and Laurence Juber were only to return once more in January 1981.

McCartney and Martin began these sessions working on “Ode To A Koala Bear” and “Keep Under Cover.”

On November 26th, the long delayed film “Rockshow” premiered. Four years after their 1976 world tour…..and many band changes since.

Maybe seeing how little the band had grown in those four years helped change his mind on its future. Kind of like seeing home movies of happier times and realizing that the present times were not.

On December 7th, Paul recorded the acoustic introduction to what would be called the next album, “Tug Of War.”

On December 8th, 1980 Paul began work on a song that would become a B-side called, “Rainclouds.”

In the middle of the night early on December 9th the phone unexpectedly rang at the McCartney home, with Linda answering it…… Paul came into the room and saw Linda’s facial reaction. Upon picking up the phone he was told the news that had unfolded late that evening of December 8th in New York City….

Words can’t describe how those moments felt to Paul. The world was just learning, and was shocked, horrified and angered that John Lennon, a voice that changed a generation and the world, had been murdered for no apparent reason. Lennon was shot multiple times in the back by a deranged fan. John had met him earlier in that day and had even signed a copy of his new album, STARTING OVER for him….

On the night of December 8th, I was working swing shift at Valley Hospital Medical Center pharmacy in Las Vegas Nevada. It was around 7 o’clock (PST) or so when the radio that pharmacist Don Leveque and fellow technician Debbie Heck and I were listening to came on with the shocking news.

Debbie, looking at Don and I, blurted out “I bet it was over a drug deal.” I wanted to punch her in the face, but didn’t, as no one knew how he actually had died. To this day, I still would love to smack her smug fucking face for saying that….

Next….. What next…?

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McCartney II (1980)

When Paul was finished recording and mixing songs for his next album, his second solo album, he came up with an 18 track, two record set. Convinced by record companies to cut it to a single album, he edited the final mix to just 11 songs, five on side one, the other six on side two.

Paul McCartney was among the first modern recording artist to embrace modern technology and incorporate electronic sounds and new devices into his creative output. He recorded songs such as “Proud Mum” and synth versions of “Tomorrow” in the mid 1970’s. Mike Oldfield (“Tubular Bells” from 1973), David Bowie, Brian Eno, Robert Fripp, Giorgio Moroder, Pink Floyd, Kraftwerk, Klaatu, Gary Numan and a variety of the newly emerging new age artists, such a Tomita, embraced electronic sounds at roughly the same time.

With 16 recording tracks at his disposal, Paul flushed out his ideas more than he had for McCartney I, but admitted later on he wished he had worked a bit more on a few of the new album tracks.

What McCartney did do was open eyes with a album that goes in a complete opposite direction that he had gone in before. But McCartney II is still very much a home-made lo-fi recording.

I was living (for a short time) in Las Vegas a small bedroom with two friends (right next to the airport), and I listened to the album for the first time with my girlfriend (at the time) in the privacy of that bedroom on my stereo (yes, that’s what we called them).

The cover, taken by Linda, is another of McCartney’s iconic covers. She wanted a a picture with the two shadow heads and she lit him to get this effect. The shot is given a grainy look, and his expression is as classic as it is confusing. Is he mad? Is he startled? The intense look still shows Paul still looking fantastic at 37 years old, with those dark doe eyes opened wide and focused.

The record begins with the first single, which was released about a month before in the U.K. and the U.S. Interesting thing about the single…. On the b-side the live version of the song is played by Wings during the short 1979 tour of England (recorded 12/19/79 in Glasgow) almost a half year before the album version was released.

The single also had a third track, the instrumental Lunch Box/Odd Sox, which Paul and Wings had worked on in 1975.

When I bought it I was shocked….three tracks…nice. Funny thing, in the United States, for some reason, they turned the record was over and radio played the live version, and it became a #1 in the U.S. This was Wings sixth and final number one single. The album version, which rose to #2 in England.

Both B-sides were credited to Paul McCartney & Wings. Columbia Records wanted to put the live version on McCartney II (an executive from Columbia Records explained the switch by stating “Americans like the sound of Paul McCartney’s real voice”) but McCartney resisted the change, wanting to keep it a solo album. Instead, a one-sided 7” white-label promotional copy of the Wings version was included with the album in North America.

For this opening track Paul also filmed what may still be his best music video of his career, over 40 years later. In the video Paul plays ten roles and Linda McCartney plays two. The “band” identified as “The Plastic Macs” on the drum kit (a homage to Lennon’s conceptual Plastic Ono Band), features Paul and Linda’s imitations of various rock musician stereotypes, as well as a few identifiable musicians.

McCartney identified characters that were impersonations of specific artists: Hank Marvin (guitarist from the Shadows), Ron Mael of Sparks (keyboards), and a ‘Beatlemania-era’ version of himself. McCartney said the other roles were simply comic relief.

The video premiered in the US on Saturday Night Live on 17 May 1980.

“I originally cut it on my farm in Scotland. I went into the studio each day and just started with a drum track. Then I built it up bit by bit without any idea of how the song was going to turn out. After laying down the drum track, I added guitars and bass, building up the backing track. I did a little version with just me as the nutty professor, doing everything and getting into my own world like a laboratory. The absent-minded professor is what I go like when I’m doing those; you get so into yourself. It’s weird, crazy, but I liked it.

Then I thought, ‘Well, OK, what am I going to do for the voice?’ I was working with a vari-speed machine with which you can speed up your voice, or take it down a little bit. That’s how the voice sound came about. It’s been speeded up slightly and put through an echo machine I was playing around with. I got into all sorts of tricks, and I can’t remember how I did half of them, because I was just throwing them all in and anything that sounded good, I kept. And anything I didn’t like I just wiped. – Paul McCartney

Former band-mate John Lennon liked the song and credited it for driving him out of retirement to resume recording.“I heard a story from a guy who recorded with John in New York, and he said that John would sometimes get lazy. But then he’d hear a song of mine where he thought, ‘Oh, shit, Paul’s putting it in, Paul’s working!’ Apparently ‘Coming Up’ was the one song that got John recording again. I think John just thought, ‘Uh oh, I had better get working, too.’ I thought that was a nice story.”– Paul McCartney“

Coming Up” I ready myself physically and emotionally and place the stereo tone arm onto the l.p. I am greeted with 3:54 of majestic pop and roll. The song is driven by Paul’s steady drumming, and chugging bass-line. The synths are perfectly placed and add to the slight cartoon feel of the song. I really don’t think Paul’s voice is un-natural. In fact I love it.

I love everything about this song. I think he hits it out of park on all aspects. It’s simple but layered with little sounds and fills that make this pure McCartney. And hey, the message of the song is spot on with thoughtful lyrics. “You want a better kind of future, one that everyone can share? You know we all could use it, stick around it’s nearly there. It’s coming up.” Wow, what an opener…. I was leaping around the room…. Rating – 9.5

“Temporary Secretary” A song that has now become a cult classic, and embraced my Macca, who has begun to play it in concert the last four or five years. Initially I was not taken by it, but have grown to love this song, thanks to the ear worms Paul is famous for. One of the most “techno” tracks on the album, featuring a synth loop that Paul plays off of and gradually builds off of it. The bass moves in and out like a cat stalking its prey. An odd track musically, lyrics that are odd, sung in parts that are odd….. but added up, it works. Rating – 9

“On The Way”. Paul counts in slows things down with a understated blues track. It is sparse, and I like when he goes all out on the last verse. Drums, bass, mostly one electric guitar over his echo laden lead vocals. After the the first two verses he ups the ante by double tracking the guitar break for a few. A very simple track from start to finish. Rating – 7

“Waterfalls” “Waterfalls” is a warning to the ones that Paul loves to be careful in the decisions that they make in the real world. I think I heard Paul say that THIS is one of the track he maybe should have flushed out more. It is a simple song it every aspect, with McCartney only playing a Fender Rhodes electric piano and a synthesizer and singing. He adds a bit of acoustic guitar during the short break.

It was released as a single with “Check My Machine” as its B-Side and reached chart position #9 in the UK. In the US, however, it was his first single ever to miss the Billboard Hot 100 chart, only reaching number 106 despite being the follow-up to the number one hit “Coming Up“.

In 2013, Rolling Stone Magazine rated it the #25 all-time Paul McCartney post-Beatles song, describing how it contrasted with Wings’ prior single.“The only song that was written before I came to record was Waterfalls… Waterfalls could have been called ‘I Need Love’ but that would have been too ordinary. I just had this waterfalls and lakes idea, from the notices you see in American tourist resorts, and it stuck. Halfway through the album, making it all up as I went along, I got a bit bored. I had finished about eight tracks by then and I thought I would do something different. So I decided to do a song that was already written, a track left over from the last Wings album, and that was my favorite at the time. That’s why it’s included.

The original lyrics were just working lyrics, gut lyrics, just spewed out. I thought I’d have to get serious and sensible and change them. Lyrics like that I don’t trust. But in time, I got to like them and I thought I should add electric piano and a distant string synthesizer like a mad Swiss orchestra on a mountaintop. And it worked! A lot of people have rung up about that one and said that it’s their favorite. So when you get such a good feeling, you think that perhaps it should be a single. Yeah, it was a “song”, I’d done it on piano.

You see, in the early days of the synth, you were intrigued by the synth string sounds, and you thought they were good. You were later to discover that they weren’t! And now of course it’s coming back, retro, and people are going, I like that crappy old string sound. But at the time I thought, “This is enough, it doesn’t need any more, just do the chords”. I think, looking back, it probably would have been a bigger song if it had a better production, because it’s not a bad song.” – Paul McCartney

A music video was filmed and was nowhere as amazing as “Coming Up.” Heavy green screen use, and Paul in his new schoolboy haircut and schoolboy sweater. It also features extra music at the end and finishes with him breaking something in the background at the end.

In other words, SEE, things can happen anywhere and anytime.. so be careful. The group TLC nicked the soul of this song many years later on their huge hit, “Waterfalls.” Paul has noted that, but didn’t press the issue. Rating – 6.5

“Nobody Knows” A hillbilly stomp. It comes close, but doesn’t quite get there, mainly on the weak buried on the track electric guitar work. The vocals are fantastic, and the standard bass run keep you driving down the road…. A little more care in the guitar work, and this would have a killer retro sounding romp. Rating – 6.5

“Front Parlour” Side two opens with the first instrumental. Total electronic sounding, with a interesting change in melody at the end to help bring the song to it’s conclusion. We have now (2021) heard the other songs that Paul recorded for this album, and in retrospect ones like “Secret Friend” or “Check My Machine” here would have improved the overall album…. For me. Rating – 6

“Summer Day Song” A track that always reminded me of someone waking up just as the sun was beginning to rise…. And they awake to the summer day. Filled with so much promise, the double track lead vocals are very religious sounding. Another total synth song, he adds this extended instrumental synth break (not unlike the full version of “With A Little Luck”) that slows the song to a crawl before roaring back to end it in what always felt to me to be the sundown and heading back to bed to rest for the next day. Rating – 6.5

“Frozen Jap” The second instrumental. It does have an oriental feel to it, and had to been influenced by events of that January. Hand claps and some live drumming overdubs are added to the synth layers. Paul can be heard shouting and squealing very quietly at certain parts of the song… The better of the two instrumentals. Rating – 7

“Bogey Music” Based on the book, Fungus The Bogeyman, Paul alters his voices throughout the song on the lead and the background vocals and gives us his best Elvis. More 50’s four on the floor bass lines.Rating – 7.5

“Darkroom” A nod to Linda’s photography. Features all sorts of blips, beeps and altered sounds…. I prefer the longer version which was prepared for the 18 track album, and feature more of Paul yelling and shouting and silly voices and sounds coming at you from all directions. The song speeds up, and ends quickly, like a cab arriving at its final destination. He sure was having a great time making this one…. Rating 7.5

“One Of These Days” A wonderful way to end the album. Outstanding lyrics, that book holders the thoughts of “Coming Up,” but this time in a retrospective way of evaluating ones life and learning and growing from it. A bit somber, a bit sad, its Paul bearing his inner feelings on where his life may be going from this point on. An acoustic gem, that I wish Paul could have brought out on one of his many tours since 1989. Rating – 8.5

Overall, the album grades out as 7.41/10. It sold well, but was largely dismissed at the time by critics and some of the fan base, who wanted another BAND ON THE RUN etc…but McCartney II status has changed and grown in the decades that have passed. It is now viewed as a wonderful example of the variety of musical offerings that this man can make, and is also seen as semi-ground breaking in its courage to adapt to new technology advances and gave us a taste of what would become new age as well as DJ driven EDM (electronic dance music). NEXT, all the songs that didn’t make the final edition of McCartney II and the rest of 1980, which ends even worse for Paul than it began.

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After the drug bust (1980)

We can look back on these ten days in many many ways but we can all mostly agree that this is the stupidest move McCartney has ever made, personally or professionally in his life. And yet, for most purposes, it didn’t hurt him very much at all in the end.

To have the Narita Airport customs agent “randomly” open his bag and find 6 ounces of weed for a band on a two week tour is at the least, obscene…

We all know Paul’s love for pot, compared to minimal interest in any of the hard drugs his peers mingled in. From “Got To Get You Into My Life,” “Mother Natures Son” to the busts he and Linda had encountered since the Beatles breakup. Weed, weed, weed.

Stories have since come out (which led to the end of his relationship with Denny Laine in a tell-all book) about smuggling weed in the babies diapers at border crossing on the old Wings bus and van tours of the early 70’s.

Weed was also sent to posts on stops on tours where it would be picked up and discarded till the next stop and the process would repeat. Paul, Linda and Denny Seiwell were busted when a package was intercepted in Sweden that the drummer went to “pick up.”

Why didn’t Paul just have one of his staff score for him once inside of Japan? Why so much weed? Paul said it was too good to give up. To want to be in such a stoned state on this tour tells a lot about Paul’s attitude toward it going in.

So, arrested on January 16th. The tour was cancelled on the 17th. Many fans have kept their tickets instead of getting refunds, but it was a gigantic financial hit for Paul, and a tremendous loss for Denny, Laurence and Steve, who stood to make the most money of their lives on this potential world tour.

Paul was kept in a cell with others, treated well, and was a model prisoner with fellow inmates (leading them in song etc..) in his time there. Linda would visit, but there was much doubt for his future.

The other band members left on January 25th, with each being given airline tickets that allowed them to travel anywhere. Holley and Juber did this and remained silent in their level of anger and regret. Denny though, was furious. He was due to make a shit load of money and really felt betrayed by Paul’s lack of judgement.He would record his first solo album that year and call it, JAPANESE TEARS.

Paul was eventually released after 10 days in prison, because of the P.R. issue the Japanese government would have had by locking him up long term. In the video I posted (see video on 1979 page), Paul defends the use of marijuana the entire flight home, behaving more like a child whose toys have been taken away and scolded for it, rather than a person who almost made a life and career altering decision.

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The next proposed album was already mixed and preparations being made quietly on the side, with music videos being filmed (March 26th and 27th) and all the details being finished up, but he chose to sit on it for a few more months. News accounts of this went worldwide, ranging from serious to SNL’s “he did what?” type of coverage.

It probably didn’t hurt his street credibility among the stoner and hippie crowd.

From February thru April Paul wrote at home a tell-all book called “Japanese Jailbird,” and had a few copies printed for his immediate family, then the manuscript was locked in a vault till this day. Maybe when Paul is taken from the Earth we will get to read his words….

Without a guitar, or paper and pen in prison, the 10 days served didn’t produce anything that dealt with the situation, either pro or con, other than an “oriental” sounding instrumental on his next release called, “Frozen Jap.” In today’s world of PC correctness, when McCartney II archive was issued in all its glory a few years ago it was now listed as “Frozen Japanese.”Back to early 1980….

Just a month after returning home Paul was honored as Outstanding Music Personality of 1979 on February 26th. He made a joke about regrets he had not received it as planned for earlier in the year, but he had been “tied up.”

On February 27th Wings won a Grammy for the “Rockestra Theme” track on BACK TO THE EGG.

On May 9th Paul is awarded with The Ivor Novello Special Award for International Achievement. This was for his hand in the relief effort for the people of Kampuchea, and not for the insane quantity of weed he traveled with entering a country with no tolerance. Just wanted to clear that up….

On May 16th in the U.K and May 22nd in the U.S. the stores proudly displayed a brand new album by Paul….. his second solo album…. He called it McCartney II.

Next, the album is reviewed.

One final odd thing…a rumor has always existed that maybe Yoko was behind the bust, tipping off the airport security. The reason being that Paul and Linda called John and Yoko just before leaving and had “bragged” to them they were staying in the same ultra-suite that John and Yoko always did when they visited. Hmmm….No proof exists on this long standing rumor…..