Friday, October 30, 2020

Vintage Beatles pic: Showing off their MBEs


Paul discusses writing/recording "McCartney III"

From Paul's website, details on his McCartney III album, out Dec. 11.

In case you missed it, there’s a new Paul McCartney studio album on the way! McCartney III will be the third album in a trilogy of self-titled solo records, following McCartney in 1970 and McCartney II in 1980, and is written, produced and performed by Paul.
McCartney III was made in lockdown (or, as Paul says, “made in Rockdown”) at Paul’s studio in Sussex, and the album artwork features photography by his daughter Mary McCartney, his nephew Sonny McCartney and the cover artwork is by Ed Ruscha, who regular visitors to the site will know from a recent Paintings On The Wall.

2020 certainly hasn’t been the year any of us expected, so we were curious to find out how the new album came about, and what Paul’s recording process was like. We spoke with Paul via Zoom to find out more… What inspired you to start working on McCartney III this year?

Paul: Well, I’m always writing. It’s like my hobby! I had a couple of things that were new - that I’d just done - and during lockdown you were asked to stay at home, or go to work only if it couldn't be done from home. The thing that I couldn't get done from home was making a record – unless I was going to do the bedroom thing, which I haven't really got set up.

This meant I was able to go into the studio. I had to finish an intro and outro for a short animated film and I got into it. Then I thought, ‘Well, you know what? I'm enjoying this!’, so then I looked at the latest song I'd written and did that.

I realised there were some songs that I half worked on, so I started finishing those up. Then there were songs that I’d never worked on, but I'd written year or so ago, and I enjoyed going back to them because it wasn't for anything. It felt homemade, you know? For example, if you're making a painting that's going to go on the front of the Town Hall, it’s very significant, but if you're making a painting just for your own little bedroom, you don't worry so much, and that can be very liberating.

It was quite liberating doing these songs. And I enjoyed that time, because I was locked down with Mary and her family. It was great! Mary is a great cook, so I'd come back from the studio, cooking would be on, and we’d drink and sit around just before dinner. They would say, ‘What did you do today?’ And it became a little ritual – I’d get my little books out, play the music off my phone. So now they know these songs inside out. Do you ever record voice notes on your phone?

Paul: Yes I do, a lot – and it’s embarrassing! To think, when we started off all those years ago, John and I had to remember everything! The only things available for home recording were the big Grundig reel-to-reel tape recorders, and of course you had to be very rich to have one, so we didn't have them.

We always had to remember what we’d written that day. We’d write the song, go away, and all we’d have is a little piece of paper with the words on, and then later on we’d have a drink and think, ‘What the hell was that song?! ... Oh God! Forgotten it!’. I’d wait a minute, thinking John would probably remember, and often one of us would wake up first thing in the morning and luckily have the song in our head again. So, in the studio you were always playing something that you remembered, that you knew and that was finished.

Nowadays with iPhones, you put a little sketch of an idea or a little bit of a riff, maybe just two lines of a song and think ‘I’ll finish that later’. My phone is full of little sketches, some of which I pulled out during lockdown and thought ‘I've really got to finish these’. So, I did.

But yeah, I’m always on my iPhone, always putting ideas down. And the double-edged sword means it's good because you can remember your ideas. But it's bad because you don't finish them. You’ve got to force yourself to come back and finish. Fortunately, I had an opportunity during this time to do just that.

Vintage Beatles pic: George


Thursday, October 29, 2020

Vintage news clipping: The Beatles "White Album" concert that wasn't

All the news that never happened - here at The Glass Onion Beatles Journal.


Vintage news clippings: The Beatles "White Album" TV ad that wasn't - plus Paul's non-speech to the Black Panthers and John, Yoko and Bill Cosby

In 1968, the Beatles briefly planned to plug the upcoming release of their "White Album" with a TV ad. However, the plan was scrapped a short time after it was mentioned in the music press. Wouldn't it have been fun to see, though?


Thursday, October 22, 2020

Vintage Beatles Apple Corps ad, 1968


Vintage news clipping: Donovan sings Paul McCartney's "Junk" - 1968

Fresh from spending time in India with the Beatles, Donovan in this interview mentions one of many songs John and Paul wrote there. In this case, it's "Junk," a beautiful tune demoed for inclusion on the Beatles' "White Album," but not released officially until Paul's McCartney album in 1970.



Wednesday, October 21, 2020

McCartney III website now live

Fans have been checking it for weeks. Now there's something to see, although it's mostly links that go to Paul's official site.

However, if you click around a bit, there is this.

McCartney III: Meanwhile, Target's got GREEN vinyl

Sorry completists, McCartney III is going to be an expensive proposition for you. Just wait until we get to the giant dice (die?) version containing extra tracks and a roulette wheel and God knows what else....

It's time like these when I'm glad to be a "just the music" guy. 

Target Exclusive Green Vinyl McCartney III album.

Here's a closer look at that gatefold:

McCartney III promo video

 I'm telling you - the marketing blitz is upon us!

Limited-edition McCartney III "Coke bottle" vinyl LP via Spotify

This is gonna be like Egypt Station, again, isn't it? With a zillions variations.

In addition to the Third Man vinyl edition mentions a few posts down, Spotify just announced this to Paul fans:

Paul McCartney has pressed a limited edition variant of his just-announced, upcoming LP McCartney III exclusively for his biggest fans on Spotify—you!

50 years following the release of his self-titled first solo album McCartney, Paul McCartney will release McCartney III on December 11th: a stripped back, self-produced and, quite literally, solo work marking the opening of a new decade, in the tradition of 1970’s McCartney and 1980’s McCartney II.

This exclusive collaboration, pressed on 130g Coke-bottle clear vinyl, is limited to 3000 copies worldwide. It's available until October 29th or while supplies last, so act quick!

Official details on McCartney III

Here's a new release from Paul on his upcoming McCartney III album.
2020 marks 50 years since Paul McCartney released his self-titled first solo album. Featuring Paul playing every instrument and writing and recording every song, McCartney’s effortless charms have only grown in stature and influence over time. The chart-topping album would signify not only a creative rebirth for Paul, but also as a template for generations of indie and lo-fi musicians seeking to emulate its warm homespun vibe and timeless tunes including Maybe I’m Amazed, Every Night and The Lovely Linda.

The 1970s saw Paul forming his second band Wings and dominating the charts, stages and airwaves of the world, with multiple #1 singles, sold-out world tours, multi-million-selling albums including Band on the Run, Venus and Mars, Wings at the Speed of Sound, London Town and more. In 1980,10 years from the release of McCartney, Paul wrapped up the decade of Wings with the surprise release of his second solo album, the electronic-tinged McCartney II. Once again featuring Paul entirely on his own, McCartney II would come to be regarded as a left-field classic, with classic cuts such as Coming Up, Temporary Secretary and Waterfalls.

The 1980s saw Paul start again, this time kicking off an unprecedented solo run. The following four decades would see Paul’s iconic and legendary status grow exponentially, with solo masterpieces including Tug of War, Flowers in the Dirt, Pipes of Peace, Flaming Pie, Memory Almost Full and New, and massive live shows the world over — actually setting the World Record for the largest attendance at a concert. In 2018, 54 years since The Beatles first hit #1 on the Billboard Album Charts – Paul’s Egypt Station would be yet another historic #1 McCartney album.

Hard as it is to believe, it’s only been two years since Egypt Station went #1--and it was only last year that Paul’s Freshen Up tour played its last show before Covid hit pause on live music, a legendary blowout at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

Paul hadn’t planned to release an album in 2020, but in the isolation of “Rockdown,” he soon found himself fleshing out some existing musical sketches and creating even more new ones. Before long an eclectic collection of spontaneous songs would become McCartney III: a stripped back, self-produced and, quite literally, solo work marking the opening of a new decade, in the tradition of 1970’s McCartney and 1980’s McCartney II. Recorded earlier this year in Sussex, McCartney III is mostly built from live takes of Paul on vocals and guitar or piano, overdubbing his bass playing, drumming, etc. atop that foundation. 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 grand finale.

Speaking about III, Paul said: “I was living lockdown life on my farm with my family and I would go to my studio every day. I had to do a little bit of work on some film music and that turned into the opening track and then when it was done I thought what will I do next? I had some stuff I’d worked on over the years but sometimes time would run out and it would be left half-finished so I started thinking about what I had. Each day I’d start recording with the instrument I wrote the song on and then gradually layer it all up, it was a lot of fun. It was about making music for yourself rather than making music that has to do a job. So, I just did stuff I fancied doing. I had no idea this would end up as an album.”

Long Tailed Winter Bird and Winter Bird/When Winter Comes bookend McCartney III's vast and intimate range of modes and moods, from soul searching to wistful, from playful to raucous and all points between — captured with some of the same gear from Paul’s Rude Studio used as far back as 1971 Wings sessions. And Paul's array of vintage instruments he played on the new album have an even more storied history, including Bill Black of Elvis Presley's original trio's double bass alongside Paul's own iconic Hofner violin bass, and a mellotron from Abbey Road Studios used on Beatles recordings, to name but a few.

In keeping with McCartney & McCartney II’s photography by Linda McCartney, the principal photos for III were shot by Paul’s daughter Mary McCartney—with additional photography by Paul’s nephew Sonny McCartney as well as photos Paul took on his phone (it’s a family affair). The cover art and typography is by celebrated American artist Ed Ruscha.

McCartney and McCartney II each saw Paul open up a new decade with reinvention, both personal and musical. Just as McCartney’s 1970 release marked Paul’s return to basics in the wake of the biggest band break-up in musical history, and the 1980 avant-garde masterpiece McCartney II rose from the ashes of Wings, McCartney III finds Paul back on his own, turning unexpected circumstances into a personal snapshot of a timeless artist at a unique point in history.
McCartney III will 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 3,000 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 4,000 hand-numbered white vinyl LPs, and more.

"McCartney III" now listed on Amazon - PLUS limited Third Man vinyl edition

The long-hinted-at McCartney III album is now listed on Amazon, but there's been no official news release yet from Paul.

The cover image above is up now on Amazon in the U.S., though the album is currently listed as "unavailable." There are listings for both CD and vinyl editions of the album.

Here is the album description from Amazon

Paul McCartney will release McCartney III on December 11th. Paul hadn't planned to release an album in 2020, but in the isolation of "Rockdown," he found himself fleshing out some existing musical sketches and creating new ones. Before long an eclectic collection of spontaneous songs would become McCartney III: a stripped, self-produced solo work marking the opening of a new decade. Built mostly from live takes of Paul on vocals & guitar/piano, overdubbing bass, drums, etc. atop this foundation.

Also online is a McCartney III "333 Edition" vinyl edition from Third Man Records, Jack White's label.

Here's a peek at that:

Here's the description from Third Man:

McCartney III —333 Edition is limited to 333 copies and is pressed on 'yellow-with-black-dots' vinyl created using 33 recycled vinyl copies of McCartney and McCartney II by Third Man Pressing. This special "regrind" pressing, the first version of McCartney's third self-titled solo album available for purchase, is hand-numbered and features an exclusive screen-printed jacket.

Stay tuned for more details!

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Covering the Beatles: "A Hard Day's Night" by George Martin and His Orchestra


Here's another clue for you all: "McCartney III," by Paul

Paul has tweeted another image hinting at a pending McCartney III album release:

Meanwhile, the NME rounds up other clues that have surfaced, including dice displaying three dots that appear when tunes from first and second McCartney LPs are played on Spotify, and the "303," rather than 404, message that appears when fans try to load the website, where, I suspect, we'll be seeing a lot more soon.

Paul also tweeted these images: three mushrooms (which we posted earlier here) and an image of a McCartney rose - a hybrid variety created in 1996 as a gift to Paul from his record company:

Additionally, some folks have received a set of promotional dice from Universal Music, as seen here:

Vintage ad for George Harrison's "Wonderwall" soundtrack LP