1980 turned out to be quite the eventful year for Beatle Paul.
The first weeks of January were spent with Wings, polishing their live set for the
upcoming Japanese tour, slated to open at Tokyo's Budo-Kan Hall on the 21st. The
group departed from Heathrow on the 12th, and after a brief stay in New York, they landed
at Tokyo's Narita Airport on the 16th. All was going according to Hoyle until
customs officials came across 219 grams of marijuana tucked away in Paul's luggage.
And just in case customs didn't notice the football sized bag of weed, Yoko Ono,
despondent over the scheduled karmic abuse of the Hotel Okura's Presidential Suite by the
McCartney's, had called a high ranking relative in Japan to tip them off. Uh-huh.
Unfortunately, such indiscretions relating to the import of contraband require a
mandatory stay at the metropolitan clink, where Paul checked in as prisoner #22. The
eleven-date tour was promptly cancelled, as Wings and their entourage crept back to the
Meanwhile, Paul found himself serenading the local convicts with such
Wings classics as "Retting Go", "With A Rittle Ruck", and "Sirry
Rove Songs". Nine days later, he was unceremoniously deported, and would not
return to Japan for over a decade. After returning to England via Alaska and
Amsterdam, he remained in seclusion, eschewing the press and penning a journal of his
recent holiday entitled Japanese Jailbird.
Paul finally ventured out towards the end of February to accept the Daily
Mirror Readers Award for "Outstanding Music Personality of 1979", with an
appearance at the British Rock and Pop Awards, held at London's Cafe Royal. Less
than 24 hours later, "Rockestra's Theme" garnered a Grammy Award for Best Rock
Paul spent part of March mixing live performances, and on the 26th and
27th took up residence at Ewarts TV Studios to film the promotional clip for "Coming
Up". The next two months were spent finalizing the release and promotion of McCartney
II, including notable interviews with Andy Peebles for Radio One and Vic Garbarini
for Musician Magazine. The Musician interview was so successful
that it actually saw limited commercial release in December 1980 as The McCartney
McCartney II was recorded at home in Sussex and Scotland over 6
weeks during the Summer of 1979, gradually developing from what started as a bit of
musical recreation into a viable release. The lead off single "Coming Up"
hit the street on April 11th, with the album following a month later on May 16th.
A little more positive promotion followed with Paul picking up the Ivor
Novello "Special Award For International Achievement" at the Grosvenor House
Hotel in London on May 9th. One wonders if it were the achievement of escaping from
Japan with just a slap on the wrist that put him on top of the pile. On the 17th,
Paul and Linda appeared via satellite on Saturday Night Live, talking with Weekend
Update's Vatican Correspondent Father Guido Sarducci, and introducing the promo clip for
May also saw Paul and Linda squeeze in a trip to the Cannes Film Festival
where Linda's film short Seaside Woman picked up the prestigious Palm d'Or.
The award prompted a general theatre release, supporting Peter Seller's Being
There as well as inducing re-issue of the Suzy and The Red Stripes single.
June saw preparation of the promotional film for "Waterfalls",
the follow-up single, which was released on the 13th. Paul, Linda and Lawrence Juber
spent nearly three weeks in July at Super Bear studios in France laying down tracks for
Ringo's next LP. In addition to the Ringo tracks, an early version of Linda's
"Loves Full Glory" was committed to tape. It was time for a breather, and
the month of August was dedicated to a holiday.
In what has become an annual tradition, Buddy Holly Week took place from
September 7th through the 14th. On the 15th, "Temporary Secretary", the
final single from McCartney II, was issues solely in the UK, and as a limited
edition at that. With McCartney II beginning its decline on the charts, it
was time to get cracking on the next project.
In October, Paul delved back into the Cold Cuts project,
re-enlisting Wings for vocal and instrumental overdubs. Also recorded at this time
was the demo soundtrack for the resurrected Rupert The Bear film. After
completing work on those never-to-be-released projects, the group went into rehearsals for
the next album. Portions of these rehearsals have previously appeared on the rather
dreary release, Ballroom Dancing. Judging from these excerpts, the
rehearsals seemed to lack any direction, and consisted of little more than instrumental
Paul spent the end of October and early November working with George
Martin at AIR Studios in London, recording material for the Rupert soundtrack.
In November, the group entered the studio to begin work on what would eventually
become Tug Of War. Committed to tape during these sessions was
"Rainclouds", a track in progress when disaster struck in early December.
Paul was ambushed by journalists leaving AIR studios after a session, and was tapped for
his reaction to John's death. His atypical, unscripted comment resulted in mountains
of bad press. Not surprisingly, little more was heard from the McCartneys in 1980.
Over the next month, for reasons which have yet to become clear, the group
concept for the next LP was scrapped, and Tug Of War became a solo project.
Paul and Linda jetted to the island of Montserrat on February 1, 1981 to commence
recording with producer George Martin and a superstar cast. Sessions at AIR Studios
(now known as Little Pile Of Ash Studios) wrapped up in early March, and Paul and Linda
returned to England. A little over a year later, on April 26, 1982, Tug Of War
finally saw release.
But back to the Wings rehearsals. As mentioned earlier, portions of
these tapes have been previously released, but even though the arrangements of several
songs are quite similar, the only previously available track from this tape is "Cut
Across Shorty" which saw release on Vigotone's Good Times Comin'. The
Wings lineup at this time still consisted of Paul, Denny Laine, Lawrence Juber, and Steve
Holly. Linda is also present but her musical contributions appear to be limited to
the occasional vocal harmony.
Disc one opens with Paul on electric guitar, attempting to loosen the
group up by running through a few oldies, punctuated by a couple of new tunes.
Opening the set is "Twenty Flight Rock", in an arrangement not unlike the one
from the 1979 tour of the UK. Next up is an extended rehearsal of "Ballroom
Dancing", which features an arrangement unbecoming of the released version.
"Ballroom Dancing" gradually dissolves and the band follows along as Paul starts
into the familiar but still unreleased "Cage". The track was apparently
left off of Back To The Egg because of Paul's dissatisfaction with Steve Holly's
timekeeping of the track. This performance obviously didn't change his mind.
After a previously unsuccessful attempt, Paul finally coaxes the group into running
through an unreleased McCartney-Laine composition "Old Man Lovin'". This
one too never saw the light of day, and after hearing a couple of passes, one can see
why. The tape runs out and when we return it's back to the oldies. An extended
run through of "Sure To Fall (In Love With You)" is followed by an uptempo
rendition of "Movie Magg". Carl Perkins' first single on Sun
records. Two passes of the perennial "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" quickly
followed as did a lengthy workout of "Summertime" which features some George
Benson inspired vocalization from Lawrence. Next up is a medley combining a pair of
covers from the King, "Good Rockin' Tonight" and "Shake, Rattle and
Roll". The aforementioned reading of Eddie Cochran's "Cut Across
Shorty" appears here in context and is followed by a groovin' rendition of Jesse Ed
Fuller's " Stealin' Back To My Same Old Used To Be". The oldies come to an
end with Paul & Co. running through the standard "Singin' The Blues" and a
pass at Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode".
When it comes to getting some work done, "Rainclouds" is the
first track out of the gate. It appears here in a country setting, as opposed to the
Gaelic reading given the commercially released version. After spending nearly thirty
minutes at the hoe-down, Paul leads the group through a painful workout of "Average
Person". As the pumping rhythm begins to fray the listeners' sensibilities,
Paul thankfully shifts gears, and turns to another track held over for Pipes Of Peace,
"Keep Under Cover". Several passes follow, as the arrangement begins to
take shape. Closing this release is an extended rehearsal of "Ebony And
Ivory" which at this stage is very close to the final version, with the exception of
the tempo and the arrangement. Paul then slips over to the drum kit and we hear a
reprised run through of "Rainclouds" before the tape unceremoniously leaders