|Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney performing "Ebony and Ivory."|
"Ebony and Ivory" is one of Paul McCartney's more controversial songs. A duet by Paul and Stevie Wonder, it touched a lot of raw nerves. It is a bold pop song in that it involves issues of racial equality, always a touchy subject in the United States.
|The Columbia single "Ebony and Ivory."|
Personally, I never really could get my heart around this song, but it was a smash No. 1 hit in both the States and the UK. Released on 26 March 1982, it is on Paul's No. 1 "Tug of War" album. "Tug of War" was Paul's last solo US No. 1 (obviously, excluding the Beatles Anthology albums of the 1990s, and "Flowers in the Dirt" was Paul's last in the UK).
|Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney in the music video for "Ebony and Ivory."|
"Ebony and Ivory" was No. 1 in the United States for seven weeks, a massive chart run. Only "Hey Jude" spent longer (ten weeks) at the top of the charts in Paul's legendary career. A lot of people do love the song, including, apparently, former President Obama, who had a command performance by Paul and Stevie at the White House. Apparently, Paul was inspired to write the song by a Spike Milligan quote that he happened to see:
black notes, white notes, and you need to play the two to make harmony, folks!However, that general quote goes back long before Milligan.