Monday, February 27, 2012

Uncle Albert - Video

Uncle Albert Admiral Halsey
Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey single.

This video of "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" is taken from Paul's 1973 TV special. The video tone changes halfway through because that's when the special cut off, the rest was filled in by a fan. The symbolism of the video is, shall we say, obscure.

"Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" is a song by Paul and Linda from the album Ram. It was before the establishment of Wings, though almost every source identifies "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" as a Wings single and it is included on "Wings" compilation albums. It more correctly is attributed to Paul and Linda McCartney.

"Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" was released in the United States as a single on 2 August 1971, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on 4 September 1971. It was the first of nine post-Beatles, McCartney-penned singles to top the US pop chart during the 1970s and 1980s. Of course, this is in addition to his 20 No. 1 hits with the Beatles.

Uncle Albert Admiral Halsey

Paul McCartney won the Grammy Award for Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists in 1971 for "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey." The single was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for sales of over one million copies.

"Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" is not a "hard rock" song, for which many have criticized Paul. However, Paul McCartney is extremely capable of writing and performing such tunes (and at least arguably wrote the very first such song in the entire hard-rock genre, "Helter Skelter").

Uncle Albert Admiral Halsey

I don't think anybody really knows what this song is about, despite its magnificence. One interpretation is that it is a meditation on British/American unity, as embodied by Paul's Uncle Albert serving in the Pacific during World War II. Paul has confirmed that Admiral Halsey in the song is, indeed, the famous World War II figure. One can read more WWII references into the lyrics if one wishes, but I think the "Hands across the water, hands across the sky" metaphor pretty much speaks for itself.

Uncle Albert Admiral Halsey

It actually, though, is a riff on "Mary Poppins" and reflects Paul's fatherly impulses during this period (along with other cuddly songs such as "Mary Had A Little Lamb"). Uncle Albert, of course, is a character in "Mary Poppins, and some of the song's verses appear to refer to him.

Uncle Albert Admiral Halsey


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