Sunday, March 4, 2012

Spies Like Us


Spies Like Us paulmccartney.filminspector.com
Paul McCartney in the "Spies Like Us" music video.


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The "Spies Like Us" music video concludes on the sidewalk outside Abbey Road Studios in London.

"Spies Like Us," the title song to a 1985 Warner Bros. motion picture starring Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd, was written and performed by Paul McCartney. Backed with 1974 Wings song "My Carnival," "Spies Like Us" holds a key place in the legendary career of Paul McCartney as his final Top Ten hit (No. 7) as lead artist to date in the United States (it peaked at No. 13 in the United Kingdom).

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Paul McCartney has a mixed record with soundtracks. His title song to "Live and Let Die" has become perhaps his most durable post-Beatles hit, with the possible exception of "Band on the Run," but many other of his soundtrack songs have disappeared without a trace. If "Live and Let Die" was a grand slam, "(I Want to) Come Home" a fly ball out, and "Vanilla Sky" a single, "Spies Like Us" was a solid double. The music video directed by John Landis, is fun and starrs Paul playing his hit while Aykroyd and Chase provide some strained slapstick humor. In fact, the whole "Spies Like Us" music video is strained and appears designed mainly to show that, yes, Paul does indeed play all of the instruments as he likes to do. I think we've seen that trick once or twice or a few dozen times from Paul. Yes, it is impressive that Paul has that unearthly talent and is a one-man band, but we get it already.

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To illustrate the silliness of some enduring laws, the "Spies Like Us" music video could not be shown in the UK because it portrays Chase and Aykroyd miming the playing of instruments. This violates British law that states that only actual Union musicians may be portrayed as playing instruments in films of any sort. The fact that Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd actually are musicians in their own right cut no ice because they were not members of the Union. This British labor law also posed some issues for the Beatles in some of their videos (such as for "Hello Goodbye"). Th inability to show the music video as a promotional tool perhaps accounts for the poorer performance of "Spies Like Us" in the UK than in the US. Some things never change. Oh, the "Spies Like Us" film was a box office success, though many critics were not amused and it is not exactly revered as a classic.

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Paul proves that as an actor he is a great singer in the "Spies Like Us" video. 

"Spies Like Us" the song did not appear on any McCartney albums until 1993, when it was placed as a bonus track on the "Paul McCartney Collection" version of "Press to Play." "Spies Like Us" does not appear on the "Spies Like Us" soundtrack album, so don't buy it thinking that you will get the Paul McCartney hit. All of the songs on the "Spies Like Us" soundtrack are by Elmer Bernstein.


Spies Like Us paulmccartney.filminspector.com
The Paul McCartney title hit is not on the "Spies Like Us" soundtrack album.

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