Saturday, March 3, 2012

Take It Away


Family Reunion Time

Take It Away paulmccartney.filminspector.com
The "Take It Away" sleeve, photographed by Linda McCartney.



"Take It Away" was Paul McCartney's second single from his "Tug of War" album (following the infamous "Ebony and Ivory" with Stevie Wonder) and 30th solo single. "Take It Away" did fairly well as a follow-up single, hitting No. 10 in the United States and No. 15 in the United Kingdom, and sent the "Tug of War" album back up the charts. It spent sixteen weeks in the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, a very respectable performance. "Take It Away" has a distinctive "Wings" sound, with Linda McCartney providing the backing vocals that were an integral part of the (disbanded) group.

Take It Away paulmccartney.filminspector.com


The "Take It Away" track is perhaps the biggest "fusion" of different portions of Paul's career. It has Ringo Starr on drums and George Martin on the electric piano - a rare song when Martin is credited for performing on an instrument. So, with that Beatles element secure, Paul also has Linda with her prominent backing vocals (some of her best), adding the Wings element. Eric Stewart, who worked with Paul a lot during his solo career in the '80s, contributes backing vocals and guitar licks. So, all three major phases of McCartney's career are represented. Perennial session man Steve Gadd helps Ringo out with drums and percussion.

Take It Away paulmccartney.filminspector.com
John Hurt in the video for "Take It Away."

The accompanying music video also foreshadows Paul's later career. It features actor John Hurt in a non-singing role - one of the first times, if not the actual first time, that he includes a non-performing celebrity. Paul would return to this tactic in the 2000s with guest appearances by Hollywood stars like Johnny Depp and Natalie Portman. George Martin also appears prominently in the video and not just as a looming presence in the control room, a true rarity.

Take It Away paulmccartney.filminspector.com


This is one of my personal favorites of all Paul McCartney songs. It's one that I wonder, "Why doesn't everyone else love this song?" No, it's not a true "classic," but "Take It Away" is a typical Paul McCartney nice, light, bouncy tune of a type that doesn't get much appreciation after it does its duty on the charts. The "Take It Away" single was released on 21 June 1982 after being recorded in February 1981, shortly after John Lennon's death. This may account for the "family reunion" sentimental feel of the video.


Take It Away paulmccartney.filminspector.com
Back cover of "Take It Away." Paul not looking very happy in the picture with George Martin for some reason.

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