Friday, March 9, 2012

Tug of War


Tug of War single paulmccartney.filminspector.com
Paul and Linda McCartney in the "Tug of War" video.



"Tug of War" is the title track from the 1982 Paul McCartney album of the same name. Released as the third single from "Tug of War" after "Ebony and Ivory" and "Take It Away," "Tug of War" the single, backed by "Get It" featuring Carl Perkins, peaked at No. 53 in both the United States and the United Kingdom - quite a rarity, that. The opinion seems unanimous that "Tug of War" was a mediocre Paul McCartney offering on the album. That is not to say that "Tug of War" is a terrible song, just that listeners felt it was not up to the heights achievable by Paul McCartney at that point in his career.

Tug of War single paulmccartney.filminspector.com


A very serious song, "Tug of War" is Paul and Linda acting very seriously. They do not clown around a bit in this environmental and anti-war anthem. George Martin makes one of his rare appearances in a video as well. There are some interesting clips of futurism and, well, tugs of war in "Tug of War." I believe they come from the films "Things to Come" (1936) and "Mighty Joe Young" (1949), among others. The single did just OK as the third single from the smash hit album, one suspects Paul and Linda released "Tug of War" for non-commercial reasons, as evidenced by Linda's unusually prominent role in the music video.



About the "Tug of War" project, Paul has said:
I wanted to work with George Martin again. I called him on the phone, asking him if he was interested, he accepted and we decided to make a very professional album. It was the first time that George Martin produced me since Live And Let Die. I really like him as a producer, and when you work with people who are really good like that it makes it easier for yourself. So after Live And Let Die I didn't do anything with George for a while and continued working with Wings and stuff, and on Tug Of War I just thought that it would be nice to have a change. He was interested in working with me again and we got together and made the album. It was as simple as that.
It's nice to have friends like George Martin.

Tug of War single paulmccartney.filminspector.com


Personally, I think that comparisons of "Tug of War" with John Lennon's "Imagine," which I have seen here and there but not everywhere, are a bit stretched. "Tug of War" is a rather dull attempt at asserting a political opinion. That's perfectly reasonable for Paul and Linda McCartney to do, and it's his album - he can do as he wishes. However, in my personal opinion, Paul could have done it more artistically, and McCartney is at his absolute worst when he gets ham-handed about his politics. Sometimes he gets away with it, as on "Ebony and Ivory," and others times he does not. "Tug of War" (the single) is one of the latter occasions. Certainly, there are better songs on the "Tug of War" album (the two previous singles, for instance, "Ballroom Dancing," "Here Today," and the magnificent "Wanderlust," for starters - oh, heck, every other song on the album is better). Jamming multiple social causes into one song also is a problem, one will suffice, thank you very much. Perhaps it is simply that "Tug of War" sounds like a dirge, a tendency that Paul McCartney occasionally falls into (as on 2001's "From a Lover to a Friend," for instance). I doubt that I am alone in this viewpoint - usually, an album's title track is the first or at least second single. Pushing "Tug of War" down to third and apparently not even releasing the single in secondary markets was a clear expression of disinterest from the record label.



On the bright side, "Tug of War" was a dynamite name for the album, at least. As with every Paul McCartney song, there are some listeners who think "Tug of War" is the best song ever, and their opinions are as valid as anyone else's opinions. If you love the single "Tug of War," good for you. Anyone can appreciate the simple sentiments expressed in the "Tug of War" track, where we may differ is only on the track itself.


Tug of War single paulmccartney.filminspector.com
Yes, Paul, I'm sure.

It's a tug of war
What with one thing and another
It's a tug of war
We expected more
But with one thing and another
We were trying to outdo each other
In a tug of war

In another world
In another world we could

Stand on top of the mountain
With our flag unfurled
In time to come
In time to come we will be
Dancing to the beat played
On a different drum

It's a tug of war
Though I know I mustn't grumble
It's a tug of war
But I can't let go
If I do you'll take a tumble
And the whole thing is going to crumble
It's a tug of war

Pushing pushing, pulling pulling
Pushing and pulling

In years to come they may discover
What the air we breathe and the life we lead
Are all about
But it won't be soon enough
Soon enough for me
No it won't be soon enough
Soon enough for me

In another world we could
Stand on top of the mountain
With our flag unfurled
In a time to come we will be
Dancing to the beat played on a different drum

We will be dancing to the beat
Played on a different drum
We will be dancing to the beat
Played on a different drum

It's a tug of war, a tug of war
A tug of war
What with one thing and another
It's a tug of war
We expected more
but with one thing and another
We were trying to outscore each other
In a tug of war


Tug of War single paulmccartney.filminspector.com


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