Friday, March 9, 2012

Wanderlust


Wanderlust paulmccartney.filminspector.com
Paul McCartney sings "Wanderlust" in "Give My Regards to Broad Street."



Paul McCartney tests his range on "Wanderlust," soaring to heights seldom visited before or since. Paul has perhaps his clearest vocals on "Wanderlust," a track on his "Tug of War" album. This is one of the songs that Paul recorded during the waning days of Wings in August 1980 and then completed at AIR Studios in London during December 1980. George Martin produced it. A beautiful song both as a composition and as a McCartney rendition, "Wanderlust" makes my list of most underrated Macca songs.

Wanderlust paulmccartney.filminspector.com
"Wanderlust" with a couple of famous people aboard in 1977.

"Wanderlust" is one of those overlooked gems in Paul's career, one of many on the brilliant "Tug of War." The key to "Tug of War" was the contribution of George Martin, as this was one of the last times, if not the last time, that Paul willingly allowed Martin to "run the show" and put out a quality product rather than a self-indulgent mess that characterized some of McCartney's later efforts. McCartney has the entire orchestra behind him on this one, or at least the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble, with a heavy emphasis on horns.

Wanderlust paulmccartney.filminspector.com


As with so many soaring songs by Paul, "Wanderlust" takes its theme from something quite unexpectedly prosaic - a boat Paul chartered in the Virgin Islands while producing Wings album "London Town" (apparently, he chartered one for Linda and himself and another for the rest of the band). Paul being Paul, he smoked some weed on the boat, which led to some issues:
We’d been on one of the boats, and the captain had smelt some pot, and you know, we thought, "Well, we’re in the middle of the ocean, and we’re not harming anyone."  
But he [the captain] was very uptight about it, and he basically asked us to leave. "Wanderlust" was the name of the boat. So my song is [sings], "Light out Wanderlust’ – you know, we don’t want to be here – ‘Captain says they’ll be a bust." It’s all about this captain and him getting uptight about smelling some pot somewhere.
So, the Wanderlust boat Captain told Paul the deal was off and asked him to leave, and Wings headed back to London. Paul has said:
I enjoyed doing that track, and the brass ensemble was great; we did that back in England. They were fabulous, the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble. I think, listening to the record again recently, I didn’t use the brass ensemble enough. They could have done more; they could have been more often in the song, instead of just the solo.
One must understand that while Paul says "I didn't use the brass ensemble enough," he wasn't the only one involved in the project: George Martin passed on the choices, too.

Wanderlust paulmccartney.filminspector.com
Ringo Starr chips in some drumming on "Wanderlust" in Give My Regards to Broad Street." 

Wanderlust paulmccartney.filminspector.com


To my ears, the brass is fine, but then again, I'm not Paul McCartney and who knows how much better it might have sounded. I suppose he could always isolate the vocal and remix "Wanderlust" with a new brass sound, but that seems like a lot of effort for an old album track that is pretty good as it is. I doubt that Paul wants to do the vocals again, however.

Wanderlust paulmccartney.filminspector.com
Paul and George Martin in the studio in the early 1980s.

Paul himself seems to think highly of "Wanderlust," as he has included it on "Give My Regards to Broad Street," "Pure McCartney." However, undoubtedly due to the difficulty of singing "Wanderlust," Paul never has performed it live. Given the realities of aging, McCartney almost certainly never will. So, enjoy the record, because that's all we have.



Light out Wanderlust
Head us out to sea
Captain says there'll be a bust
This one's not for me

Take us from the dark
Out where we can see
Captain's out to make his mark
This one's not to be

Light out Wanderlust
Help us to be free
Light out Wanderlust
Do it just for me
Wanderlust

Oh where did I go wrong my love?
What petty crime was I found guilty of?
What better time to find a brand new day?
Oh - Wanderlust away

Light out Wanderlust
Help us to be free
Light out Wanderlust
Do it just for me
Wanderlust

Captain's out to make his mark
This one's not to be

Light out Wanderlust
Head us out to sea
Captain says there'll be a bust
This one's not for me

COUNTER MELODY
Oh where did I go wrong my love?
What petty crime was I found guilty of?
What better time to find a brand new day?
Oh Wanderlust away

Dropping a line
Maybe this time
It's Wanderlust for me


Wanderlust paulmccartney.filminspector.com


2018

No comments:

Post a Comment