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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Wings - "Wonderful Christmastime" - Live During UK Tour 1979

Paul McCartney Wonderful Christmastime

From Paul McCartney and Wings' final concert of their 1979 UK Tour, this is a live performance of "Wonderful Christmastime" - from December 17, 1979 in Glasgow, Scotland. A new single at the time, this is a rare live performance of the song by Wings - who would go on to perform live together just one more time at the Concert for the People of Kampuchea on December 29th, 1979.

Paul McCartney and Wings Wonderful Christmastime

Note how Wings are not as tight as they were on many other songs, with shaky backup vocals. However, this remains a fabulous rendition that truly was live, and not "sort of live" as is so often the case with major artists today.

Paul McCartney and Wings Wonderful Christmastime
Linda McCartney

The reality is that this was a Paul McCartney song, not really a Wings song at all, though Wings did perform it a few times and the members of the band did appear in Paul's video for the single.

Paul McCartney and Wings Wonderful Christmastime

This song has made Paul a wealthy man, though it is often derided and hardly considered a classic by many of his fans. He has made tens of millions of dollars from this song alone.

Paul McCartney and Wings Wonderful Christmastime
Ho, ho, ho!

You could throw out his entire Beatles, Wings and subsequent solo career, and Paul McCartney would still be a very wealthy man just from this one tune.

Paul McCartney and Wings Wonderful Christmastime


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Sir Paul Takes in a Basketball Game

Paul McCartney Nets Sixers

Sir Paul McCartney takes in the NBA Sixers at Nets game in New Jersey on December 16, 2013. No courtside seat for Sir Paul, though he does have his bodyguard handy.

Apparently, it was free tee-shirt night or something like that, and Paul got into the spirit of things and tried to snag one. Unfortunately, the shirt dropped a little short and Paul is seen remonstrating with the bloke in in front of him who got it in a good-natured way.

When you grow up in Liverpool in the 1950s, you learn to appreciate the little things in life. Paul is very much a New Yorker, though, and this is something New Yorkers do.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Letting Go (live)

Paul Linda McCartney
Paul and Linda at the "Sgt. Pepper" launch party

Sun Life Stadium, Miami, 4/3/10 (that's April 3, 2010 for you European types). ;)

My pick of most underrated Macca tune. This is just a sterling performance, practically single-quality. This guy is almost 70 years old when he did this! Just amazing.

This was on "Venus and Mars." It is about Paul's love for wife Linda (who is a co-writer on the tune, but that was probably just for peculiar legal reasons). Released as a single, it flopped for a Wings tune at their height of their prowess. However, it endures, and obviously Paul himself still thinks quite highly of it.

Anyway, I repeat that it is just about the most underrated tune in the entire Paul McCartney catalog, capturing a '70s vibe without sounding dated.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Paul in Japan 2013

Paul McCartney Finally Has a Good Tour in Japan

Paul McCartney Osaka Japan

Paul McCartney arrives in Osaka in November 2013. He also was scheduled to perform in Tokyo for three shows.

The crowd was very excited to see Paul.

Paul McCartney Osaka Japan
Paul's Japanese admirers

They were also very excited on a previous occasion. Sometimes, though, the show does not go on, as in the situation below.

Paul McCartney Tokyo Japan 1980
Paul McCartney after being released from jail

Paul's appearances in Japan paid dividends. His single "New" from the album of the same day climbed the Japanese charts to No. 4. Setting aside charity performances, that's Paul's highest singles ranking on a major singles chart in, well, a long time ("Hope of Deliverance" made it to no. 3 in Germany in 1993, and "My Brave Face" reached No. 4 on the US AC chart in 1989). The Japanese musical market is said to be the second largest in the world, after the United States.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Paul McCartney's Letter to Vladimir Putin

Paul McCartney greenpeace
Paul McCartney

I post the below letter from Paul McCartney to Vladimir Putin simply to give it more publicity. Paul McCartney is trying to help a few people. You don't have to love Greenpeace or anything like that to respect an artist who stands up for someone else when he has absolutely no need to do so. Paul is doing the same thing that people did in the 1960s that people speak so glowingly and fondly of now, in retrospect at least. I'm sure John Lennon is applauding somewhere.

In brief, 30 international Greenpeace activists were arrested in September for protesting against Russian oil drilling in the Arctic and now face up to 7 years in prison on charges of "hooliganism." Their Dutch-registered ship was impounded. It is the general understanding that the activists simply boarded the ship and then waited for a Russian SWAT team inevitably to arrest them, without offering resistance. There was no property damage worth mentioning. As I said, this is the general understanding, perhaps there are other facts not known to us.

This really is not a political issue unless you are bound and determined to make it into one. Paul is on the Left side of the scale, for sure, but this is just a Humanitarian plea. Everyone will make their own assessment of such things, I'm just providing a little information.

At the time of this writing, the experts within Russia are betting that Paul's attempt to reach across lines here will be unsuccessful. It is highly unusual for such a high-profile figure to attempt to intervene in a matter such as this. That is not meant to diminish the direct efforts of other celebrities, such as "Xena" star Lucy Lawless, who support Greenpeace. However, they are acting politically, whereas Paul is acting in a purely humanitarian posture. That is a key distinction. As said, this is not really about Greenpeace unless you want to make it so.

Below is the entire posting from Paul's site. You may see the original here on Paul's own website as well.

Greetings from Japan.

Check out my letter below to President Vladimir Putin which he has not replied to as yet. The Russian Ambassador kindly responded saying that their situation ‘is not properly represented in the world media’.

It would be great if this misunderstanding could be resolved and the protesters can be home with their families in time for Christmas. We live in hope.

Paul McCartney


14th October 2013

Dear Vladimir,

I hope this letter finds you well. It is now more than ten years since I played in Red Square, but I still often think about Russia and the Russian people.

I am writing to you about the 28 Greenpeace activists and two journalists being held in Murmansk. I hope you will not object to me bringing up their case.

I hear from my Russian friends that the protesters are being portrayed in some quarters as being anti-Russian, that they were doing the bidding of western governments, and that they threatened the safety of the people working on that Arctic oil platform.

I am writing to assure you that the Greenpeace I know is most certainly not an anti-Russian organisation. In my experience they tend to annoy every government! And they never take money from any government or corporation anywhere in the world.

And above all else they are peaceful. In my experience, non-violence is an essential part of who they are.

I see you yourself have said that they are not pirates - well, that's something everybody can agree on. Just as importantly, they don't think they are above the law. They say they are willing to answer for what they actually did, so could there be a way out of this, one that benefits everybody?

Vladimir, millions of people in dozens of countries would be hugely grateful if you were to intervene to bring about an end to this affair. I understand of course that the Russian courts and the Russian Presidency are separate. Nevertheless I wonder if you may be able to use whatever influence you have to reunite the detainees with their families?

Forty-five years ago I wrote a song about Russia for the White Album, back when it wasn't fashionable for English people to say nice things about your country. That song had one of my favourite Beatles lines in it: "Been away so long I hardly knew the place, gee it's good to be back home."

Could you make that come true for the Greenpeace prisoners?

I hope, when our schedules allow, we can meet up again soon in Moscow.

Sincerely yours,

Paul McCartney

Monday, November 4, 2013

'Save Us' - Live on Hollywood Boulevard

'Save Us' - Live on Hollywood Boulevard

On September 23, 2013 Hollywood Boulevard in LA was closed down for Paul to perform live for Jimmy Kimmel Live. This video has all sorts of shots of Paul arriving by helicopter at dusk, then playing into the night.

It's not a bad little record of the day, though I personally could have done without all the blatant "Jimmy Kimmel" signs. We get it, Jimmy, this was done for your show. I suppose that if you're a fan of both Paul and Jimmy, you'll be in heaven with this video.

As for the song itself, it's not bad. It's inoffensive, taken from the 2013 "New" album. "Save Us" is a generic pop tune, without a whole lot of originality, but certainly tuneful enough and with a somewhat catchy guitar riff. It is reminiscent of a lesser Billy Joel tune, a sound which Paul tends to mimic for some reason now and then, as in "Biker Like an Icon." Not bad as a filler tune on his new album, which overall is very popular.

"New" (the album) has done quite well on the charts. As with virtually all of Paul's albums, it was top-3 in quite a few places, most importantly the major US, UK and Japanese markets. It even managed to squeak out a No. 1 in Norway, so, technically at least, it is yet another No. 1 album for the master. As far as I can tell, it is the first time one of Paul's original studio albums has hit No. 1 on any country chart (at least a country of any size at all) since his 1989 "Flowers in the Dirt," which was No. 1 in the UK and... Norway. That 24-year gap in time could be some kind of record, but Paul has so many of those records I'm sure nobody would even notice.

Paul is experiencing a bit of a late-career revival. Things certainly are looking better for him than they were in the "Driving Rain" to "Chaos and Creation in the Backyard" days, when he seemed to have run out of gas.

So, anyway, there you go. I guess the Norwegians are Paul's most loyal fans! But everyone still loves Paul.

Friday, October 25, 2013

"Queenie Eye" Video from "New"

"Queenie Eye" Has A Boatload of Celebrities

Paul McCartney Johnny Depp Queenie Eye

Paul McCartney's October 2013 album "New" hit #3 on both the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart and the British charts, as well as #2 on the important Japanese chart. To promote it, he enlisted what is undoubtedly the biggest group of international celebrities ever to appear in any music video. Any time you get Johnny Depp, Meryl Streep, Sean Penn and Chris Pine in the same video, you've accomplished something.

I can't recall Meryl Streep ever being in a music video other than for a film she was promoting (she was, I believe, in a Carly Simon video back in the '80s for one of her films). Nobody else in the world could have gotten all these stars to appear in their music video.

As for the song, it is a bit weird in spots, but that's all right. Paul has his weird moments, and "Queenie Eye" does have a certain tunefulness to it. It is another sprightly composition that hearkens back to the mid-late Beatles period of the 1967-1968 era. Paul is in good form and voice, looking as good as he has in years. As a bonus, we get a very rare and revealing glimpse at the famed Abbey Road Studios, where all those hits were made (and continue to be made).

The press has made a big deal out of the fact that Depp and Kate Moss, former sweethearts, are in the same video, but there is absolutely no indication that they were in the same building at the same time.

If you want some more Johnny Depp, visit my Mad Hatter page, where he does the famous Futterwacken dance!

Easy to comment that Paul is not the same person he was in 1968. Well, nobody is. He's still around, though, and doing his utter best to make his releases relevant and pleasing to modern audiences. And nobody has better connections within pop culture to do that than Paul McCartney. Nobody.

It is a fascinating video, and it is nice that Johnny Depp followed up his developing tradition of appearing in Paul McCartney videos such as "My Valentine." There is no sign of Natalie Portman, another McCartney multi-collaborator, but I'm sure she'll turn up again in Paul's videos in the future.

Paul McCartney Johnny Depp Queenie Eye