2020 marks 50 years since Paul McCartney released his self-titled first solo album. Featuring Paul playing every instrument and writing and recording every song, the effortless charms of 1970s McCartney have only grown in stature and influence over time. The chart-topping album would signify not only a creative rebirth for Paul, but also as a template for generations of indie and lo-fi musicians seeking to emulate its warm homespun vibe and timeless tunes including ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’, ‘Every Night’ and ‘The Lovely Linda’.
Today Paul announces the third album in a trilogy of classics, McCartney III. Paul’s eighteenth solo studio album follows 2018’s Egypt Station, and has been uniquely “Made in Rockdown”.
Paul hadn’t planned to release an album in 2020, but in the isolation of “Rockdown,” he soon found himself fleshing out some existing musical sketches and creating even more new ones. Before long an eclectic collection of spontaneous songs would become McCartney III: a stripped back, self-produced and, quite literally, solo work marking the opening of a new decade, in the tradition of 1970’s McCartney and 1980’s McCartney II.
Recorded earlier this year in Sussex, McCartney III is mostly built from live takes of Paul on vocals and guitar or piano, overdubbing his bass playing, drumming, etc. atop that foundation. The process first sparked when Paul returned to an unreleased track from the early ’90s, ‘When Winter Comes’ (co-produced by George Martin). Paul crafted a new passage for the song, giving rise to album opener ‘Long Tailed Winter Bird’ – while ‘When Winter Comes’, featuring its new 2020 intro ‘Winter Bird’, became the new album’s grand finale.
Speaking about the new album, Paul said: “I was living lockdown life on my farm with my family and I would go to my studio every day. I had to do a little bit of work on some film music and that turned into the opening track and then when it was done I thought what will I do next? I had some stuff I’d worked on over the years but sometimes time would run out and it would be left half-finished so I started thinking about what I had. Each day I’d start recording with the instrument I wrote the song on and then gradually layer it all up, it was a lot of fun. It was about making music for yourself rather than making music that has to do a job. So, I just did stuff I fancied doing. I had no idea this would end up as an album.”
McCartney III’s vast and intimate range of modes and moods, from soul searching to wistful, from playful to raucous and all points between – captured with some of the same gear from Paul’s Rude Studio used as far back as 1971 Wings sessions. And Paul’s array of vintage instruments he played on the new album have an even more storied history, including Bill Black of Elvis Presley’s original trio’s double bass alongside Paul’s own iconic Hofner violin bass, and a mellotron from Abbey Road Studios used on Beatles recordings, to name but a few.
Note: the LP is available on numbered white vinyl, exclusive to indie shops.