You might have noticed that we’ve been away for a bit. Holiday’s beckoned so this ‘ere Beatle page has been in recess. But we’re back now, and there’s been a lot going on.
First up, a brand new guest appearance by Paul McCartney to check out, plus we catch up on a couple of his other guest spots from the archives that we didn’t even know existed until recently.
The latest album by Australian singer/songwriter Thelma Plum has just dropped and, surprise surprise, there’s a McCartney connection in the form of a writing credit and the contribution of guitar to one of her tracks, “Made For You’.
Speaking to Stacked magazine, Plum related how it all came about:
“Well, I was in New York City recording a song called ‘Made for You’ which I wrote with Paul Kelly, which is already just incredible, he’s an idol to me. So anyway, I am in the studio with David [Kahne, producer of the song] who also works with Paul McCartney – they are close, [and] work together quite often. We had finished up for the day and I just got a text message from David saying, “You’ll never guess who played on the album?!” Paul had come in, heard the song and asked who it was, then asked if he could lay something down, and just wrote a guitar part – which is a really beautiful part, and made the song come together so well, and I am just so grateful for that. He invited me to come to [a] show when he came to Australia and I got to thank him in person for being a part of that. It’s pretty unbelievable to me even now.”
So, check out Thelma’s album, Better in Blak, and in particular the track ‘Made For You’.That of course opens up the topic of other little-known Paul contributions out there – not only guest appearances, but also stand-alone tracks that he’s written, or vocal performances he’s recorded for different projects over the years. With an artist of McCartney’s stature and longevity that list is by now extensive and way too long to go into here. Here however are four of them that we’ve only recently become aware of, and have added into the collection.
First up an amazing vocal duet with George Michael which dates way back to 2006. Michael originally recorded the song ‘Heal The Pain’ solo for his 1991 album Listen Without Prejudice Vol.1. The McCartney duet though wasn’t recorded until 2005, and didn’t see the light of day until year later with the release of the 2 CD George Michael greatest hits collection, Twenty Five:
This next one we only became aware of via the very informative Take It Away podcast that has set itself the mammoth task of examining, in detail, every Paul McCartney solo release. At the end of each episode the boys (Ryan Brady and Chris Mercer) list McCartney side projects and recordings associated with the timeframe they’re dealing with. For their show about the Driving Rain album (released in 2001) there’s mention of a vocal duet he recorded that year with a singer named Lindsay Pagano. McCartney guests on her version of his 1983 song, ‘So Bad’:
Charity albums hold rich pickings for the completist who has to have every version, or every strange or obscure one-off song. Paul McCartney donated one such track to a 1998 fundraiser CD for the The Red Hot AIDS Charitable Trust called Twentieth Century Blues: The Songs of Noel Coward. Artists as diverse as the Pet Shop Boys, Robbie Williams, Michael Nyman, Suede and Elton John each covered a favourite Noel Coward composition. McCartney’s contribution, recorded at his Hog Hill Mill studio in rural Sussex, was one of Coward’s biggest hits, ‘A Room With A View’: The other source for obscure or little-known songs is soundtrack albums, and over the years Paul McCartney has had quite a few songs used in films. Some are just direct lifts of previously released hits or album tracks, but there are some songs which are unique. One we only recently realised was in this latter category (thanks again to the Take It Away podcast – see above) comes from the 2001 movie, Vanilla Sky. This is not an outtake from the Driving Rain sessions that were under way in 2001, but a song – which also has the title ‘Vanilla Sky’ – written specifically for the Cameron Crowe film.
So, there you have it. Four obscure performances that, even after this long collecting Beatle and solo music, we didn’t have in the collection.