McCartney III Imagined – Out This Week

This week we get to hear what McCartney III Imagined sounds like in full – at least on digital services. The physical mediums for this one aren’t coming until July….

There’s already been a bit of shock from some welded-on McCartney followers about the three tracks previewed from the album so far. They are a re-interpretation of ‘The Kiss of Venus’ by Dominic Fike; ‘Find My Way’ – featuring Beck; and a remix of ‘Slidin” by Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien.

Stand by for quite a few more surprises.

It’s becoming fairly obvious we should all keep an open mind about what else might be in store because, based on what we’ve heard so far, some of it is going to be “out there” and out of the comfort zones of many fans. And that’s a good thing because it means these songs will be heard and appreciated by a far wider (and younger) audience than would have been the case if this remained just a McCartney-only release.

It’s clear that Paul McCartney and MPL sent out the raw elements of his songs to an eclectic and interesting bunch of musos and told them to do with them what they will.

If you want a contemporaneous example of a similar approach then look no further than Crowded House. They’ve got a new album coming in June and have released a single in the lead-up called ‘To The Island’. Check it out below in its original form:

Then have a listen to this:

Just like McCartney has done, Crowded House invited a third party (in this case Kevin Parker from Tame Impala) to do a remix. Here’s what Neil Finn said about it in an email to fans:

With all the world up-ended and nothing in its right place, we became curious to hear how our favourite contemporary musicians and record makers might re-imagine a Crowded House song. I emailed our version of ‘To The Island’ to Kevin Parker (Tame Impala) with an invitation to take it apart and reassemble in his own unique way. Happily, he really liked the song and it was an absolute delight to hear what he made from it, an exotic fantasy I would call it.

I think you’ll agree that the end result is very different – and in some ways quite confronting. But it means that Crowded House (a legacy band still making great new music) will also be heard by a much wider audience.

Strap in because McCartney III Imagined is going to be ‘To The Island’ writ large.

Personally, we’re excited to hear it.

RAM Gets 50th Anniversary Half Speed Master

In March last year we got news that there was to be a 50th anniversary Half Speed Master edition of Paul McCartney’s first solo outing – which of course was simply called McCartney.

This year it’s the turn of RAM, Paul and Linda’s great LP from 1971.

The new RAM vinyl will be very limited (reportedly just 2000 copies for the UK) and it will only be available via independent stores and the usual McCartney/Universal channels.

The RAM Half Speed Master will be released on May 14, so if you want a copy you’d better get your skates on.

Paul McCartney – McCartney III Imagined

After more dice being mailed out to certain fans and a short social media teaser campaign, it’s just been officially announced that there’s to be an album of McCartney III covers and remixes – called McCartney III Imagined.

The details are here and it looks to be a REALLY eclectic and inventive choice of artists:

It’s a 2LP set – and the coloured vinyl whirlwind begins all over again……

At the official McCartney store you can order a limited edition exclusive splatter vinyl, and exclusive cover art:

And of course plain old black:

As far as we know right now there’ll also be an exclusive limited edition gold vinyl version available through Indie stores:Plus a green Spotify exclusive version (available through the official McCartney store):Newbury Comics in the US has weighed in again, this time with red vinyl:

Barnes and Noble (in the US) has added blue to the rainbow:

While Target has announced a silver vinyl exclusive with “alternate artwork” enclosed:

Meanwhile, back over at the McCartney Store (only in the US) they now have a limited edition pink vinyl available, 2500 copies only:

And the official store in the US has also added a dark green vinyl variant. It comes in the same unique cover as the splatter and pink. This green is darker than the Spoitfy vinyl, and there are only 2000 copies available apparently:

McCartney iii Imagined 2There’ll be a single CD too:

And Target stores (US only) will have the CD “with alternate artwork enclosed”:The first YouTube video has also hit. It is Dominic Fike’s version of ‘The Kiss of Venus’. Interesting!

So, what is your take on it? Let us know in the comments below.

Some sites are saying the digital release is April 16. Looks like physical media won’t ship until July 23 though, which is a long way off.

Keep an eye on our site for more details (and vinyl colour variations) as they emerge!

Inspiration for McCartney’s ‘The Kiss of Venus’

Speaking of books, here’s the little one that Paul McCartney referenced as part of the inspiration for his song ‘The Kiss of Venus’, found on the recently-released McCartney III.

“I had a cool little book Jools Holland’s wife had given me, kind of an astrology book, all about the planets and the movements and the fantastic synchronicity of it all. A fascinating book, actually, when the planets go through all the little things, if you look at a graph, as it were, of them all, it like makes a lotus. It’s trippy. There was some great little phrases – “the kiss of Venus” was one of them. So I was loving that book and I was making up a song about that, but that was an instance of forcing myself to write. And I felt good after it. I thought, ‘Yeah that’s a pretty good little song.’ I haven’t had time to record it, but I will.”

It is indeed a lovely little paperback by John Martineau called A Little Book of Coincidence in the Solar System, which examines geometry and harmony in the universe and yes, there is a chapter entitled The Kiss of Venus.

Martineau is the publisher and editor of the award-winning Wooden Books pocket liberal arts series, which has been translated into 20 languages worldwide.

The “kiss” of Venus with the Earth occurs every 584 days and, over an eight year period (exactly!), that movement of the heavenly body as it moves around the Earth draws a beautiful geometric pattern.

Meanwhile, the song features Paul on vocals and guitar, and there’s a neat little harpsichord solo included as well:

A demo “phone” version of ‘The Kiss of Venus’ is one of the four bonus tracks on the Japanese CD edition of McCartney III. It’s can also be found as a single bonus track (Track 12) on one of the four “budget” CD versions of the album released in the UK and in the US:

I wonder if we’ll learn anything more about the origins of ‘The Kiss of Venus’ in McCartney’s forthcoming The Lyrics book?

McCartney – ‘The Lyrics’ Book

Does this 78 year-old ever stop?

The latest content announced from the ever-prolific Paul McCartney is to be a comprehensive, two-volume book examining the lyrics to 154 of his songs dating back to 1956 and progressing to the present day. And it really looks like is going to be something special.

Simply called The Lyrics, the 960 pages will feature never-before seen photographs, letters, drafts, and more.

The Lyrics is edited by the Irish Pulitzer Prize–winning author and poet Paul Muldoon, who also penned the introduction. It is based on conversations with McCartney about his songs and his songwriting craft, conducted over a five year period.

“These commentaries are as close to an autobiography as we may ever come,” Muldoon said in press materials. “His insights into his own artistic process confirm a notion at which we had but guessed—that Paul McCartney is a major literary figure who draws upon, and extends, the long tradition of poetry in English.”

Rather than a traditional autobiography, the book will cover the inspiration behind the lyrics and McCartney’s reflections on them. It won’t be in chronological order, but alphabetical.

The book itself is two hardcover volumes that slide into an outer slipcase. The volumes will not be available separately and each one is 480 pages in length. The outer slipcase of the UK edition features the same photograph, taken by Paul’s brother Mike, that was used as the cover to McCartney’s 2005 album Chaos and Creation in the Backyard.The US edition appears to have a different, plain green outer slipcase, and a different spine:

The Lyrics will be published on November 2.

Lennon ‘Gimme Some Truth’ – Target Coloured Vinyl

Looks like the Lennon camp is belatedly getting in on the coloured vinyl craze – but nothing as lavish/extensive/crazy as the McCartney team (see * links and **image below).

There’s going to be an exclusive US Target store Opaque Blue release for the recent Gimme Some Truth 2 LP set:This Gimme Some Truth double gatefold, previously only available on good old black vinyl, will hit Target stores in the United States on February 19, 2021.

* To view the many, many iterations of Paul McCartney’s just-released McCartney III, check out the following links: The Many Different Versions Emerge, There’ll Be A Cassette, More McCartney III Variations, Orange Vinyl, and Yellow….and More.

**And here’s the latest graphical representation of all the McCartney III variations presently out there [click on the image to enlarge]:

McCartney and Rick Rubin

Now this actually looks interesting.

Paul McCartney can be difficult to interview and get new and deeper insights from. He’s been interviewed and the subject of so many on-screen studies of his craft that he almost automatically falls back on a tried-and-true set of reactions and answers – and we (the audience) end up learning nothing new.

But chuck in a personality like veteran producer Rick Rubin – in what looks to be an in-depth, six-part examination of some of the greatest songs that McCartney has ever been involved with – and we might just have a classic on our hands.

McCartney has just teased on his website and YouTube channel “Paul McCartney x Rick Rubin. A Forthcoming Documentary Event. Coming Soon”

And it looks good:

The pairing of the two has been known about for some time, but there are scant other details as yet – not even where or when it will be shown. Rumour is it’ll be either Netflix or Apple TV+. Hence the interest in this 1’36 clip.

Deadline says the project is still untitled but it’s a six-parter, and that it marks “….the first time ever that the original masters have left Abbey Road”.

That claim is a little questionable as in 1982 the original master tapes of all 14 Beatle studio stereo albums left the EMI vaults at the Abbey Road Studios and were couriered to the Mobile Fidelity offices in California to produce this box set:

Suffice it to say, if that’s what’s happened again for this new doco, the original master tapes leaving the building nowadays is a very, VERY rare thing. A more likely scenario is that they’re using a digital copy.

Either way, it certainly looks from the footage released that Rubin and McCartney are listening to original recordings, isolating various tracks on the mixing desk, and discussing in detail the making of classics like ‘Lovely Rita’, ‘Come Together’ and ‘Live and Let Die’. This will be fascinating because the legendary producer knows his stuff and will hopefully push for detail and stories that haven’t ever been told before. Fingers crossed.

New Ringo Starr EP Coming

Universal Music has announced overnight pre-orders for a new 5-song EP from Ringo Starr called Zoom In, available on March 19, 2021.

At the launch of last year’s What’s My Name LP (his 20th solo effort), Ringo intimated he was done with putting out full albums of songs and in future would turn to the more limited tracklists of the EP, or ‘extended play’. He’d just issue an EP here and there when he felt he had enough decent material to justify it.

Looks like that wish is coming true because this next release is definitely being marketed as an EP.

Zoom In will be issued on traditional black vinyl:

The now de rigueur coloured vinyl:

And of course on CD and digital download.

Zoom In tracklist:
1. Zoom in, Zoom Out
2. Here’s to the Nights
3. Waiting for the Tide to Turn
4. Not Enough Love in the World
5. Teach Me to Tango

To mark the occasion, Ringo has today released Track 2 from the EP, ‘Here’s To The Nights’. It’s an all-star affair with vocal contributions from Paul McCartney, Joe Walsh, Corinne Bailey Rae, Eric Burton (Black Pumas), Sheryl Crow, Finneas, Dave Grohl, Ben Harper, Lenny Kravitz, Jenny Lewis, Steve Lukather, Chris Stapleton and Yola:

UPDATE: And here’s the official video for ‘Here’s To The Nights’:

McCartney III – Orange Vinyl

There are now no fewer than 10 vinyl colour variations of the forthcoming Paul McCartney release McCartney III.

It’s just been announced that a further colour has been added to the rainbow – an orange vinyl limited to 3000 copies – available exclusively through Universal Music Stores online (e.g. the US uDiscover Music Store, the UK uDiscover Music Store, German uDiscover Music Store, etc.)

You can check out the other vinyl colours (many now sold out) here.

Add to that the four “McCartney III Color Collection” CD versions, in two sleeve designs with individual bonus tracks associated with each colour.

Oh, and there’s a cassette……

The release date for the album has slipped back from December 11 to December 18. It’s rumoured that the one week delay was caused – in part – by Capitol having to press so many different variations and colours!

By our reckoning there are now 21 different ways to buy this album in physical form.

To help you keep track here’s a chart of where we are at (so far):

(click on the image to see a larger version)

UPDATE!

Since we published this article there were many additional variations to this release. Here’s where it eventually got to:

More (and we mean more!) McCartney III Variations

Oh boy. Just when you thought that 9 vinyl colour variations, plus 2 CD cover variations – and a cassette – were enough, the folks at MPL and Capitol have devised even more ways to get you to buy the forthcoming McCartney III album – due out December 11.

If you are a collector of rare audio then hidden in amongst what, at first glance, looks like a merchandising onslaught are four bonus “secret demo” tracks. But to get them you have to buy four more copies of the main McCartney III CD. And as you’ll see there are LOTS of permutations….

It’s all a bit confusing. We’ll try to unpack it for you starting with what is available on the official US McCartney Store site (because it’s different on the UK McCartney store site).

First thing to get clear in your head are the colours: white, red, blue and yellow.

For example, on the US store you can buy a box containing a McCartney III white cover, store-exclusive mini-jacket CD (that includes one secret bonus demo track unique to that white cover CD), plus one of the following: a white McCartney III dice set in a pouch; a white McCartney III t-shirt; a white McCartney III cap; or a white McCartney III face mask.

These box sets are obviously custom printed, but also seem to be specially made to hold the CD too. If you look closely there is a black cardboard slot inside that surrounds the CD. It’s got an opening on the right hand side to get your finger in to neatly lift out the cover: If you prefer red you can buy a box containing a McCartney III red cover, store-exclusive mini-jacket CD (that includes one secret bonus demo track unique to that red cover CD), plus one of the following: a red McCartney III cap; a red McCartney III dice set in a pouch; a red McCartney III face mask; or a red McCartney III t-shirt.

And so on for the blue and yellow boxed CDs and merch.

Note however that each colour has a different McCartney III logo. (The pouch and logo for the dice sets remain the same though. Click on the image below for a larger version):

So, that means for the extremely keen collector of merchandise and audio you’d have to buy 16 boxes to get absolutely every variation – but, you still only end up with the same 4 “secret bonus demo tracks”.

Staying on the US site, if audio is your main thing, for US$7.33 you can purchase separately each of the four secret demo edition store-exclusives as mini-jacket CDs. These are the same as those in the merch-related box sets above. We believe (but it’s not definitive at this point) that the CDs contain the standard CD track listing, plus one unique demo for each colour. Here’s the yellow example. As you can see it comes in a simple card sleeve cover only – no booklet, etc:Or, for US$14.33, you can purchase separately each of the four secret demo colour-coded editions in what is described as a “Deluxe Edition” softpak CD cover. These we presume are similar to the standard retail CD packaging and will come with a gatefold and booklet. The yellow example is shown below and this would also contain the standard CD tracklisting plus the unique “yellow” secret bonus demo track:

So, for the absolute US completist they’d also have to buy four more copies of this CD to have every possible permutation.

It’s interesting that no details have been given about the titles of the four demo tracks. I guess that’s why they are secret!

Meanwhile, over at the UK McCartney store, the offer is slightly different. There, if you purchace one of the four coloured merchandise boxes on offer, you get all the merchandise (plus your CD colour of choice) in one box.

For example, if you order the white box it will bundle together the white cover, store-exclusive mini-jacket CD (including the “white cover” secret bonus demo track), the white dice set, white t-shirt, white cap, and white McCartney III face mask:

Likewise the red, blue and yellow bundles.

Also, unlike the US store, at the UK store you can’t get the simple card sleeve coloured versions separately, you only have the “Deluxe Edition” softpak CD on offer. But you can get just the red tee if you want, or just the blue dice, or just the yellow face mask. No need to get the bundle if you don’t want to.

On fan blogs and forums fans are debating this new announcement, not only trying to nut out all the confusing variations but also asking the question why? There are now 10 CD variations. Why so many permutations? And why make us buy multiple copies of the CD to add these four tracks of bonus materials to our collections?

One astute observer probably has it correct: “The whole reason for this is to juice the first-week sales of the ALBUM. Selling a CD single won’t do that. Between the four CD versions here, the green one, the regular one and the black/white/red/green/cokebottle/[blue]/pink vinyl versions (not even counting the yellow one, because hardly anyone got it), some members here will likely have purchased 5-10 copies of this EACH! Hello, Billboard…”

It’s not so much about money (though no doubt that plays a factor) – it’s about trying to get a Number 1 album on the charts the first week the record goes on sale.

Check out McCartney’s Twitter feed too.