Sir Paul McCartney has announced his hotly-anticipated new album, McCartney III, which sees the Beatles icon playing every single instrument.
The rocker, 78, whose last album Egypt Station hit the top spot in 2018, has certainly made the most of ‘rockdown’ by recording the McCartney III – All-New All-Paul Album at his Sussex farm.
2020 marks 50 years since the Hey Jude hitmaker released his self-titled solo album which also featured the legend playing every instrument and writing and recording every song and doing production – just after the Fab Four went their separate ways.
Rock on: Sir Paul McCartney has announced his hotly-anticipated new album, McCartney III, which sees the Beatles icon playing every single instrument
Speaking about III, 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.
Rockdown: The rocker, 78, whose last album Egypt Station hit the top spot in 2018, has certainly made the most of ‘rockdown’ by recording the McCartney III – All-New All-Paul Album at his Sussex farm
‘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 is mostly built from live takes of Paul on vocals and guitar or piano, overdubbing his bass playing, drumming, and other musical instruments.
The process was sparked when Paul returned to an unreleased track from the early 90s, When Winter Comes (co-produced by George Martin).
The musician crafted a new passage for the song, which made album opener Long Tailed Winter Bird—while When Winter Comes, featuring its new 2020 intro Winter Bird, became the new album’s grand finale.
He said: ‘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’
Here Comes The Song: He added: ‘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 is the third in Macca’s trilogy of classics starting with 1970’s McCartney, followed by 1980’s McCartney II.
Long Tailed Winter Bird and Winter Bird/When Winter Comes are captured with some of the same gear from Paul’s Rude Studio used as far back as 1971 Wings sessions.
Paul’s enviable array of vintage instruments used to record now include 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.
In keeping with McCartney & McCartney II tradition which saw Paul’s late wife Linda capture him, the principal photos for III were shot by Paul’s daughter Mary McCartney—with additional photography by Paul’s nephew Sonny McCartney.
The album also includes Paul took on his phone with the cover art and typography by American artist Ed Ruscha.
New album: McCartney III is the third in Macca’s trilogy of classics starting with 1970’s McCartney, followed by 1980’s McCartney II
The new album comes after Sir Paul admitted he was grateful he got to reunite with bandmate John Lennon before his death.
The Beatles icon reflected on his friend’s passing in 1980, and admitted he would have struggled with ‘heartache’ if he had not reconnected with him.
Speaking to John and Yoko Ono’s son Sean for Radio 2’s John Lennon at 80 event on Tuesday, Paul said he was ‘so happy’ he had the chance to reconnect with his father.
Paul explained: ‘I always say to people, one of the great things for me was that after all The Beatles rubbish and all the arguing and the business, you know, business differences really… that even after all of that, I’m so happy that I got it back together with your dad.
‘It really, really would have been a heartache to me if we hadn’t have reunited. It was so lovely too that we did and it really gives me sort of strength to know that.’
Lennon had reportedly privately told his bandmates he was quitting in 1969 and in 1970 the split hit headlines when Sir Paul announced publicly that he was no longer working with the group.
The feud between the two was well-documented by the press at the time and, in a 1971 interview, Lennon stated that he could not foresee working with Sir Paul again, however the pair did put their differences aside before Lennon’s murder in 1980.
Discussing how they worked together, Sir Paul added: ‘I think what was important wasn’t who was more sophisticated than the other or whatever.
‘It really gives me strength’: Sir Paul recently admitted he is ‘so happy’ he reunited with John Lennon shortly before his death (pictured with George Harrison in 1963)
‘And there maybe is some truth that, musically, I had an edge because my dad had shown us some things.
‘I’d learned the guitar chords a bit before John, but it wasn’t so much that, the sophistication, it was attitudes. So my attitude would be, “This is what I want to do”. And then John would bring another edge to it.
‘The great thing was the combination of those two attitudes and I look back on it now like a fan.
‘You think, “Wow, how lucky was I to meet this strange Teddy boy off the bus who turned out to play music like I did. And we get together!”
‘Boy, we complemented each other. It was a bit ying yang. They say with marriages opposites attract and I think we weren’t like madly opposite, but I had some stuff he didn’t have, and he had some stuff I didn’t have.
Let bygones be bygones: The feud between the two was well-documented by the press at the time, however the pair did put their differences aside before Lennon’s murder in 1980 (pictured 1967)
‘When you put them together it made something extra, which I think was this.’
Reflecting on the group’s eventual break-up, he went on: ‘You know what I think it was, I think it was the fact that The Beatles were breaking up, which was a very difficult time for us, it was like a divorce, you know. So it’s very difficult to collect your thoughts and to just be jolly.
‘By the time Let It Be came about that became the story of the film. And then that coupled with the fact that we’d broken up, left it a gloomy … sort of cloud in the room, and I’d always bought into that.
‘For years when people say, “Oh,” about Let It Be I go, “Yeah, you know, I didn’t really like it because it was such a gloomy period.”
‘But then talking to Peter Jackson, when he was looking at the 58 hours of out-takes (footage of the Beatles during their recording sessions for Let It Be, for an upcoming documentary) I said, “Well, what’s it like?” kind of thing, expecting him to say, “Well, it’s very gloomy. You’re all arguing all the time.”
‘He says, “No”, he said exactly what you just said. He said, “It’s amazing. You’re like jolly and stuff”. He showed me some bits. It’s just great. It really made me happy.
‘Because I know, for years there, I thought “Oh God, The Beatles broke up, and it was acrimonious and we were arguing and oh”, which happens in a divorce, you know?
McCartney III will be released December 11 on Capitol Records across digital platforms, on CD, and on LP manufactured by Third Man Pressing.
Honest: Looking back at the group’s split, Paul claimed ‘it was like a divorce’ as ‘it’s very difficult to collect your thoughts and to just be jolly’ (pictured in 1964)