Paul McCartney revealed that he’s currently working on a new remaster of his final Wings album, Back To The Egg. The 1979 set and the band’s previous record — 1978’s London Town — remains the only solo Wings albums in his solo catalogue not to have already received expanded box set releases as part of his ongoing “Archive Collection.”
During his recent chat with Billboard, “Macca,” spoke about upcoming solo and Beatles archival projects — but also how he plans out his selective touring schedule, explaining, “I’ve got a great team, and my main thing is: Let’s try and keep it exciting. I’ve got people who will say, ‘Why don’t you play Amoeba in Los Angeles?’ or ‘Why don’t you play Grand Central Station?'”
He spoke about how he and longtime promoter Barrie Marshall formulate his concert schedule: “I sit in this office with Barrie, and he says something like, ‘If you want to tour next year, you can go to South America or wherever,’ and he puts some stuff together, and I either say, ‘I don’t fancy that’ or ‘This looks good,’ and then he books the places, and we do it.”
When asked how involved he is with his Grammy-winning “Archival Collection,” McCartney let it slip that a Back To The Egg track recently caught his attention: “I go through these songs, and when we remaster, I go to Abbey Road (Studios), and it’s like popping into the office. And I get to hear these songs I haven’t heard forever. ‘Arrow Through Me’ was one I heard recently, and I thought, ‘Geez, that’s a good track, and it’s got a great little brass riff on it.’ Funky little track.”
In regards to the ongoing mining of the Beatles‘ vaults, he touched upon director Peter Jackson‘s upcoming deep dive into the unused footage shot of the band throughout January 1969 for the following year’s Let It Be movie. McCartney explained that as time goes by, the cutting room floor sometimes seems like long lost treasure: “As we prepared the (Beatles) Anthology series, George (Harrison) and I were joking that we should call the next album Scraping The Bottom Of The Barrel. These things are like photos of yourself from when you were young that you thought were terrible. Now, you think they look good. And this seems to be an endless barrel — stuff keeps coming up. One of the things we’re working on is the 58 hours of footage that turned into the Let It Be film. The director tells me that the overall impression is of friends working together, whereas because it was so close to the Beatles’ breakup, my impression of the film was of a sad moment. Something’s going to come out from that footage. It won’t be called Let It Be, but there will be something.”
Wings’ final guitarist, Laurence Juber, played with McCartney from 1978 to 1981, with Back To The Egg serving as the only studio album he ever recorded with Wings. He’s always referred to his tenure with the former-Beatle as if he was attending “McCartney University”: [“The biggest things that I took away from working with Paul — It’s very difficult to look at Paul McCartney and not think ‘Beatle,’ because that’s ingrained. But, I worked with Paul McCartney artist, and what I learned from that experience is to follow my muse and be my own kind of artist. And Paul has proven, he has a proven track record of being an independent thinking artist. Y’know, he doesn’t try to retread ‘Beatleisms.’”] SOUNDCUE (:25 OC: . . . to retread Beatleisms)
- Paul McCartney shed light on a pair of upcoming archival projects — the Peter Jackson-directed project of the Beatles‘ Let It Be film outtakes, and the upcoming Wings box set edition of Back To The Egg.
- Of the Wings remaster, McCartney revealed, “I get to hear these songs I haven’t heard forever. ‘Arrow Through Me’ was one I heard recently, and I thought, ‘Geez, that’s a good track, and it’s got a great little brass riff on it.’ Funky little track.”
- Regarding the Let It Be project, he added: “The director tells me that the overall impression is of friends working together, whereas because it was so close to the Beatles’ breakup, my impression of the film was of a sad moment. Something’s going to come out from that footage. It won’t be called Let It Be, but there will be something.”
- Last January, the Beatles announced that Academy Award-winning director, Peter Jackson — best known for The Lord Of The Rings series, among others — will head up a new film culled from the massive amount of film outtakes from the band’s 1970 Let It Be movie.
- The still-untitled film is based around 55 hours of never-released footage of the Beatles rehearsing and recording at Twickenham Film Studios and Apple Studios, shot between January 2nd and January 31st, 1969.
- This movie, which has no release date yet, is being made with the full co-operation of Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and John Lennon and George Harrison‘s respective widows — Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison.
- On May 24th, 1979, Paul McCartney released his final album with Wings and the first as part of his five-album, multi-million dollar deal with Columbia Records — Back To The Egg. The album was co-produced by McCartney and Chris Thomas.
- The Back To The Egg sessions spawned three hit singles, the 1979 Top Five hit “Goodnight Tonight” — which was not included on the album; “Getting Closer,” which hit Number 20; and “Arrow Through Me,” which peaked at Number 28. Back To The Egg hit Number Seven on the Billboard 200 albums chart, and spent five weeks in the Top 10. The album has since been certified platinum.
- The album featured a pair of songs by Rockestra — the largest group of rock legends to record together up to that date. The cream of the rock elite joined Wings to record two tracks at London’s Abbey Road Studios for the instrumental “Rockestra Theme” and “So Glad To See You Here.”
- Rockestra consisted of the Who‘s Pete Townshend and Kenney Jones, Pink Floyd‘s David Gilmour, Procol Harum‘s Gary Brooker, the Faces‘ Ronnie Lane, the Attractions‘ Bruce Thomas, and Led Zeppelin‘s John Paul Jones and John Bonham, among others.
- “Rockestra Theme” went on to earn McCartney the 1980 Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance.