At age 78, Paul McCartney is not showing any signs of slowing down. On December 11th McCartney will release his eighteenth solo album.The album is titled McCartney III and it celebrates half a century since McCartney released his first solo album.
McCartney’s first solo album was titled “McCartney”. Ten years later in 1980, he released “McCartney II”. It’s been 40 years since McCartney II and this album is described as the next installment in the trilogy. It follows up “Egypt Station” which was his last solo album that released in 2018 and went to #1 in the U.S. for the first time since 1982 with “Tug of War”.
The album is a true solo album. McCartney wrote, produced, and plays every instrument on the track. McCartney had not planned on releasing a solo album in 2020, but the isolation of the COVID-19 “Rockdown” (as he refers to it) inspired him.
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.
In a press release announcing McCartney III, McCartney commented: “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.”
The press release also gives some insights into the new music, “‘Long Tailed Winter Bird’ and ‘Winter Bird/When Winter Comes’ bookend 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.”
A short trailer video was released for the album:
While McCartney and McCartney II featured photography by McCartney’s late wife, Linda McCartney, McCartney III fears photos from Paul’s daughter Mary MCartney, nephew Sonny McCartney, and some photos from Paul’s phone. The cover art and cover art and typography is by celebrated American artist Ed Ruscha.
McCartney III will be distributed by Capitol Records and available across digital platforms, CD, and on VinylLP. Vinyl configurations will range from standard 180 to a Third Man Edition of 3000 hand-numbered red vinyl copies, a ‘333’ Edition sold only via Third Man Records online store and limited to 333 copies on yellow-with-black-dots vinyl created using 33 recycled vinyl copies of McCartney and McCartney II, a U.S. indie retail exclusive pressing of 4000 hand-numbered white vinyl LPs, and more.
Photo Credit: Mary McCartney via Paul McCartney
Video Credit: Paul McCartney