Saturday, December 15, 2007

Another Christmas #1




I don't like the "normal" version of this song, the one that got to number one in t'hit parade at Christmas 1977 and stayed there for thirty weeks (or so) and sold 140 million copies (or so), and I don't normally like anything that Paul McCartney has done since 1975...

But.

This recording is (apparently) a recording "in the raw" made at his farmhouse on the Mull of Kintyre during '77, done as a demo before the main thing - and its pleasantly acceptable, if a little repetitive.

Actually the only reason that I picked this former Christmas #1 today is because of the story I read in Denny Laines autobiography some years ago.

As most people will know Denny Laine is not Mr McCartney's best mate and hasn't been since he walked out on the band slamming the door very hard behind him, and certainly hasn't been since he alleged that Mr McCartney didn't pay him properly for his songwriting share of the "Mull of Kintyre" royalties, and certainly hasn't been since he revealed that the Campbeltown Pipe Band, who lets be honest made the single what it is (compare to the non-Campeltown Pipe Band version above), were only paid a meagre session fee for their morning in the recording studio whilst the single earned trillions for the McCartney estate, trillions that he has since wasted on monoped women and more failed writing projects.

So,

Denny Laine is not fond of McCartney in his biography.

And in his biography he emphasises the reknown care that Mr McCartney takes of his money, so much care that most of it is locked away in a tin box somewhere and the key hidden, put plainly, Mr McCartney is a bit of a tightwad and will not spend a penny where a farthing would get the job done a quarter as well.

I recall having a father like that too.

So the McCartney's proclaim to the band WIngs one day that they have purchased a substantial estate on the picturesque Scottish peninsula "The Mull of Kintyre" and indeed when they look on the map the area does seem to be nicely isolated and the estate does seem to be of a substantial nature and the band envisage a large rambling Scottish manor house with hundreds of rooms and roaring log fires, Scottish lacky's to tend to their every need and a baronial lifestyle that they can only dream of in their pop star St Johns Wood main residences.

They are very excited when Mr McCartney tells them that he is to take them all to his new Scottish estate in the winter of 76 and that they will stay there until he is satisfied that they have produced enough material for their next album, it will be good for our souls he tells them, we will commune with nature he tells them, the country lifestyle will invigorate us and our creative juices will flow like they have never flown before - the band are very excited and don't think twice when he tells them that they will be travelling in his tour bus to Scotland, which is a shame because if they had thunk twice then they would have thunk that perhaps at least one of them should have taken their own mode of transport, if only to keep in reserve for a potential escape bid.

They arrived at the rambling Scottish estate on the wild and remote peninsula which was inhabited totally by sheep int he middle of one of the coldest winters experienced on these isles, the tour bus being abandoned in a nearby village and farmers tractors commendered for the last few miles, still, all of those cosy rooms, all of those roaring log fires, the staff awaiting their arrival with an excellent malt whisky and nibbles...

The two roomed ex-bothy that McCartney introduced to them was a hugely funny joke and the band were in tears of laughter as he explained that he and Linda would use one of the rooms (the one with the tin roof on) as their bedroom and that as soon as the band had refixed the tin roof on the other room, rescuing the tin roof from the nearby bog where it had been blown to, then the other room would be used for cooking and socialising.

So busy laughing and asking "so where is the manor house then Paul", that it took them several minutes to notice that Paul and Linda were indeed unloading the tractors of their luggage and arranging sleeping bags in "their" bedroom, the truth dawned slowly and horribly, the McCartney's millions had sent them finally around the twist, there was no Scottish manor house, no cosy rooms, no roaring log fires, no lacky's with good malts to hand, this was it, this abandoned half-roofed stone outbuilding was it, the total extent of the McCartney's investment, and it was snowing outside, and it was very fekking cold.

When they finally plucked upt he courage to ask the band members were shown to their quarters - a nearby barn, but it did have a roof so they couldn't really complain as it was 50% more of a roof than what the McCartney's had.

No electricity, no water other than what they could pull from a hole in the ground that masqueraded as a well, the band started whingeing five minutes later.

The main whinge was the severe lack of electricity, the McCartney's did have a small generator in their hovel but the band had none in their barn, nor did they have beds and sleeping on straw loses its initial attraction after, oooh,three minutes or so.

But worse of all, no electricity meant no TV, how could he be so cruel ?

McCartney wasn't very amused one morning when walking to the barn he opened the door to find his band all sitting on the stone floor staring intently at a stone wall, encouraging them to visit the main house to start doing whatever it is musicians do when they are composing he was ignored as the band members sat staring at the wall, engrossed in something he couldn't see from the doorway.

It was only when he stepped inside that he noticed that one of them had drawn a television set on the wall with a piece of chalk and they were watching a drawing of Reginald Bosanquet reading the news.

It wasn't a happy band of musicians and Denny Laine left the band in 1980 after McCartney was arrested at the start of their world tour in Japan for possesion of marijuana, quite frankly it was not only an unhappy band, but a crap one too, McCartney has never since clawed his way back to the heady songwriting heights of his partnership with John Lennon, maybe he is just not that good, maybe it was the Lennon/McCartney catalyst, maybe living in a stone house and sleeping on a stone floor under half a roof is just not a good creative meduim.

9 comments:

Jeff said...

Great track. I like the ruddiness of it. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Do you listen to Jeremy Vine ?

Gary said...

Jeff - I have a few recordings of various artists demos or studio rehearsals, and they all seem better than the final polished product, maybe a liking for live music helps ?

The Beatles "Let It Be - Naked" album of a couple of years ago is a classic example of this.


Anon - Yes I start listening to R2 when Jeremy Vine starts, he is the only thing worth listening to on that radio station during the daytime.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

kindly delete-as my anononoimmity will be blown :)

Gary said...

anon - Intruiging !

I shall have to listen now...

Anonymous said...

It was a complete waste of time !

Gary said...

Was it the "ex-pats abroad" section ?

Anonymous said...

It was yes! If you look at the online map from the show No 33... What does she miss? Daffodils.:)