Paul McCartney releases unheard demo of This One and unseen exclusive Flowers in the Dirt pictures
21 MARCH 2017
Paul McCartney in rehearsals in 1989 CREDIT: BILL BERNSTEIN
In the Eighties, Paul McCartney became the most prolific solo member of the former Beatles.
During the decade, he released seven albums, which included Pipes of Peace (1983) and Give My Regards to Broad Street (1984).
But as he was preparing to go on his first ever solo tour and his first major live tour in a decade, McCartney wanted to new songs to perform in his set.
One such song was This One.
And you can listen to the previously unreleased 1988 demo version of the song below:
For the song and the resulting album, Flowers in the Dirt - McCartney’s eighth studio solo LP – he teamed up with Elvis Costello.
Work began on songs in 1987, with some apprehension, it seems. McCartney is reported to have told his band that he wouldn’t go out on tour unless he really liked the album.
Collaborating with, among others, Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour, producers George Martin, Trevor Horn and David Foster, McCartney emerged with a collection of songs that was livelier than anything he’d done in years.
Recorded mainly at McCartney’s Hog Hill Mill studio in East Sussex, the album was released in June 1989, and songs such as Figure of Eight, Put It There, This One and My Brave Face became regular favourites in the tour set list.
Looking back, McCartney recalls, “You’re always thinking, ‘Let’s get some new songs and take them on tour’ and you hope your new songs are going to work.
“I think mainly because we’re going out on tour, we probably took a little bit more care over this one.”
“We concentrated on kind of what the songs were, and probably a bit more than we would usually to get them right.”
“Something like My Brave Face would be a song that nobody knew at the start at the beginning of the tour and then everybody knew it at the end and it was the high spot of the whole tour.”
My Brave Face, which McCartney co-wrote with Costello, was his last top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 until his Kanye West collaboration, Only One, in 2015.
Paul McCartney in concert, Bologna, Italy - 26 November 2011.
Picture: Roberto Ugolini / Rex Features
By September 1989, the Paul McCartney World Tour was launched, and saw him play over 100 shows across 14 countries.
One of those shows set the world record for the largest concert audience for a solo artist. More than 184,000 people attended McCartney’s show at the Maracana Stadium in Brazil.
The reissue of the album includes the songs You Want Her Too, Don't Be Careless Love and That Day Is Done.
“I hadn’t listened to them in ages but when I did I knew we had to put them out.
“We made a little tape of them and sent them to Elvis, who loved them too. We said we should put out an EP or something and now the moment’s finally arrived.”
Paul McCartney CREDIT: REX
The Flowers in the Dirt sessions saw the return of McCartney’s signature Hofner bass guitar for the first time in years, but it was not his own idea.
As McCartney explains, it was Costello who suggested that he play the instrument during their songwriting sessions.
It was a suggestion that McCartney recalls as "unusual” because he thought he “had outgrown it”.
“I had resigned myself to not working with it again because it’s not very precise, but [Costello] said, ‘Oh, I love the sound, and you must be able to get it in tune.’”
“It was a little bit like pulling it out of mothballs.
“But when I started playing it again and never really looked back. It’s great that Elvis encouraged me to take it out.”
The album went on to be nominated for both Brit and Grammy Awards.
The reissue of Flowers in the Dirt is out on March 24.