The Paul McCartney Project

Run Devil Run

By Paul McCartneyOfficial album• Part of the collection “Paul McCartney • Studio albums

Timeline See what happened in October 1999
UK release date:
Oct 04, 1999
US release date:
Oct 05, 1999
Sessions This album has been recorded during the following sessions

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Track list

Disc 1


1.

Blue Jean Bop

Written by Gene Vincent, Morris Levy

1:57 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Bass guitar, Producer, Vocal
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Mick Green:
Electric guitar
David Gilmour:
Electric guitar
Ian Paice:
Drums
Chris Thomas:
Producer
Paul Hicks:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Mar 05, 1999
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


2.

She Said Yeah

Written by Larry Williams

2:07 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Bass guitar, Producer, Vocal
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Mick Green:
Electric guitar
David Gilmour:
Electric guitar
Ian Paice:
Drums
Pete Wingfield:
Piano
Chris Thomas:
Producer
Paul Hicks:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Mar 05, 1999
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


3.

All Shook Up

Written by Otis Blackwell, Elvis Presley

2:06 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Bass guitar, Producer, Vocal
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Mick Green:
Electric guitar
David Gilmour:
Backing vocals, Electric guitar
Dave Mattacks:
Drums
Geraint Watkins:
Piano, Wurlitzer
Chris Thomas:
Producer
Paul Hicks:
Engineer

Session Recording:
May 04, 1999
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


4.

Run Devil Run

Written by Paul McCartney

2:36 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Bass guitar, Producer, Vocal
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Mick Green:
Electric guitar
David Gilmour:
Electric guitar, Lap steel guitar
Ian Paice:
Drums
Pete Wingfield:
Piano
Chris Thomas:
Producer
Paul Hicks:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Mar 03, 1999
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


5.

No Other Baby

Written by Dickie Bishop, Bob Watson

4:18 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Bass guitar, Electric guitar, Producer, Vocal
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Mick Green:
Electric guitar
David Gilmour:
Backing vocals, Electric guitar
Ian Paice:
Drums
Pete Wingfield:
Hammond organ
Chris Thomas:
Producer
Paul Hicks:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Mar 05, 1999
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


6.

Lonesome Town

Written by Baker Knight

3:30 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Bass guitar, Producer, Vocal
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Mick Green:
Electric guitar
David Gilmour:
Backing vocals, Electric guitar
Ian Paice:
Drums
Pete Wingfield:
Piano
Dave Mattacks:
Percussion
Geraint Watkins:
Piano
Chris Thomas:
Producer
Paul Hicks:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Mar 03, 1999
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


7.

Try Not To Cry

Written by Paul McCartney

2:41 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Bass guitar, Percussion, Producer, Vocal
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Mick Green:
Electric guitar
David Gilmour:
Electric guitar
Dave Mattacks:
Drums, Percussion
Geraint Watkins:
Piano
Chris Thomas:
Producer
Paul Hicks:
Engineer

Session Recording:
May 05, 1999
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


8.

Movie Magg

Written by Carl Perkins

2:12 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitar, Bass guitar, Producer, Vocal
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Mick Green:
Electric guitar
David Gilmour:
Electric guitar
Ian Paice:
Drums, Percussion
Chris Thomas:
Producer
Paul Hicks:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Mar 02, 1999
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


9.

Brown Eyed Handsome Man

Written by Chuck Berry

2:27 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Bass guitar; percussion, Electric guitar, Producer, Vocal
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Mick Green:
Electric guitar
David Gilmour:
Electric guitar
Ian Paice:
Drums, Percussion
Pete Wingfield:
Piano
Chris Hall:
Accordion
Chris Thomas:
Producer
Paul Hicks:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Mar 05, 1999
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


10.

What It Is

Written by Paul McCartney

2:23 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Bass guitar, Electric guitar, Producer, Vocal
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Mick Green:
Electric guitar
David Gilmour:
Electric guitar
Ian Paice:
Drums
Pete Wingfield:
Piano
Chris Thomas:
Producer
Paul Hicks:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Mar 04, 1999
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


11.

Coquette

Written by Johnny Green, Gus Kahn, Carmen Lombardo

2:43 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Bass guitar, Electric guitar, Producer, Vocal
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Mick Green:
Electric guitar
David Gilmour:
Electric guitar
Ian Paice:
Drums
Pete Wingfield:
Piano
Chris Thomas:
Producer
Paul Hicks:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Mar 01, 1999
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


12.

I Got Stung

Written by Aaron Schroeder, David Hill

2:40 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Bass guitar, Producer, Vocal
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Mick Green:
Electric guitar
David Gilmour:
Electric guitar
Ian Paice:
Drums
Pete Wingfield:
Piano
Chris Thomas:
Producer
Paul Hicks:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Mar 01, 1999
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


13.

Honey Hush

Written by Joe Turner

2:36 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Bass guitar, Producer, Vocal
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Mick Green:
Electric guitar
David Gilmour:
Electric guitar
Ian Paice:
Drums
Pete Wingfield:
Wurlitzer
Chris Thomas:
Producer
Paul Hicks:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Mar 03, 1999
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


14.

Shake A Hand

Written by Joe Morris

3:52 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Bass guitar, Electric guitar, Producer, Vocal
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Mick Green:
Electric guitar
David Gilmour:
Electric guitar
Ian Paice:
Drums, Percussion
Pete Wingfield:
Hammond organ, Piano
Chris Thomas:
Producer
Paul Hicks:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Mar 02, 1999
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


15.

Party

Written by Jessie Mae Robinson

2:38 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Bass guitar, Producer, Vocal
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Mick Green:
Electric guitar
David Gilmour:
Electric guitar
Ian Paice:
Drums
Pete Wingfield:
Piano
Chris Thomas:
Producer
Paul Hicks:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Mar 04, 1999
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

About

From the liner notes:

The week before, Ian asked co-producer Chris Thomas ‘Any idea what songs we’re going to do, just so I can do a bit of homework?’ I said no: ‘No homework on this project. I really wanted this to be fresh – like it was at the Cavern.’

I had a big manila envelope with all the lyrics, and I’d flick through them on a Monday morning … Ricky Nelson, mm … Searchin’ … and then I’d think that’s it, that’s the spirit I want, and I’d pull it out. I’d say to the guys ‘Anybody know She Said Yeah?’ They’d say no, because they were slightly obscure choices, I’d say okay, this is how it goes. We’d take five or 10 minutes — and that’s how we did it in The Beatles — because how many times can you go through a song without everyone getting bored?

We’d spend 15, 20 minutes top whack, and everyone’d go yeah, got it. Then we’d go to our instruments, I’d go to bass and singing, and we’d just try it. It’s a bit ropey at first; second take it gets better. We’d do a couple of takes and say okay, that’s it. Then we’d leave it, not even listen to it. Yeah, right; next song … and I’d go back to my envelope. ‘Anyone know No Other Baby?’ No, right, here’s how it goes … and as we were doing it, I thought God, I haven’t done this since I was 14. And I got the same feeling back.

Paul McCartney

From Wikipedia:

Run Devil Run is the eleventh solo studio album by Paul McCartney, released in 1999. It features mostly covers of both familiar and obscure 1950s rock and roll songs, along with three original McCartney compositions written in the same style, including the title track. As his first project following first wife Linda’s death in 1998, McCartney felt the need to get back to his roots and perform some of the music he loved as a teenager. On 14 December 1999, McCartney returned to the Cavern Club stage to play a set publicising the new album.

Background

Following the death of his wife Linda McCartney in April 1998, Paul McCartney had a period of a year of mourning. Wanting to keep things fresh, a lesson he had learned from his experiences working on The Beatles Anthology project and put to use on Flaming Pie, McCartney planned to cut the album as quickly as possible in much a similar way The Beatles had recorded in their early years. Asking Chris Thomas to help produce, McCartney booked time at Abbey Road Studios to undertake his quest.

Music and lyrics

The album consists of twelve cover versions of rock and roll songs and three McCartney originals: “Run Devil Run“, “Try Not to Cry” and “What It Is“. “Blue Jean Bop” was written and recorded by Gene Vincent in 1956. “She Said Yeah” had been recorded by Larry Williams. “All Shook Up” had been recorded by Elvis Presley. “No Other Baby” was written by Dickie Bishop and Bob Watson, and was originally recorded in 1958 by skiffle group The Vipers and released as a single. Despite never owning a copy of the song, it had made a big enough imprint on McCartney for him to record it 30 years on. “Lonesome Town” had been recorded by Ricky Nelson. “Try Not to Cry” was about recounting a widower’s suffering. “Movie Magg” had been recorded by Carl Perkins. “Brown Eyed Handsome Man” had been recorded by Chuck Berry. “What It Is” had been written a few months prior to Linda’s death. “Shake a Hand” was written by Joe Morris and recorded by Little Richard in 1958.

Recording and structure

He wasn’t thinking it was going to be the next big record. He was just free to enjoy himself. – Chris Thomas, on the recording sessions

Wanting to work with reliable and empathetic musicians, he called up Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour to play guitar. Also recruited were guitarist Mick Green, keyboardists Pete Wingfield and Geraint Watkins, and on drums Deep Purple’s Ian Paice and Dave Mattacks. McCartney played bass although he did play electric guitar in some instances. McCartney wanted the sessions to be laid back, with no post-production. McCartney had brought a list of material that he wished to play, the songs being early rock and roll songs from his childhood and a few originals he had written in a similar style. The initial sessions were a week in early March; a few more sessions were done in April and May, the album—featuring three new McCartney songs among the old classics—was complete.

Release

Released on 4 October 1999 in the UK, and a day later in the US, reaching number 12 in the UK and number 27 in the US. The title Run Devil Run was inspired by Miller’s Rexall Drugs, a hoodoo and herbal medicine shop in South Downtown Atlanta with products by that very name. It appealed to McCartney as a great title for a rock and roll song, which he duly composed. The store is located at 87 Broad Street in Atlanta, Georgia.

To stimulate sales, a number of different bonus discs and singles were issued to accompany the album. Two special editions of Run Devil Run with limited-edition bonus discs were available only at certain retailers. A special limited edition of the album, sold only at Best Buy, featured a bonus interview disc. A similar special limited edition of the album, sold only at Musicland and Sam Goody stores, featured a four-track E.P. that contained the original artists’ versions of four songs on the album: “Blue Jean Bop” by Gene Vincent & His Blue Caps, “Lonesome Town” by Ricky Nelson, “Coquette” by Fats Domino, and “Let’s Have a Party” by Wanda Jackson.

No Other Baby” was released as a 7″ vinyl single in the UK with two songs on the B-side, “Brown Eyed Handsome Man” and a non-album track entitled “Fabulous“. In America, “No Other Baby” was released on a special juke-box single, with “Try Not to Cry” included as the B-side. “No Other Baby“, “Brown Eyed Handsome Man” and “Fabulous” were released together on two different CD singles, one of which contained stereo versions of the three songs and the other of which contained mono versions of the three songs. The music video for “No Other Baby“, which was filmed in black and white, highlights McCartney’s grief after Linda’s death.

McCartney filmed a performance at The Cavern Club as part of promotion for the album, on 14 December 1999.

Also, in the UK, all fifteen songs on the album, along with “Fabulous“, were released on 25 December 1999, as set of eight 7-inch singles sold together in a Run Devil Run Limited Edition Collector’s Box designed to look like a record case from the 1950s.

Reception

On release, Run Devil Run received several highly favourable reviews. McCartney biographer Peter Ames Carlin said that despite the rock and roll songs being written by others, the album is “the most deeply autobiographical album of Paul’s career“. Rhapsody praised the work, calling it one of their favourite cover albums. […]

From UltimateClassicRock, October 4, 2015:

After spending a year in mourning, Paul McCartney made a roaring return to rock and roll. He had lost his wife (and frequent musical collaborator), Linda, to cancer in the spring of 1998, then vowed to take an extended break from performing and recording to deal with the excruciating loss. When Paul picked up his old Hofner bass again, he decided his next project would celebrate his rock roots. Run Devil Run would be a collection of (mostly) pre-Beatles rock tunes.

It wasn’t the first time the former Beatle had released a collection of oldies. About a decade before, he had hastily recorded a batch of cover tunes – Choba B CCCP – for exclusive release in the U.S.S.R. (it was re-released worldwide after the fall of the Soviet Union). McCartney had recorded Choba in a mere two days and he wanted to be a little more considered with this new album, while still maintaining a rough and raw feel that suited the material. As part of this musical reawakening, he sought to return to the studio regimen of the early Beatles records, which involved knocking out three or four tracks in a session. Additionally, the new project would feature some McCartney originals alongside the covers.

Macca assembled a supergroup to record both the new and old tunes, recruiting Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour and Johnny Kidd & the Pirates’ Mick Green on guitars and Deep Purple’s Ian Paice on drums. McCartney mostly stuck to bass, just as in the early Beatles days. Producer Chris Thomas kept the sound crisp and uncluttered so that the record wouldn’t sound like a muffled recreation, but a modern reinterpretation of vintage rock sides.

McCartney’s selection of songs helped keep things fresh too. Where Choba B CCCP (as well as John Lennon’s Rock ’n’ Roll) stuck mostly to well-known hits, Run Devil Run wandered through less-trampled terrain – songs like Fats Domino’s “Coquette,” Carl Perkins’ “Movie Magg” and Larry Williams’ “She Said Yeah”’ As such, they were songs that McCartney loved, but wasn’t practiced at playing. In many cases, the band members had never heard the original versions of the tunes, requiring Paul to quickly demo them for the other musicians in the studio. Then, the guys would record the songs on instinct. McCartney later said that the mantra for the sessions was “no thinking.” That idea prevented Paul, or anyone else, from getting too precious with any performance, resulting in bashed-out versions of “Honey Hush” and “I Got Stung” (on which a hollering McCartney makes Elvis Presley’s version sound like it was sung by Perry Como).

Perhaps just a little bit of thinking was allowed, because Macca and Co. were smart enough to put some creative twists on the better-known songs. An accordion was added to Chuck Berry’s “Brown-Eyed Handsome Man,” lending it a zydeco groove (spiked with “Tequila”). Presley’s “All Shook Up” was performed with thunderous drive, while Ricky Nelson’s “Lonesome Town” found McCartney reaching into his keening upper register (in place of Nelson’s low-slung vocals). Although most of the album was raucous, the moody ballads like “Lonesome Town” and the Vipers’ “No Other Baby” added an extra layer of meaning to Run Devil Run. After all, the man letting loose on “Shake a Hand” was also grieving the death of his wife. McCartney’s sadness imbued these teenage “I lost my baby” lamentations with real, adult-sized agony.

That carries over to the three original tracks on the album. It’s right there in the title of “Try Not to Cry” (a stomping R&B number), while “What It Is” was a boogie-woogie song Paul wrote and played for Linda in her final years. The title track is a driving, Berry-esque rocker inspired by bath salts (seriously!) that Paul bought in a hoodoo shop in Atlanta. That drugstore, in slightly altered fashion, is what appears on the album cover. Just like those bath salts were intended to expunge someone’s personal demons, Run Devil Run found McCartney blasting through his personal pain.

Run Devil Run’ was released on Oct. 4, 1999 to the most positive reviews McCartney had received in decades. The album also did well commercially, peaking at No. 12 in Britain and No. 27 in America. McCartney took Gilmour, Paice and the gang on a quick promotional tour, playing scorching versions of covers and originals on TV shows and even returning to Liverpool’s Cavern Club. That series of energetic performances led to the formation of the stripped-down backing band McCartney would assemble a couple years later (and has been together ever since). Those guys might not be a supergroup, but as anyone who has been to a McCartney concert in the past decade can testify, they’re every bit as powerful.

Looking back at Run Devil Run, it’s clear that the album wasn’t just a back to basics exercise. It was a full-fledged rock and roll re-awakening for Paul McCartney.

Last updated on September 10, 2016


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