Jul 25, 2013
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Mark Ronson, who has produced for musicians like Adele, Lil Wayne, Nas, Lily Allen and Amy Winehouse, lent his producing talents to Paul McCartney‘s new, very Beatles-esque single “New,” which dropped late Wednesday ahead of the October 15 album by the same name. In a funny twist of fate, however, one missed phone call could have rewritten history.
Ronson told MTV News that he first started working with McCartney after DJing his wedding to Nancy Shevell two years ago. “He called me to ask me to do it and it was the same weekend of my own wedding and I completely spaced, because I kind of had other sh– like my own wedding on my mind,” Ronson said. “Then on my honeymoon 10 days later, I was like, ‘F—! I forgot to call Paul McCartney back, which just sounds like a pretty ridiculous sentence.”
Ronson called McCartney back to accept the gig and later went on to DJ another event for the former Beatle in New York. “I think I may subliminally planted an idea in his head that I would love to work together some time and I think he was into the idea, too,” Ronson said of the budding relationship. “Then a few months later I got a call and he was like, ‘Hey, do you want to come out to the studio?’”
From there, the two started messing around with ideas, including a track called “Secret Life of a Party Girl,” which does not appear on McCartney’s upcoming album, New. When Ronson heard the track “New,” he was sold. “It was just such an instant classic,” he said. “I said, ‘I would love to work on that song with you,’ and that’s how it started….It was a masterclass in learning how to put together a f—ing incredible song — just watching his mind work.”
Ronson was most impressed, he said, by how the 71-year-old musician has remained prolific over the years. McCartney released Kisses on the Bottom in 2012, which mostly featured covers, and an album of original works, Memory Almost Full, in 2007.
“I was definitely surprised by how inspired he still is,” Ronson said. “It would be so easy for someone at this point in his career to go in, mess around, not necessarily phone it in — but it’s so inspiring how brimming with ideas he is the entire time he’s in the studio.”
Ronson also worked on a track called “Alligator” for New, which he calls “brooding” and “quite tough.”
You don’t really ask what it’s for. You just keep quiet, do good work and hope he’s happy with it. It’s just: shut up, sit there and learn.Mark Ronson, about his collaboration with Paul McCartney, Sydney Morning Herald, December 28, 2012
“Working with Paul McCartney was amazing on a lot of levels. The most obvious is when you say, like, ‘Holy shit, I’m working with Paul McCartney!’ But then the things that you learn about arrangements. And how still, at this point, he’s in there playing wine glasses and pouring the wine to make sure the tuning is perfect to make an A-minor chord. He said something I’ll never forget during the recording: We were recording an acoustic guitar, and he was like, ‘Yeah, it sounds like a nice acoustic guitar, but I want it to sound like a record.’ There’s a million nicely-recorded guitar sounds, but you want that shit to sound iconic, like track two, Side B.“Mark Ronson – From RollingStone, January 16, 2015
He understands that you’re so nervous to be working with Paul McCartney ’cause everyone is. He gives you a lot of leeway, but then at the end of the day you need to deliver the goods. He’s done every kind of music. He invented the rule book in several different ways. I don’t know if (our stuff) is revolutionary, but they’re brilliant songs. I just tried to give him a sound he was looking for. You take a master class in production, like harmonies and layering sounds and arrangement. His ideas are just incredible.Mark Ronson – From Billboard, March 22, 2013
Last updated on February 1, 2021