Percy "Thrills" Thrillington

Pseudonym used by Paul McCartney

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About

Percy “Thrills” Thrillington” was the pseudonym used by Paul McCartney to release in 1977 the instrumental version of RAM that was recorded 6 years before in 1971.

I did one of my favorite little tricks, which was to use a pseudonym. Me and Linda sat around and we invented this character called Percy Thrillington.

Paul McCartney

“So we invented it all, Linda and I, and we went around southern Ireland and found a guy in a field, a young farmer, and asked if he minded doing some photographic modelling for us. We wanted to find someone that no one could possibly trace, paid him the going rate, and photographed him in a field, wearing a sweater and then wearing an evening suit. But he never quite looked Percy Thrillington enough.”

Paul McCartney

For a great many McCartney fans the big question of the past 15 years is: were you PERCY THRILLINGTON?

Yes, it’s been a bit of a mystery for a long time. We always told people that I wasn’t Thrillington and really kept that one going.

It all came about because I wanted someone to do a Big Band version of Rain – but seeing as there were no takers I thought that I’d better be that someone! So we invented it all, Linda and I, and we went around southern Ireland and found a guy in a field, a young fanner, and asked if he minded doing some photographic modelling for us. We wanted to find someone that no one could possibly trace, paid him the going rate and photographed him in a field, wearing a sweater and then wearing an evening suit. But he never quite looked Percy Thrillington enough…

Then we started this whole business in the Evening Standard ad columns, which was the really fun thing, putting in things like “Must get in touch with … Thrillington”, as a result of which the newspaper columns picked up on it – “Has anyone seen this rubbish going on in the Standard about Percy Thrillington?” – and it was good publicity. It was one of our madcap publicity schemes as if we were managing this character called Percy Thrillington. But it was really just an excuse to do a Big Band album. And now the truth can finally come out.

In a way, because it was a Big Band, and you weren’t playing in the band, and Richard Hewson did the arrangements, you weren’t really the artist anyway, you were the producer.

That’s right. You could say that Percy Thrillington was Richard Hewson, or just a fictitious leader of the band who never appeared anywhere. We’ve put out some weird and wonderful things like that occasionally. We would put clues into songs about certain things, because if people are going to play mind games with our lyrics then we can play mind games with them. Thrillington was one of those.

It took a long time to happen – the album was recorded in 1971/72 but not released until 1977.

Well, what I didn’t realise is that nobody would want to release an album like that! Not even then. And no way would you get it released now. It was just a little bit of indulgence, a little bit of fun. I quite like to do silly things.

Paul McCartney – Interview with Club Sandwich N°62, Spring 1992
From Twitter – #ThrowbackThursday #TBT Photo by Linda McCartney #Thrillington

From RAM – Archive Collection, 2012:

For the record’s release, Paul and Linda devised a novel promotional scheme whereby the fabricated Percy Thrillington generated curiosity by taking out classified ads in the back section of British newspapers, making cryptic announcements such as “Percy Thrillington wishes to announce that, comforted by his specialist’s verdict regarding his condition, he has departed, all smiles, for Yorkshire.” In addition, fake business cards were deliberately left in select locations around London, while radio and poster campaigns also tried to build a mystique. Ultimately, however, Thrillington failed to chart.

Then we started this whole business in the Evening Standard ad columns, which was the really fun thing, putting in things like ‘Must get in touch wit… Thrillington’, as a result of which the newspaper columns picked up on it – ‘Has anyone seen this rubbish going on in the Evening Standard about Percy Thrillington?’ – and it was good publicity. It was one of our madcap publicity schemes, as if we were managing this character called Percy Thrillington.

Paul McCartney

Paul finally acknowedged he was Thrillington during a press conference on November 27, 1989, when journalist Peter Palmiere pressed him on the matter:

What a great question to end the conference. The world needs to know! But seriously it was me and Linda – and we kept it a secret for a long time but now the world knows! – you blew it!

Paul McCartney

From RAM – Archive Collection, 2012:

I was hoping to remain anonymous. I always like people not to know what I’m doing. That’s why I find the whole social networking a bit weird. I think it’s something to do with having been Beatles famous. […] For years I denied any responsibility and authorship because then, for me, I just had something on people – it was a good feeling. I’d just say, ‘I’m sorry. I have no idea who this person is or why he has covered my album’. I basically enjoy lying! 

Paul McCartney
From Facebook

Last updated on March 28, 2022

Albums, EPs & singles which Percy "Thrills" Thrillington contributed to



Thrillington

By Percy "Thrills" Thrillington • LP

Contribution: Producer • 11 songs


Thrillington

By Percy "Thrills" Thrillington • CD

Contribution: Producer • 11 songs


Ram - Archive Collection

By Paul & Linda McCartney • Official album

Contribution: Producer • 11 songs


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