The Paul McCartney Project

'Take It Away' promotional video filming • Wednesday, June 23, 1982

ConcertBy Paul McCartney
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Timeline More from year 1982
Country:
United Kingdom
City:
Borehamwood
Location:
Elstree Studios

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About

‘Take It Away’ was a big production thing and it was a single. The video was a real big deal, which we did with John Hurt playing the part of a character based on Brian Epstein. It’s a band trying to make it, in the video. So we grabbed the available suspects, which were Ringo, George Martin, Eric Stewart, me and Linda, Steve Gadd – I mean, it was quite an odd assortment.

Paul McCartney, from Tug Of War Archive Collection, 2015

From The Paul McCartney Encyclopedia, Bill Harry:

The filming of the promotional video for ‘Take It Away’ took place at EMI’s Elstree Studios in Boreham Wood and was directed by John MacKenzie.

Six hundred members of the Wings Fun Club were invited along as a live audience to the filming, which took place on Wednesday 23 June 1982.

The band comprised Paul on bass, Eric Stewart on lead, George Martin on electric piano, Ringo and Steve Gadd on drums, Linda on tambourine and the horn section from the Q Tips.

In between the various takes of ‘Take It Away‘ Paul and his band played several numbers to entertain the audience, including ‘Lucille‘, ‘Bo Diddley‘, ‘Peggy Sue‘, ‘Send Me Some Lovin“, ‘Twenty Flight Rock‘, ‘Cut Across Shorty‘, ‘Reeling And Rocking‘, ‘Searching‘ and ‘Hallelujah I Love Her So‘.

The promotional film made its debut on Top Of The Pops on Thursday 15 July 1982.

From Club Sandwich 27, 1982:

Created from an original treatment idea of Paul’s, the Take It Away promotional film was directed by John McKenzie and produced by the Moving Picture Company. It features an illustrious cast as the band on the road to success, comprising Paul and Linda McCartney, Ringo Starr, Eric Stewart, Steve Gadd and George Martin, with John Hurt playing their manager. Barbara Bach makes a small appearance at the end.

The classy horns were the Q-Tips, found by Trevor Jones of MPL who was the executive producer. Wardrobe was by Jane Robinson, who recently worked on Brideshead Revisited for television, and the lighting/cameraman was Alex Thompson who recently worked on Excalibur.

The shoot, done at EMI’s Elstree Studios over five days last June, turned out to be a memorable experience for all the participants. The story line demanded several shifts of scene, which required speed and ingenuity on the part of the production company. The parlour scene, for example, so carefully composed, was used only for a morning, before being dismantled in the time the cast had a tea break! An amazing seven ton plaster dome was used in the concert shot and then scrapped. (It makes one wonder about the fate of film sets. Who’d want a huge dome or a giant piano keyboard, for that matter?)

The impromptu band did some fine jamming between takes, much to the delight of the six hundred Funsters who were used as the audience. The only small hiccup occurred when Steve Gadd found he was unable to attend on one day, so George Butler, a remarkable look-alike, stood in for him,  after being persuaded to have his hair curled! (Did anyone spot him?) Paul’s fortieth birthday fell during the shoot, which added a festive touch to the day. The consensus was that a grand time was had by all!

On the opposite page is an impression of the day when club members were used as an audience, through the eyes of one Funster who attended.

Paul & Linda, with John Hurt, Photo taken on set of the ‘Take It Away’ music video, 1982

From Club Sandwich 27, 1982:

It was a normal Saturday morning and I went downstairs to inspect what the postman had brought. I opened the door and found a plain white postcard addressed to me. I turned it over and could hardly believe what I was reading. It was an invitation to apply for tickets to take part in Paul’s new video for his forthcoming single Take it Away. I read the postcard a few times and pinched myself to check that I was awake. When I convinced myself that it was true I got a terrible shock and had to sit down. I remembered that I had an ‘O’ level Technology exam that day from 9.00am until 11.00am and we were expected to be at EMI Elstree Film Studios at 12 noon. My heart sank because I live about 50 miles away from the studios! I was still determined to go, if I were lucky, even if I arrived at the studios late! I followed the instructions on the postcard and sent a ‘stamped addressed envelope’ immediately to the Fun Club, hoping they could send me a ticket to get into the studios.

After a week of nerve wracking waiting my S.A.E. came, I opened it hurriedly to find out more about the whole thing. I opened the letter and to my horror discovered that the time had been changed from 12 noon to 9.30am. Still determined to go I went to see my headmaster at school. I told him my story and he was very sympathetic and arranged for me to take the exam at a different time! At last my luck was in!

I hardly slept at all during the two weeks preceding the event and I could not wait for the magical date to come, Wednesday 23rd June 1982! At last the day came, I left home at 8.00am so that I could arrive on time! I got to the studios at 9.30 exactly. I found my way into the studios and was greeted by Sue. She checked my name off the list and I had a special stamp of a paw print on my hand to prove that I was allowed into the studios because security was so tight. I was shown into a studio which had about 300 seats taking up very little space in this vast room. There were about 200 people already sitting down wondering what was going to happen next. I took my seat with all the other lucky Club members and their friends.

A couple of minutes later a man walked in and said that none of us would be needed until 2.00pm, he also said that tea, coffee and biscuits would be around in a minute and after that we could leave the studio grounds and have a look around the shops outside and then we would be admitted again at about 1.00pm, or we could wait in the studio where we were until we were needed. Most of the people went out but about eighty stayed behind, myself included. I drank my tea and ate my biscuit that we had been given and settled down to read the magazine that I had brought with me. After about an hour and three quarters I got a bit bored and got up to wander to the entrance of the studio (we weren’t allowed out unless we were escorted by security guards, even to the toilet!) I had a look outside the studio and turned to go back to my seat. As I was walking away I heard a voice say ‘Hullo folks, how you doing?’ I turned around and couldn’t believe my eyes, standing right next to me was none other than Paul McCartney! Immediately everyone else rushed over but there I was standing right next to him! Paul explained what the delay was (they had not finished building the set yet!) and apologised for keeping us all waiting. Before Paul left I managed to shake his hand and then he disappeared down the passage followed by flashlights from everyone’s cameras. Was I pleased that I decided to stay in the studio!

By 2.00pm more people had arrived and in total there were nearly six hundred people there. We were all kept in the studio until another man appeared and said that the earliest we would start filming would be 3.00pm. People that had been there all morning were getting a bit restless, everyone had the option to leave but of course one would miss the chance of meeting Paul and Linda, Ringo, Eric Stewart and George Martin! 3.00pm came and we were told of another hour’s delay but people still waited patiently, autograph books and cameras ready!

Four o’clock came and at last the man said that he was ready to take small groups of about twenty people in at a time through to the studio where the video was going to be shot. He took the first group in through a small connecting door with the next studio, he then came back and picked twenty more people. Everyone was eagerly waiting to be picked next when all of a sudden there was a massive rush for this tiny door with six hundred people trying to get through at the same time, first!! Luckily I was near the door so I got pushed along with the crowd and was one of the first to be crushed through the door! Once on the other side of the door I made a mad rush for one of the better seats, I found one third row from the front in the aisle! I stayed firmly in my seat while everyone else took their seats.

On stage in front of us, less than a hundred yards away Paul and the rest of the gang were ‘jamming’ on their instruments ‘live’ in front of us! In between filming they gave us, the delighted audience, an impromptu concert playing requests shouted out from the audience such as The Coasters Searchin’ (which is one of Paul’s favourites and was on his chosen records on Desert Island Discs). Paul also played a number of Buddy Holly classics such as Peggy Sue, Paul also did an incredible impression of Elvis, which has to be seen to be believed.

After all the filming of the audience scenes, which is what we were needed for, Paul posed for photos and signed autographs. Linda, Eric, George, and Ringo’s wife Barbara also signed endless autographs. At about 9.00pm when everything was finished and Paul and Linda stopped signing people began to go home. Everyone had a smile on their face, I don’t think that anyone was disappointed and I can say that everyone who was there won’t forget that day in a hurry, I certainly won’t.

From Facebook – Paul’s notes on the Take It Away filming.
From Twitter – Do you know which well-known actor appeared in Paul’s music video for ‘Take It Away’?Visage songeurPut your Paul McCartney knowledge to the test with our Facebook Messenger quiz

Last updated on June 12, 2020

Elstree Studios

This was the 1st and only concert played at Elstree Studios.

Setlist for the concert

The setlist for this concert is incomplete, or we have not be able to confirm in an accurate way that this was the setlist. If you have any clue, pls let us know and leave a comment.



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9.

Elstree Blues


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