"Beautiful Night" / "Loveliest Thing" session

Aug 21-22, 1986 • For Paul McCartney

Album Songs recorded during this session officially appear on the Figure of Eight CD Single.
Timeline More from year 1986
Studio:
The Power Station, New York, USA

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About

Paul McCartney spent one day in the studio with producer Phil Ramone, Liberty DeVitto and David Brown from from Billy Joel’s band, and session musicians David Lebolt and Neil Jason. They worked on two songs Paul wrote during the summer.

Paul McCartney, in Club Sandwich n°82, Summer 1997:

I wrote ‘Beautiful Night’ quite a few years ago, and I’ve always liked it, and people who heard an early recording that I made in New York, with some of Billy Joel’s players, have said that they liked it too. But I always felt that we hadn’t quite “pulled it off’ – you know? […]

Producer Phil Ramone remembered how this session went:

How did you come to be producing Paul in the sessions in 1986-87?

We were sitting in Long Island, near the pool, we were all swimming with the kids and stuff, and I don’t know how the subject matter came up, I said “Wouldn’t it be fun to just go in the studio for one night here in New York and try something?” And, you know, within 24 hours I got the studio booked.

That was the Power Station, wasn’t it?

Yeah. And part of the band. And he had his piano and, I don’t know, within three or four hours everything took shape.

That was with the members of the Billy Joel band.

Yeah.

We know of two tracks that resulted from those New York sessions. Is that your memory, that you worked on two songs?

Yeah, “Beautiful Night” was one of them.

And I believe “Loveliest Thing” was the other.

“Loveliest Thing” was the other.

Any particular memories of either of those?

I think when he sat down at the piano, “Beautiful Night”, with him singing and the band accompanying him, it was sort of a really great natural moment where I think everybody in the control room heard this voice coming from the piano… you know, “Long and Winding Road”, that kind of stuff, and said, “Oh my God, this is Paul McCartney!” And the players just absolutety were going crazy. It was so much fun. I think the other side of it for me was that he just laid it out, with no tension, and there was no objective that this had to be a finished record, or it could be. And to have accomplished two songs in one night. And I guess the reason I got to work with him after that was because he said, you know, it reminded him of his early days with The Beatles when they first played. Obviously, the deadlines were much tougher the first time, when you’re not a star and you’ve gotta go in and you’re supposed to do four or five tracks in three or four hours. We did two cuts in probably four hours. That started an idea which we talked about quite often, that is you know, preparation is one thing and the other is the gratification you get from interactivity between players. You cut a raw track with nothing and then even fixing it is tough.

Phil Ramone – interview for Beatlefan N°119, July-August 1999

The songs were recorded on the 21st, and mixed on the 22nd.

Last updated on October 3, 2020

Songs recorded


1.

Loveliest Thing

Written by Paul McCartney

Recording

Album Officially released on Figure of Eight


2.

Beautiful Night

Written by Paul McCartney

Recording

Album Officially released on Beautiful Night #1

Staff

Musicians

Neil Jason:
Bass
David Brown:
Guitar
Liberty Devitto:
Drums
David Lebolt:
Keyboards

Production staff

Paul McCartney:
producer
Phil Ramone:
producer

Eight Arms To Hold You • Chip Madinger • Mark Easter

We owe a lot to Chip Madinger and Mark Easter for the creation of those session pages, but you really have to buy this book to get all the details!

Eight Arms To Hold You: The Solo Beatles Compendium is the ultimate look at the careers of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr beyond the Beatles. Every aspect of their professional careers as solo artists is explored, from recording sessions, record releases and tours, to television, film and music videos, including everything in between. From their early film soundtrack work to the officially released retrospectives, all solo efforts by the four men are exhaustively examined.

As the paperback version is out of print, you can buy a PDF version on the authors' website

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