"Flaming Pie" sessions with Jeff Lynne at Hog Hill Mill #1

Nov 01 to Dec 05, 1995 • For Paul McCartney

Album Songs recorded during this session officially appear on the Flaming Pie Official album.
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Master release

Some songs from this session appear on:

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Almost six months after the latest sessions with Steve Miller, work on “Flaming Pie” restarted in November. During the first three days (November 1st to 3rd), Paul was on his own, working on the track “Somedays”.

He was then joined by Jeff Lynne, whom he had recently worked with during the sessions for the new Beatles tracks, “Free As A Bird” and “Real Love“. From Club Sandwich N°82, Summer 1997:

Having time, freedom, relaxation and humour was the key to Flaming Pie. Paul invited Jeff Lynne to come and do some work. Lynne asked, “How long? A month, six weeks?” but Paul replied, “No, two weeks. I’ll be bored with you after a fortnight, and you’ll be bored with me.” He wanted to avoid the trap of getting into “the recording period” followed by “the overdubbing period” and “the mixing period”. Making albums can become tedious in this way.

Paul was again on his own till the end of those sessions on December 5th. He also apparently took a two-day break from the “Flaming Pie” sessions, to continue the work on “Whole Life” with Dave Stewart.

Just listening to the records he’d done, I knew he made good records, and I know he’s very good at harmonies. He’s very good at being precise with his production. You don’t get too many rough edges — it’s his style. He’s a good lad and he’s a fun guy who comes from our school of thought. You know, we’d be talking about reading and writing music, and with the phenomenal success of The Beatles, none of us could ever read or write a noted music. And Jeff quite rightly said, ‘Yeah, we just make it all up, don’t we?’ Yeah. Exactly. That’s our skill. We make it up. That kind of person is good to work with. I mean, we have a similar non-training.

Paul McCartney, about working with Jeff Lynne on the Beatles Anthology and on Flaming Pie, from the Flaming Pie Archive Collection, 2020

[George Harrison] knew Jeff Lynne. I was worried there might be a bit of a wedge but in fact, it wasn’t like that, it was great. Jeff worked out really well. As I said to him, a lot of people are very wary of your sound. I said you’ve got a sound. He said, “Oh have I?” He’s got a way of working but it’s very similar to some of the ways we worked in the Beatles.

Paul McCartney, about working with Jeff Lynne on the Beatles Anthology

After the Beatles Anthology and before Flaming Pie, it seems McCartney and Lynne worked together on the unreleased “Cello In The Ruins“. In the book included in the 2020 “Flaming Pie Archive Collection“, it is mentioned:

Before the first Flaming Pie sessions, McCartney and [Jeff] Lynne actually worked together on a song, ‘Cello In The Ruins’, at some point intended for the 1995 War Child charity album. […]

It does ring a bell,” says McCartney now, reminded of the song’s title, “but god knows where the bell is.” […]

That’s what happens when you write a lot of stuff. On some of the albums, there are tracks, I’ve no idea how they go.

From the Flaming Pie Archive Collection, 2020

But back to “Flaming Pie”…

It started with a call from Paul asking if I’d like to work with him on his new album! Wow, Paul McCartney. Yes please! I’d love it.

Jeff Lynne – from the Flaming Pie Archive Collection, 2020

Normally, you ring a producer up and say “Right, put aside two months, six weeks at the least” to get it together. And then there’s the mixing, and then there’s the overdubbing bit – and it can get very boring. It can get horrible, actually … you just keep thinking “I wish I could have a bloody day off”. But I rang Jeff and told him I had a bunch of songs. And he said “How long? A month, or six weeks or so?” I said “No, two weeks. We might get bored with each other after that!”

Paul McCartney, interview for Record Collector Magazine, 1997

Q: So how was working with Jeff Lynne?

A: Pretty much on the same basis as I’d worked with Steve. He’d play a guitar riff, I’d play bass, and then he’d sing harmony with me. It’s good having somebody like that who’s a guitarist-singer. When you think about it, it’s ‘cos it’s John really.

Q: Does Jeff not feel self-conscious about being the surrogate John Lennon?

A: I think he might’ve, but he got over it because during Anthology we realised that that’s what he was: he was being the Fourth Beatle.

Paul McCartney, interview for Q Magazine, June 1997

Ahead of the sessions, Paul McCartney sent a tape of ten songs to Lynne, and Lynne chose three of them to work on.

He came over for two weeks, and sure enough, I think we did three songs, mixed them, got them all finished.

Paul McCartney – from the Flaming Pie Archive Collection, 2020
From Facebook – @jefflynneselo & @paulmccartney recording guitars in the control room at Hog Hill Mill in late 1995 or 1996 during the ‘Flaming Pie’ sessions. Photos show that Jeff & Paul recorded a lot of their guitars for ‘Flaming Pie’ like this.
Jeff is playing a @music_man Silhouette, and Paul is playing his sunburst 1960 @gibsonguitar Les Paul Standard. Serial no. 0 1182. There are only four known left handed sunburst Les Paul’s from 1959-1960, which made this guitar one of the most rare and valuable guitars in the world even before it was owned by Sir Paul. www.hoghillmillblog.com

Last updated on October 17, 2022

Related sessions

Recording "Little Willow"

Started Nov 21, 1995 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Flaming Pie

Recording "The World Tonight"

Nov 13-17, 1995 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Flaming Pie

Recording "The Song We Were Singing"

Nov 06-10, 1995 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Flaming Pie

Recording "Somedays"

Nov 01-03, 1995 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Flaming Pie

Songs recorded


Little Willow

Written by Paul McCartney

Mixing • Rough mix

Album Officially released on Flaming Pie - Archive Collection



Nov 01-03, 1995Recording "Somedays"


Little Willow

Started Nov 21, 1995Recording "Little Willow"


Production staff

Paul McCartney:
Jeff Lynne:
Geoff Emerick:
Jon Jacobs:

Going further

Eight Arms to Hold You: The Solo Beatles Compendium

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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