The Paul McCartney Project

"McCartney" session (home recordings)

December 1969 to Jan 03, 1970 • For Paul McCartney

Album Songs recorded during this session officially appear on the McCartney Official album.
Timeline More from year 1969
Studio:
At home, Cavendish Avenue, St. John's Wood, UK

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About

I was like a professor in his laboratory. Very simple [set-up], as basic as you can get … Even now that album has an interesting sound. Very analogue, very direct.

Paul McCartney, from an interview with Paul Du Noyer (MOJO, July 2001)

From Wikipedia:

McCartney and his family returned to London shortly before Christmas 1969, and he started work on the album at his home in Cavendish Avenue, St John’s Wood. The recordings were carried out on a recently delivered Studer four-track tape recorder, without a mixing desk, and therefore without VU displays as a guide for recording levels. In the commentary he later supplied with the album, McCartney described his home-recording set-up as “Studer, one mike, and nerve“.

McCartney first taped a 45-second portion of a song he had written in Campbeltown, “The Lovely Linda“. As with much of the album, McCartney sung the composition accompanied by acoustic guitar before filling the remaining tracks on the Studer with a second guitar part, bass and percussive accompaniment. Although this performance of “The Lovely Linda” was only intended as a test of the new equipment, it would be included on the official release, as the opening track, complete with the sound of McCartney giggling at the end of the recording.

Reflecting the sequencing on the album, the second and third songs McCartney taped were “That Would Be Something“, also written in Scotland, and the instrumental “Valentine Day“. The latter was one of three selections on McCartney that its creator “ad-libbed on the spot”, he later claimed, along with the similarly rock-oriented “Momma Miss America” and “Oo You“.

On 3 January 1970, he interrupted work on McCartney to participate in the Beatles’ final recording session, when he, George Harrison and Ringo Starr recorded the Harrison composition “I Me Mine” at Abbey Road Studios. The next day, the three musicians revisited McCartney’s “Let It Be“, a song recorded by the band in January 1969 for their forthcoming Get Back film project. […]

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Paul McCartney in the “Wingspan” documentary, 2001:

I really had to ask myself, “Do I want to give up music, or keep going?” I got a four-track Studer recording machine, like the Beatles used for Sgt. Pepper, put it in the corner of the living-room at my house in London and tried a very simple technique of just plugging directly into the back, not going through a mixing desk. It’s a cool way to record because it’s pure. If, say, I was doing a drum track, I’d play the drums, record it with one microphone, listen to it back, move the mike a little if there wasn’t enough hi-hat or cymbal, and then re-record. Then I’d add bass by plugging the mike into track two and overdubbing while listening to track one through headphones. I’d do that with all with four tracks. It was very hands-on, primitive way of working. In the opening track, The Lovely Linda, you can hear the door squeak as Linda came in while I was recording. It was a good take, so we left it in. I made the whole McCartney album like that, and when I needed to go further we used a little studio in Willesden called Morgan, just to get a bit more high-tech. But I played all the instruments and we did a few harmonies together. It was funky, and still sounds good to me.

Paul McCartney
From Twitter – Paul playing guitar at home in London. Photo by Linda McCartney from the ‘McCartney’ LP artwork #FlashbackFriday #McCartney50

Last updated on June 12, 2020

Songs recorded


1.

The Lovely Linda

Written by Paul McCartney

Recording • "When the Studer 4-track was installed at home, this was the first song I recorded, to test the machine. On the first track was vocal and guitar, second - another acoustic guitar - then overdubbed hand slaps on a book, and finally bass. Written in Scotland, the song is a trailer to the full song which will be recorded in the future." Track-by-track commentary by Paul McCartney, 1970

Album Officially released on McCartney


2.

That Would Be Something

Written by Paul McCartney

Recording • "This song was written in Scotland in 1969 and recorded at home in London - mixed later at EMI (No. 2). I only had one mike, as the mixer and VU meters hadn’t arrived (still haven’t). "

Album Officially released on McCartney


3.

Valentine Day

Written by Paul McCartney

Recording • "Recorded at home. Made up as I went along - acoustic guitar first, then drums (maybe drums were first). Anyway - electric guitar and bass were added and the track is all instrumental. Mixed at EMI. This one and ‘Momma Miss America’ were ad-libbed, with more concern for testing the machine than anything else."

Album Officially released on McCartney


4.

Momma Miss America

Written by Paul McCartney

Recording

Album Officially released on McCartney


5.

Hot As Sun

Written by Paul McCartney

Recording • "A song written in about 1958 or '59 or maybe earlier, when it was one of those songs that you play now and then. The middle was added in Morgan Studio, where the track was recorded recently. "

Album Officially released on McCartney


6.

Junk

Written by Paul McCartney

Recording • "Originally written in India, at Maharishi's camp, and completed bit by bit in London. Recorded vocal, two acoustic guitars, and bass at home, and later added to (bass drum, snare with brushes, and small xylophone and harmony) at Morgan. "

Album Officially released on McCartney


7.

Oo You

Written by Paul McCartney

Recording • "The first three tracks were recorded at home as an instrument that might someday become a song. This, like 'Man We Was Lonely', was given lyrics one day after lunch, just before we left for Morgan Studios, where it was finished that afternoon. "

Album Officially released on McCartney


8.

Teddy Boy

Written by Paul McCartney

Recording

Album Officially released on McCartney


9.

Rupert Guitar

Written by Paul McCartney

Recording • Rumored unreleased and unsurfaced instrumental

Unreleased track


10.

Backwards Guitar Piece

Written by Paul McCartney

Recording • Rumored unreleased and unsurfaced instrumental

Unreleased track


11.

Cavendish Parade

Written by Paul McCartney

Recording • Rumored unreleased and unsurfaced instrumental

Unreleased track


12.

Don't Cry Baby

Written by Paul McCartney

Recording


13.

Suicide

Written by Paul McCartney

Recording

Album Officially released on McCartney - Archive Collection

Staff

Production staff

Paul McCartney:
Producer, Recording engineer

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