- Album Songs recorded during this session officially appear on the McCartney Official album.
- Timeline See what happened in December 1969
- Home studio, Cavendish Avenue, St.John's Wood
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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
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."
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“.
Studer home recordings, December 1969–January 1970
“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.”– McCartney discussing his first solo album, 2001
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 Get Back film project, which was still awaiting release a year later.