Pugin Hall rehearsals

October 2-25, 1980 • For Wings
Pugin Hall, Tenterden, Kent, UK

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In October, Wings were in the studio for their last sessions together. The plan was to have George Martin producing the next Wings LP. But in the end, Wings got dismantled, the loyal Denny Laine stayed some more months, and George Martin produced Tug Of War.

The quiet Kent village of Tenterden was where the initial rehearsals [for “Tug Of War” and “Pipes Of Peace”] began, at the end of 1980, which later led to the beautiful West Indian island of Montserrat, and to the creation of two albums —the massively successful “Tug Of War” and 1983’s “Pipes Of Peace.” Pugin’s Hall, Tenterden was the other-wise inauspicious venue. It was named after Augustus Welby Pugin, the Victorian architect who designed the interior of the Houses of Parliament, and who died insane at Ramsgate aged 40!

After the studio isolation, and strictly solo, “McCartney Il” album of 1980, Paul wanted to work with other sympathetic musicians in an atmosphere of mutual creativity: “It was really a move away from solo stuff, as much as a move away from a definite group, because Wings had broken up for various reasons… George (Martin) and I decided we weren’t going to do ‘Tug Of War’ with Wings because he felt — and I did too — by that time it was getting a bit restricting. We were having to do stuff a particular way because that was who was going to play it. We decided not to be as restricted, and just write anything, and then get in anyone we thought could play it. So this started a new era, working with whoever we thought was most suitable for the tune. If it was a thing that needed Steve Gadd’s particular kind of thing, we decided we’d get him, rather than just asking someone to be like Steve Gadd!”

That musical open-mindedness was something which also appealed to George Martin: “One of the principles that I started off with Paul was — You are probably the greatest living and certainly a multi-songwriter, instrumentalist. Why have people who are not as good as you? Why not have people who are better than you at their particular thing?”

Paul’s decision to ask George Martin to produce the prospective album was an important decision. George remembered the circumstances: “We had always kept in touch, and had just been out together to dinner, and just as they were leaving, Paul said “Oh, there’s one thing I forgot to ask you, would you like to produce my next record?’ I said well now you tell me! My immediate joke was why spoil a beautiful friendship? … Then I said yes, I’d love to work with you again, but will it work?”

From Club Sandwich N° 31, 1983

Last updated on April 3, 2020

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Going further

Paul McCartney: Music Is Ideas. The Stories Behind the Songs (Vol. 1) 1970-1989

With 25 albums of pop music, 5 of classical – a total of around 500 songs – released over the course of more than half a century, Paul McCartney's career, on his own and with Wings, boasts an incredible catalogue that's always striving to free itself from the shadow of The Beatles. The stories behind the songs, demos and studio recordings, unreleased tracks, recording dates, musicians, live performances and tours, covers, events: Music Is Ideas Volume 1 traces McCartney's post-Beatles output from 1970 to 1989 in the form of 346 song sheets, filled with details of the recordings and stories behind the sessions. Accompanied by photos, and drawing on interviews and contemporary reviews, this reference book draws the portrait of a musical craftsman who has elevated popular song to an art-form.

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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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