"Ram" sessions (CBS Studios, New York City)

Oct 12 to Nov 20, 1970 • For Paul & Linda McCartney

Album Songs recorded during this session officially appear on the Ram LP.
CBS Studios, New York City

Master release

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After a few days of audition to hire a drummer and a guitarist, the recording of the “Ram” album – and the related single “Another Day” – started in CBS Studios on October 12, 1970.

In the studio were Paul & Linda McCartney (and their kids on some days), drummer Denny Seiwell, guitarist David Spinozza (replaced on October 22 by Hugh McCracken), engineer Tim Geelan and assistant assistant Ted Brosnan. Tim Geelan remembers the mood of those sessions:

Paul was a great producer: thorough, businesslike and loose at the same time. They were very comfortable sessions that followed a pattern. We’d start working at nine or 10 in the morning. Paul would show Denny Seiwell, the drummer [who would later become an original member of Wings], and David Spinozza and Hugh McCracken, the guitar players who split the date, the song we’d be tracking that day. After rehearsing for several hours, we’d cut a version of the tune and then have a lunch break. After lunch, we’d listen to what we had and then record another couple of takes if it was necessary.

We had a 3M MM-1000 16-track recorder and a homemade console at CBS. Studio B was a big room, about 40 or 50 feet long and 50 feet wide with a 40-foot-high ceiling. We didn’t worry about bleeding at all. The setup was real tight and everyone had headsets. Paul was absolutely the best. I was impressed with his musicianship and command of the studio.

Tim Geelan, from MixOnline, August 1, 2004

While we were in New York making Ram, twenty kids would follow us everywhere we went, everywhere, hotels, rehearsals, the studio. After a while, I asked them to lay off and one of them turned and said, ‘Well, what the hell did you expect?’ I wasn’t expecting that.

Linda McCartney – From “The Beatles: Off The Record 2 – The Dream is Over: Dream Is Over Vol 2” by Keith Badman

The first time I ever saw Paul was in November 1970 when he was in New York recording his album “Ram” at CBS Studios.  To say that I was beside myself is the understatement of the year.  It happened quite a few years ago and my mind is very vague about details.  I know I went there a couple of days.  One day (the first time I saw him) I saw him three times.  When I arrived he was already there.  There were a lot of people there every day and I was told – which I found out myself – that he is usually in a vicious mood.  This was his bad period.  I saw him come out for lunch with Linda and I was in heaven!  To finally see him in the flesh was too much.  Believe it or not, he decided to stop right outside the doorway and let people take pictures of him but he wasn’t too thrilled about it.  And believe it or not my camera decided not to work!  When he left to go to lunch, he and Linda simply walked up the block and people were following him up to the corner but didn’t dare follow him any further. 

After semi-composing myself he came back and 1 ½ hour later.  All of a sudden people looking and noticed him bopping down the block from the same direction that he’d left in.  He simply walked in and that was that.  Afterwards, I saw him leave for the day – around 6 pm.  As a joke, everyone decided that when he came out to leave we would all be quiet and not even flash photos of him.  Sure enough, around 6 pm a cab pulled up and he comes walking out and no one does a thing.  Total silence.  It took a lot of willpower not to want to take his pic or even say goodbye or anything for that matter.  But you should have seen the look on his face as he walked to the cab!  And when he got into the cab he turned around to look at all of us and we still weren’t doing anything.  He had such a perplexed look on his face!  My next encounter with him at this time was a couple of days later.  We cut school and went down there in the morning.  We got there about 9 am and no one was there.  We couldn’t figure this out.  We found out later that he absolutely, positively does not want to see anyone there in the morning and he scared them enough that no one went.

We were standing there saying how great it was that we were the only ones there.  Finally, he pulls up in a cab with Linda and Mary and Heather.  Both of us standing in front of the entrance and he is paying the driver and scowling at us from inside the cab.  Everyone gets out and he stops directly in front of us- only 3 feet away.  We say good morning to him and not only does he not say good morning, he says absolutely nothing but continues to stare at us and mean really looking at us.  We were a little uneasy and my friend Linda finally asks him if we can take a picture and he says “not in the morning” and leaves it at that and walks in.  Linda and I found out afterwards that we were very lucky as there were a few bad incidents with girls there in the morning.  Then we knew why he was staring at us the way he was.  He was looking to see if he recognized us.  If he had previously warned us not to be there at that time of day.  Obviously realizing we did not know, he did not go into a tirade.  In spite of the fact that most of the time he was in a miserable mood, Linda and I were glad he didn’t decide to randomly abuse us that morning considering we were innocent.  It showed us that his good nature was still intact under all the hostility apparent at that period of time. 

Tess Basta, “Beatle Encounters”, 1982 issue of With a Little Help From My Friends – From “The Beatles: Off The Record 2 – The Dream is Over: Dream Is Over Vol 2” by Keith Badman and from Meet the Beatles for Real: Tess’s Beatles Encounters

Working in the studio with [Linda and Paul] was fine. Paul knew what he wanted. I think the whole album was done in the same form as the McCartney album, only we played the parts for him. We were told exactly what to play. He knew exactly what he wanted and he just used us to do it. He just sang us the parts he wanted and the tune developed as we went along. We added things and we made suggestions. But I would say that two out of ten times he took one of our suggestions, or at least if he did, he modified it and made it into a Paul McCartney thing. It always comes out Paul McCartney regardless of the suggestion.

Linda didn’t have much to do in the studio, she just took care of the kids. The kids were there all the time, every day. They brought the whole family every day to the studio and they stayed no matter how long Paul stayed. If he was there at four o’clock in the morning, everybody stayed. I thought to a certain degree, it was distracting. It was a nice, loose atmosphere, but distracting. I really don’t know what Linda did in the studio aside from just sitting there and making her comments on what she thought was good and what she thought was bad. She sang all right. I heard some of the things she sang on the album and she sings fine, like any girl that worked in a High School glee club. She can hold a note and sing background. Paul gives her a note and says, ‘Here Linda, you sing this and I’m going to sing this,’ and she does… There’s one track, which is a cute thing, a blues tune, which I think has a pretty unique sound and I had fun doing ‘3 Legs’. Paul likes to double track a lot of things. We both played acoustic on some tracks and then tripled. Sometimes Paul played piano but he never played bass while we were there. He overdubbed the bass. It was a little weird, because bass, drums and guitar would have been more comfortable, but that’s the way he works … Working with Paul was fun, in as much as it was good to see how he works and where he’s coming from. But as a musician, it wasn’t fun, because it wasn’t challenging or anything like that. But it was very good. Paul is definitely a songwriter, not a musician, but he writes beautiful songs. In the studio, he’s incredibly prompt and businesslike. No smoking pot, no drinks, or carrying on, nothing. Just straight-ahead. He came in at nine in the morning. We were all there and we would listen to what we had done before so that it would get us psyched ready to do the day’s work, then we went into the studio and it was eight hours of just playing. He’s not a very loose cat, not eccentric in any way at all. Very much of a family man. He just wants to make good music.”

David Spinozza – Interview with Vicky Wickham, 1971 – From “The Beatles: Off The Record 2 – The Dream is Over: Dream Is Over Vol 2” by Keith Badman

From Twitter – Paul recording ‘Ram’ at Columbia Studios, New York, 1970 #ThrowbackThursday #TBT
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From Meet the Beatles for Real: Paul Scruff

Last updated on March 15, 2022

Related sessions

Recording "Little Lamb Dragonfly"

Nov 19, 1970 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Red Rose Speedway

Recording "Smile Away", "Heart Of The Country"

Nov 16, 1970 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Ram

Recording "Little Woman Love"

Nov 13, 1970 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Mary Had A Little Lamb / Little Woman Love (UK)

Recording "Too Many People"

Nov 10, 1970 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Ram

Recording "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey"

Nov 06, 1970 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Ram

Recording "Monkberry Moon Delight"

Nov 05, 1970 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Ram

Recording "Oh Woman, Oh Why"

Nov 03, 1970 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Another Day / Oh Woman Oh Why

Mixing "Sunshine Sometime"

Nov 02, 1970 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Ram - Archive Collection

Recording "Sunshine Sometime"

Oct 29, 1970 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Ram - Archive Collection

Recording "Long Haired Lady"

Oct 27, 1970 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Ram

Recording "A Love For You", "Hey Diddle"

Oct 26, 1970 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Ram - Archive Collection

Recording "The Back Seat Of My Car", "Rode All Night"

Oct 22, 1970 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Ram

Recording "I Lie Around"

Oct 19, 1970 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Live And Let Die / I Lie Around

Recording "3 Legs", "Eat At Home"

Oct 16, 1970 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Ram

Recording "Get On The Right Thing"

Oct 14, 1970 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Red Rose Speedway

Recording "Another Day"

Oct 12, 1970 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Another Day / Oh Woman Oh Why

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.

Shop on Amazon

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

Shop on Amazon

Maccazine - Volume 40, Issue 3 - RAM Part 1 - Timeline

This very special RAM special is the first in a series. This is a Timeline for 1970 – 1971 when McCartney started writing and planning RAM in the summer of 1970 and ending with the release of the first Wings album WILD LIFE in December 1971. [...] One thing I noted when exploring the material inside the deluxe RAM remaster is that the book contains many mistakes. A couple of dates are completely inaccurate and the story is far from complete. For this reason, I started to compile a Timeline for the 1970/1971 period filling the gaps and correcting the mistakes. The result is this Maccazine special. As the Timeline was way too long for one special, we decided to do a double issue (issue 3, 2012 and issue 1, 2013).



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