- Album Songs recorded during this session officially appear on the McCartney III Official album.
- Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK
More from year 2020
Some songs from this session appear on:
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“McCartney III” was recorded in Paul McCartney’s Hog Hill Mill studio, during the lockdown imposed by the UK government to face the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. Paul McCartney was joined in the studio by Keith Smith, his technical assistant, and Steve Orchard, recording and mixing engineer.
At the beginning of the year we were on holiday and then the lockdown started just after we got back and so I flew to England and spent the time with my daughter, Mary, and her kids on the farm. So, suddenly, we were all locked down there. So it’s not been bad at all. In fact, I feel a bit guilty admitting that it’s not been bad, and a lot of people do. They don’t want to admit that, actually, you know, [they’re] enjoying it. I’m very lucky. The weather’s been brilliant and Mary and her kids are great, so I’m seeing a lot of my grandkids and Nancy, so it’s been all right. I feel dreadfully sorry for all those who are less fortunate and obviously all those who have lost loved ones, but I’ve been lucky. I’ve been able to write and get into music, starting songs, finishing songs. I’ve had a few little things to write and it’s given me the time to finish some songs that I hadn’t found the time to get around to, you know? I’ve been recording using lots of hand wipes and disinfectant and social distancing, which was good because I don’t like not working.Paul McCartney, interview with GQ, August 2020
I was living lockdown life on my farm with my family and I would go to my studio every day. I had to do a little bit of work on some film music and that turned into the opening track and then when it was done I thought what will I do next? I had some stuff I’d worked on over the years but sometimes time would run out and it would be left half-finished so I started thinking about what I had. Each day I’d start recording with the instrument I wrote the song on and then gradually layer it all up, it was a lot of fun. It was about making music for yourself rather than making music that has to do a job. So, I just did stuff I fancied doing. I had no idea this would end up as an album.Paul McCartney, from the “McCartney III” press release
Paul McCartney had commissioned Geoff Dunbar to create a short animated film to illustrate a 1992 song entitled “When Winter Comes“. This was what first forced him into the studio, during this lockdown:
‘Winter Bird’ was the reason I went in the studio first of all to do a little bit for the opening titles of a short film and then I was doing the end titles, the credits, another little instrumental for that. I liked what I did so much that once I’d finished the film bit, which was less than a minute in length, I then thought ‘OK let’s keep going’ and I started jamming on the same ideas but I lengthened it and then I started putting it on a guitar and drums and bass.
I just extended the idea because it opens with the original little thing that was for the film, we called that ‘Winter Bird’ and then the film that it was for was for a short animation film about the song ‘When Winter Comes’ so this is all full circle, so I’d come from the beginning of the album to the end and then we had the song that had started the whole thing so that’s ‘When Winter Comes’.Paul McCartney, from NME, December 23, 2020
[Paul] just started to come in with some of these ideas and said ‘Let’s work on it’. It was literally demos for a bit of fun. He loves writing and recording and it was just something to occupy his time. We did that for 10 weeks, and seriously, we didn’t start thinking about an album until the three of us started thinking ‘There’s 10 really good songs here.’
We started joking about a lockdown album, then Paul took a break for a couple of weeks and he’d talk to other people about it – friends, family and even management I think and they just kind of jumped on it. It turned into an album after it had virtually all been recorded and mixed. He came back and we did some little tweaks and that was it.Keith Smith, interviewed by MusicRadar, December 2020
The following photo composition has been used to promote “McCartney III“. It was published on social networks with details on some instruments used by Paul for the recording of this album:
- 1st photo, from Instagram: “Listen out for a vintage sound on #McCartneyIII… Paul plays a Kay M1 upright bass previously owned by Bill Black of Elvis Presley’s original trio“
- 2nd photo, from Instagram: “Paul plays a 5 piece Ludwig drum kit on new album #McCartneyIII, plus a Black Beauty snare, DW piccolo snare and selection of Zildjian cymbals“
- 3rd photo, from Instagram: “Made in “Rockdown” at Paul’s home studio in Sussex, ‘McCartney III’ features an array of vintage instruments including a 1954 Fender Telecaster“
Last updated on January 10, 2021