Recording "Mull Of Kintyre"

Tuesday, August 9, 1977 • For Wings

Part of

"London Town" sessions #3

August 1977 • Songs recorded during this session appear on London Town

Album Songs recorded during this session officially appear on the London Town Official album.
Spirit Of Ranachan Studio, Kintyre, Scotland, UK

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From Facebook – Paul during ‘Mull Of Kintyre’ recording sessions. Scotland, 1977. Photo by Linda McCartney #ThrowbackThursday “I suppose the most specific and obvious location that inspired me was the Mull of Kintyre, which is a very beautiful part of the world. It inspired me to write a Scottish song for the first time in my life.” – Paul
From Facebook – August 1977….. High Park, Scotland, at Paul’s farm during the recording of ′′Mull of Kintyre” – Heather McCartney, Martha, Duncan Cairnes (Paul’s Farm Manager), @paulmccartney, @lindamccartney, Lucky, Joe English, Tim Summerhayes (RAK Mobile Recording Engineer), Alan Crowder (MPL), @stellamccartney, @marymccartney, @dennylaineofficialpage, and John Hammel (Wings roadie/PM PA) outside of Spirit Of Ranachan in 1977 during the “Mull Of Kintyre” sessions.

From Facebook:

Mobile recording engineer Tim Summerhayes recently shared his memories of his stay at Paul McCartney’s farm during the recording of Mull of Kintyre.′′ The head of engineers of the sessions was Geoff Emerick (he’s not pictured, maybe he was the photographer though I can’t remember when the image was taken.) However, it’s sad that Linda, Trevor Jones and Mark Vigars are no longer with us. I was the 2th assistant and took care of the team and Mark was the main one. Mark and I shared a caravan at the farm and Geoff had his own little caravan next to ours.Towards the grass hill, about 50 yards was the cottage the band lived in (although Denny had his personal caravan and lived near the recording room (the stable)..] When we could, we all ate at the house except for Paul and his family who lived in their own home within a short distance.As far as I can remember, we took the mobile to the farm a few days before the sessions and spent some time preparing the control room and recording room. We unload the equipment and carry them in a wheelbarrow to an improvised control room supervised by Geoff.Most of the band came a day early than planned to start the recording and someone (Trevor Jones I think) organized a dinner at the house. After eating, Geoff, Mark and I went to our respective caravans and fell asleep relatively early as we had a lot of work to do the next day..!The only bathroom, showers etc were in the house so the next morning we took turns using the facilities. Something was wrong and it was evident that a rock and roll incident had taken place sometime after dinner. The place was a little less than a mess with food debris in places that shouldn’t have..! Paul appeared on stage sometime in the morning and I think he held a ‘ band reunion ‘. I don’t know what was said or what really happened that night, but I remember Jimmy McCulloch went home and as I remember, never made it to sessions that day, or any other “.

Left to right:Heather McCartne; Trevor Jones (Wings Roadie); Duncan Cairnes (Paul’s Farm Manager); Paul; Linda; Joe English; Tim Summerhayes (RAK Mobile Recording Engineer); Alan Crowder (MPL) Joe English; Stella McCartney ; Mary McCartney; Denny Laine and John Hammel (Wings roadie)….

About RAK Studios Mobile, from RAK Studios – Posts | Facebook:

In 1974 RAK Records founder Mickie Most bought a mobile recording studio housed in a fully air conditioned custom built truck from Doug Hopkins, who at the time worked for Advision Studios, best known for voice overs and jingles.

The mobile, previously known as Team Mobile, was equipped with an API 2488 recording / mixing desk, two 3M multitrack machines, limiters, compressors, an echo plate and closed circuit TV.

Its primary function was to record outside performances and broadcasts at a time when there were surprisingly few mobile units around. After it had been bought by Mickie it was run by Doug Hopkins and Tim Summerhayes both of whom drove it around and also engineered a lot the sessions. Early clients included Thames Television, LWT and the BBC.

The RAK Mobile also toured extensively in and around Europe, this from Tim Summerhayes:

“Before RAK had its own Studio in London’s St John’s Wood, Mickie Most used to use the Mobile at The Chateau Du Regard at Coye-la-Forêt in Northern France for album recordings. The Chateau was normally a boutique hotel but if RAK sent enough people there, it would close for business and let Micky have the run of the place.

We used the basement as the live room. On top of that we were very well looked after with some superb food and wine, I remember sessions there with Donovan, Hot Chocolate (Band), Julie Felix, Back Street Kids, etc… I was generally assisting Doug and Mickie, but was let loose on a few occasions to look after an overdub or two.

Because of this, we amassed a good selection of microphones as well as all the paraphernalia needed for location studio recording. We used the RAK mobile as the control room there, but all the equipment could be easily de-rigged from the truck and into a location control room. It would take about a day. We did this in Scotland for Paul McCartney’s ‘Mull of Kintyre’ project and subsequently at Lympne castle in Kent for Wings ‘Back to the Egg’”.

From McCartney Legacy on Facebook
From McCartney Legacy on Facebook
From McCartney Legacy on Facebook
From McCartney Legacy on Facebook
From Hog Hill Mill Blog (@hoghillmillblog) • Instagram photos and videos – @marymccartney & @stellamccartney preparing refreshments for the Campbeltown Pipe Band outside of Spirit Of Ranachan on 9 August 1977. The Pipe Band had just finished recording “Mull Of Kintyre” with @paulmcartney. A now somewhat legendary party with followed.

It’s Scottish. It sounds so different from the songs we did on the boat, we thought it should be a single and it sounds very Christmassy and New Yeary. It’s kind of ‘glass of ale in your hand, leaning up against the bar’ tune. We had the local pipe band join in and we took a mobile studio up to Scotland and put the equipment in an old barn. We had the Campbeltown Band and they were great – just pipes and drums. It was interesting writing for them. You can’t just write any old tune, because they can’t play every note in a normal scale.

Paul McCartney – From Hog Hill Mill Blog (@hoghillmillblog) • Instagram photos and videos
From Hog Hill Mill Blog (@hoghillmillblog) • Instagram photos and videos – @paulmccartney and his trusty @martinguitar D28 (and Martha, of course) with pipe major Tony Wilson preparing arrangements for “Mull of Kintyre”. Truthfully, I’m not sure if this is his home at High Park Farm or at the Ranachan Farm. – 1977. My guess is June or July. The “Mull” session was 8 August, and I read a quote from one of the pipers that said they rehearsed for about a month.

When the time came to record, I had the local pipe major come up to the house with his pipes, a gentleman named Tony Wilson. It was a very little house, and when he played it was so loud that I said, ‘Let’s go out into the garden,’ which again was a very little garden, and we just sort of played and I got some ideas. I figured out which chords would work with what he was playing – what key he was in, because you can’t change key on the bagpipes; what you hear is what you’ve got.

Paul McCartney – From “The Lyrics” book

Last updated on September 3, 2022

Songs recorded


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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