The Paul McCartney Project

Tug Of War sessions at AIR Studios, Montserrat

February - March 1981 • For Paul McCartney

Album Songs recorded during this session officially appear on the Tug Of War Official album.
Timeline See what happened in 1981
AIR Studios, Montserrat

Some songs from this session appear on:

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From Twitter - Paul and @ringostarrmusic at AIR Studios, Montserrat. Photo by Linda McCartney #ThrowbackThursday #TBT
From Twitter – Paul and @ringostarrmusic at AIR Studios, Montserrat. Photo by Linda McCartney #ThrowbackThursday #TBT

From Club Sandwich 24, 1981:

A tropical island, a well-equipped studio, friendly people, peace and quiet. The ideal recipe for Paul and assorted guest musicians to lay down some memorable tracks for the next album.

This was Montserrat, a small volcanic island of 120 square miles near Antigua in the West Indies.

On the 28 January the crew flew to Antigua by Jumbo with four tons of the band’s equipment. The airstrip on Montserrat isn’t built for jets so all the gear was transferred to two DC3s. When it arrived Trevor and John had to make urgent repairs to some amps and speakers that had been damaged in flight. Over the weekend the rest of the recording crew and staff flew in and finally, on Sunday Paul, Linda and the family arrived from New York.

George Martin and his wife have a house on the island and made everyone all very welcome and arranged all the accommodation. Air Studios, Montserrat was built by George Martin four years ago and is a superbly equipped and situated recording studio. This was to be at our disposal for a month and what a month it proved to be!

For the first week Dave Mattocks, an English drummer, worked in the studio with Paul and Denny. Linda went horse-riding when she wasn’t in the studio, or worked on her own songs on an old Wurlitzer piano at home.

On Sunday, at the end of the first week, bass player Stanley Clarke arrived from Philadelphia. They all had a great jam in the studio on Monday and laid down one track. For this session Steve Gadd, the top session drummer in the US, had also arrived and took over from Dave Mattocks who returr ed to London. Another week of working in the studio with Steve Gadd produced more great tracks.

On Sunday 15 February Ringo and Barbara Bach flew in from LA with Ringo’s own drum kit. For the next few days more tracks were aid down, one particularly memorable one was with Ringo and Steve Gadd both on drums. On Thursday Ringo, Barbara and Steve Gadd left for home.

The next day Paul had a slight ear infection from too much swimming, but had recovered by Saturday when guitarist Carl Perkins arrived for a week. Paul and Carl hit it off from the start, and wrote each other a song, spending a whole morning on Tuesday in the studio reminiscing on their guitars. More good tracks were laid down.

On the following Thursday Stevie Wonder and his crew arrived with a gift of a ‘rhythm box’ for Paul. The following day Paul and Stevie laid down Ebony and Ivory with Stevie on drums and synthesiser and Paul on piano and bass. Stevie then wrote a song for Paul and the Sunday session in the studio ended at 7 am on Monday morning! Stevie left for home that day and after a day’s rest, Paul, Linda and the whole crew bade a fond farewell to Montserrat — the ideal place to make a desert island disc.


Last updated on December 23, 2019


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Scotty K 1 years ago

The Trevor Jones Casette Tapes have three songs from this session; Newt Rack (unreleased instrumental), Take It Away (alternate mono mix), and What's That You're Doing (rough take, monitor mix).

The PaulMcCartney Project 1 years ago

Thanks Scotty !! Will amend !!