The Paul McCartney Project

Calico Skies

Written by Paul McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the Flaming Pie Official album.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1997
Sessions This song has been recorded during the following sessions

Other Flaming Pie song also appearing on Working Classical

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Song facts

Calico Skies” is the sixth song on Paul McCartney’s 1997 album, Flaming Pie. From the album liner notes:

While it wreaked havoc in the north-east US, the category-three storm Hurricane Bob that made landfall in August 1991 prompted Paul (then staying in Long Island) to sit with an acoustic guitar and write what he describes as “a gentle love song that becomes a sixties protest song”. Paul invited George Martin to co-produce the piece, which-owing to it’s instrumental simplicity-was started, finished and mixed within a single session. The earliest recording on Flaming Pie.

“Bob, the hurricane, knocked out all the power; it was all candle-light, cooking on a woodfire. Very primitive, but we like that enforced simplicity. I couldn’t play records, so I made up little acoustic pieces. This was one of them-it’s primitive little powercut memory.”

Paul McCartney, in Club Sandwitch n°82, Summer 1997:

I wanted to write something acoustic, in the vein of ‘Blackbird’, something that could be recorded without drums or an arrangement. We were in America and Hurricane Bob had knocked out the power for about a week. That caused enforced simplicity: it was primitive and fun and I sat there with an acoustic guitar and wrote ‘Calico Skies’.

Mark Lewisohn, in Club Sandwitch n°82, Summer 1997:

While it wreaked havoc along the north-east US coastline and inland, the category-three storm Hurricane Bob that made landfall in August 1991 happily sparked the creation of ‘Calico Skies’. The McCartneys were on vacation on Long Island when the power went down, and as they welcomed the return of the old pioneer spirit, spending candlelit evenings, cooking over a wood fire and making and receiving visits from neighbours, Paul sat with an acoustic guitar and penned what he’s since described as “a love song that becomes a Sixties protest song, recorded in the vein of’Blackbird’, without drums or an arrangement”. Not entirely suitable, then, for the full-band Off The Ground album taped in 1992, Paul waited until those sessions were over and then invited George Martin to co-produce the piece, which – owing to its instrumental simplicity – was started, finished and mixed within a single session. The tape was then filed away for future use, making it the earliest recording on Flaming Pie.

In 1999, the song on appeared on Working Classical interpreted with a string quartet. From the album liner notes:

‘Calico Skies’ is a piece for acoustic guitar that McCartney wrote in America. The unmistakable suggestion of early music is quite deliberate: when he was composing it, McCartney recalled the image of a medieval musician banging away on a tabor.

From Wikipedia:

Mike Nugent and Nancy Sirloni covered the song on the album “Let Us In Nashville – A Tribute to Linda McCartney“, consisting of country-themed covers of McCartney songs by various artists, released on 21 November 2011, a benefit album for The Women and Cancer Fund.

The song was also re-recorded for inclusion on the album Hope which was released in 2003 to aid victims of the Iraq war.

Calico Skies” was on the setlist of a few tours, including 2003 Back in the World tour, 2004 summer tour & 2009 summer tour.

Last updated on May 14, 2018

Lyrics

It was written that I would love you
From the moment I opened my eyes
And the morning when I first saw you
Gave me life under calico skies

I will hold, you for as long as you like
I'll hold you for the rest of my life

Always looking for ways to love you
Never failing to fight at your side
While the angels of love protect us
From the innermost secrets we hide

I'll hold you for as long as you like
I'll hold you for the rest of my life

Long live all of us crazy soldiers
Who were born under calico skies
May we never be called to handle
All the weapons of war we despise

I'll hold you for as long as you like
I'll hold you for the rest of my life
I'll hold you for as long as you like
I'll love you, for the rest of my…
For the rest of my life

Officially appears on


Flaming Pie

Official album • Released in 1997

2.29 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitar, Knee slap, Percussion, Producer, Vocal
George Martin:
Producer
Bob Kraushaar:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Sep 03, 1992
Studio:
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK


Working Classical

Official album • Released in 1999

1:53 • Classical versionB

Paul McCartney:
Executive producer
Eddie Klein:
Engineer
Keith Smith:
Engineer
Steve Rooke:
Mastering
Krista Bennion Feeney:
First violin
Anca Nicolau:
Second violin
Joanna Hood:
Viola
Myron Lutzke:
Cello
Loma Mar Quartet:
Arranger
Performed by:
Loma Mar Quartet
John Fraser:
Producer
Arne Akselberg:
Balance engineer
Paul Baily:
Editor
Caroline Haigh:
Editor

Session Recording:
February 21-25th, 1999
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road


Back In The World

Official live • Released in 2003

2:38 • LiveL1

Paul McCartney:
Executive producer
Performed by:
Paul McCartneyRusty AndersonAbe Laboriel Jr.Paul WickensBrian Ray
David Kahne:
Producer
Michael Brauer:
Engineer
Ricardo Chavarria:
Assistant engineer

Concert From the concert in Osaka, Japan on Nov 17, 2002


Hope (War Child album)

Official album • Released in 2003

2:32 • Studio versionC

Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitar, Producer, Vocals
Rusty Anderson:
Acoustic guitar, Backing vocals
Abe Laboriel Jr.:
Backing vocals, Percussion
Paul Wickens:
Accordion
Brian Ray:
Backing vocals, Bass guitar
Paul Boothroyd:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Mar 20, 2003
Studio:
London Arena, London, UK


Something For The Weekend – Paul McCartney’s Glastonbury Groove

Official album • Released in 2004

2:31 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitar, Knee slap, Percussion, Producer, Vocal
George Martin:
Producer
Bob Kraushaar:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Sep 03, 1992
Studio:
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK


Never Stop Doing What You Love

Official album • Released in 2005

2:29 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitar, Knee slap, Percussion, Producer, Vocal
George Martin:
Producer
Bob Kraushaar:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Sep 03, 1992
Studio:
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK


Good Evening New York City

Official live • Released in 2009

2:35 • LiveL2 • Could have been recorded on 17, 18 or 21 July 2009

Paul McCartney:
Executive producer
Performed by:
Paul McCartneyRusty AndersonAbe Laboriel Jr.Paul WickensBrian Ray
Geoff Emerick:
Audio mixing
Paul Hicks:
Audio mixing
Jonas Westling:
Additional engineering
Richard Lancaster:
Additional engineering
John Henry:
Recording

Concert From the concert in New York, USA on Jul 17, 2009


Pure McCartney (Deluxe)

Official album • Released in 2016

Studio versionA1 • 2016 remaster

Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitar, Knee slap, Percussion, Producer, Vocal
George Martin:
Producer
Bob Kraushaar:
Engineer
Alex Wharton:
Remastering

Session Recording:
Sep 03, 1992
Studio:
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK


Amoeba Gig

Official live • Released in 2019

Live

Paul McCartney:
Guitar, Vocals
Rusty Anderson:
Guitar
Abe Laboriel Jr.:
Drums
Brian Ray:
Bass
Steve Orchard:
Remix engineer
Randy Merrill:
Mastering engineer
Dave Arch:
Piano
Darrell Thorp:
Recording engineer

Concert From the concert in Los Angeles, USA on Jun 27, 2007

Bootlegs


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol.24

Unofficial album

2:42 • Studio version


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol.24

Unofficial album

1:34 • Studio version


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol.27

Unofficial album

2:41 • Studio version


Live At The Camden Roundhouse

Unofficial live

2:55 • Studio version



Videos

Album • Amoeba Gig

Live performances

“Calico Skies” has been played in 51 concerts and 18 soundchecks.

Latest concerts where “Calico Skies” has been played


Live At The Academy

Dec 20, 2010 • United Kingdom • Liverpool • O2 Academy


100 Club

Dec 17, 2010 • United Kingdom • London • 100 Club


Dallas • Cowboys Stadium

Aug 19, 2009 • Part of Summer Live '09


Tulsa • BOK Center

Aug 17, 2009 • Part of Summer Live '09


Atlanta • Piedmont Park

Aug 15, 2009 • Part of Summer Live '09



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