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
Timeline This song has been written (or started being written) in 1991 (Paul McCartney was 49 years old)

Master album


Related sessions

This song has been recorded during the following studio sessions



Home recordings

June 1993






Other Flaming Pie song also appearing on Working Classical


Somedays

Officially appears on Flaming Pie

Related interviews


"McCartney III" Twitter Listening Party

Dec 21, 2020 • From Tim's Twitter Listening Party


McCartney interview with MOJO

May 01, 2003 • From MOJO


Paul McCartney exclusive interview

Jun 01, 1997 • From Record Collector Magazine


A nostalgic slice of "Pie"

May 27, 1997 • From USA Today

Spread the love! If you like what you are seeing, share it on social networks and let others know about The Paul McCartney Project.

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.

(“Winedark Open Sea“, released on the 1993 “Off The Ground” album, was written during the same August 1991 holidays)

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, from the liner notes of “Flaming Pie”
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, a classical version of “Calico Skies“, interpreted by a string quartet, was released on Working Classical . 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.

In 2003, “Calico Skies” was also re-recorded, by Paul McCartney and its touring band, for inclusion on the album Hope which was released 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, and during soundchecks.

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

Calico Skies” was remastered in 2016 for inclusion on the “Pure McCartney” compilation, and then in 2020 for the “Flaming Pie Archive Collection“, both times by engineer Alex Wharton. As explained on the Steve Hoffman forum:

It’s interesting that for both ‘Pure McCartney’ in 2016 and the new 2020 remaster the polarity is different. Which means something went wrong in the final mastering stage of the original 1997 issue. Because ‘Pure McCartney’ worked from a compressed and limited 1997 master, and this 2020 remaster from a tape without that compression and limiting.

by forum resident “mindgames”

Last updated on September 24, 2020

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

Variations


A "Flaming Pie" album version

A2016 2016 remaster

A2020 2020 remaster

B Classical version

C 2003 version for the "Hope" album

D Home Recording

E Acoustic

F 'In The World Tonight' Campfire Acoustic

G From "Flaming Pie" EPK #2

L1 Live version from "Back In The World" live album

L2 Live version from "Good Evening New York City" live album

L3 Live version from "Amoeba Gig" live album

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 :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer

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


Flaming Pies

Official album • Released in 1997

2.29 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Knee slap, Percussion, Producer, Vocal
George Martin :
Producer
Bob Kraushaar :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer

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


Flaming Pie (White-Label Promo LP)

Official album • Released in 1997

2.29 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Knee slap, Percussion, Producer, Vocal
George Martin :
Producer
Bob Kraushaar :
Mixing engineer, Recording 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 :
Recording engineer
Keith Smith :
Recording 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 :
Recording 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 :
Recording 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 :
Mixing engineer, Recording 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 :
Mixing engineer, Recording 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

2:32 • Studio versionA2016 • 2016 remaster

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

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


Bootlegs


Where Footprints Never Go - Unofficial Rarities - Ultimate Archive Collection

Unofficial album • Released in 2016

1:36 • DemoG • From "Flaming Pie" EPK #2

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Vocals

Session Recording:
Spring 1997 ?
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol.24

Unofficial album

2:42 • DemoF • "In The World Tonight" performance


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol.24

Unofficial album

1:34 • DemoG • From "Flaming Pie" EPK #2

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Vocals

Session Recording:
Spring 1997 ?
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol.27

Unofficial album

2:41 • Soundcheck • 2002 soundcheck



Live performances

“Calico Skies” has been played in 53 concerts and 24 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






Contribute!

Have you spotted an error on the page? Do you want to suggest new content? Or do you simply want to leave a comment ? Please use the form below!

Your comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.