The McCartney Week on VH1

May 12-17, 1997

22nd Buddy Holly Week

Sep 10, 1997

What happened for Paul in 1997

From Club Sandwich N°84, Winter 1997:

There are years of living dangerously and years of living quietly. And then there’s 1963, 1967, 1970, 1973, 1982, 1989-90, 1993 and 1997 – years of living famously.

From Day One, 1997 has been a blast. On New Year’s Day Paul McCartney got to make his wife a Lady (not that he needed the tap of Edward the Confessor’s sword to confirm that). And then, WHOOOOOOOOOOSH, where did this year go?

It went, as will many other years to come, hell-bent on the train to triumph. At the time, dead early on, I believed it was going to be like being on tour without moving anywhere. And so it was, and is. Never mind Beautiful Night, we’re talking Beautiful Year.

Thirty years after Sgt Pepper and Paul is still setting the pace, laying down yardsticks and milestones with Flaming Pie. What a result that has been. And is being. I remember when I was working on The Beatles Anthology with dear Derek, and the critics were musing how the Fabs would sound if they were recording now; at the time, neither Derek nor I nor anyone else – except one guy – knew that the answer was a pie gently cooking in the oven.

I don’t know what to say about Flaming Pie that hasn’t been said, and that can top Q magazine’s opinion that it is “the sound of a pop genius”. Suffice that the guy who claims that “the hardest act to follow is yourself” just followed himself, and made it look easy. Everyone likes it, from my Auntie Pam to President Clinton.

Mister President, of course, “guested” on that VH1 special, the Internet show for which Paul set another world record – three million questions logged on the Net to the most sought-after man on the globe.

And talking of millions, watch that ‘Yesterday’. I happen to know that pretty soon those people who compile the numbers on these things will reveal that it was in 1997 that ‘Yesterday’ passed the seven millionth airplay mark in the USA alone. (For the mathematics junkies out there, that’s the equivalent of 25 plays an hour, every hour, 24 hours a day, every day since 1965.)

And what else? The year of 1997 will go down as the time when Go Veggie began to Go Global, as Lady Mac’s dream took hold and started to spread around the world, saving lives and making sense. Watch my words: this is the food of the future, and the future kicked in this year. And while you’re watching, prepare to check out the stunning advance in photography that Linda has started through her collaboration with Brian Clarke at their exhibition of stained-glass photography in Switzerland. Speaking in my honoured capacity as a stained-glass window, it’s lusciously breathtaking.

And what else? It’s been the year of Standing Stone, of course. Triumph or what? At the time of writing it has spent five – no, scrub that – six weeks at number one in the classical charts. Six centuries from now people will still be playing it, wondering how it could have come from a man who cannot “read music”. (Hah!)

And then there was the Concert For Montserrat, in which some of the greatest forces in rock and roll gathered to play their legends out, only to find themselves effortlessly topped by one flex of a pick on ‘The End’ chords.

And what else? John Schlesinger’s eye-moistening video for ‘Little Willow’; that kiss in the video for ‘The World Tonight’; Buckingham Palace besieged once again by Macca fans; Pies signed in Oxford Street; the man inside revealed in Geoff Wonfor’s human and humorous film In The World Tonight; standing ovations at the halls Albert and Carnegie, 40 years after Clubmoor; and Paul and Linda’s “greatest achievements” all being, well, stellar.

And, to end the year, a video for ‘Beautiful Night’ that knocks your socks and rocks off, as it continues Paul’s unwavering theme of love conquering all.

But the highlight? For me, that was watching Paul beat off the challenge of nominees including Noel Gallagher, Beck and Paul Weller and proudly make his way through a roomful of his peers at the Park Lane Hotel in London to receive Q’s Songwriter Award.

That’s what matters, the songs. Always has, always will.

“Was the Q award for his career?,” a pal asked me, “or just for this year?” For this year, my friend.

This year – and any other.

By Geoff Baker, Paul McCartney’s publicist

Last updated on July 4, 2020

Films released in 1997

Beautiful Night

1997 • For Paul McCartney • Directed by Julien Temple

Little Willow

1997 • For Paul McCartney • Directed by John Schlesinger

The World Tonight (version 1)

1997 • For Paul McCartney • Directed by Geoff Wonfor

The World Tonight (version 2)

1997 • For Paul McCartney • Directed by Alistair Donald

Tropic Island Hum

1997 • For Paul McCartney

Wide Prairie

1997 • For Linda McCartney

Young Boy (version 1)

1997 • For Paul McCartney • Directed by Geoff Wonfor

Young Boy (version 2)

1997 • For Paul McCartney • Directed by Alistair Donald

Concerts, TV & radio shows

Mini-concert on the roof of the MPL building

Apr 10, 1997 • United Kingdom • London • MPL building, Soho Square

Flaming Pie Radio Special

May 05, 1997 • • Radio show

McCartney's Town Hall Meeting

May 17, 1997 • • Bishopsgate Town Hall • TV show

TFI Friday

Jun 27, 1997 • United Kingdom • London • Riverside Studios • TV show

Late Night With Conan O'Brien

Jul 10, 1997 • United Kingdom • London • MPL offices, Soho square • TV show

Music For Montserrat

Sep 15, 1997 • United Kingdom • London • Royal Albert Hall

Standing Stone

Shows: 2 • Countries: 2

The Oprah Winfrey show

Nov 20, 1997 • USA • New York • Manhattan Studio Center • TV show

Recording sessions in 1997

Orchestral overdubs for "Beautiful Night"

Feb 14, 1997 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Flaming Pie

Filming of "In The World Tonight"

Feb 20, 1997 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Flaming Pie - Archive Collection

"Standing Stone" demo session

Mar 03 & 04, 1997 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Standing Stone

Recording "Flaming Pie" EPK #2

Spring 1997 ? • Songs recorded during this session appear on Flaming Pie

"Standing Stone" recording sessions

Apr 30, May 01 & May 02, 1997 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Standing Stone

"Standing Stone" pick-up session

Jul 02, 1997 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Standing Stone

Overdubs for "Vertical Man"

Sep 29, 1997 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Vertical Man

"A Room With A View" session

Dec 12, 1997 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Twentieth-Century Blues: The Songs of Noel Coward

1997 interviews

McCartney Turns Back the Clock

Apr 12, 1997 • From Billboard

Fab? If you say so, pop pickers

Apr 25, 1997 • From The Times

Flaming Pie Webcast

May 17, 1997 • From E! Online

A nostalgic slice of "Pie"

May 27, 1997 • From USA Today

Meet The New P.M.

June 1997 • From Q Magazine

Paul McCartney exclusive interview

June 1997 • From Record Collector

Gray in a Golden Voice

Jun 09, 1997 • From Time Magazine

Interview on BBC Radio 1

Jun 15, 1997 • From BBC Radio 1

Interview for WNNX 99X

Jun 20, 1997 • From WNNX 99X

Paul McCartney Talks about Family Life and Songwriting

Jul 08, 1997 • From The Today Show (NBC)

Interview for MSNBC’s InterNight

Jul 10, 1997 • From MSNBC

Hello Goodbye - Henry McCullough & Wings

September 1997 • From MOJO

Ringo Starr interview about "Flaming Pie"

Summer 1997 • From Club Sandwich

"Standing" in the Shadow of Love

Sep 27, 1997 • From Billboard

Parkinson's Sunday Supplement

Oct 12, 1997 • From BBC Radio 2

Paul McCartney Goes Classical

Nov 01, 1997 • From FI Magazine

Interview: Paul McCartney

Nov 29, 1997 • From New Statesman


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