The 10 best Paul McCartney albums you may have never heard: #6—Venus and Mars

When I was thinking about ranking the 10 best McCartney solo albums, Venus and Mars didn’t initially cross my mind. I immediately connected it to “Listen to What the Man Said,” one of those McCartney songs that felt engineered to become a radio single, but not terribly authentic.

But with the upcoming re-release of this album (in addition to a remastered Wings at the Speed of Sound), I took another look and found that, other than that one song, it’s one of the best in the catalog, a strong followup to Wings’ mega-hit Band on the Run, and a nice precursor to McCartney’s first world tour since the Beatles’ early days.
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Songs the Beatles gave away to Women

The hugely popular ITV miniseries Cilla told the story of one of the most successful and long-lived performers to come out of the British Invasion. It also shed light on an important aspect of the movement: female artists were few and far between.

This signaled a change in the dynamic of popular music, as the hits of the late ’50s and early ’60s routinely featured girl groups such as The Supremes the Ronettes, as well as solo artists like Patsy Cline, who spanned jazz, country, and pop.

But with the British Invasion (and the subsequent American music explosion) of the 60’s, female artists started to fade from the scene. While women and girls clearly had an enormous role in these groups’ successes, it was primarily in the of role rabid fans and record buyers, not artists. It was likely that the British culture simply didn’t encourage female performance; that being in a band was not considered seemly, and that girls’ priorities were to prepare for marriage and motherhood.

But there were a few women who infiltrated the scene, and one especially—Cilla Black—became an international celebrity. But Cilla,  being a woman, did not have the ability to make herself known as easily as her male counterparts. She did not play an instrument, did not have her own band, and only became known by singing as a guest of established Merseyside acts like The Beatles, the Big Three, and Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. Without that help from her male friends, she would never come to Brian Epstein’s attention, no matter how talented she was. But her determination to be out front with a band made her exception, and she recorded her first single almost as soon as Brian signed her.
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Another Edition of “New” Is On The Way

Very exciting, and I’m so glad to get even more New! Check out my related post on why New is one of the top 10 McCartney solo albums you may have never heard, and another on the Japanese television broadcast of the Out There tour from November 2014. Enjoy the new New!

Beatles Blog

Paul McCartney has confirmed that his 2013 album New will be reissued (again) on CD and DVD.

This time around it’ll be as a special three disc collector’s set on October 28, exactly 12 months on from its original release date.

This ‘new’ edition of New will be a 2CD+DVD set. It comes in hardback book packaging. The first CD repeats the deluxe edition of 2013 with 14 tracks plus the ‘hidden’ track “Scared”.

The second audio disc will contain “Struggle” – previously a Japanese-only bonus track – plus two brand new previously unreleased tracks from the album sessions: “Hell To Pay” and “Demons Dance”. Four live tracks from McCartney’s Tokyo Dome gig in 2013 complete this CD.

The final disc is a DVD that is effectively an expanded version of the video disc that came as part of the 2014 Japan Tour Edition of New (although it doesn’t include everything…

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A is for Apple – New Book On The Way

This sounds like a great new book, since the history of Apple records is so much a part of the Beatles’ history, yet not that well known. So many groundbreaking artists were part of the Apple family.

Beatles Blog

Our interest was sparked by a recent post on Wogblog about a new series of books (still in preparation – Part 1 is being readied for publication in 2015) called A is for Apple.

This looks to become the first comprehensive study of Apple Corps, the company which the Beatles set up to handle not only their own recorded releases, films, publishing and the like, but also to build a stable of new and established artists, a fashion label and retail outlet, an electronics division, a music publishing company, and a film production company.

A is for Apple is the brainchild of two authors: German Axel Korinth, and Dutchman Ed Dieckmann who have issued a general call-out for more information about all aspects of Apple and its operations, especially photographs, documents, memorabilia, etc.

If you have any items of interest you can contact them at: research@aisforapplebook.com, or via their…

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The 10 best Paul McCartney albums you may have never heard: #5—Chaos and Creation in the Backyard

“There is a fine line between chaos and creation if you don’t say which one it is you’re gonna do…” 

The album's cover photo, taken by Paul's brother Mike McCartney
The album’s cover photo, taken by Paul’s brother Mike McCartney

Chaos and Creation in the Backyard, released in September 2005, has a bit of both—but creation wins out, making it one of my 10 favorite Paul McCartney solo albums.

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