For Whom The Bell Tells... Issue 18
Where to begin with this blog? There's so much exciting stuff
to talk about. The last month or so has been a total whirlwind and
even by Paul's standards, I'm pretty sure it's busier now than ever
before. The dull dark days of January were certainly brightened at the
start of the year when Paul was named by the Ultimate Classic Rock
website as their first ever 'Artist of the Year'. It was a great
accolade and one Paul was proud to add to the ever growing list. Since
then, things only got better and the tone for 2012 was well and truly set.
We've had a lot of fun working on the 'Kisses On The Bottom'
campaign and have been overwhelmed by the amazing reaction -
congratulations Paul! When Paul first started mentioning the album
title to us last December there were a few nervous people on the team
who had a mixed response to Paul's idea. But we should have known he
knew what he was doing. There's no question now that the title was a
stroke of genius and I'm sure lots of different people are now
claiming credit! Speaking as a publicist who has worked on hundreds of
album releases, I don't ever recall seeing so much written about an
album title before. It certainly got people talking; in fact it even
trended on Twitter. Here in the newsroom we loved the MSN headline
which declared it to be 'the cheekiest album title ever'. Surely
that's one for a poster at some point.
Ahead of the release in late January Paul did an international
press day in London to talk 'Kisses...' In a nutshell, this is when
all the world's media fly in and we somehow come up with a way of them
all getting a bit of access to the big man. So throughout the day Paul
did a series of interviews and mini press conferences. Paul was on
great form and kept up the good humour throughout the day which made
my job a hell of a lot easier even if we had to spend a lot of it
avoiding excited journalists hidden in various locations hoping to get
an autograph. Paul even found time to give us some tips on what TV to
watch he'd spent the previous evening glued to Nigerian X Factor no
less! During the day Paul then had the idea to stream some of the
press day live so everyone could see what was going on. Finally right
at the end of the day Paul chatted with Jamie Cullum for his Radio 2
show and the result was fantastic. If you've not checked it out yet,
you really should; it's a fantastic and insightful interview about the
album. You can hear clips right here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01blgkl
In the last month, Paul has appeared on the cover of many of
the most prestigious magazines and newspapers across the world
including the UK's Sunday Times Culture, Rolling Stone, Le Figaro, De
Volkskrant, Australian Sunday Times, Yukan Fuji and many more. There
were some brilliant reviews too. The Times in the UK dedicated the
whole of page four to their 4-star review. The fact this appeared as a
news story shows just how significant 'Kisses On The Bottom' is.
PasteMagazine.com in the US reported, 'Kisses On The Bottom' is a
winner from beginning to end while UK music magazine Uncut said,
"An album of standards from Paul is long overdue. This album is
made with care, love and expertise and it shows on every song'. New
York Times enthused, 'As he sang all those years ago in a slightly
defensive tone: "Some people wanna fill the world with silly love
songs/And what's wrong with that?" By sticking to his guns and
insisting on being himself, he has answered his own question: nothing
at all." The Daily Mail review concluded, "Paul McCartney
takes on the great American songbook. The result? Vintage Macca.
Covers albums can be the last resort of the creatively bankrupt. This
is nothing of the sort it is the work of a man at the top of his game."
On the day of the UK album release (Feb 6th), Paul then jetted
out to LA for what went on to be an extremely well documented week. On
the way to the airport though, he still found time to call into the
Chris Evans Breakfast Show on Radio 2 (which can be heard on this
website). Chris emailed us afterwards to say that his team had wisely
decided not to tell him in advance that Paul would be on show, knowing
he would have been totally tongue tied had he known.
Once he touched down in LA, it was quite astonishing what Paul
packed in to just one week And the coverage? Well, in the space of a
week Paul enjoyed the sort of media attention a normal artist could
only dream about getting during their entire career. During the trip,
Paul was presented with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame,
performed a special concert which was streamed globally on iTunes, was
honoured as the MusiCares Person of the Year (with the likes of Neil
Young, Foo Fighters, Coldplay, James Taylor and Katy Perry paying
tribute to Paul), won a Grammy and performed twice on the show. The
first performance was of 'My Valentine' along with Diana Krall, with
Joe Walsh on guitar. Then Paul closed the prestigious ceremony with
'Golden Slumbers', which ended with an onstage jam with Rusty, Brian,
Joe Walsh, Dave Grohl and Bruce Springsteen! A true one off moment
which takes my breath away just remembering it.
Following the Grammys Joe Walsh said, 'It was an honour and a
privilege. He asked if I'd help it out and I said 'YEAH'. It's great
that he was honoured as man of the year but he's actually been man of
the year since about 1967!'
And incredibly, in the middle of all this, Buckingham Palace
(yes the one where the Queen lives) announced that Paul would be
headlining the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations later this year. But more
on this in the coming months.
One of the biggest headaches of my job is technology. I can't
tell you how many Blackberrys I go through a year, and the reason?
Well, every time Paul does something, the number of global requests
coming in goes up by over 50% - and trust me, it's high enough on even
an average day to virtually need a full time office just dealing with
enquiries! Over the week Paul was in LA however, there were literally
tens of thousands of stories running across the world each day. So I
can confirm that I had to replace yet another Blackberry at the end of
that week as the strain of Google News Alerts got the better of the machine!
Then of course there were the chart results for 'Kisses...'
still to come. Working on the release of a new album really feels just
like sitting an exam; you put all the hard work in then have no choice
but to wait for the results! It was worth the wait though. Paul
smashed the US Billboard Jazz Chart hitting the Number One spot as
well as reaching Number Five in the US Billboard 200. In the UK, Paul
hit his highest album chart position in 15 years landing in the Top
Three as well as securing Top Five positions all over the world, all
the more remarkable given the fact that Paul didn't embark on an
international promo tour around the release as other artists usually
do. It's safe to say, in fact, that 'Kisses...' was a bona-fide smash.
But when you're Paul McCartney, firing on all cylinders,
making headlines, picking up awards and smashing it in the charts, do
you take a break next? Of course not. This month also saw Paul
announce some new tour dates too. The 'On The Run' tour will travel to
Switzerland, Holland and Belgium later this month and finish with a
very special show in support of the Teenage Cancer Trust at London's
Royal Albert Hall. We'll be front row bringing you all the news next time!
And in other recent news:
This month Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine confessed that his
one mentor of choice would be none other than Paul and admitted that
he is so in awe of him, he has been unable to approach him when he has
seen him at events.
And finally, I'm sure you've read the news but it's just been
announced by the UK heritage minister John Penrose that Paul's
childhood home has become a listed building. The terrace house on
Forthlin Road, Allerton, is where Paul lived for nearly ten years as a
child. Many of The Beatles' most famous songs were written and
Mr Penrose said: "You still get bands in all kinds of
music citing them as a formative influence, even after all these
years." He went on to say that the property "will be
preserved for future generations to come and enjoy just the same as
people can today."
The property is already owned and cared for by the National
Trust. It was accorded Grade II listed status on the advice of
The next issue will bring you news from on the road as 'On The
Run' gets back out to Europe.