What. A Year. In 2023, Paul proved that he isn’t slowing down anytime soon as he keeps ‘coming up’ with new ideas! Highlights included (but are not limited to) the Eyes of the Storm photography exhibition and accompanying book; a brand new podcast McCartney: A Life in Lyrics; the Australia, Brazil and Mexico legs of the GOT BACK tour; and, incredibly, the last Beatles song ‘Now and Then’.
So, before we pause for the Christmas break, let’s hit rewind and look back at some of 2023’s greatest hits…
Paul kicked the year off with some pretty big news, revealing that he had rediscovered hundreds of his own photographs taken at the height of Beatlemania, and would be displaying them in a new exhibition and book in June! Taken by Paul on 35mm camera, the photographs document The Beatles’ journey through six cities: from gigs at home in Liverpool and London, their residency in Paris, through to taking America by storm and performing on The Ed Sullivan Show in New York. Paul announced that the title of the exhibition would be Paul McCartney Photographs 1963-64: Eyes of the Storm and would open at the newly refurbished National Portrait Gallery in London.
And that’s not the only treasure recently found in Paul’s archive. Following the sad passing of guitarist Jeff Beck in January, Paul revealed a previously-unheard piece of music and environmental campaign message from Jeff, created in a studio session in 1994. This led to a series of environmental videos shared by Meat Free Monday in 2023. Then, Paul ended the month sharing his Valentine’s Day traditions for a romantic edition of the ‘You Gave Me The Answer’ Q&A.
February was covered in red roses! Paul shared a Valentine’s Day photo of two roses at his recording studio, before announcing that a special 50th anniversary edition of Red Rose Speedway would be released for Record Store Day!
Paul marked another special anniversary on 25th February, posting a message and photo for what ‘would've been' George Harrison’s 80th birthday. He also paid tribute to songwriter Burt Bacharach, and answered questions on Linda McCartney’s photography from students at the University of Arizona. The Linda McCartney Retrospective opened at the university’s Center for Creative Photography this month and would run until 5th August 2023.
In March, Paul gave us all a sneak peek of some of the photos that would feature in the Eyes of the Storm exhibition and book! We also geared up for the Red Rose Speedway 50th anniversary release by watching the HD remastered music video for ‘My Love’, aka one of the most romantic songs of all time.
Other artists showed their love for Paul in March: Kygo remixed Paul and Michael Jackson’s 1980s hit ‘Say Say Say’, and Patti Smith was among a list of stars performing Paul’s songs at a charity show in Carnegie Hall, New York.
Paul shared a message for St Patrick’s Day, while Grandude, Nandude and the Chillers shared a message for World Book Day! The month closed with a reflective ‘You Gave Me The Answer’ Q&A, where Paul discussed the risks, he has taken in his long and winding career.
Happy 50th birthday, Red Rose Speedway! Wings’ second album was released on half-speed mastered vinyl for Record Store Day, and also received the Dolby ATMOS treatment on supporting platforms. We celebrated with an online listening party, and heard Paul’s thoughts on the album in a special Q&A.
The anniversary celebrations continued in May, as ‘Live and Let Die’ turned 50! We spoke to Paul about how the Bond theme came about, and how it became a staple of his live set. The song was also mixed in Dolby ATMOS for the first time.
Lights! Camera! Exhibition! After much anticipation, Paul’s photography exhibition Eyes of the Storm opened at the National Portrait Gallery in London. He celebrated by hosting friends and family at the Gallery - take a look at some photos from the event here. On opening day, Paul posted a video from inside the exhibition space itself, posing with one of his favourite photographs from the collection. In addition, he sat down with actor and writer Stanley Tucci at the Gallery for a special livestream event.
The exhibition's accompanying book 1964: Eyes of the Storm was also released in June! In addition to 275 photographs from Paul's archive, the book contains a foreword and six city introductions written by him; essays by renowned historian Jill Lepore and curator Rosie Broadley; and an introduction by National Portrait Gallery director Nicholas Cullinan. Take a closer look with our 'inside the book' video.
Paul revealed his favourite photographs from the exhibition in June’s 'You Gave Me The Answer' Q&A, and shared some portraits of his Beatles bandmates for International Portrait Day on 23rd June - check them out here.
Ever wondered how an exhibition comes together? Here's a brief 24 second version (if only it were that quick in real life!). Plus, Paul spoke about the process in a series of interviews, talking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, CBS Sunday Morning, BBC's The One Show and on the podcast Conan O'Brien Needs A Friend. And the final piece of Eyes of the Storm news revealed in June was... drum roll... the exhibition is heading to Japan next year!
June certainly was a busy month for Paul – he also celebrated his birthday (which coincidentally fell on Father’s Day this year), and shared a message of thanks for everyone’s well wishes.
The fun just kept coming in 2023… In July, we revealed that a new podcast was on its way, titled McCartney: A Life in Lyrics. Featuring Paul in conversation with his The Lyrics collaborator Paul Muldoon, the podcast is described as a combination masterclass and memoir, where each episode focuses on one song from Paul’s iconic catalogue – spanning early Beatles through to his solo work. The first episode was scheduled for October – so look out for more on that further down!
In other Lyrics-related news, we were excited to announce that the paperback edition was coming in November! This new, one-volume edition features seven new song commentaries: 'Bluebird', 'Day Tripper', 'English Tea', 'Every Night', Hello, Goodbye', 'Magical Mystery Tour' and 'Step Inside Love'.
While Eyes of the Storm welcomed more and more visitors in London, we announced that the exhibition was coming to the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Virginia later this year! Paul celebrated the birthdays of two special people in his life on July 7th: Ringo Starr and his father Jim McCartney. He also paid tribute to singer Tony Bennett, who sadly died on July 21st.
We did tell you it was a year of announcements… In August, Paul revealed new dates for the Got Back tour! Audiences in Australia, Brazil and Mexico would soon be treated to the incredible live show – Paul’s first live appearances since his headline set at Glastonbury in 2022! Paul announced the Australia tour first, with a special video message. Brazil quickly followed, with Paul responding to fans asking him to 'come to Brazil', and finally dates in Mexico City was revealed along with a new tour teaser trailer.
Elsewhere, Dolly Parton released a country-tastic cover of ‘Let it Be’ – featuring Paul on vocals! We also heard the sad news that both Carl Davis and Michael Parkinson had passed away, with Paul sharing memories and photos online.
Time flies when you’re having fun – which is why we couldn’t believe September was the final month of the Eyes of the Storm exhibition in London! Just before it closed its doors we captured some amazing footage from inside the exhibition space itself. Fly through the Gallery doors and explore Paul's Beatlemania photographs - watch here.
Paul also took time to remember American singer Jimmy Buffett this month, and shared advice for finding the legitimate Paul McCartney social media accounts online.
Paul did it - he GOT BACK to where he once belonged! The Australian leg of the GOT BACK tour kicked off in Adelaide on October 18th, with shows following in Melbourne, Newcastle and Sydney. In Adelaide, Paul held a pre-show Q&A event with fans, while in Newcastle, he visited an incredible Paul McCartney’ inspired mural by artist Mitch Revs. Paul also fulfilled an unusual request, and signed a fan’s piano!
Then, after much speculation, Paul and Ringo revealed that they had been working on ‘the last Beatles song’, ‘Now and Then’. Written and sung by John Lennon, developed and worked on by Paul, George and Ringo, and now finally finished by Paul and Ringo over four decades later, the song was scheduled for release on 2nd November. Remastered editions of The Beatles’ Red and Blue albums were also announced, which would both feature the new song.
Also in October, the first five episodes of McCartney: A Life in Lyrics were released! Each episode reveals the backstory of a signature song, from 'Penny Lane' to 'Live and Let Die'. Then, the charity War Child revealed that Paul’s song ‘Pipes of Peace’ will be interpreted by artists all over the world for the Secret 7” Project; Paul shared photos and memories for both John Lennon’s birthday and his own wedding anniversary with Nancy; and finally, Paul shared a ‘corny’ photo for World Vegetarian Day.
In November, the GOT BACK tour continued to wow audiences around the world. After playing to crowds in Australia and Mexico, Paul kicked things off in Brazil with an intimate Brasília club show - find out more here! We spoke to Paul about how he stays connected to his family while on the road.
Of course, the big news of the month was The Beatles’ ‘Now and Then’ release. The song went straight to Number One in the UK, breaking even more records for The Beatles! It was accompanied by a short film and a new music video directed by Peter Jackson. To continue the celebrations, kids audio platform Yoto released three new cards featuring music by Paul and The Beatles. The Paul McCartney card features 14 songs, including two previously unheard instrumentals!
Also in November, Paul's book The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present was released in paperback! The new one-volume edition features seven new commentaries, including 'Day Tripper', 'Magical Mystery Tour', 'English Tea' and more. To mark the release, Paul posted a video of his chat with comedian Bob Mortimer at the British Library, where the pair discussed the opening line of 'I Saw Her Standing There'. Watch the video here!
In McCartney: A Life in Lyrics news, the podcast has been featured as an Apple 'Shows We Love' pick for 2023! Then, Paul showed support for two creative projects he features in: Mary McCartney’s book Feeding Creativity, and The Rolling Stones’ new song ‘Bite My Head Off’. Towards the end of the month, Paul wished everyone a happy Thanksgiving, sharing a photo he took of a cosy fireplace.
In a spectacular finale to 2023, the GOT BACK tour closed with a huge show at Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil! What an incredible run of shows it’s been – check out highlights from fans in Australia, Mexico and Brazil on social media. Reflecting on the Australian leg of the tour, Paul’s UK publicist Stu Bell shared the latest edition of his ‘For Whom The Bell Tells’ tour blog, with more coming room!
It wouldn’t be 2023 if we didn’t squeeze in one last announcement before the end of the year! The beginning of December marked 50 years since Band on the Run was released. We marked the moment with an online listening party and announced that a special 50th anniversary edition of the album will be released in February 2024, featuring previously unheard ‘underdubbed’ audio! Check out the ‘underdubbed’ version of the song ‘Band on the Run’ here.
Sadly, the same week we were celebrating the anniversary, we heard the tragic news that Wings band member and Band on the Run musician Denny Laine had passed away. Paul paid tribute to Denny and shared some photos online, and dedicated a live version of ‘Jet’ to his memory while on tour in Brazil.
Can you believe it has been three years since Paul released McCartney III? As three is an auspicious number for the record, Paul released a limited 3x3 Edition to mark the anniversary, with three randomised editions each featuring handwritten lyrics or artwork sketches plus a previously unseen artwork sketch by artist Ed Ruscha. Also this month, fans in the US were treated to the international premiere of Eyes of the Storm! The exhibition opened at the Chrysler Museum in Virginia on the 5th December. Paul rounded off the year by wishing everyone a happy Hannukah and a very merry Christmas!
Wow! Did we mention it was a busy year? It’s amazing to look back at everything Paul has and continues to achieve. If you fancy a visual journey back through 2023, we also collated all our favourite photos of the year right here on PaulMcCartney.com.
Now, we’re off to have a wonderful Christmastime, and we hope you have a happy Holidays too! Have a good one, and we’ll see you in 2024.