In case you missed it, there’s a new album on the way… McCartney III has been reinvented, remixed and reimagined by twelve incredible artists, with tracks by Beck and Dominic Fike already available now. There’s not long to go until 16th April when McCartney III Imagined arrives in its entirety, and it’s got us thinking about some of our favourite covers and remixes of Paul’s songs over the years.
Have you rocked out to Guns N’ Roses superb version of ‘Live and Let Die’? What about listening to the smooth, chilled out vibe of Marvin Gaye’s ‘Yesterday’ (which Paul has declared one of his personal favourite versions of the song)? And if you haven’t checked out Harry Styles’ effortlessly cool ‘Wonderful Christmastime’ in the BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge, we recommend you do that pronto!
While Paul’s individual songs have been covered extensively, McCartney III Imagined will be the first time an entire album has been taken on by other musicians, curated by Paul himself. For this month’s ‘You Gave Me The Answer’ Q&A, we fired up Zoom and spoke to Paul about the concept of reimagining albums, what it’s like to write for other artists, and to get a little insight into some other upcoming projects.
PaulMcCartney.com: McCartney III Imagined is such an exciting concept, and we can’t wait for everyone to hear all the different tracks on the album. Would you ever consider getting another one of your albums reimagined? If so which one?
Paul: I think it’s a really interesting idea. Usually when you’re making music, you don’t dream up the idea that someone else will cover your stuff - you just wait to see if it happens. That’s the traditional way of things being re-imagined. But it is kinda nice when you actually put it together as a project, and say to people, ‘Would you like to do this?’ Particularly when they’ve got a lot of time on their hands, when we’re all in lockdown and no one’s touring... I think it is a good idea. And which other album might I do, given the chance? RAM is the one that comes to mind.
PMC.com: We’ve got the 50th anniversary of RAM coming up this year, maybe there’ll be some organic ones coming through.
Paul: Now that would be an idea.
PMC.com: Have you considered writing songs for other artists again, in the same way you did in the sixties for artists like Mary Hopkin, Billy J. Kramer, and Peter and Gordon?
Paul: The truth is that I have been doing that with two big projects that I have on: with the animation feature film High in the Clouds which is in production, and with the musical It’s A Wonderful Life_. I’ve demoed songs for both those projects, but they won’t be sung by me. Maybe they’ll find a way to work in my version in the end credits, or something, but generally it’ll be the characters in the plays and films performing those songs. So, whoever plays George Bailey in_ It’s A Wonderful Life will sing the songs I’ve written for him.
So, that’s kind of my modern equivalent of writing for Billy J. Kramer or for Peter and Gordon… but it’s morphed into more than that. I’m writing a lot of songs for each project which are all going to be sung by lots of different people. I can’t wait to hear that!
PMC.com: Do people still approach you to write songs for them?
Paul: People don’t really do that so much anymore. It’s not like it was in the sixties, when it was a way to get our name out there. Back then, me and John – well, the four of us actually – would come down to London and go to Charing Cross Road and meet our music publisher, and they would introduce us to couple of guys who write for people. That got us excited, and we would say, ‘Yeah, we could write a song for you – we’ve got one left over’. Billy J. Kramer was managed by the same person as us, Brian Epstein, so it was easy to give him some stuff. But that was when we were just starting out.
So, what’s happened with McCartney III Imagined - with these other artists reimagining the songs - is great. In the spirit of McCartney III having arrived by surprise, I thought, ‘Well, let’s just see what happens!’
What McCartney III track are you most looking forward to hearing being reimagined? Find out more about the new album and see the full tracklisting here.
McCartney III Imagined is released digitally on April 16th, with the physical release coming soon. Pre-order your copy here!