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OH I DO LIKE TO BE BESIDE THE B-SIDE!
A LOOK AT THE RARITIES BEHIND SOME OF PAUL'S RECENT HITS
Things have certainly changed since Paul McCartney and his three mates cut the first Beatles album PLEASE, PLEASE ME in a day! As Paul is one of the people responsible for making all those changes, it's no surprise to see him keeping pace with the pop music industry as it enters its fifth decade. Buoyed by the critical acclaim heaped on FLOWERS IN THE DIRT, Paul ensured that every single lifted from his album had a little something else for fans. But the story really begins long before the album was released in June 1989.
In hindsight, 1987 proved a crucial year for Paul: the release of the double Greatest Hits ALL THE BEST neatly collected his best work with Wings and tidied up all his other non-album solo recording. With the past safely bundled up, Paul began searching round for musical collaborators to work towards his future. In Elvis Costello, Paul found his most rewarding partner in years, and the fruits of that collaboration can, of course, be found on FLOWERS IN THE DIRT as well as Elvis' SPIKE album. 1987 also saw the beginning of Paul's occasional jams with sympathetic fellow musicians, which led to the recording and release of CHOBA B CCP in 1988.
From those spontaneous jams came the desire for Paul to form a band and get out on the road and play. Once the idea was fixed in his mind, Paul was determined that the new album would be as good as he could make it to coincide with the tour - and when Paul McCartney decides to make an album that'll push him to the limits of his creative energy, then stand aside and watch those sparks fly!
Those 1988 sessions for FLOWERS IN THE DIRT went, if anything, too well! By the end of the year, there were just too many songs to fit on an album, and even allowing for the generous 70 minutes maximum a Compact Disc allows, it was going to be a tight fit. Long hours and sweaty brows sifting through the final running order resulted in the 12 song vinyl album and 13 track cassette and CD FLOWERS IN THE DIRT.
It isn't only the nature of-recording which has changed since Paul's rock'n'roll heroes like Buddy Holly and Fats Domino laid down the foundations of rock history in prehistoric little 2-track studios back in the 1950s. The record industry itself has changed, again largely thanks to Paul and The Beatles. A determination to ensure maximum value for money meant that few of The Beatles' classic singles ever appeared on an album during the 1960s. The 1970s though saw that hits had to be on albums, and the 1980s ensured that albums were often little more than vehicles for singles. The commercial introduction of CDs in 1983 saw another chapter written in the marketing of pop music, and as we enter the 1990s, it looks as if, sadly, the obituary for the 7" vinyl pop single has been written. Paul himself is sorry to see the single go - his jukebox at MPL's London HQ is chock-full of his favourite seven inch slices of rock history. But ever one to move onward and upward, Paul follows the dictates of the market.
What I've tried to do here is catalogue the rich array of tracks which Paul has selected for the B-sides of the singles chosen from FLOWERS IN THE DIRT - CDs themselves only have one side, but you know what I mean! It has provided rich pickings, but has also proved to be a bit of a minefield for collectors - Paul's second single taken from the album, 'This One', for example was made available in six different formats! I have endeavoured to list each song only once, avoiding repetition by not listing the various mixes and alternate versions of the same song. I've also only listed singles which were publicly available - not just those made specifically for DJs.
So, let's not have too many distractions, put a brave face on this one, and take a rough ride on this figure of eight, and put it there ...