Paul McCartney Meets Elvis Costello! “Flowers In The Dirt!” McCartney’s 80’s Collaborative Gem!
I have been looking back at Paul McCartney’s music – and every album is full of great musical surprises….like Elvis Costello!
Playing In “The Dirt!”
Here’s the musical road to “Flowers In The Dirt.” In the mid-80’s, McCartney was riding high with hit albums like “Tug Of War” and “Pipes Of Peace”…hit singles, acclaimed albums and big sales…but then came the release of one of his biggest flops:
McCartney’s “Press To Play” bombed – and for many, it’s one of his worst solo albums…I gave it a critical re-evaluation, which you can see here:
After the critical and commercial failure of “Press To Play”, McCartney went back into the studio – with a new songwriting partner who looked like this!
Elvis Costello, one of the angriest songwriters of the late 70’s, had become one of the 80’s most acclaimed singer/songwriters….so when “Flowers In The Dirt” was released, Macca fans were surprised by the collaboration with Costello – let’s dive into “The Dirt!”
“I Been Hitting The Town And It Didn’t Hit Back!”
So begins the album – a great line from the power pop majesty of “My Brave Face” – this was McCartney’s last studio album of the 80’s, and it gets out of the gate in a big big way – with a big hit single!
Here’s the terrific music video:
The song is catchy with a great hook and strong lyrics:
“Ever Since You Left I Have Been Trying To
Compose A “Baby Will You Please Come Home” Note
Meant For You.
As I Clear Away Another
Untouched Tv Dinner
From The Table I Laid For Two.
Now That I’m Alone Again
I Can’t Stop Breaking Down Again,
The Simplest Things Set Me Off Again
And Take Me To That Place
Where I Can’t Find My Brave Face,
Where I Can’t Find My Brave Face,
My Brave, My Brave, My Brave Face”
After that great start, the album goes right into another gem:
Here is a great live version of the song – after Paul says hello to crowds all around the world!
“You Want Her Too”
Next up is another of the McCartney/Costello songs, and you can really tell that Costello’s most caustic, cynical side shows up.
McCartney has said that Costello mirrored John Lennon in certain aspects of his personality. Costello sings on “You Want Her Too” with McCartney.
“Distractions” and “We Got Married” were next, and “Married” benefits from guitar work by McCartney’s friend, Pink Floyd Guitarist David Gilmour…here’s a live version of the song:
“Put It There”
Up next on the album is one of Paul’s great songs, a father’s love for his son:
“Put it there if it weighs a ton
That’s what the father said to his younger son
I don’t care if it weighs a ton
As long as you and I are here, put it there”
Here is the terrific music video:
Next up is another hit from the album:
“Figure Of Eight”
(Well) You’ve Got Me Dancing In A Figure Of Eight,
Don’t Know If I’m Coming Or Going, I’m Early Or Late.
Round And Round The Ring I Go,
I Want To Know, I Want To Know,
Why Can’t We Travel A Continuous Line?
Here is the music video:
“Figure Of Eight” is a great crowd-pleaser – and another hit single for Macca.
“This One” and “Don’t Be Careless Love” were next – “Careless” is another song co-written with Costello, as was the next song on the album:
“That Day Is Done”
In his 2015 autobiography, “Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink”, Costello described the track “That Day Is Done” as, “the unhappy sequel to ” Veronica””, which he had also written with McCartney.
As always, Linda was on the album as well…
Here is a great live version of the “That Day Is Done” with a twist – it’s performed by Costello – from a 1997 David Letterman show!
“How Many People”, “Motor Of Love” and “Ou est le soleil” round out “Flowers In The Dirt”, which was released to critical acclaim – and went to #1 around the world – another “return to form” for an artist who was always under the microscope.
Paul recorded additional songs with Elvis, which ended up here:
I love the “Off The Ground” album, which followed “Flowers In The Dirt”…you can see my review, with lots of great music videos, by clicking here:
To support “Flowers In The Dirt”, McCartney embarked on his first worldwide tour since Wings!
I remember how exciting it was to see McCartney live after all those years…and I was in the audience when McCartney and Wings were in Seattle in the mid-70’s!
You can read all about “Wings Across America” by clicking here:
Finally, two of the McCartney/Costello songs appeared on Costello’s album “Spike”.
The songs were “Pads, Paws and Claws” and the hit single ” Veronica”.
Let me know your thoughts on “Flowers In The Dirt!”