Paul And Ringo’s Mini-Beatles Reunion!
This funny image is from the music video for “So Bad”, one of the playful songs from “Pipes Of Peace”. Ringo and Paul recorded together again after years apart. “Pipes” is a “debated” entry in the McCartney solo canon – some like it for the collection of pop hits it contains, while others decry the saccharine nature of some of the music…so which is it?
Let’s take a listen!
Analyzing Paul’s “Pipes!”
“Pipes Of Peace” was released in 1983, and was the follow-up to Paul’s popular “Tug of War” album, which included Paul’s poignant song to John Lennon, “Here Today.”
“Pipes” has many similarities to “Tug” – partly because some of the songs were recorded during the “Tug Of War” sessions!
More “Tug Of War” Comparisons!
As I said, many of the songs were actually recorded during the “Tug” sessions, and was originally considered for a double album release. “Pipes” was produced by George Martin, and both albums featured Paul singing two songs with other Artists. On “Tug” is was Stevie Wonder, and on “Pipes”, Paul sang twice with Michael Jackson.
Here are the songs on “Pipes Of Peace”, beginning with the title track:
“Pipes of Peace”
The lyrics offer up a straightforward call to peace:
“All’round The World
Little Children Being Born To The World
Got To Give Them All We Can ‘Til The War Is Won
Then Will The Work Be Done
Help Them To Learn (Help Them To Learn)
Songs Of Joy Instead Of Burn, Baby, Burn (Burn, Baby Burn)
Let Us Show Them How To Play The Pipes Of Peace
Play The Pipes Of Peace”
Here is the official music video, with Paul playing a World War 1 soldier:
Next up is the album’s biggest hit single, the duet with Michael Jackson:
“Say Say Say”
The music video was directed by Bob Giraldi, and the song became a number one hit in the US after its release in 1983.
Watch Linda ask the crowd to “step right up!” to open the video:
“The Other Me” and “Keep Under Cover” are next – two mid-tempo pop songs that are clearly album tracks but nice to listen to, then comes a song that speaks to what divides fans about this album:
Some fans love the beautiful melody of “So Bad”, while others have posted comments against the song, which explodes into a syrupy sounding chorus that is highly orchestrated and very saccharine…watch the music video and decide for yourself:
Side two is up next, and it begins with the other Michael Jackson collaboration:
“The Man” is also a great melody that is very heavily produced.
Here is the song’s music video, covered with a lot of great home video footage. As noted on YouTube:
“Michael Jackson was invited to stay with the McCartney family during 1981, during which time he and Paul wrote ‘Say Say Say’. Rare and previously unreleased home movie footage filmed by Paul McCartney and Linda McCartney, Sussex 1981.”
Check it out:
Bravo to “JThrillington” for sharing on Youtube…fascinating behind-the-scenes material of Paul and Michael, as well as Macca’s family.
“Sweetest Little Show” and “Average Person” are next, more catchy pop clocking in under three minutes each.
“Average Person” reminds me of Paul’s standard groove – a slice of pop with a catchy beat.
This is a song that, to me, showed Paul’s interest in experimentation, something he has done throughout his career.
This track begins with a somewhat raucous instrumental, which wouldn’t be out of place on “Back To The Egg” or “McCartney 2” – and then at 1:24 into the song, it shifts to a soft melodic groove, then back to the crunchy rock groove….
As I said, I like this kind of experimentation, which Macca had just done a couple years earlier with his electronic “McCartney 2” – also polarizing when released, now considered a masterpiece…see some of those incredible videos here:
This leads to McCartney’s unique “mashup” of “Tug Of War” AND “Pipes Of Peace”:
“Tug of Peace”
This song begins with an audio montage of voices and beats, suggesting another instrumental with a jazzy funk to it – then jumps into a “It’s a Tug Of War” chant – and Paul raps!
“It’s a tug of war
No no, your troubles cease when you learn to play the pipes of peace”
Yes, Paul talks over the chanting of the opening track to his previous album! It’s offered up with a funky bass line laid down underneath…a very unique song.
On the next track, “Tug Of Peace” Paul is clearly rapping some of the lyrics – in 1983!
“Through Our Love”
The album ends with a big love song, pure McCartney, but as with the other songs on the albums, barely three-and-a-half minutes…all of the songs are economical – set up the chorus, knock it out of the park, go home!
No “Peace” From The Critics!
While “Tug Of War” was given strong reviews, Critics didn’t feel the same way about “Pipes”:
The British magazine NME called it:
“a dull, tired and empty collection of quasi-funk and gooey rock arrangements … with McCartney cooing platitudinous sentiments on a set of lyrics seemingly made up on the spur of the moment.”
Time Has Been More Kind:
Paul released a special edition of the album in 20915, and Pitchfork Media notes that at the time of the original release:
“Some critics derided McCartney for aging gracelessly”, yet “a good listen to the album today reveals some ways it was ahead of its time.”
“Pipes Of Peace” came close to matching the commercial success of “Tug Of War”, and had two big hit singles: “Say Say Say” and the title track.
McCartney went right from recording the album to working on “Give My Regards To Broad Street”, his movie musical.
That movie didn’t do well, but Paul just kept on making music: however, next up, Paul made one of his rare mis-steps: an album with no hit singles, a very 80’s sound that for many felt out of touch with who Paul is as an Artist, and it bombed:
“Press To Play” sounds very much like the 80’s, and for some fans, didn’t sound enough like Paul.
Read all about “Press To Play” by clicking on my story here:
Paul never slowed down, even with failure, continuing to record music – and next, he took on a writing partner as well!
Take a look at his triumphant return to form with “Flowers In The Dirt” – and his musical collaboration with Elvis Costello – by clicking here:
Let me know what you think of “Pipes Of Peace.”
Categories: 70's Music, Art, Books / Media, British Cinema, Classic Rock, Comedy Movies, Cult Movies, Hollywood, Independent Cinema, London, Memoirs, Movies, Music, Obscure Movies, Obscure Music, Talent/Celebrities, The Beatles, Uncategorized