“Thrillington!” Paul McCartney’s Brilliant “RAM” – Orchestrated ! The Story Of A Big Band Recording Of His Masterpiece!

paul-mccartney-ram-thrillington

Are You A Fan Of Percy Thrillington?

The odds are you own a LOT of his music…take a look and this and let me know…

paul-mccartney-album-wallpaper

Check Out Paul McCartney’s Musical Catalog!

I love this wallpaper, which shows the incredible catalog of music from Paul McCartney – but here is one you may never have heard of – because Paul WAS Percy Thrillington!

paul-mccartney-ram-thrillington

Behold The Orchestral Majesty Of “Thrillington!”

This is one of Paul McCartney’s most obscure albums, but it’s an amazing achievement! First, meet the creator of the album:

thrilington-paul-mccartney-orchestra

Meet Record Producer Percy “Thrills” Thrillington!

Percy Thrillington was a name that Paul McCartney gave himself in order to do something very experimental – he wanted to do an orchestral version of his latest album “RAM!”

ram-vs-thrillington-paul-mccartney

Here’s how it all happened: as fans know, “RAM” was the only album credited to Paul and Linda McCartney. Paul was in the midst of his huge post-Beatles battle, and he and Linda headed to their farm to record this brilliant album.

According to wikipedia, “Arranger Richard Hewson was asked to arrange the orchestration before Ram had yet been released and it was recorded in June 1971 – with McCartney as producer – and with an intended release shortly thereafter. Paul and Linda’s decision to form Wings resulted in the album being shelved until 1977.”

percy-thrillington-print-ad-1977-paul

The ad for that 1977 release made it clear it was a musical reworking of McCartney’s “RAM”, but Paul’s name is not on the credits. It’s a fun, experimental album – something Macca was known for all throughout his career…let’s take a listen to his unique musical homage to “RAM!”

paul-mccartney-percy-thrillington

In preparation for the release of Thrillington, McCartney invented the fictitious socialite Percy Thrillington, and even took out ads in various UK music papers announcing Thrillington’s so-called comings and goings to generate curiosity and interest.

thrillington-liner-notes-paul-mccartney

Here is a look at the back of the album, with some fun information to share – but what about the album itself!

It all begins with he band warming up, bits of music and chatter, before you hear the band start in, with a chorus also involved – here is an audio only version of “Too Many People”:

ram-vs-thrillington-paul-mccartney

Next up is a jazzy big band sound, which actually gives a very expansive vibe to the original song “Three Legs”:

Here’s a 50’s “doo wop” version of “Dear Boy” – as you can see, each song is given a unique twist:

Here is an audio-only version of “Uncle Albert / Albert Halsey” – this song is one of “RAM’s” many masterpieces, and it’s great to hear Paul playing with in this this unique way:

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The rest of the album continues this experimental take on “RAM”…and for years, this was never acknowledged as being done by Paul!

Released in April 1977, McCartney’s name was mentioned only in the main liner notes where he is described as a friend of Percy. Thrillington went mostly unnoticed upon its release although it was mentioned in the “Random Notes” page of Rolling Stone magazine. Here are some press notes released by McCartney:

paul-mccartney-original-thrillington-press-release

McCartney was never asked about his role on the album until he finally admitted it to journalist Peter Palmiere at a Los Angeles press conference in 1989, during the second leg of his world tour at the time. McCartney told Palmiere:

“What a great question to end the conference. The world needs to know! But seriously it was me and Linda – and we kept it a secret for a long time but now the world knows – you blew it!”

paul-mccartney-percy-thrillington-fake-news-release

The full story of the “Thrillington” album was told in music journalist Ian Peel’s book “The Unknown Paul McCartney” from 2002.

the-unknown-paul-mccartney-book

Peel tracked down various musicians who brought McCartney’s vision to life – including Richard Hewson, Herbie Flowers and The Mike Sammes Singers – as well as those that were responsible in creating its mythology.

Of course, one reason the album is so much fun is that it’s an orchestral version of a masterpiece!

paul-mccartney-ram

“Ram” On!

“RAM” is the only album ever credited to “Paul and Linda McCartney” – and it is a beautiful album that showcases them both…but there was a reason for that credit…see why here:

https://johnrieber.com/2012/08/20/macca-ram-on-paul-mccartneys-masterpiece-john-lennons-fury-a-beatles-c-c-c-catfight/

As great as “RAM” is, it’s also amazing that so much music was left over – and it ended up here:

Red_Rose_Speedway

That’s right, “Red Rose Speedway” was partially recorded during the “RAM” sessions! See some more great trivia about this terrific Wings album here:

https://johnrieber.com/2015/08/21/paul-mccartneys-brilliant-ram-2-wings-soar-with-red-rose-speedway/

Finally, Macca has always had an experimental streak…that’s why he made this incredible album:

Paul McCartney Twin Freaks

Yes, “Twin Freaks” is a McCartney album as well…see some incredible videos for this unique collaboration here:


https://johnrieber.com/2014/06/20/twin-freaks-the-fireman-paul-mccartneys-neglected-solo-music-masterpieces/

Of course, Paul also knew how to knock out a straightforward classic rocker – like the best James Bond theme song of all time!

James Bond Theme

“Live And Let Die” is the greatest Bond theme ever…here are some of the other good ones – and the awful ones too – can you hear me, Madonna?


https://johnrieber.com/2013/11/05/rock-on-007-the-best-and-worst-james-bond-theme-songs/

Let me know what you think of “Thrillington!”

paul-mccartney-ram-thrillington



Categories: 70's Music, Art, Awards, Books / Media, British Cinema, Classic Rock, London, Memoirs, Music, Obscure Music, Talent/Celebrities, The Beatles, Uncategorized

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2 replies

  1. As you know, I don’t much care for Macca. But I did like ‘Live or Let Die’, especially by Guns ‘n Roses!
    I had never heard about ‘Thrillington’, but I love the enthusiasm and painstaking detail you bring to these posts, so always enjoy reading them.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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