UK album release: Press To Play by Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney’s sixth solo album, Press To Play, was released in the United Kingdom on 1 September 1986.

The album found McCartney rethinking his musical direction, bringing a slick, modern feel to his writing and recordings. It had been released in the USA on 25 August 1986.

Press To Play album artwork - Paul McCartney

The single ‘Press’ was released six weeks before Press To Play, with ‘It’s Not True’ as its b-side. It was not a chart success, peaking at number 21 in the US and 25 in the UK,

Initial UK copies of Press To Play – 45,000 were made – included a version of ‘Press’ remixed by Bert Bevans and Steve Forward. This was subsequently replaced by a second pressing which featured the original mix by Hugh Padgham. Both mixes had appeared on a limited edition 10″ single.

Press To Play was released worldwide by EMI, and marked McCartney’s return to the label following a brief period with Columbia Records in the USA and Canada.

The compact disc edition contained three songs not on vinyl or cassette: ‘Write Away’, ‘It’s Not True’, and ‘Tough On A Tightrope’.

Press To Play became the lowest-selling album of McCartney’s career. It reached number eight in the UK charts, but in the US peaked at number 30 and failed to be certified gold, selling just 250,000 copies. The singles ‘Pretty Little Head’ and ‘Only Love Remains’ also sold poorly.

The lack of commercial success alarmed McCartney and affected his confidence. He embarked on a range of new creative endeavours over the next two years to revive his public status. These included songwriting collaborations with Elvis Costello, the Choba B CCCP collection of rock ‘n’ roll oldies, and eventually the album widely considered his return to form: 1989’s Flowers In The Dirt.

Last updated: 16 July 2021
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