The piece was commissioned by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, and was composed with conductor Carl Davis, who received joint billing in the album credits.
The world premiere of Liverpool Oratorio took place on Friday 28 June 1991, in front of a capacity audience of 2,500 people at the cathedral. The 90 members of the Liverpool Philharmonic were joined by the 160-strong Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir, 40 choristers of the cathedral, and four world-class solo singers: Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Sally Burgess, Jerry Hadley and Willard White.
The Liverpool recording was released as a double CD set, to mixed reviews. It topped the US classical charts, but reached only number 177 on the Billboard 200.
In the UK Liverpool Oratorio was released on 7 October 1991. It topped the classical chart and reached number 36 on the main album chart.
Initial pressings of the Japanese edition of the album came with a bonus 3″ CD featuring a six-minute interview with McCartney.
A single compact disc set, titled Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Oratorio – Highlights, was released in October 1992, and featured shortened versions of each of the movements.
Two singles were released from the album. The World You’re Coming In To/Tres Conejos was issued in the UK on 30 September 1991. It was followed on 25 November by Save The Child/The Drinking Song, which was also issued in the US on 12 November.
Also on this day...
- 2015: Paul McCartney live: First Niagara Center, Buffalo, New York
- 2014: Ringo Starr live: Maxwell C King Center for the Performing Arts, Melbourne, Florida
- 2009: Paul McCartney announces European tour
- 1984: Album release: Give My Regards To Broad Street by Paul McCartney
- 1968: George Harrison produces Is This What You Want? by Jackie Lomax
- 1968: Recording: Yellow Submarine film score
- 1966: George and Pattie Harrison leave India
- 1965: Recording: In My Life, Nowhere Man
- 1964: Live: Odeon Cinema, Leeds
- 1964: Mixing: I Feel Fine
- 1962: Live: Queen’s Hall, Widnes
- 1961: Live: Casbah Coffee Club, Liverpool
- 1960: Live: Kaiserkeller, Hamburg
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.