It’s my dad’s style of music. I’ve wanted to do that kind of thing forever, since the Beatle days. But then Rod [Stewart] went mad on it. I thought, ‘I have to wait so it doesn’t look like I’m trying to do a Rod.’
McCartney began recording Kisses On The Bottom at Capitol Studios in Los Angeles in April 2011. Further sessions followed in New York and London.
It was very spontaneous, kind of organic, which then reminded me of the way we’d work with The Beatles. We’d bring a song in, kick it around, when we found a way to do it we’d say ‘Okay, let’s do a take now’ and by the time everyone kind of had an idea of what they were doing, we’d learnt the song. So that’s what we did, we did the take live in the studio.
It was important for me to keep away from the more obvious song choices so, many of the classic standards will be unfamiliar to some people. I hope they are in for a pleasant surprise.
The producer was Tommy LiPuma, and the musicians included Diana Krall and her band. Eric Clapton made a guest appearance on My Valentine and Get Yourself Another Fool, and Stevie Wonder performed on Only Our Hearts.
In a first for an entire album, McCartney restricted himself solely to the vocal booth, with no instruments performed. Eager to recapture the sounds of past times, he sang into a microphone previously used by Nat ‘King’ Cole.
In the end it was ‘Look, if I don’t do it now, I’ll never do it. When I kind of got into songwriting, I realized how well structured these songs were and I think I took a lot of my lessons from them. I always thought artists like Fred Astaire were very cool. Writers like Harold Arlen, Cole Porter, all of those guys – I just thought the songs were magical. And then, as I got to be a songwriter I thought it’s beautiful, the way they made those songs.
Kisses On The Bottom is McCartney’s 15th solo album, not including collaborations, classical or experimental releases. It was his first album since the previous year’s Ocean’s Kingdom ballet soundtrack, and his first solo studio vocal release since 2007’s Memory Almost Full.
The album has been streamed on a number of websites since it leaked online in December 2011. It has received broadly positive reviews, despite its stylistic departure for McCartney.
A deluxe CD version includes two extra tracks – ‘Baby’s Request’ and ‘My One And Only Love’ – plus a download card for an exclusive live show available through McCartney’s official website. It also features longer liner notes, three postcards and expanded packaging. An 180 gramme vinyl edition with a download card is also available.
Also on this day...
- 1970: John Lennon and Yoko Ono are interviewed for the BBC’s Scene And Heard
- 1970: UK single release: Instant Karma! by John Lennon
- 1968: Ringo Starr appears on Cilla Black’s television show
- 1968: Recording, mixing: The Inner Light, Lady Madonna
- 1964: Interview: John Lennon and George Harrison
- 1963: Live: Granada Cinema, Bedford
- 1961: Live: Lathom Hall, Liverpool
- 1958: George Harrison meets the Quarrymen
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.