The first song on Paul McCartney’s second solo album to be recorded, ‘Front Parlour’ encapsulated the instant, no-frills approach he took for the record.
‘Front Parlour’ was taped shortly after ‘Check My Machine’, an experimental composition with which McCartney tested his recording equipment. That song ended up as the b-side to the ‘Waterfalls’ single, making ‘Front Parlour’ the earliest recording to feature on McCartney II.
That was the first thing I did on the album and it was done in the front parlour of an old farmhouse. It was empty at the time so we just brought the recording machinery in and used the kitchen as an echo chamber. It was a big echoey kitchen so I didn’t have to use echo or any gimmicks on the sessions. I had to make do. I’d just have to stand in this big kitchen with a snare drum and belt it. That’s how I got an echo snare. This little front parlour, which has still got the old wallpaper on it and a little fireplace, was where the main track was recorded. So I called it ‘Front Parlour’.
The original version of ‘Front Parlour’ lasted more than a minute and a half longer than the McCartney II version. Like many songs on the album, it was edited in order to trim the running length from a double to single album. The full-length version was included in the album’s 2011 reissue.
Actually, Joe, it wasn’t the first song recorded in these sessions. A song called Check the Machine was.