‘Stranglehold’ is the opening song on Paul McCartney’s sixth solo album Press To Play.

The song was co-written with former 10cc guitarist Eric Stewart.

I’d known Eric socially back in the Sixties when he was in The Mindbenders. He, Linda and I started doing harmonies on Tug Of War and Pipes Of Peace… It started very casually with Eric, I just said ‘Fancy coming round one day to try out some stuff?’ We started off with ‘Stranglehold’, putting rhythmic words in, using lyrics like a bongo, accenting the words. We both enjoyed the experience, then went on together to write the six songs that are featured on the album…

I remembered the old way I’d written songs with John, the two acoustic guitars facing each other, like a mirror, but better! Like an objective mirror, you’re looking at the person playing chords, but it’s not you. I’d never really tried to do that with anyone else: I’d either sit on my own with a guitar or piano, or with Michael Jackson doing lyrics, or Stevie [Wonder] and I just made that other one up. But it was never across the acoustics, which I’d always found a very complete way of writing.

Paul McCartney
Sound On Sound, October 1986

‘Stranglehold’ was the first song recorded at McCartney’s home studio, Hog Hill Mill, during the Press To Play sessions. He was immediately impressed with the results.

It sounded great with just Paul on bass, me on electrified acoustic guitar, and Jerry [Marotta] on kit. I went home feeling very very happy and got a call, which my wife Gloria answered. It was Paul and he said, ‘Tell that bloke of yours that is bloody good and I’m really looking forward to tomorrow!’
Eric Stewart
Beatlefan 140
Paul McCartney's mixing notes for Stranglehold

Paul McCartney’s mixing notes for Stranglehold

‘Stranglehold’ was released as a single in the USA on 29 October 1986, as the country’s second single from Press To Play. A remix of ‘Angry’ by Larry Alexander was on the b-side.

McCartney overdubbed additional instruments for the single release, but it was largely in vain. The single peaked at number 81 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The ‘Stranglehold’ single was included in the 2022 box set The 7″ Singles Box.

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