Paul McCartney has confirmed the release of an album recorded entirely in lockdown.
McCartney III, which will be released on December 11 this year, will finally complete a trilogy of albums that he started just before the Beatles split up.
Just like 1970’s McCartney and 1980’s McCartney II, the new album has been written, composed and produced entirely by Paul at home.
Only Paul plays on every one of the 11 songs on the album, which have mostly been built from live takes of vocals guitar or piano, with bass and drumming overdubs.
His official website says: “Paul hadn’t planned to release an album in 2020, but in the isolation of ‘Rockdown’, he soon found himself fleshing out some existing musical sketches and creating even more new ones.
“Before long an eclectic collection of spontaneous songs would become McCartney III – a stripped-back, self-produced and, quite literally, solo work marking the opening of a new decade.
“McCartney III spans a vast and intimate range of modes and moods, from soul-searching to wistful, from playful to raucous and all points between.”
Although the song titles haven’t been officially revealed, eagle-eyed fans have deciphered some of the names from photos of the vinyl edition’s label as ‘Long Tail Winter Bird‘, ‘Find My Way‘, ‘Pretty Boys’, and ‘Lavatory Lil‘.
Another song called ‘When Winter Comes‘ dates back to sessions for his 1997 album Flaming Pie recorded with Beatles producer George Martin.
On the album, Paul’s plays a double bass originally belonging to Bill Black, the bassist in Elvis Presley’s early trio, which was originally given to him as a birthday present from his late wife Linda McCartney.
He also uses his iconic Hofner violin bass, and a mellotron from Abbey Road Studios used on Beatles recordings.
Paul told Loud and Quiet that he hadn’t decided on using the title McCartney III until a “lightbulb” moment during recording.
“Right at the end of it, I’d just been stockpiling tracks, and I thought, ‘I don’t know what I’m going to do with all of this – I guess I’ll hang onto it,’ and then I thought, ‘Wait a minute, this is a McCartney record,’ because I’d played everything and done it in the same manner as McCartney I and II,” he said.
As first reported by God Is In the TV, Paul was dropping a series of online clues about the album before the official announcement on Wednesday evening.
Subtle teasers for the album started appearing on Spotify last Friday with surprise animations, showing a dice with three dots, referring to the album cover.
— Jason Carty (@Doctor_J_) October 16, 2020
Customers who ordered the deluxe of Flaming Pie, released earlier this year, were also sent small bags with three dice in them.
The domain name mccartneyiii.com was registered back in August by CSC Corporate Domains, the company that previously registered paulmccartney.com and flaming-pie.com (for the reissue of Paul’s 1997 album).
Its landing page originally appeared with a 303 error notice, instead of the usual 404 error notice, as noticed by French fan site Macca Club, while source code on the site is binary code for the word ‘three’.
Before the reveal, Paul McCartney’s Twitter account had also been posting photos at 33 minutes past the hour with a recurring motif of three.
Paul had already told GQ in an interview during the summer that he has been recording during lockdown, which he spent in England with his daughter Mary and her family.
“I’ve been able to write and get into music, starting songs, finishing songs. I’ve had a few little things to write and it’s given me the time to finish some songs that I hadn’t found the time to get around to,” he said.
“I’m lucky, because what I do, it all starts with writing, and I can pretty much do that anywhere, so long as I’ve got a guitar.
“I like having stuff to do, as it keeps the brain busy. And on top of all my projects, I’ve had the luxury of just being able to sit down and write songs for no reason, which is great. It keeps me off the streets.”
Paul’s debut album McCartney, which was described by John Lennon as “rubbish” when it was released in 1970, largely consists of songs played on piano, acoustic and electric guitar recorded onto a four track tape recorder.
The album includes the acclaimed ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’ and a couple of songs demoed during some of the later Beatles sessions – ‘Junk’ and ‘Teddy Boy’.
McCartney was recorded in late 1969 and early 1970, months after John Lennon privately told the rest of the Beatles that he would be leaving the group.
It was in a press release for the album’s promotion in April 1970 Paul let slip that he wouldn’t be working with the rest of the group in the near future – effectively announcing the band’s split to the world.
Ten years later, shortly after Wings disbanded, McCartney II was released, featuring heavy use of synthesisers and keyboards, recorded in Scotland and Sussex the previous year.
Both albums received mixed reviews upon release but are favourites among Macca fans.