Produced by George Martin
Label – Parlophone/Columbia CBS
“Tug Of War” brought about a return to form in both artistic and critical recognition, realized by more consistent songs, sumptuously produced by Beatles cohort George Martin. It was the first album release following the death of John Lennon, and the official dissolution of Wings. In many ways the album feels like the start of a new chapter, and yet much of the material was written with support from Denny Laine, in sessions during 1980 just before Lennon’s death. The possibility of a reformation of the great songwriters was far from assured, but the pair were back on speaking terms and discussing their own projects, sparking off each other as Lennon quipped that the “househusband needed to go out and make a living”. Most are of the opinion that that McCartney’s method of dealing with the loss of his musical soul brother was to bury himself in work, and much of 1981 was spent perfecting not only “Tug Of War” but a number of songs that would appear on 1983’s “Pipes Of Peace”.
Most will remember “Tug Of War” as the album that paired McCartney with Stevie Wonder. The partnership provides two songs, the white hot, funky sizzler “What’s That You’re Doing”, and the insipid, sickly “Ebony And Ivory”, which remains a tragic reminder that Stevie’s own songwriting was on the rocks by this period. The album reveals at least one of McCartney’s greatest ever singles in “Take It Away”, which opens like a calypso lilt and closes out in a magnificent George Martin arranged big band horn crescendo and in between, effortless harmonies and crisp, driving pop mastery. The eulogy to his greatest inspiration, Lennon, on “Here Today” is one of the most tender and personal ballads of his career. The lyrics never once show the rose tinted wallowing and self sentimentalism one would expect, but the yearning for the complexity of their relationship, all played over a stunning string arrangement reminiscent of “Revolver” era Beatles. “Wanderlust” remains one of McCartney’s unsung classics; a powerful ballad illuminated by an orchestral melody, richly expansive and gloriously elaborate. Rolling Stone magazine would say of “Tug Of War”, “only “Band on the Run” comes close to touching “Tug of War” in the richness of its style and the consistency of its songs”, and one can only agree.
“Tug Of War” remains one of McCartney’s most accomplished works, and for all the hit and miss performances before and since, is possibly his greatest solo collection.
1.”Tug of War” – 4:22
2.”Take It Away” – 4:14
3.”Somebody Who Cares” – 3:19
4.”What’s That You’re Doing?” – 6:19
5.”Here Today” – 2:27
Side two6.”Ballroom Dancing” – 4:07
7.”The Pound Is Sinking” – 2:54
8.”Wanderlust” – 3:49
9.”Get It” – 2:29
10.”Be What You See (Link)” – 0:34
11.”Dress Me Up as a Robber” – 2:41
12.”Ebony and Ivory” – 3:46
Ebony And Ivory
Take It Away
Tug Of War