Kisses on the Bottom

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Kisses on the Bottom
Cover photo by Mary McCartney
Studio album by Paul McCartney
Released 6 February 2012 (UK)
7 February 2012 (US)
Recorded March 2010 at Capitol Studios, Los Angeles[1]
2011 in New York City and London[2]
Genre Jazz, traditional pop
Length 49:19
Label Hear Music
Producer Tommy LiPuma
Paul McCartney chronology
Ocean's Kingdom
(2011)
Kisses on the Bottom
(2012)
iTunes Live from Capitol Studios
(2012)
Singles from Kisses on the Bottom
  1. "My Valentine"
    Released: 20 December 2011
  2. "Only Our Hearts"
    Released: 7 February 2012

Kisses on the Bottom is the fifteenth studio album by Paul McCartney, consisting primarily of covers of traditional pop music and jazz. Released in February 2012 on Starbucks' Hear Music label, it was McCartney's first studio album since Memory Almost Full in 2007. The album was produced by Tommy LiPuma and includes just two original compositions by McCartney: "My Valentine" and "Only Our Hearts". The former features Eric Clapton on guitar, while the latter features Stevie Wonder on harmonica. Kisses on the Bottom peaked at number 3 on the UK Albums Chart and number 5 on the US Billboard 200, while also topping Billboard magazine's Jazz Albums chart.

In addition to the standard release, the album was made available in a "Deluxe" edition, which added the songs "Baby's Request" – written by McCartney and originally recorded by Wings for their 1979 album Back to the Egg – and another cover, "My One and Only Love". In November 2012, an expanded edition of Kisses on the Bottom, subtitled Complete Kisses, was released exclusively on the iTunes store. The latter release features the fourteen-track album with four bonus tracks, and the complete iTunes Live from Capitol Studios performance.

History and recording[edit]

Recording took place at the Capitol Records Building

A year prior to recording the album, jazz producer Tommy LiPuma and an unnamed keyboardist tried out some ideas for five days with Paul McCartney at McCartney's home studio in East Sussex. Featuring just vocals and piano, the trio "put about 15-20 songs on tape", to see what tracks would work.[3] Around this time, an unknown McCartney original was recorded, with the help of engineer Geoff Emerick.[4] The songs that McCartney would work on were voted upon democratically: McCartney comments, "I pulled up some [songs] from my memories, when I was a kid and we had family sing-songs, which was the original inspiration for the whole idea, I said to Tom, 'Let's look at these ones. This is the kind of era I want to look at.' Tommy himself suggested some; a girl in my office; [...] Diana [Krall] suggested some. Then I played Tommy a couple that I'd written, and he said, 'Whoa, that's a great idea,' so we selected a couple of those. [...] We all made suggestions, and we took all those suggestions to the studio."[3]

An alternate musical arrangement of "My Valentine" was recorded, along with remakes of earlier McCartney songs: "Baby's Request", and "Goodnight Princess".[5] Both the version recorded during the album sessions, and the original 1983 vocal version are unreleased.[5] Arranger of "My Valentine" was Alan Broadbent, who recalled his work with McCartney in the book Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013), speaking about the ideas McCartney offered him about the arrangement.[6] Some songs were from McCartney's childhood, in which his father, Jim, would often be playing on the family piano.[3] Most of the songs were played based off the sheet music, as LiPuma said that "We'd have somebody write out a chord sheet for us, and then we went in and figured it out on the date".[1] LiPuma also said McCartney wasn't unfamiliar with the group's way of recording, saying that McCartney said "I love this. It reminds me of the way we used to do the Beatles. John [Lennon] and I would write a song, we'd have a date booked at Abbey Road, and neither George Martin, George Harrison or Ringo [Starr] knew what the songs were about. They'd work it out right there in the room".[1]

The album was recorded during March 2010 – 2011 at Capitol Studios[1][2] and Avatar Studios.[7] The album's title comes from the lead track "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter", originally a hit for Fats Waller in 1935.[2][3] Said McCartney in the liner notes, "I worked with Diana Krall, and great jazz musicians like John Clayton. This is an album very tender, very intimate. This is an album you listen to at home after work, with a glass of wine or a cup of tea."[8] The disc was helmed by LiPuma who has previously worked with Miles Davis and Barbra Streisand, among others.[9][10] The album is mostly standards, with two originals written in the same style ("My Valentine" and "Only Our Hearts").[3] "My Valentine", composed by McCartney, the first song released from the album, features Eric Clapton on guitar.[3] Stevie Wonder plays harmonica on "Only Our Hearts".[3][11][12] McCartney plays acoustic guitar on "Get Yourself Another Fool" and "The Inch Worm", but otherwise contributes only vocals.[13]

Release and promotion[edit]

External video
"My Valentine" Music video
from McCartney's official account on YouTube

Kisses on the Bottom was released in the UK on 6 February 2012, and a day later in the US, on LP[nb 1][nb 2] and CD. The CD version was originally released in two editions: a standard 14-track edition,[nb 3][nb 4] and a 16-track "Deluxe" edition.[nb 5]

A streaming free live performance was hosted by iTunes on 9 February 2012. McCartney performed live from Capitol Studios in Los Angeles, where much of the album was recorded. People tuned into the show by accessing iTunes on their PCs or Macintosh computers.[18] The live performance was later released, as Paul McCartney's Live Kisses, directed by Jonas Åkerlund, airing on PBS' Great Performances in September 2012.[19] The performance was released on DVD and Blu-ray on 13 November 2012.[20] In an interview with Billboard, McCartney said that he didn't rule out the possibility of a tour of the album with the musicians who played on it: "We haven't really talked about it yet. People have plenty of ideas and suggestions. I'd like to see how it goes live, just how much we enjoy it. If we all enjoy it, then we've got to think about taking it out."[1]

Singles[edit]

McCartney performed "My Valentine" live at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards in 2012 with Diana Krall and Joe Walsh of the Eagles[nb 6] The single climbed to number 20 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary Chart[22] after its debut at number 28. "My Valentine" also reached number 23 on the Japan Hot 100,[23] number 27 on the Billboard Jazz Digital Songs chart,[24] and number 23 on the Billboard Rock Digital Songs chart.[25] "Only Our Hearts" debuted at number 84 on the Japan Hot 100.[23]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 62/100[26]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[27]
The A.V. Club C+[28]
Chicago Tribune 2/4 stars[29]
The Daily Telegraph 4/5 stars[30]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[31]
The Independent 2/5 stars[32]
Mojo 3/5 stars[33]
PopMatters 6/10[34]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[35]
Spin 3/10[36]

Kisses on the Bottom rates 62/100, meaning a "generally favorable" reception, at Metacritic, who compiled data from 26 professional reviews, sixteen of which were "mixed".[26]

According to Rolling Stone, "like Rock 'n' Roll, John Lennon's 1975 album of primal rock gems, Kisses on the Bottom is the sound of a musician joyfully tapping his roots; and like his former song writing partner, McCartney is better transforming influences than mirroring them. But it's fun, and touching, to hear him crooning his way through the great American songbook."[35] In a review of the album for BBC Music, writer Patrick Humphries referred to the collection as "an album of neglected dishes from the great banquet of American popular music", before concluding that "what McCartney accomplishes here, in the best possible sense, is an album ideally made for Easy Listening".[37]

AllMusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine said of McCartney's choice of songs as "faithful, loving versions of songs he's always sung", and calling his two originals—"My Valentine" and "Only Our Hearts"—as "quite good".[27] Neil McCormick, reviewing the album for The Daily Telegraph, noted that of McCartney's two original compositions on the album it is "impossible to pick them out as contemporary songs amongst the standards" and that whilst "Only Our Hearts" is "unremarkable", the album's other original, "My Valentine", "has the ring of a classic".[30] Greg Kot said the slow version of "Bye Bye Blackbird" "nearly stalls".[29]

Awards and accolades[edit]

Kisses on the Bottom won a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album at the 2013 Grammy Awards.[38]

Commercial performance[edit]

Kisses on the Bottom peaked at number 3 on the UK Albums Chart,[39] and number 5 on the US Billboard 200.[40] It also debuted at number 17 on Billboard '​s Jazz Albums listings, before climbing to number 1 the following week.[41] In addition, it hit number 2 on the Billboard Tastemaker Albums chart,[42] just behind Van Halen's A Different Kind of Truth, and number 5 on the magazine's Digital Albums chart.[43]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter"   Fred E. Ahlert, Joe Young 2:36
2. "Home (When Shadows Fall)"   Peter van Steeden, Jeff Clarkson, Harry Clarkson 4:04
3. "It's Only a Paper Moon"   Harold Arlen, E. Y. Harburg, Billy Rose 2:35
4. "More I Cannot Wish You"   Frank Loesser 3:04
5. "The Glory of Love"   Billy Hill 3:46
6. "We Three (My Echo, My Shadow and Me)"   Sammy Mysels, Dick Robertson, Nelson Cogane 3:22
7. "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive"   Arlen, Johnny Mercer 2:32
8. "My Valentine"   Paul McCartney 3:14
9. "Always"   Irving Berlin 3:50
10. "My Very Good Friend the Milkman"   Harold Spina, Johnny Burke 3:04
11. "Bye Bye Blackbird"   Ray Henderson, Mort Dixon 4:26
12. "Get Yourself Another Fool"   Haywood Henry, Monroe Tucker 4:42
13. "The Inch Worm"   Loesser 3:43
14. "Only Our Hearts"   McCartney 4:21
Total length:
49:19

Deluxe edition[edit]

The deluxe version of the album includes two additional tracks (including "Baby's Request", a cover of a Wings song from the Back to the Egg album), a download code for access to an exclusive live show available from McCartney's website a week after the album's release, and longer liner notes and expanded album packaging, including three postcards.[2] The US deluxe edition of the CD is 16 tracks which is available exclusively through Target stores.[nb 7]

Kisses on the Bottom – Complete Kisses[edit]

An expanded edition of the album, titled Kisses on the Bottom – Complete Kisses, was released exclusively on iTunes on 26 November 2012 for the UK, and 27 November 2012 for the US. The album contained the original 14 track version of the album, plus 4 bonus tracks, and the complete Live from Capitol Studios performance (13 tracks).[45] One of the bonus tracks, "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)", was released as a red vinyl single Christmas Kisses and peaked at number 25 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart.[22] The track was also featured on the 2012 Christmas compilation album Holidays Rule.[46]

Kisses on the Bottom – Complete Kisses
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter"   Ahlert, Young 2:36
2. "Home (When Shadows Fall)"   Steeden, Clarkson, Clarkson 4:04
3. "It's Only a Paper Moon"   Arlen, Harburg, Rose 2:35
4. "More I Cannot Wish You"   Loesser 3:04
5. "The Glory of Love"   Hill 3:46
6. "We Three (My Echo, My Shadow and Me)"   Mysels, Robertson, Cogane 3:22
7. "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive"   Arlen, Mercer 2:32
8. "My Valentine"   McCartney 3:14
9. "Always"   Berlin 3:50
10. "My Very Good Friend the Milkman"   Spina, Burke 3:04
11. "Bye Bye Blackbird"   Henderson, Dixon 4:26
12. "Get Yourself Another Fool"   Henry, Tucker 4:42
13. "The Inch Worm"   Loesser 3:43
14. "Only Our Hearts"   McCartney 4:21
15. "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)"   Mel Tormé, Bob Wells 3:35
16. "Baby's Request"   McCartney 3:30
17. "My One and Only Love"   Wood, Mellin 3:50
18. "My Valentine" (Johnny Mandel Original Arrangement) McCartney 3:12
19. "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter" (Live) Ahlert, Young 2:44
20. "Home (When Shadows Fall)" (Live) Steeden, Clarkson, Clarkson 4:26
21. "It's Only a Paper Moon" (Live) Arlen, Harburg, Rose 2:55
22. "More I Cannot Wish You" (Live) Loesser 3:28
23. "The Glory of Love" (Live) Hill 3:53
24. "We Three (My Echo, My Shadow and Me)" (Live) Mysels, Robertson, Cogane 4:14
25. "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive" (Live) Arlen, Mercer 2:51
26. "My Valentine" (Live) McCartney 3:31
27. "Always" (Live) Berlin 4:21
28. "My Very Good Friend the Milkman" (Live) Spina, Burke 3:14
29. "Bye Bye Blackbird" (Live) Henderson, Dixon 4:45
30. "Get Yourself Another Fool" (Live) Henry, Tucker 7:48
31. "My One and Only Love" (Live) Wood, Mellin 4:16

Personnel[edit]

Personnel per standard edition booklet.[7]

Chart performance[edit]

References[edit]

Footnotes
  1. ^ Europe Hear Music 088072335981/HRM-33598-01[14]
  2. ^ US Hear Music 888072335981/HRM-33598-01[15]
  3. ^ UK Hear Music HRM 33369[16]
  4. ^ US Hear Music HRM-33671-02[17]
  5. ^ UK Hear Music HRM 33596[16]
  6. ^ McCartney would again work with Krall in September 2012.[21]
  7. ^ US Hear Music HRM-33596-02[44]
Citations
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