Pipes of Peace (song)

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"Pipes of Peace"
Single by Paul McCartney
from the album Pipes of Peace
B-side "So Bad"
Released 5 December 1983
Format 7"
Recorded September/October 1982
Genre Pop
Length 3:56
Label Parlophone
Writer(s) Paul McCartney
Producer(s) George Martin
Paul McCartney singles chronology
"Say Say Say"
(1983)
"Pipes of Peace"
(1984)
"No More Lonely Nights"
(1984)

"Pipes of Peace" is a song written by Paul McCartney, which was first released on his album of the same name on 31 October 1983. It was also released as a single on 5 December 1983 and reached number one on many singles charts for two weeks.[1]

Charts[edit]

In the United States, "Pipes of Peace" was issued as the B-side, and its British B-side, "So Bad", was issued as the A-side.[2] "So Bad" climbed the US charts and became another hit on the Billboard Hot 100.[3]

McCartney had previously had seventeen UK number one singles as a member of The Beatles, one as a member of Wings ("Mull of Kintyre"), and one with Stevie Wonder ("Ebony and Ivory"), but this was his first and only UK number one as a solo artist. He later appeared on five charity singles that reached number one: Band Aid (1984), Ferry Aid (1987), Ferry Cross the Mersey (1989), Band Aid 20 (2004) and The Justice Collective (2012).

Video[edit]

At Chobham Common, Surrey, a video was shot for "Pipes of Peace", depicting the famous 1914 Christmas truce between British and German troops.[4] It portrays a British and a German soldier, both played by McCartney, who meet up in No Man's Land and exchange photos of their loved ones while other soldiers fraternise and play football. When a shell blast forces the two armies to retreat to their own trenches both men realise that they still have each other's pictures.[5] The video was produced by Hugh Symonds, featured more than 100 extras, and for added realism McCartney had his hair cut short especially for the shoot.

In November 2014 the British supermarket chain Sainsbury's, in partnership with the Royal British Legion, produced a Christmas advert [6] whose look and narrative were widely recognized [7] as being based on McCartney's "Pipes of Peace" video. As in "Pipes of Peace" the British and German soldier return to their trenches to discover that they have inadvertently swapped their gifts from home. It has been suggested that both productions borrowed the plot device from the award-winning 1969 Richard Attenborough film "Oh What A Lovely War",[8] or from the Oscar-nominated French film "Joyeux Noel", both depicting the Christmas Truce. But the former does not contain a similar plot device, and the latter - in which a French soldier's lost wallet, containing a photo of his wife, is returned to him by a German soldier - was not released until 2005.[9]

Other[edit]

Argentine singer-songwriter Sergio Denis recorded a Spanish version of the song re-titled Pipas de la paz on his album La Humanidad (1984).

The McCartney recording appeared again on his 1987 compilation, All the Best! (UK/Canada version, but not the US version).

Tabla was played by James Kippen.[10]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

Preceded by
"Only You" by The Flying Pickets
UK number-one single
8 January 1984
Succeeded by
"Relax" by Frankie Goes to Hollywood