Press to Play is the sixth solo studio album by Paul McCartney, released August 1986. It is notable for being his first album of entirely new music since 1983's Pipes of Peace and his first album released internationally by long-time label EMI after a brief alliance with Columbia Records in the US and Canada.
After the box office flop of the film Give My Regards to Broad Street, McCartney decided that it was time for a change of pace in his career. In an attempt to give his music a more contemporary sound, he joined forces with Hugh Padgham, an in-demand producer famed for having recorded Peter Gabriel, Genesis, Phil Collins, The Police, and XTC. Beginning in March 1985, McCartney began recording Press to Play, having written several new songs, many with current collaborator, former 10cc member Eric Stewart. Guesting on the album would be Pete Townshend, Phil Collins, Eddie Rayner (Split Enz's keyboard maestro) and Stewart himself. Carlos Alomar also overdubbed electric guitar on several tracks, including "Press", "Good Times Coming/Feel the Sun", "It's Not True", "Tough on a Tightrope", "Write Away" and "Move Over Busker", according to his recollections included in the book Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013).
The album would not be finished until the end of the year, by which time only one song would see release from its sessions – the title track to the film Spies Like Us, joined by Phil Ramone in the producer's chair. "Spies Like Us", a non-album single backed by Wings' 1975 recording "My Carnival", proved to be a US top 10 hit (and McCartney's last), setting the stage for Press to Play. In 1993, Press to Play was remastered and reissued on CD as part of The Paul McCartney Collection series with his 1985 hit "Spies Like Us" and an alternate mix of impending 1987 UK success "Once Upon a Long Ago" as bonus tracks.
"Press", a slick up-tempo pop song, was released in July 1986 and became only a Top-30 hit in the UK and US. Press to Play itself appeared in September to the most positive reviews McCartney had received in years; however, it proved to be his weakest-selling album of his solo career. Peaking at number 8 in the UK, its chart life was brief, while in the US, Press to Play failed to even go gold, cresting at an underwhelming number 30 and selling only 250,000 copies. Follow-up singles, "Pretty Little Head" and "Only Love Remains" performed poorly at retail.