Off the Ground

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Off the Ground
Off the Ground.jpg
Studio album by Paul McCartney
Released 2 February 1993
Recorded September 1991, 25 November – 6 December 1991, 9 December 1991 – July 1992, 18 May – 30 June 1992
Studio The Mill Studio, Sussex; Hit Factory Studios, London
Genre Rock
Length 50:25
Label Parlophone (UK)
Capitol (US)
Producer Paul McCartney, Julian Mendelsohn
Paul McCartney chronology
Paul McCartney's Liverpool Oratorio
(1991)Paul McCartney's Liverpool Oratorio1991
Off the Ground
Paul Is Live
(1993)Paul Is Live1993
Singles from Off the Ground
  1. "Hope of Deliverance"
    Released: 28 December 1992
  2. "C'Mon People"
    Released: 22 February 1993 (UK only)
  3. "Off the Ground"
    Released: 19 April 1993
  4. "Biker Like an Icon"
    Released: 8 November 1993

Off the Ground is the ninth solo studio album by Paul McCartney under his own name (discounting then his Wings-era discography, among other releases), released in 1993. As his first studio album of the 1990s, it is also the follow-up to the well-received Flowers in the Dirt (1989).

Recording and structure[edit]

After planning another world tour simply entitled The New World Tour in 1993 to promote the album, McCartney opted to record Off the Ground with his touring band. Blair Cunningham joined on drums to replace Chris Whitten, who departed to join Dire Straits.

McCartney decided to record the album "live in the studio", meaning that the band would rehearse an entire song then record it in one take, instead of recording each vocal track and instrumental track separately. This approach gave a new, raw and direct feel to the work, but was not overly liked by critics.

The compositions also seemed less complex than on Flowers in the Dirt, with some of them having been out-takes from the earlier album. "Mistress and Maid" and "The Lovers That Never Were", which emerged from McCartney's songwriting collaboration with Elvis Costello, made their appearance on this album. Unlike Flowers in the Dirt, however, Costello did not appear on Off the Ground.

The first two songs taped were Biker Like an Icon and Peace in the Neighbourhood, both derived from some album rehearsals in November 1991.[1]

McCartney's increased interest in social issues came to prominence on this album, with the anti-animal cruelty rocker "Looking for Changes" (McCartney and his wife Linda both being long-time vegetarians by this time) or paeans for a better world ("Hope of Deliverance" and "C'Mon People"). The B-side "Big Boys Bickering" lambasted politicians, with the phrase "Big boys bickering, fucking it up for everyone" showing a more aggressive side to McCartney.

The CD hidden track, a short excerpt of "Cosmically Conscious", was originally written by McCartney in 1968 during The Beatles' stay in Rishikesh. A full length version of the recording was released as the B-side of the "Off the Ground" single and later included on Off the Ground: The Complete Works.

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 2/5 stars[2]
Chicago Tribune (favourable)[3]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 2/5 stars[4]
Entertainment Weekly C–[5]
The Essential Rock Discography 4/10[6]
Houston Chronicle 3.5/5 stars[7]
Los Angeles Times 2.5/4 stars[8]
MusicHound 2.5/5 stars[9]
The New York Times (favourable)[10]
Q 2/5 stars[11]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[12]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3/5 stars[13]

The lead single, "Hope of Deliverance", was released in the last week of December 1992 and the album followed on 2 February 1993.[14] Off the Ground was the first Paul McCartney album to not contain a sizeable US hit single since Wings' Wild Life in 1971. The album's first single barely reached number 18 in the UK, where "C'Mon People" became a minor hit as well. In the US, the album's title track also entered the Adult Contemporary chart at number 27. Singles from Off the Ground floundered on the US and the UK charts. However, "Hope of Deliverance" achieved commercial success elsewhere. It became McCartney's first international hit single since "Say, Say, Say" with Michael Jackson in 1983, cracking the top 5 on the charts in over five European territories except his homeland and selling over 250,000 copies just in Germany.

In the United Kingdom, the album itself debuted at number 5 and quickly fell off the chart, spending only 6 weeks inside the top 100.[15] In the United States, it peaked at the number 17 on the Billboard 200 with the first-week sales of only 53,000 copies, managing to receive Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America.[16] Although it met with mixed reviews from critics and suffered from lackluster sales in the UK and North America, the album fared better in other key markets such as Spain. In some countries like France and Japan, it was able to surpass its predecessor Flowers in the Dirt in cumulative sales.[17][18] In Germany, Off the Ground has been McCartney's best-selling album there, spending 20 weeks on the top-ten and eventually achieving Platinum for shipments of over half a million copies.[19]

Some weeks after its release, McCartney launched "The New World Tour", taking in many successful shows across the globe during the summer months. These gigs were documented on the album Paul Is Live, which followed at the end of 1993.

The feet on the album cover are of McCartney, his wife Linda and his touring band.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Paul McCartney, except where noted.

No. Title Length
1. "Off the Ground" 3:40
2. "Looking for Changes" 2:47
3. "Hope of Deliverance" 3:22
4. "Mistress and Maid" (Paul McCartney, Declan MacManus) 3:00
5. "I Owe It All to You" 4:51
6. "Biker Like an Icon" 3:26
7. "Peace in the Neighbourhood" 5:06
8. "Golden Earth Girl" 3:45
9. "The Lovers That Never Were" (Paul McCartney, Declan MacManus) 3:43
10. "Get Out of My Way" 3:32
11. "Winedark Open Sea" 5:27
12. "C'Mon People" (ends at 5:46 followed by six seconds of silence; features 'Cosmically Conscious' as a hidden track) 7:42
Total length: 50:25

Off the Ground: The Complete Works[edit]

Off the Ground: The Complete Works is a two-disc set released in Germany and the Netherlands. The first disc contains the original Off the Ground album, with the second collecting together various B-sides and previously unreleased songs. This edition included McCartney's rare use of swear words in the song "Big Boys Bickering", a protest song. Other notable songs on this edition are "Long Leather Coat" (a Linda McCartney composed protest song) and "I Can't Imagine". It also included two unreleased tracks from his 1991 MTV Unplugged concert, "Things We Said Today" and "Midnight Special," which were ultimately released as B-sides to the single "Biker Like an Icon."

Despite the title, the set is missing two B-sides and three promo remixes: "Deliverance" and "Deliverance (Dub Mix)", dance-oriented reworkings of the song "Hope of Deliverance", released as B-sides of the "C'mon People" CD single #1, and the three promo remixes of "Off the Ground" released to American radio, namely the Bob Clearmountain remix, the Keith Cohen remix, and the Keith Cohen AC remix. When the iTunes Store added McCartney's catalogue of music in 2007, they included "I Can't Imagine" as an exclusive bonus track on the main Off the Ground album.

Off the Ground: The Complete Works has not been reissued since its original release and is now unavailable either via CD or digital download.

All tracks written by Paul McCartney, except where noted.



Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[38] Gold 35,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[39] Gold 25,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[40] Gold 50,000^
France (SNEP)[41] Gold 167,400[17]
Germany (BVMI)[42] Platinum 500,000^
Japan (RIAJ)[43] Gold 92,000[18]
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[44] Platinum 100,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[45] Gold 25,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[46] Silver 60,000^
United States (RIAA)[47] Gold 500,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ Luca Perasi, Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969–2013), L.I.L.Y. Publishing, 2013, ISBN 978-88-909122-1-4.
  2. ^ Off the Ground at AllMusic
  3. ^ Kot, Greg (5 February 1993). "PMccartney Back on Top of His Pop Material". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 22 October 2011. 
  4. ^ Larkin, Colin (2006). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (4th edn). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. p. 1257. ISBN 0-19-531373-9. 
  5. ^ Altman, Billy (12 February 1993). "Off the Ground Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 31 August 2011. 
  6. ^ Strong, Martin C. (2006). The Essential Rock Discography. Edinburgh, UK: Canongate. p. 696. ISBN 978-1-84195-827-9. 
  7. ^ Racine, Martin (9 February 1993). "Nice & friendly/Mushy Paul McCartney finally gets off the ground and Wings it". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 4 November 2011. 
  8. ^ Hochman, Steve (7 February 1993). "Paul McCartney – "Off the Ground" (Capitol)". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 18 October 2011. 
  9. ^ Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel (eds) (1999). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink Press. p. 730. ISBN 1-57859-061-2.
  10. ^ Kozinn, Allan (14 February 1993). "RECORDINGS VIEW; Paul McCartney Reaches for Past Glory". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 August 2011. 
  11. ^ Hepworth, David (March 1993). "New LPs: Paul McCartney Off the Ground". Q. p. 93. 
  12. ^ Puterbaugh, Parker (18 February 1993). "Off the Ground by Paul McCartney". Archived from the original on 16 April 2009. Retrieved 16 April 2008 
  13. ^ "Paul McCartney: Album Guide". Archived from the original on 4 July 2014. Retrieved 22 December 2014. 
  14. ^ Calkin, Graham. "Off The Ground". Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  15. ^ "Paul McCartney UK Album Chart listings". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 1 August 2011. 
  16. ^ "Can't Buy Me Love? How About an Album?". Los Angeles Times. 26 May 1997. Retrieved 18 May 2011. 
  17. ^ a b "Les Albums Or". Archived from the original on 18 October 2011. Retrieved 31 August 2011. 
  18. ^ a b c Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9. 
  19. ^ "McCartney, Paul – Off The Ground". Retrieved 31 August 2011. 
  20. ^ " Paul McCartney – Off The Ground". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 3 May 2012. 
  21. ^ "Paul McCartney – Off The Ground –". Retrieved 3 May 2012. 
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  25. ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste > Choisir Un Artiste Dans la Liste". Archived from the original on 28 December 2010. Retrieved 31 August 2011. 
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  27. ^ "Hungarian Albums Chart". Retrieved 3 December 2009. 
  28. ^ a b "Hit Parade Italia – Gli album più venduti del 1993" (in Italian). Retrieved 3 June 2011. 
  29. ^ "ポール・マッカートニー-リリース-ORICON STYLE-ミュージック" [Highest position and charting weeks of Off the Ground by Paul McCartney] (in Japanese). Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
  30. ^ " Paul McCartney – Off The Ground". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 3 May 2010. 
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  33. ^ "Paul McCartney – Off The Ground –". Retrieved 3 March 2014. 
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  35. ^ "Allmusic: Off The Ground: Charts & Awards: Billboard Albums". AllMusic. Retrieved 31 August 2011. 
  36. ^ " – Jahreshitparade 1982". Hung Medien. Retrieved 1 August 2010. 
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  38. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1993 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. 
  39. ^ "Austrian album certifications – Paul McCartney – Off the Ground" (in German). IFPI Austria.  Enter Paul McCartney in the field Interpret. Enter Off the Ground in the field Titel. Select album in the field Format. Click Suchen
  40. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Paul McCartney – Off the Ground". Music Canada. 
  41. ^ "French album certifications – Paul McCartney – Off the Ground" (in French). InfoDisc.  Select PAUL MCCARTNEY and click OK
  42. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Paul McCartney; 'Off the Ground')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  43. ^ "Japanese album certifications – ポール・マッカートニー – オフ・ザ・グラウンド" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan.  Select 1993年4月 on the drop-down menu
  44. ^ "Solo Exitos 1959–2002 Ano A Ano: Certificados 1991–1995". Solo Exitos 1959–2002 Ano A Ano. 
  45. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Paul McCartney; 'Off the Ground')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien. 
  46. ^ "British album certifications – Paul McCartney – Off the Ground". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Off the Ground in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Silver in the field By Award. Click Search
  47. ^ "American album certifications – Paul McCartney – Off the Ground". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH