McCartney II

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
McCartney II
PaulMcCartneyalbum - McCartneyII.jpg
Studio album by Paul McCartney
Released 16 May 1980
Recorded July–August 1979
Genre Experimental rock, electronic rock
Length 38:36
Label Parlophone (UK)
Columbia (US)
Producer Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney chronology
Back to the Egg
McCartney II
Tug of War
Singles from McCartney II
  1. "Coming Up"
    Released: 11 April 1980
  2. "Waterfalls"
    Released: 13 June 1980
  3. "Temporary Secretary"
    Released: 19 September 1980

McCartney II is the second completely solo album by Paul McCartney, and the first since the formation of Wings in 1971. It was released in 1980, a year before the band's dissolution and while their future lay in limbo. The album is a significant departure for McCartney, as much of it relies heavily on synthesizers and studio experimentation. It was reissued on 13 June 2011 as part of the Paul McCartney Archive Collection.


After the release of what turned out to be Wings' final album, Back to the Egg, McCartney went north to his farm in Scotland to begin some private recordings in July 1979. The first song he recorded was "Check My Machine" as a way to test the equipment, hence its title. The track also samples dialogue from the 1957 Tweety and Sylvester cartoon Tweet Zoo. By sessions' end, he had recorded over 20 songs. With no immediate use for the recordings, he put them aside for the time being and returned to work with Wings to prepare for a UK tour that November and December. Simultaneously with the performances (which included the new "Coming Up"), McCartney released his first solo single since 1971, the Christmas-themed "Wonderful Christmastime", backed with "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reggae", which charted at No. 6 in the UK,[1] but only No. 83 in the U.S.[2] The A-side was recorded during the McCartney II sessions, while its flip side had been cut in 1975. However, upcoming events were about to change McCartney's plans with Wings.

After years of visa refusals due to his past arrests for marijuana possession, Japan had finally allowed McCartney, and thus Wings, to perform. It would be McCartney's first time playing there since 1966 with the Beatles, and anticipation was running high with Wings' tour completely sold out. However, upon his arrival in Tokyo on 16 January 1980, a search of McCartney's luggage revealed a bag containing 219 grams of marijuana, prompting his immediate arrest and eventually cancelling the tour. After a nine-day jail stay, McCartney was released and returned home to his Scottish farm. Deciding to put Wings on hold while he contemplated his future, he now decided to issue his solo recordings from the previous summer.

Music and lyrics[edit]

The record has been described as "airless proto-electronica."[3]

"Coming Up"[edit]

Main article: Coming Up (song)

"Coming Up" – an uplifting dance number – appeared that April with a video (Paul playing all the bandmates, dubbed 'The Plastic Macs', except for the backing singers (played by Linda)) and with two B-sides by Wings: "Coming Up (Live at Glasgow)", recorded during Wings' December 1979 show there, and the piano laden instrumental "Lunch Box/Odd Sox" (a Venus and Mars outtake). An immediate UK No. 2 hit, "Coming Up" was flipped over for the live Wings version in the US where it became another No. 1 for McCartney, greatly raising hopes for his first solo album proper in years. The live Wings version of "Coming Up" was also issued as a white-labeled, one-sided 7" vinyl bonus record in many copies of McCartney II within the US and Canada.

"Temporary Secretary"[edit]

Main article: Temporary Secretary

"Temporary Secretary" features frantic synthesizer lines and lyrics about requiring a secretary of any skill level for a short period of time. McCartney dubbed the song an "experiment," saying that he found the concept of a temporary secretary humorous. "Temporary Secretary" was released as a 12" single in Britain, backed with the experimental non-album track "Secret Friend." The single was only released in a quantity of 25,000 copies, failing to make an impact on the charts. The single artwork was created by Jeff Cummins of Hipgnosis.

The song was performed live for the first time at the London O2 Arena on 23 May 2015.[4]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[5]
Robert Christgau C[6]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 3/5 stars[7]
The Essential Rock Discography 5/10[8]
MusicHound 3/5[9]
Pitchfork 7.2/10[10]
Q 2/5 stars[11]
The Quietus (favourable)[12]
Record Collector 4/5 stars[13]
Rolling Stone (unfavourable)[14]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 2/5 stars[15]
Smash Hits 5/10[16]

McCartney II was released in mid-May to mixed reviews; many critics found the album, with its experimental, synth-based compositions and its handful of instrumentals, slight. That did not stop it from reaching number 1 in the UK[1] and number 3 in the US.[17] The next single, the introspective "Waterfalls", charted at number 9 in the UK,[1] but failed to make an impact in the US.

The initial issue of this album on compact disc featured "Check My Machine" and "Secret Friend" as bonus tracks. The two songs were originally released as the B-sides of "Waterfalls" and "Temporary Secretary", respectively. In 1993, McCartney II was remastered and reissued on CD as part of "The Paul McCartney Collection" series with Wings' 1979 hit "Goodnight Tonight" added as a third bonus track.

When the new remastered version was released on 13 June 2011 as part of the Paul McCartney Archive Collection,[18] the album re-entered the UK charts at number 108.[19]


In 2003, Mojo placed the album at number 26 on their list of the "Top 50 Eccentric Albums".[20]

Grammy Awards[edit]

Year Nominee/Work Award Result
1981 "Coming Up" Best Rock Vocal Performance – Male[21] Nominated

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Paul McCartney.

Side one
  1. "Coming Up" – 3:53
  2. "Temporary Secretary" – 3:14
  3. "On the Way" – 3:38
  4. "Waterfalls" – 4:43
  5. "Nobody Knows" – 2:52
Side two
  1. "Front Parlour" – 3:32
  2. "Summer's Day Song" – 3:25
  3. "Frozen Jap" – 3:40
  4. "Bogey Music" – 3:27
  5. "Darkroom" – 2:20
  6. "One of These Days" – 3:35
Bonus tracks

2011 remaster[edit]

In 2011 the album was re-issued by Hear Music/Concord Music Group as part of the second set of releases, alongside McCartney, in the Paul McCartney Archive Collection. It was released in various formats:[22]

  • Standard Edition 1-CD; the original 11-track album
  • Special Edition 2-CD; the original 11-track album on the first disc, plus 8 bonus tracks on a second disc[23]
  • Deluxe Edition 3-CD/1-DVD; the original 11-track album, the bonus tracks disc, a limited and numbered 128-page book containing many previously unpublished images by Linda McCartney. The book features album and single artwork and a full history of the making of the album, complete with a new interview with Paul and expanded track by track information. The DVD features rare and previously unseen footage (including rehearsal footage of "Coming Up" and a new video for the unreleased track "Blue Sway")[24]
  • Remastered vinyl 2-LP version containing the Special Edition and a download link to the material[25]
  • High Resolution 24bit 96 kHz limited and unlimited audio versions of all 27 songs on the remastered album and bonus audio discs
Disc 1

The original 11-track album.

Disc 2 – Bonus Audio 1
  1. "Blue Sway" (with Richard Niles Orchestration) – 4:35
    Previously unreleased
  2. "Coming Up" (Live at the Apollo Theatre, Glasgow – 17 December 1979) – 4:08
  3. "Check My Machine" (Regular Single B-side Edited Version) – 5:50
  4. "Bogey Wobble" – 2:59
    Previously unreleased
  5. "Secret Friend (Full Length Version)" – 10:31
  6. "Mr H Atom" / "You Know I'll Get You Baby" – 5:55
    Previously unreleased
  7. "Wonderful Christmastime" (Regular A-side Version) – 3:47
  8. "All You Horse Riders" / "Blue Sway" – 10:15
    Previously unreleased
Disc 3 – Bonus Audio 2
  1. "Coming Up" [Full Length Version] – 5:34
  2. "Front Parlour" [Full Length Version] – 5:15
  3. "Frozen Jap" [Full Length Version] – 5:43
  4. "Darkroom" [Full Length Version] – 3:45
  5. "Check My Machine" [Full Length Version] – 8:58
  6. "Wonderful Christmastime" [Full Length Version] – 4:15
  7. "Summer's Day Song" [Original without vocals] – 3:25
  8. "Waterfalls" (DJ edit) – 3:20
Disc 4 – DVD
  1. "Meet Paul McCartney"
  2. "Coming Up"
    Music video
  3. "Waterfalls"
    Music video
  4. "Wonderful Christmastime"
    Music video
  5. "Coming Up"
    Live at Concert for the People of Kampuchea – 29 December 1979
  6. "Coming Up"
    Taken from a rehearsal session at Lower Gate Farm, 1979
  7. "Making the Coming Up Music Video"
  8. "Blue Sway"
    Music video



Weekly charts[edit]


  • A^ Until January 1987, Japanese albums chart had been separated into LP, CD, and cassette charts. McCartney II also entered the cassette chart, peaking at number 13.
  • B^ Combined sales of LP and audio cassette.


  1. ^ a b c "Official Charts: Paul McCartney". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 31 October 2013. 
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2015). The Comparison Book (1954–1982). Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 333. ISBN 0-89820-213-2. 
  3. ^ Paphides, Pete (1 February 2008). "Hot Chip: Made in the Dark". The Times. Retrieved 9 June 2016. 
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "CG: Paul McCartney". Robert Christgau. 14 June 2007. 
  7. ^ Larkin, Colin (2006). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (4th edn). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. p. 1257. ISBN 0-19-531373-9. 
  8. ^ Strong, Martin C. (2006). The Essential Rock Discography. Edinburgh, UK: Canongate. p. 696. ISBN 978-184195-827-9. 
  9. ^ Graff and Durchholz, p. 730.
  10. ^ "Paul McCartney: McCartney / McCartney II | Album Reviews". Pitchfork. 15 June 2011. 
  11. ^ Nicol, Jimmy (October 1993). "Re-releases: Paul McCartney The Paul McCartney Collection". Q. p. 119. 
  12. ^ "Reviews | Paul McCartney". The Quietus. 
  13. ^ "Paul McCartney – McCartney II CD". CD Universe/Muze. Retrieved 15 November 2014. 
  14. ^ Holden, Stephen (24 July 1980). "Music Reviews : McCartney II by Paul McCartney". Rolling Stone. p. 54. Archived from the original on 2 April 2008. Retrieved 20 April 2008 
  15. ^ "Paul McCartney: Album Guide". Archived from the original on 4 July 2014. Retrieved 13 October 2014. 
  16. ^ Starr, Red. "Albums". Smash Hits (29 May – 11 June 1980): 30. 
  17. ^ a b Paul McCartney – Chart history | Billboard
  18. ^ 27 April 2011: McCartney and McCartney II reissue details announced | The Beatles Bible
  19. ^ Chart Log UK – New Entries Update 25.06.2011 (week 24)
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Rock on the Net: 25th Annual Grammy Awards – 1981". Retrieved 31 August 2011. 
  22. ^ #TOP
  23. ^ "Paul McCartney – McCartney II (CD, Album) at Discogs". Retrieved 31 July 2012. 
  24. ^ "Paul McCartney – McCartney II (CD, Album) at Discogs". Retrieved 31 July 2012. 
  25. ^ "Paul McCartney – McCartney II (Vinyl, LP, Album, LP) at Discogs". Retrieved 31 July 2012. 
  26. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  27. ^ "Paul McCartney – Tug of War –". Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  28. ^ "Top Albums/CDs – Volume 33, No. 20" (PHP). RPM. 9 August 1980. Retrieved 3 May 2012. 
  29. ^ " Paul McCartney – McCartney II". MegaCharts. Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  30. ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste > Choisir Un Artiste Dans la Liste". Archived from the original on 28 December 2010. Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  31. ^ a b "Hit Parade Italia – Gli album più venduti del 1980" (in Italian). Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  32. ^ a b Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9. 
  33. ^ " Paul McCartney – McCartney II". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  34. ^ " Paul McCartney – McCartney II". VG-lista. Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  35. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
  36. ^ " Paul McCartney – McCartney II". Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  37. ^ "Number 1 Albums – 1980s". The Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 9 February 2008. Retrieved 27 June 2011. 
  38. ^ "Album Search: Paul McCartney – McCartney II" (ASP) (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 10 October 2013. 
  39. ^ " Paul McCartney – McCartney". SNEP. Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  40. ^ 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 McCartney II (2011 reissues) by Paul McCartney" Check |url= value (help). (in Japanese). Oricon Style. Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  41. ^ " – Paul McCartney – McCartney". Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  42. ^ "Take That progress back to the top of album charts". Retrieved 31 August 2011. 
  43. ^ "Music Albums, Top 200 Albums & Music Album Charts". Retrieved 31 August 2011. 
  44. ^ Paul McCartney – Chart history | Billboard
  45. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1980". RPM. 20 December 1980. Retrieved 31 January 2014. 
  46. ^ "Les Albums (CD) de 1980 par InfoDisc" (in French). Archived from the original (PHP) on 9 January 2016. Retrieved 29 January 2012. 
  47. ^ "日本で売れた洋楽アルバムトップ23" [Top-23 international albums on the Japanese Oricon Year-End Charts of 1980]. Archived from the original on 19 February 2007. Retrieved 21 October 2009. 
  48. ^ articles with dead external links%5d%5d%5b%5bCategory:Articles with dead external links from February 2016%5d%5d[%5b%5bWikipedia:Link rot|dead link%5d%5d] "Complete UK Year-End Album Charts" Check |archiveurl= value (help). Archived from the original on 11 January 2012. Retrieved 2 September 2011. 
  49. ^ "British album certifications – Paul McCartney – McCartney II". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter McCartney II in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Gold in the field By Award. Click Search
  50. ^ "American album certifications – Paul McCartney – Mc Cartney II". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH

External links[edit]

Preceded by
The Magic of Boney M. by Boney M.
UK Albums Chart number one album
31 May 1980 – 13 June 1980
Succeeded by
Peter Gabriel by Peter Gabriel