Once Upon a Long Ago

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"Once Upon a Long Ago"
Single by Paul McCartney
from the album All the Best!
B-side "Back On My Feet"
Released 16 November 1987 (7" single, CD single)
23 November 1987 (12" single)
Format 7", 12", CD,
Recorded March 1987
Genre Rock
Length 4:08
Label MPL Communications
Parlophone Records
Writer(s) Paul McCartney
Producer(s) Phil Ramone
Paul McCartney singles chronology
"Only Love Remains"
(1986)
"Once Upon a Long Ago"
(1987)
"My Brave Face"
(1989)

"Once Upon a Long Ago" is a Paul McCartney song, released as his fortieth single on 16 November 1987, as part of his compilation All the Best!, released two weeks before the single. The track was produced by Phil Ramone and mixed by George Martin, and features violin by Nigel Kennedy.[1]

It was reported in a 2011 biography[which?] that the origin of this song is with the film The Princess Bride. McCartney was approached by Director Rob Reiner to compose a couple of songs and the incidental music for the film. Reiner rejected as "too sentimental" the two songs Paul submitted: "Once Upon a Long Ago" and "Beautiful Night" and contracted with Mark Knopfler to complete the soundtrack.

Recording[edit]

Originally it was intended that this song would be a Duet between McCartney and Freddie Mercury. The two had become friends following Live Aid and McCartney wrote the song with Mercury in mind. Mercury however was inundated with work, both Solo and with Queen and was also in the advanced stages of AIDS and McCartney very understandably allowed Mercury to depart from the project .The track was recorded at Hog Hill Studio on March 11 and 12, 1987 with overdubs added in Abbey Road in July. During this session, a full orchestra was overdubbed as well as instrumental contributions by Stan Sulzmann (sax), Nigel Kennedy (violin), and Adrian Brett (flute).[2]

Release and charts[edit]

The song was released in four versions. Two different 12" singles feature "long" and "extended" versions (mixed by George Martin and Peter Henderson, respectively); the 7" single and the CD single (McCartney's first) features an edit of the long version and a b-side from each the two 12" singles, as well as "Back on My Feet", a b-side for all four iterations; and the album version featured on All the Best! contains an alternate ending. "Back on My Feet" was also the first released song from the songwriting collaboration between McCartney and Elvis Costello. Both 12" and CD singles also featured songs from yet to be released McCartney's cover album Choba B CCCP.

"Once Upon a Long Ago" reached number ten in the United Kingdom Singles Chart,[3] McCartney's last Top 10 in his homeland until the release of "FourFiveSeconds" in 2015. The single was not released in the United States nor included on the US version of All the Best!, although it did appear on the longer UK/Canada version. The song has remained unavailable on any US released album, although it is a bonus track on the 1993 UK remastered version of Press to Play - the 1993 remastered Paul McCartney Collection has never been released in the US.

Track listings[edit]

7" single (R 6170)
  1. "Once Upon a Long Ago" - 4:12
  2. "Back on My Feet" - 4:20
12" single, version one (12R 6170)
  1. "Once Upon a Long Ago" (Long Version) - 4:34
  2. "Back on My Feet" - 4:21
  3. "Midnight Special" - 3:56
  4. "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" - 2:51
12" single, version two (12RX 6170)
  1. "Once Upon a Long Ago" (Extended Version) - 6:06
  2. "Back on My Feet" - 4:21
  3. "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" - 3:15
  4. "Kansas City" - 4:00
CD single (CDR 6170)
  1. "Once Upon a Long Ago" - 4:12
  2. "Back on My Feet" - 4:21
  3. "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" - 2:51
  4. "Kansas City" - 4:00

Once Upon A Video[edit]

Along with the single and the All the Best!-album there was also released an 18-minute VHS for sale called Once Upon A Video,[4] consisting of four music videoes:

  1. Once Upon A Long Ago
  2. Stranglehold
  3. Pretty Little Head
  4. We All Stand Together - the music video was an edit of the songpart from the movie Rupert and the Frog Song

We All Stand Together was included on the UK/Canada-release of All the Best! along with Once Upon A Long Ago.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Once Upon a Long Ago". JPGR. 2000. Retrieved 2013-09-25. 
  2. ^ Luca Perasi, Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013), L.I.L.Y. Publishing, 2013, ISBN 978-88-909122-1-4, pp.265-267.
  3. ^ "Official Charts: Paul McCartney". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 2011-10-13. 
  4. ^ www.discogs.com - Paul McCartney – Once Upon A Video