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Pipes of Peace

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Pipes of Peace
Studio album by
Released31 October 1983 (1983-10-31)
RecordedOctober–December 1980, February–March 1981, May 1981, August–December 1981, 14–16 April 1982, September–October 1982, February and July 1983
StudioAbbey Road and AIR, London; AIR, Montserrat; Cherokee and Westlake, Los Angeles; Rude, Campbeltown; The Mill, Rye
LabelParlophone (UK)
Columbia (US)
ProducerGeorge Martin
Paul McCartney chronology
Tug of War
Pipes of Peace
Give My Regards to Broad Street
Singles from Pipes of Peace
  1. "Say Say Say"
    Released: 3 October 1983
  2. "Pipes of Peace"/"So Bad"
    Released: 5 December 1983

Pipes of Peace is the fourth solo studio album by English singer-songwriter Paul McCartney, released on 31 October 1983. As the follow-up to the popular Tug of War, the album came close to matching the commercial success of its predecessor in Britain but peaked only at number 15 on America's Billboard Top LPs & Tape chart. While Pipes of Peace was the source of international hit singles such as "Say Say Say" (recorded with Michael Jackson) and the title track, the critical response to the album was less favourable than that afforded to Tug of War.

Background and structure[edit]

Many of the songs released on Pipes of Peace were recorded during the 1981 sessions for Tug of War, with "Pipes of Peace", "The Other Me", "So Bad", "Tug of Peace" and "Through Our Love" being recorded afterwards, in September–October 1982. Consequently, the album has many things in common with its predecessor: it was produced by George Martin, it featured two collaborations with the same artist (this time with Michael Jackson; the Tug of War collaborations being with Stevie Wonder), and continued McCartney's alliance in the studio with Ringo Starr, former 10cc guitarist Eric Stewart and his last session work with Wings guitarist Denny Laine. By November, McCartney would start shooting his self-written motion picture Give My Regards to Broad Street, co-starring wife Linda, Starr and Tracey Ullman, which would take up most of his time throughout 1983. Due to the filming commitments (and to allow a reasonable lapse of time between his new album and Tug of War), the release of Pipes of Peace was delayed until October.

Unlike Tug of War, the album features an electro-tinged sound.[1] On the track "Tug of Peace", McCartney blended the title song to Tug of War with that of the new album. In a retrospective review, Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic described the mix as "an almost-electro collage that twists the songs into McCartney II territory".[2]

McCartney spent much of his energies finishing and preparing Give My Regards to Broad Street for release in the autumn of 1984.


In 1983 Pipes of Peace made its debut on CD on Columbia Records. In 1993, the album was remastered and reissued on CD as part of The Paul McCartney Collection. Three bonus tracks were included on the latter release: the previously unreleased "Twice in a Lifetime" (the title song of the 1985 film of the same name); his 1984 hit from the Rupert Bear project, "We All Stand Together"; and "Simple as That", released in 1986 on the charity album The Anti-Heroin Project – It's a Live-In World.[3]

The album was reissued in remastered form in 2015 as part of the ongoing Paul McCartney Archive Collection series of releases. The version with "enhanced packaging" contains three discs: the remastered album itself, a bonus audio disc containing mostly demo versions of the songs found on the first disc, and a disc with a film. The reissue was accompanied by the Record Store Day exclusive single "Say Say Say (2015 Remix)".[4]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Robert ChristgauB−[6]
The Encyclopedia of Popular Music[7]
The Essential Rock Discography4/10[8]
Pitchfork Media6.1/10[1]
Record Mirror[14]
Rolling Stone[12]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[13]

"Say Say Say" was released as the album's lead single in October 1983. A duet with Michael Jackson, it reached number 2 in the UK and number 1 in the US, where it remained for six weeks through to early in 1984. Pipes of Peace peaked at number 4 in the UK and number 15 in the US. Following "Say Say Say", the album's title track became a UK number 1, while in the US, the flipside "So Bad" hit number 23.[15]

Critical reaction was less than that which had greeted Tug of War, many feeling that Pipes of Peace was a weaker execution of its predecessor's formula. In addition, according to McCartney biographer Howard Sounes, the album's commercial reception was "slightly disappointing, considering the quality of the work".[16]

Reviewing the album for the NME, Penny Reel described Pipes of Peace as "A dull, tired and empty collection of quasi-funk and gooey rock arrangements ... with McCartney cooing platitudinous sentiments on a set of lyrics seemingly made up on the spur of the moment." Reel opined that the "one decent moment" was the title track, which he found to be "a Beatlish soiree surely destined as a Christmas single", before concluding: "Even here, however, a note of insincerity in the vocal finally defeats the lyric's objective."[17]

Sounes views Pipes of Peace and its predecessor as "abounding with well-crafted tunes" that almost match the standard of McCartney's work with the Beatles; yet, he adds, the two albums "must be marked down for a surfeit of love ballads with lamentable lyrics".[16] Reviewing the 2015 reissue of Pipes of Peace, for Pitchfork, Ron Hart notes that, at the time of release, "Some critics derided McCartney for aging gracelessly", yet "a good listen to the album today reveals some ways it was ahead of its time." Hart writes of the song "Tug of Peace": "an early, primitive version of a mash-up that brought together the title cuts of these underappreciated albums. The blend is clunky, but it foreshadows his electronic music work as the Fireman and on Liverpool Sound Collage."[1]

By contrast, Jeff Strowe of PopMatters considers that the album "presents McCartney at his most regrettable", and views "Pipes of Peace" and "Tug of Peace" as, respectively, a "woefully underdeveloped title track" and a "dreadful mashup". Strowe writes more favourably of "Say Say Say", however, describing it as "catchy in that pure '80s manner", and highlights "Sweetest Little Show" and "Average Person" as "a nice one-two punch of refreshing creativity that give the proceedings a much needed spark of interest and vitality".[10]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Paul McCartney, except where noted.

Side One
1."Pipes of Peace" 3:56
2."Say Say Say"
3."The Other Me" 3:58
4."Keep Under Cover" 3:05
5."So Bad" 3:20
Side Two
6."The Man"
  • Paul McCartney
  • Michael Jackson
7."Sweetest Little Show" 2:54
8."Average Person" 4:33
9."Hey Hey"Stanley Clarke2:54
10."Tug of Peace" 2:54
11."Through Our Love" 3:28

Archive Collection Reissue[edit]

In 2015 the album was re-issued by Hear Music/Concord Music Group as part of the sixth set of releases, alongside Tug of War, in the Paul McCartney Archive Collection. It was released in multiple formats:[18]

  • Standard Edition 2-CD; the original 11-track album on the first disc, plus 9 bonus tracks on a second disc.
  • Deluxe Edition 2CD/1DVD Box Set + 112 page essay book and 64 page behind the scenes book about the music video for the song "Pipes of Peace"
  • Remastered vinyl The albums are also available on special gatefold vinyl editions (vinyl editions include a download card).

Digital Standard: Standard Res – without Ebooklet Standard Res – with Ebooklet Mastered for iTunes – without Ebooklet Hi-Res – 24bit 96 kHz – with Ebooklet –

Deluxe: Standard Res (with or without Ebooklet) Mastered for iTunes (with Ebooklet) Hi-Res – 24bit 96 kHz (with Ebooklet)

Disc 1 – remastered album

All songs written by Paul McCartney, except "Say Say Say" and "The Man" co-written by Michael Jackson, and "Hey Hey" co-written by Stanley Clarke. The original 11-track album.

Disc 2 – bonus audio
  1. "Average Person" (demo) – 4:05
  2. "Keep Under Cover" (demo) – 3:44
  3. "Sweetest Little Show" (demo) – 3:00
  4. "It's Not On" (demo) – 2:56
  5. "Simple as That" (demo) – 3:16
  6. "Say Say Say" (2015 remix) – 6:59
  7. "Ode to a Koala Bear" (b-side to "Say Say Say") – 3:48
  8. "Twice in a Lifetime" – 3:02
  9. "Christian Bop" – 2:03

Tracks 1-6 and 9 are previously unreleased.

Additional download tracks available via paulmccartney.com[19]
  1. "Say Say Say" (2015 remix - instrumental) – 3:41
Disc 3 – DVD
  1. "Pipes of Peace" Music Video
  2. "So Bad" Music Video
  3. "Say Say Say" Music Video
  4. "Hey Hey in Montserrat" (previously unreleased home movie footage, 3mins)
  5. "Behind the Scenes at AIR Studios" (previously unreleased 6 min edit)
  6. "The Man" (previously unreleased home movie footage, 4mins)


String section

  • Kenneth Sillito – orchestra leader
  • Adrian Shepherd – conductor (7)
  • Kenneth Essex, Patrick Halling, Anthony Harvey, Alexander Kok, Alan J. Peters, Michael Rennie, Galina Solodchin, George Turnlund, John Underwood, Denis Vigay, Peter Willison and Gavyn Wright – string players


  • George Martin – producer
  • Geoff Emerick – engineer
  • Jon Jacobs – assistant engineer
  • Mike Stavrou – assistant engineer
  • Alex Wharton – mastering
  • Clive Barker – artwork (chrome sculpture)
  • Vincent van Gogh – artwork (chair and pipe)
  • YES – creative direction, design
  • Linda McCartney – cover photography


Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1983) Position
Australian Albums Chart[20] 89
French Albums Chart[37] 43
UK Albums Chart[38] 33
Chart (1984) Position
Australian Albums Chart[20] 94
Canadian Albums Chart[39] 87
Japanese Albums Chart[40] 45
Spanish Albums Chart[28] 9
UK Albums Chart[41] 67
US Billboard Pop Albums[42] 98

Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[43] Platinum 100,000^
Japan (Oricon Charts) 201,000[25][40]
United Kingdom (BPI)[44] Platinum 300,000^
United States (RIAA)[45] Platinum 1,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ a b c Hart, Ron (6 October 2015). "Paul McCartney: Tug of War / Pipes of Peace". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  2. ^ "Pipes of Peace – Paul McCartney – Songs, Reviews, Credits – AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  3. ^ Madinger, Chip; Easter, Mark (2000). Eight Arms to Hold You: The Solo Beatles Compendium. Chesterfield, MO: 44.1 Productions. pp. 285, 608. ISBN 0-615-11724-4.
  4. ^ "Paul McCartney – Say Say Say". recordstoreday.com. Retrieved 26 March 2017.
  5. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Pipes of Peace – Paul McCartney". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 7 May 2021. Retrieved 15 May 2021.
  6. ^ Christgau, Robert. Pipes of Peace. Retrieved 29 June 2011.
  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 978-1-84195-827-9.
  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. ^ a b Strowe, Jeff (2 October 2015). "Paul McCartney: Tug of War / Pipes of Peace". PopMatters. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  11. ^ Nicol, Jimmy (October 1993). "Re-releases: Paul McCartney The Paul McCartney Collection". Q. p. 119.
  12. ^ "Pipes of Peace". Rolling Stone. 19 January 1984. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  13. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds) (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th edn). New York, NY: Simon & Schuster. p. 526. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  14. ^ Reid, Jim (5 November 1983). "Paul McCartney: Pipes of Peace". Record Mirror. Vol. 30, no. 45. p. 18.
  15. ^ Paul McCartney: Chart History. Billboard.com. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  16. ^ a b Sounes, Howard (2010). Fab: An Intimate Life of Paul McCartney. London: HarperCollins. p. 390. ISBN 978-0-00-723705-0.
  17. ^ Reel, Penny (5 November 1983). "Paul McCartney: Pipes Of Peace (Parlophone)". NME. Available at Rock's Backpages (subscription required).
  18. ^ "Paul To Reissue 'Tug of War' and 'Pipes of Peace'". 30 July 2015. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  19. ^ "Downloads". Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  20. ^ a b c Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  21. ^ "Paul McCartney – Pipes of Peace – austriancharts.at" (ASP) (in German). Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  22. ^ "Top Albums/CDs – Volume 39, No. 15". RPM. 10 December 1983. Archived from the original (PHP) on 5 April 2014. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  23. ^ "dutchcharts.nl Paul McCartney – Pipes of Peace" (ASP). dutchcharts.nl. MegaCharts. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  24. ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste > Choisir Un Artiste Dans la Liste" (in French). infodisc.fr. Archived from the original (PHP) on 28 December 2010. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  25. ^ a b Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  26. ^ "charts.nz Paul McCartney – Pipes of Peace" (ASP). Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  27. ^ "norwegiancharts.com Paul McCartney – Pipes of Peace" (ASP). VG-lista. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  28. ^ a b Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  29. ^ "swedishcharts.com Paul McCartney – Pipes of Peace" (ASP). Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  30. ^ "Paul McCartney – Pipes of Peace – hitparade.ch" (ASP) (in German). Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  31. ^ "The Official Charts Company Paul McCartney – Pipes of Peace" (PHP). Official Charts Company. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  32. ^ "Allmusic: Pipes of Peace: Charts & Awards: Billboard Albums". allmusic.com. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  33. ^ "Album Search: Paul McCartney – Pipes of Peace" (in German). Media Control. Archived from the original on 24 July 2014. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  34. ^ "OFFICIAL ALBUMS CHART RESULTS MATCHING: PIPES OF PEACE". officialcharts.com. Retrieved 20 May 2022.
  35. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Paul McCartney – Pipes of Peace" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 20 May 2022.
  36. ^ "Billboard 200 WEEK OF OCTOBER 22, 2015". billboard.com. Retrieved 20 May 2022.
  37. ^ "Les Albums (CD) de 1983 par InfoDisc" (in French). infodisc.fr. Archived from the original (PHP) on 9 February 2012. Retrieved 29 January 2012.
  38. ^ "UK best albums 1983". Archived from the original on 27 September 2012. Retrieved 27 November 2010.
  39. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1984". RPM. Retrieved 29 January 2012.
  40. ^ a b "Japanese Year-End Albums Chart 1984" (in Japanese). Oricon. Archived from 1984年アルバム年間ヒットチャート the original on 4 June 2008. Retrieved 27 November 2010. {{cite web}}: Check |url= value (help)
  41. ^ "UK best albums 1984". Archived from the original on 27 September 2012. Retrieved 27 November 2010.
  42. ^ Nielsen Business Media, Inc (22 December 1984). "1984 Billboard Year-End". Billboard. Retrieved 27 May 2013. {{cite magazine}}: |last1= has generic name (help)
  43. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Paul McCartney – Pipes of Peace". Music Canada. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  44. ^ "British album certifications – Paul McCartney – Pipes of Peace". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  45. ^ "American album certifications – Paul McCartney – Pipes of Peace". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 7 February 2012.

External links[edit]