Unplugged (The Official Bootleg)

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Unplugged (The Official Bootleg)
Live album by
Released20 May 1991 (UK)
4 June 1991 (US)
Recorded25 January 1991
GenreAcoustic, blues
ProducerJoel Gallen (TV producer for MTV)
Recorded by Geoff Emerick
Paul McCartney chronology
Tripping the Live Fantastic
Unplugged (The Official Bootleg)
Paul McCartney's Liverpool Oratorio
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[1]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music3/5 stars[2]
The Essential Rock Discography6/10[3]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide4/5 stars[4]

Unplugged (The Official Bootleg) is a live unplugged performance by Paul McCartney, recorded and released in 1991. Following the vastness of his world tour recently captured on Tripping the Live Fantastic, McCartney relished the opportunity to strip back his songs and appear on the newly launched acoustic-only show MTV Unplugged. Consequently, McCartney was the first in a long line of artists to release an unplugged album.[5]


Unlike other artists who appeared on the acclaimed show with acoustic instruments plugged into amplifiers (producing the sound heard), McCartney's instruments were 100% unplugged. Microphones were carefully placed close to guitars, pianos, etc. to pick up the sound (this can be seen on the album cover, where a large rectangular microphone is pictured in front of McCartney's acoustic guitar).

Using the same line-up that had recently backed him (save for Blair Cunningham who had replaced Chris Whitten), McCartney used the opportunity to dust off some of his rarer tracks, including three from his 1970 debut album McCartney, alongside several covers and amid a helping of familiar Beatles hits.


This recording was one of the first in the famed MTV Unplugged series.

Several tracks performed in the show were not included on the album, as follows: "Things We Said Today", "Midnight Special", "Matchbox", "Mean Woman Blues" and "The Fool". Numbers rehearsed by the band but not performed at all include: "Mother Nature's Son", "Figure of Eight", "Cut Across Shorty", "Heartbreak Hotel", "Heart of the Country", "She's My Baby", and "Mrs. Vandebilt". "Things We Said Today" and "Midnight Special" would see official release two years later in 1993 as B-sides to the "Biker Like an Icon" single.


With McCartney in a loose and carefree context, critical response to Unplugged (The Official Bootleg) was very warm.

Initially released in a limited edition, individually numbered run in 1991, Unplugged (The Official Bootleg)—with artwork that recalls Снова в СССР's—was reissued in a more permanent fashion in the late 1990s. Upon its original issue, it reached number 7 in the UK and became McCartney's highest-peaking US album in almost ten years, reaching number 14.

Track listing[edit]

1."Be-Bop-A-Lula"Gene Vincent / Tex Davis4:04
2."I Lost My Little Girl"Paul McCartney1:45
3."Here, There and Everywhere"John Lennon–Paul McCartney3:16
4."Blue Moon of Kentucky"Bill Monroe4:21
5."We Can Work It Out"John Lennon–Paul McCartney2:48
6."San Francisco Bay Blues"Jesse Fuller3:29
7."I've Just Seen a Face"John Lennon–Paul McCartney3:01
8."Every Night"Paul McCartney3:24
9."She's a Woman"John Lennon–Paul McCartney3:39
1."Hi-Heel Sneakers"Robert Higginbotham4:08
2."And I Love Her"John Lennon–Paul McCartney4:17
3."That Would Be Something"Paul McCartney4:02
4."Blackbird"John Lennon–Paul McCartney2:09
5."Ain't No Sunshine"Bill Withers4:05
6."Good Rockin' Tonight"Roy Brown3:42
7."Singing the Blues"Melvin Endsley3:46
8."Junk" (instrumental)Paul McCartney2:26



  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. Unplugged at AllMusic
  2. ^ Larkin, Colin (2006). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (4th edn). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. p. 1257. ISBN 0-19-531373-9.
  3. ^ Strong, Martin C. (2006). The Essential Rock Discography. Edinburgh, UK: Canongate. p. 696. ISBN 978-1-84195-827-9.
  4. ^ Randall, Mac; 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.
  5. ^ http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/mtv-unplugged-premieres