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Run Devil Run

After The Beatles’ break up McCartney is conscious of not becoming part of some kind of super group even if it had been an obvious choice at the time. Eventually, that band does arise, in 1999 when McCartney records his new album Run Devil Run together with experienced performers like Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour and Ian Paice of Deep Purple.


The album mainly consists of covers from McCartney's youth, the fifties. The choice to make a cover album, and playing with this new, temporary band, all seems to be due to the death of Linda McCartney in April 1998; one and a half years before the launch of Run Devil Run. It's his first solo record (the Fireman album Rushes not counted) after a year of mourning. The sadness of her loss can be heard, as in Try Not To Cry, one of the two songs on the album written by McCartney himself, and especially on the heartbreaking No Other Baby:

No Other Baby



The other McCartney song is the title track Run Devil Run which contains a prominent role by David Gilmour. He and McCartney are old friends and have worked together before on the eighties songs No More Lonely Nights and We Got Married. On this album Gilmour is peaking and he really puts his mark on the title track while playing slide guitar. 

Run Devil Run

Run Devil Run
is McCartney's second cover album, after Choba B CCCP issued in 1988. The main difference between the two is that Choba contains rock 'n' roll classics, while Run Devil Run has more obscure songs, most of them unknown to the general public.

I had a big manila envelope with all the lyrics, and I'd flick through them on a Monday morning ... Ricky Nelson, mm ... Searchin' ... and then I'd think that's it, that's the spirit I want, and I'd pull it out. I'd say to the guys 'Anybody know She Said Yeah?' They'd say no, because they were slightly obscure choices, I'd say okay, this is how it goes. We'd take five or 10 minutes — and that's how we did it in The Beatles — because how many times can you go through a song without everyone getting bored?
Paul McCartney



A similarity with Choba B CCCP is that both albums are recorded in a very short time. All but two of the songs were recorded in only four days during a week in March. The sessions were done in the same spirit as the predecessor Flaming Pie: back to basics.
The week before, Ian (Paice) asked co-producer Chris Thomas 'Any idea what songs we're going to do, just so I can do a bit of homework?' I said no: 'No homework on this project. I really wanted this to be fresh - like it was at the Cavern.'
Paul McCartney

Notable is that the album sounds very contemporary, much more than Choba, where the performances are much closer to the original versions. As a result, a number of songs on Run Devil Run seem to sound better than the original, such as Elvis Presley's All Shook Up or Chuck Berry's Brown Eyed Handsome Man, an obscure B-side mainly known by Buddy Holly’s cover version.
We wanted to put an accordion on our version, make it slightly Cajun, just to get it away from Buddy’s a bit. 
Paul McCartney
Brown Eyed Handsome Man

To promote the album, McCartney's temporary supergroup performs in The Cavern in Liverpool; It's for the first time that Paul returns there since the last performance of The Beatles in August 1963. Although it's not exactly the exact same location, it's nevertheless a historic performance with which McCartney ends the 20th century in style.

Twenty Flight Rock, Live, The Cavern 1999



Related Posts:

Choba B CCCP

Flaming Pie
Driving Rain





André Homan

André Homan is a Dutch writer and journalist.

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