Press to Play

Press to Play

Infobox Album | Name = Press to Play
Type = Album
Artist = Paul McCartney

Released = 1 September 1986
Recorded = March - May &
October - December 1985
Genre = Rock
Length = 58:53
Label = Parlophone/EMI Capitol Records (US)
Producer = Paul McCartney
and Hugh Padgham
Reviews =
*Allmusic Rating|2.5|5 [ link]
Last album = "Give My Regards to Broad Street"
This album = "Press to Play"
Next album = "All the Best!"
(1987) |

Press to Play is an album by Paul McCartney released in 1986. It is notable for being his first album of entirely new music since 1983's "Pipes of Peace" and his first album released internationally by long-time label EMI after a brief alliance with Columbia Records in the United States and Canada. Some listeners and critics regard the album as one of McCartney's finest solo efforts, while others including Paul McCartney himself, regard it as one of his weakest. Opinions remain polarised as of 2008.


After the box office flop of the film "Give My Regards to Broad Street", McCartney decided that it was time for a change of pace in his career. In an attempt to give his music a more contemporary sound, he joined forces with Hugh Padgham, an in-demand producer famed for having recorded Peter Gabriel, Genesis, Phil Collins, The Police, and XTC. Beginning in March 1985, McCartney began recording "Press To Play", having written several new songs, many with current collaborator, former 10cc member Eric Stewart. Guesting on the album would be Pete Townshend, Phil Collins, Eddie Rayner (Split Enz's keyboard maestro) and Stewart himself.

The album would not be finished until the end of the year, by which time only one song would see release from its sessions - the title track to the film "Spies Like Us", joined by Phil Ramone in the producer's chair. "Spies Like Us", a non-album single backed by Wings' 1975 recording "My Carnival", proved to be a U.S. Top 10 hit (and McCartney's last), setting the stage for "Press To Play".

"Press", a slick up-tempo pop song, was released in July 1986 and surprisingly became only a Top 30 hit in the UK and United States. "Press To Play" itself appeared in September to the most positive reviews McCartney had received in years and stunned everyone by being his weakest-selling album of his solo career. Peaking at #8 in the UK, its chart life was brief, while in the U.S., "Press to Play" failed to even go gold, cresting at an underwhelming #30. Follow-up singles, "Pretty Little Head" and "Only Love Remains" performed poorly at retail.

In 1993, "Press To Play" was remastered and reissued on CD as part of "The Paul McCartney Collection" series with his 1985 hit "Spies Like Us" and an alternate mix of impending 1987 UK success "Once Upon A Long Ago" as bonus tracks.

Track listing

All songs by Paul McCartney/Eric Stewart, except where noted.

#"Stranglehold" – 3:36
#"Good Times Coming/Feel the Sun" (Paul McCartney) – 4:55
#"Talk More Talk" (Paul McCartney) – 5:18
#* (features the manipulated spoken voices of wife Linda McCartney and son James)
#"Footprints" – 4:32
#"Only Love Remains" (Paul McCartney) – 4:13
#"Press" (Paul McCartney) – 4:43
#"Pretty Little Head" – 5:14
#"Move Over Busker" – 4:05
#"Angry" – 3:36
#* (features Pete Townshend on electric guitar and Phil Collins on drums)
#"However Absurd" – 4:56
#"Write Away" – 3:00
#* (also released as "Pretty Little Head"'s B-Side in October 1986)
#"It's Not True" (Paul McCartney) – 5:53
#* (originally released remixed as the B-Side to "Press" in July 1986)
#* (features Phil Collins on drums)
#"Tough On A Tightrope" – 4:42
#* (also released as the B-Side to "Only Love Remains" in December 1986)

* Tracks 11 - 13 only released on the CD edition of "Press To Play"

Additional tracks edition

#"Spies Like Us"
#"Once upon a Long Ago"


*Paul McCartney
*Phil Collins
*Eric Stewart
*Pete Townshend
*Jerry Marotta
*Carlos Alomar
*Eddie Rayner
*Nick Glennie-Smith
*Dick Morrissey
*Ray Cooper
*Simon Chamberlain
*Graham Ward
*Lenny Pickett
*Gary Barnacle
*Gavin Wright
*John Bradbury
*Linda McCartney
*Kate Robbins
*Ruby James
*James McCartney
*Eddie Klein
*John Hammel
*Matt Howe
*Steve Jackson

Chart positions and certifications


External links

* [ JPGR's Beatles site: Paul McCartney's "Press to Play"]
* [ George Starostin's review]

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