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From Abbey Road to Under the Staircase With Paul McCartney

19/09/2018

Outside Abbey Road Studios in northwest London, it's one of the hottest days of the UK's record-breaking summer of 2018. The baking sunshine is one reason the customary clusters of fans and tourists thronging the gates-and traversing the planet's only celebrity zebra crossing-are even giddier than normal.

The other reason? A visit from Paul McCartney, the man who helped make Abbey Road Studios the most iconic recording studios in the world.

Here he comes, crossing the road in an image captured by his photographer daughter, Mary. He pauses in front of the doors and turns to wave to the bigger-than-normal crowd, its numbers swollen by social media buzz of something special afoot. Then he enters Abbey Road and heads under the staircase.

The former Beatle has, of course, been here before. But not like this. He's here to help launch his new solo album, Egypt Station, playing an exclusive Spotify concert in the compact environment of Studio 2. It's just him, his crack live band, his intimate memories of creating musical history in this very spot in the '60s, and two dozen of the greatest songs of all time.

If you weren't in the audience, fear not: all of these moments and more are now available in Paul McCartney & Spotify Singles: Under The Staircase, a first-of-its-kind audio and video playlist comprising 17 audio tracks and a feature-length concert film. Included in the playlist are 34 videos* highlighting the most special moments of the Abbey Road Session.

As is obvious in that film, as soon as he takes to the small Abbey Road stage with his four-piece band, McCartney is, as ever, down-to-earth, disarming and chatty.

The very first time we came, we were kids, the musician says by way of introduction. Over half a century ago, McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr were fresh down in London from Liverpool. They were all in their early twenties, studio innocents, and they were treated like youngsters.

We werent allowed in through there, the staircase, he says, pointing to the steps down from the studio control room-a room occupied this afternoon, in another nice circular touch, by Giles Martin, producer and son of the fifth Beatle, George Martin.

That was for the grown-ups and we had to come in this entrance, McCartney continues, pointing to the back, which was the tradesmens entrance. And we had to bring all our stuff in. It was really very exciting, you can imagine, getting our first record session. For me, its very easy to go right back there and remember us walking in here, us four little Beatles. George had a black eye because some guy in The Cavern got jealous and had hit him. We were doing photos, so in early photos, youll see George with a nice little black eye.

Most of the 150-strong audience have gained entrance today by submitting a short video pleading their case. One young Australian won her ticket by explaining how she'd once travelled from Sydney to Japan to see McCartney, only to discover that the concert was cancelled. In a very nice way, Macca owed her.

Other audience members, meanwhile, have nabbed a golden ticket by being either a friend of the McCartney family-his wife Nancy Shevell is here alongside his musician son James, daughter Mary and her fashion designer sister Stella-and/or A-list fans. Step forward Stormzy, Kylie Minogue, Johnny Depp, Amy Schumer, Nile Rodgers, Orlando Bloom, Liv Tyler and J.J. Abrams-even celebrities aren't immune to the appeal of an audience with the most famous musician in the world. If the release of Star Wars: Episode IX is delayed, now you'll know why. Its director bunked off work for a private gig by his hero.

Were going to just do various songs, some new ones off our new album and some old ones, says a clearly buzzed McCartney, concluding his introduction. Were just going to keep it loose. Then, acknowledging the cameras dotting the room and Martin up in the control room, he smiles. If they need us to do it a second time we wont, he twinkled. No, we will

And with that they're off, a band of musical brothers blasting brilliantly through some of the best of the Beatles, Wings and McCartney solos.
LINK: /2018-09-13/from-abbey-road-to-under-the-staircase-with-paul-mccartney...
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