“Looking at it purely bluntly, there was sort of a dip for me and my writing. There were a couple of years when I had a sort of illness.”
– Paul McCartney (about his output around 1972)
But there were gems from that period that never saw the light of day, McCartney was keeping some of his more interesting material to himself.
Today we present another fabulous unreleased track. 1882 by Paul McCartney was meant to be a part of The Red Rose Speedway album, this was when it was supposed to be a double album. It was however written at least a year earlier (maybe two).
1882 is an incredible song and it’s too bad that McCartney still hasn’t released it, but maybe when he comes to the Red Rose Speedway re-issue he’ll do it. Red Rose Speedway is one of my favourite paul McCartney albums and I have very high expectations for the re-release (if and when…).
It is a “story song” and lyrically quite straightforward but a bit on the dark side, and written right after the break-up of The Beatles.
He did play 1882 live on several shows in 1972 and there are many versions in circulation, and with great sound. He never played it live after the 1972 tour (to my knowledge).
1882 (first demo) – Paul McCartney:
00:00 – 1882 (Demo, 1970)
03:24 – 1882 (Live, 1972, Hague)
The song is sparse and with a hypnotic piano. It’s fun to hear him singing the guitar solo and then hear how similar the actual solo is on the live version.
There is another demo in circulation, couldn’t find it on youtube…but believe me, it is even better! Paul’s home demos from this time often give the listener a window into his private life: kids and dogs can be heard running around and playing in the background and Linda is almost always present (as she is on the second demo). In this version the rhythm is close to a waltz and the piano is more pounding. It has a faster pace than the first one and the song is longer.
It is available on the world-wide web, but not on youtube. Seek it out people. It is on quite a few bootlegs, my favorite being Momac’s Hidden Tracks Volume 28 (great sound, interesting to great content). One more thing, don’t pay for bootlegs, support the artists by buying their official releases.
The live version is very different and available on most if not all the European Tour taping from 1972. The Piano pounding waltz has turned into a soaring blues tinged number, I like both a lot.
1882 (live Hague 21 Aug, 1972) – Paul McCartney and Wings:
The location is sometimes said to be Rotterdam, but it is most likely Hague 21 Agust 1972. McCartney introduced the song as “a new one from the upcoming album” on every concert. And it has been overdubbed, Paul’s vocals are doubled. This is the version intended as a part of the Red Rose Speedway album, yes, he meant to include a live version. This is revealed by the tracklisting from the double acetate dated Dec.13 1972.
There are rumors of a fourth version, in The Beatles Diary After the Break-Up: 1970-2001 by Barry Miles and Keith Badman they says that a home studio version was recorded in January 1972. It would be nice to hear it sometimes.
Lyrics 1882 (demo):
good morning, young master, it’s 1882
your mother is hungry, what will you do?
there is bread in the kitchen of the big house upstairs
but I warn you, don’t take it from them
your mother is calling, she wants you by the bed
so get up, young master, shake your sleepy head
“darling son, I am dying, and I leave it to you
I’m leaving, tell me, what did I do?”
you’ll be tarred, you’ll be feathered, you’ll be hung like a ham
and I warn you, don’t do it, young man
i own a sheepfarm.
i own a sheepfarm.
i’m dying, tell me, what did I do?
Lyrics 1882 (live version):
Good morning, young master, it’s 1882
And your mother is hungry, what will you do?
There is bread in the kitchen of the big house upstairs
But I warn you, don’t take it from them
You’ll be tarred, you’ll be feathered, you’ll be hung like a ham
And I warn you, don’t do it, young man
Your mother is calling, she wants you by the bed
So get ready, young master, well, go shake your sleepy head
“Darling son, I am dying and I leave it to you
As I’m leaving, tell me what did I do?”
“I’m dying, tell me what did I do?”
Well, boy steals the bread, now that’s enough, heads for the door
Man sees you coming, said “Boy, you won’t be running no more”
Boy gets arrested and the case it gets tested that day
Judge finds him guilty and the jailer takes him away
Good morning, young master, it’s twenty-five to nine
They’ll be coming to get you, well, in twenty minutes time
You’ll be drawn, you’ll be quartered, you’ll be hung like a ham
But I warn you, get ready, young man
Said the boy, “I am dying and I leave it to you
As I’m leaving, tell me what did I do?
As I’m dying, tell me what did I do?”
Sources: Wikipedia,The Beatles Diary Volume 2: After The Break-Up 1970-2001 by Barry Miles and Keith Badland, The McCartney Recording Sessions , Youtube documentaries and tour clips