Song:Ebony & Ivory
Album:All The Best
For most of his post-Beatles career, Paul McCartney has been constantly criticized for writing and recording some of the sappiest pop songs in history. He has occasionally taken this criticism to heart and responded with hard edged rock like Band on the Run. But I guess he prefers sweet songs and there's no question that Ebony & Ivory is one of his most saccharin efforts. But it was also one of his biggest hits. It was a worldwide chart topper in 1982. After McCartney disbanded Wings in 1981, he asked famed Beatles producer George Martin to produce his next album which would be titled Tug Of War. Key musicians on the album were Denny Laine from Wings and Eric Stewart of 10cc. It was during the recording of these sessions that John Lennon was murdered. So they took a couple of months off and resumed the sessions in Feb. 1981 at AIR Studios in Montserrat. Ringo Starr, Carl Perkins and Stanley Clarke were among those who recorded with McCartney. And he recorded two duets with Stevie Wonder including Ebony & Ivory. George Martin says McCartney was inspired by the Spike Milligan quote "black notes, white notes, and you need to play the two to make harmony". Though Ebony & Ivory was a massive hit and it drove the success of Tug Of War, it was widely criticized as saccharin and heavy handed. It seems to turn up on a lot of worst song lists. And the song was parodied on Saturday Night Live by Joe Piscopo and Eddie Murphy. But Ebony & Ivory topped the Billboard Hot 100 for seven weeks and it had the longest chart run of McCartney's solo career. Maybe it's one of those songs that folks got caught up in at the time but they now sneer at it and wonder why they liked it in the first place. I never liked the song but McCartney was so pleased with the Tug Of War sessions that he used some of the recordings on his next album Pipes of Peace. I guess that makes Paul McCartney a sentimental sap. You can get Ebony & Ivory on this McCartney comp and it also appears on Stevie Wonder comps. Here's the video for Ebony & Ivory by Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder.