On Oct. 2 McCartney will reissue his 1982 pop masterpiece, Tug of War, along with its 1983 companion album, Pipes of Peace, as the latest volumes in the Paul McCartney Archive Collection, which has been overseen by the icon. The multi-disc set will feature each album as well as one disc of bonus audio and visual content. Tug of War has been remixed entirely and Pipes of Peace has a remix of the Michael Jackson collaboration “Say Say Say.”
Now, 33 years after its release, EW is thrilled to premiere the remixed version of “Tug of War.”
Paul McCartney went back into the studio to record the album in October 1980, not long after McCartney II dropped and just two months before John Lennon was shot and killed. The morning after Lennon’s death, he and longtime Beatles producer George Martin — whom he hadn’t worked on a full album with since the Beatles broke up in 1970, but reunited with for this collection — put the project on hold, reconvening in February 1981 in the Caribbean.
Between that session and a summer session in London, the album featured visits from high-profile guests like Stevie Wonder (who dueted with McCartney on now classic cuts “Ebony and Ivory” and “What’s That You’re Doing?“), Carl Perkins (on “Get It“), Denny Laine (who quit mid-record, in April 1981, effectively ending Wings), and Ringo Starr for instrumentals. It saw him record his Lennon eulogy “Here Today.” And after all was said and sang, McCartney emerged with Tug of War.
A highlight of the record is the sweeping title track, which stays true to its strength in the new remix. McCartney reflects on how the nexus of both humanity’s most basic impulses and highest esteemed characteristics is the same: Our insatiable desire for more. Over war drums and a symphonic brass section, he laments, “But with one thing and another / We were trying to outdo each other / In a tug of war”, before hoping, “In a time to come / We will be dancing to the beat played / On a different drum..It won’t be soon enough / Soon enough for me.”
McCartney hasn’t been terribly hard to find in 2015. He headlined Firefly Festival in Dover, Delaware in June and Lollapalooza in Chicago, Illinois in July, and recently confirmed five more North American dates on his Out There Tour (which actually began in late 2013). Those dates are all listed on his website.