McCartney II

McCartney II
McCartney II
Studio album by Paul McCartney
Released 16 May 1980
Recorded July–August 1979
Genre Rock, soft rock
Length 38:36
Label Parlophone (UK)
Columbia (US)
Paul McCartney chronology
McCartney II
Concerts for the People of Kampuchea
Singles from McCartney II
  1. "Coming Up"
    Released: 11 April 1980
  2. "Waterfalls"
    Released: 13 June 1980
  3. "Temporary Secretary"
    Released: 15 September 1980

McCartney II is the third album by Paul McCartney, and the first since the formation of Wings in 1971. It was released in 1980, a year before the band's dissolution and while their future lay in limbo. The album is a significant departure for McCartney, as much of the album relies heavily on synthesisers and studio experimentation.



After the release of what turned out to be Wings' final album, Back to the Egg, McCartney went north to his farm in Scotland to begin some private recordings in July 1979. The first song he recorded was "Check My Machine" as a way to test the equipment, hence its title. By sessions' end, he had recorded over 20 songs. With no immediate use for the recordings, he put them aside for the time being and returned to work with Wings in order to prepare for a UK tour that November and December. Simultaneously with the performances (which included the new "Coming Up"), Paul McCartney released his first solo single since 1971, the festive Top 10 UK hit "Wonderful Christmastime" b/w "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reggae". The A-side was recorded during the McCartney II sessions, while its flip side had been cut in 1975. However, upcoming events were about to change McCartney's plans with Wings.

After years of visa refusals due to his past marijuana busts, Japan had finally allowed McCartney, and thus Wings, to perform. It would be McCartney's first time playing there since 1966 with The Beatles, and anticipation was running high with Wings' tour completely sold out. However, upon his arrival in Tokyo on 16 January 1980, a search of McCartney's luggage revealed a bag containing 219 grams of marijuana, prompting his immediate arrest and eventually cancelling the tour. After a nine-day jail stay, McCartney was released and returned home to his Scottish farm. Deciding to put Wings on hold while he contemplated his future, he now decided to issue his solo recordings from the previous summer.

"Coming Up" — an uplifting dance number — appeared that April with a video (Paul playing all the bandmates, dubbed 'The Plastic Macs', except for the backing singers (played by Linda)) and with two B-sides by Wings: "Coming Up (Live at Glasgow)", recorded during Wings' December 1979 show there, and the piano laden instrumental "Lunch Box/Odd Sox" (a Venus and Mars outtake). An immediate UK #2 hit, "Coming Up" was flipped over for the live Wings version in the US where it became another #1 for McCartney, greatly raising hopes for his first solo album proper in years. The live Wings version of "Coming Up" was also issued as a white-labeled, one-sided 7" bonus record in many copies of McCartney II within the US and Canada.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars link
Pitchfork (7.2/10) link
The Quietus (favourable) link
Robert Christgau (C) link
Rolling Stone (Not favourable)[1]

McCartney II was released in mid-May to mixed reviews; many critics found the album, with its experimental, synth-based compositions and its handful of instrumentals, slight. That did not stop it from reaching #1 in the UK and #3 in the US. The next single, the introspective "Waterfalls", was a UK Top 10 hit, but failed to make an impact in the US. Despite its less-than-rapturous critical reaction, McCartney II has continued to remain a favourite of McCartney devotees.

The initial issue of this album on compact disc featured "Check My Machine" and "Secret Friend" as bonus tracks. The two songs were originally released as the B-sides of "Waterfalls" and "Temporary Secretary," respectively. In 1993, McCartney II was remastered and reissued on CD as part of "The Paul McCartney Collection" series with Wings' 1979 hit "Goodnight Tonight" added as a third bonus track.

When the new remastered version was released in 2011 as part of the Paul McCartney Archive Collection, the album re-entered the UK charts at #108.[2]

Track listing

All songs written and composed by Paul McCartney

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Coming Up"   3:53
2. "Temporary Secretary"   3:14
3. "On the Way"   3:38
4. "Waterfalls"   4:42
5. "Nobody Knows"   2:52
Side two
No. Title Length
6. "Front Parlour"   3:32
7. "Summer's Day Song"   3:25
8. "Frozen Jap"   3:40
9. "Bogey Music"   3:27
10. "Darkroom"   2:20
11. "One of These Days"   3:35
The Paul McCartney Collection's 1993 reissue bonus tracks
No. Title Length
12. "Check My Machine"   5:52
13. "Secret Friend"   10:30
14. "Goodnight Tonight"   4:21


In 2011 the album was re-issued by Hear Music/Concord Music Group as part of the second set of releases, alongside McCartney, in the Paul McCartney Archive Collection. It was released in multiple formats.[3]

  • A 2-CD Special Edition which includes a CD of bonus material in addition to the original album.
  • A 3-CD/1-DVD Deluxe Edition which has the aforementioned material as well as a limited and numbered 128-page book containing many previously unpublished images by Linda McCartney. The book features album and single artwork and a full history of the making of the album, complete with a new interview with Paul and expanded track by track information. The DVD features rare and previously unseen footage, including rehearsal footage of "Coming Up" and a new video for the unreleased track "Blue Sway".
  • A 2-Disc Vinyl Edition containing the same audio material as the Special Edition.
  • High Resolution 24bit 96 kHz limited and unlimited audio versions of all 27 songs on the remastered album and bonus audio discs.

Track listing

Disc 1

The first disc features the original UK version of the album.

Disc 2: "Bonus Audio 1" (Special, Vinyl and Deluxe Editions)

  1. "Blue Sway" (with Richard Niles Orchestration) - previously unreleased - 4:35
  2. "Coming Up" (Live at the Apollo Theatre, Glasgow - December 17, 1979) - 4:08
  3. "Check My Machine" (Regular Single B-side Edited Version) - 5:50
  4. "Bogey Wobble" - previously unreleased - 2:59
  5. "Secret Friend" - 10:31
  6. "Mr H Atom / You Know I'll Get You Baby" - previously unreleased - 5:55
  7. "Wonderful Christmastime" (Regular A-side Version) - 3:47
  8. "All You Horse Riders / Blue Sway" - previously unreleased - 10:15

Disc 3: "Bonus Audio 2" (Deluxe Edition)

  1. "Coming Up" [Full Length Version]
  2. "Front Parlour" [Full Length Version]
  3. "Frozen Jap" [Full Length Version]
  4. "Darkroom" [Full Length Version]
  5. "Check My Machine" [Full Length Version]
  6. "Wonderful Christmastime" [Full Length Version]
  7. "Summer's Day Song" [Original without vocals]
  8. "Waterfalls" (DJ edit)

DVD (Deluxe Edition)

  1. "Meet Paul McCartney"
  2. "Coming Up" (music video)
  3. "Waterfalls" (music video)
  4. "Wonderful Christmastime" (music video)
  5. "Coming Up" (live at Concert for the People of Kampuchea - 29 December 1979)
  6. "Coming Up" (taken from a rehearsal session at Lower Gate Farm, 1979)
  7. "Making the Coming Up Music Video"
  8. "Blue Sway" (music video)

Alternative version

An alternate, unofficial sequence of material (the source of this material being two test pressings of the original sequence according to Record Collector magazine) is available on bootlegs, and is commonly referred to as "The Lost McCartney II Album, although it's title is The Lost McCartney Album."

  1. "Front Parlour" - 5:06 (extended alternate mix)
  2. "Frozen Jap" - 5:30 (extended alternate mix)
  3. "All You Horse Riders" - 3:45 (unreleased until the "Paul McCartney Archive Collection" edition of the original album - 13 June, 2011)
  4. "Blue Sway" - 6:04 (unreleased until the "Paul McCartney Archive Collection" edition of the original album - 13 June, 2011)
  5. "Temporary Secretary" - 3:05
  6. "On The Way" - 3:27
  7. "Mr. H. Atom" - 2:10 (Features Linda McCartney on lead vocals)
  8. "Summer's Day Song" - 3:16 (instrumental version)
  9. "You Know I'll Get You Baby" - 3:45 (unreleased until the "Paul McCartney Archive Collection" edition of the original album - 13 June, 2011)
  10. "Bogey Wobble" - 3:14 (unused companion piece to "Bogey Music")
  11. "Darkroom" - 3:38 (extended alternate mix)
  12. "One of These Days" - 3:26
  13. "Secret Friend" - 10:05
  14. "Bogey Music" - 3:17
  15. "Check My Machine" - 8:39 (longer alternate mix than B-Side to "Waterfalls")
  16. "Waterfalls" - 4:29
  17. "Nobody Knows" - 2:44
  18. "Coming Up" - 5:26 (extended alternate mix)


Grammy Awards

Year Nominated work Award Result
1981 "Coming Up" Best Rock Vocal Performance - Male[4] Nominated


Chart positions

Chart (1980) Position
Australian Kent Music Report[5] 6
Austrian Albums Chart[6] 4
Dutch Mega Albums Chart[7] 20
French SNEP Albums Chart [8] 2
German Media Control Albums Chart [9] 19
Italian Albums Chart[10] 11
Japanese Oricon Weekly LP Chart [A][11] 8
New Zealand Albums Chart[12] 5
Norwegian VG-lista Albums Chart[13] 5
Swedish Albums Chart[14] 5
UK Albums Chart[15] 1
U.S. Billboard 200[16] 3

Year-end charts

Chart (1980) Position
Australian Albums Chart[5] 32
Italian Albums Chart[10] 39
UK Albums Chart[17] 36
Japanese Oricon Chart[18] 95

Chart positions (reissue)

Chart (2011) Position
French SNEP Albums Chart[19] 158
Japanese Oricon Albums Chart[20] 32
Spanish Albums Chart[21] 85
UK Albums Chart[22] 108
U.S. Billboard 200[23] 82
U.S. Top Pop Catalog Albums[16] 10


Region Certification Sales/shipments
Japan (Oricon Charts) 75,000[B][24][11]
United Kingdom (BPI)[25] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[26] Gold 500,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone


  • A^ Until January 1987, Japanese albums chart had been separated into LP, CD, and cassette charts. McCartney II also entered the cassette chart, peaking at #13.
  • B^ Combined sales of LP and audio cassette.


  1. ^ Holden, Stephen (1980-06-24), "Music Reviews : McCartney II by Paul McCartney", Rolling Stone, archived from the original on 2011-08-29,, retrieved 2008-04-20 
  2. ^ Chart Log UK - New Entries Update 25.06.2011 (week 24)
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ "Rock On The Net: 25th Annual Grammy Awards - 1981". Retrieved 2011-08-31. 
  5. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970-1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  6. ^ "Paul McCartney - Tug Of War -". Retrieved 2011-08-31. 
  7. ^ " Paul McCartney - Tug Of War". MegaCharts. Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  8. ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste > Choisir Un Artiste Dans la Liste". Retrieved 2011-08-31. 
  9. ^ "Album Search: Paul McCartney" (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 2011-08-31. 
  10. ^ a b "Hit Parade Italia - Gli album più venduti del 1982" (in Italian). Retrieved 2011-10-03. 
  11. ^ a b a-ビートルズ "- Yamachan Land (Archives of the Japanese record charts) - Albums Chart Daijiten - The Beatles" (in Japanese). 30 December 2007. a-ビートルズ. Retrieved 2011-08-31. 
  12. ^ " Paul McCartney - Tug Of War". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 2011-08-31. 
  13. ^ " Paul McCartney - Tug Of War". VG-lista. Retrieved 2011-08-31. 
  14. ^ " Paul McCartney - Tug Of War". Retrieved 2011-08-31. 
  15. ^ "Number 1 Albums – 1980s". The Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 9 February 2008. Retrieved 2011-06-27. 
  16. ^ a b "allmusic ((( Tug of War > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". Retrieved 2011-08-31. 
  17. ^ "Complete UK Year-End Album Charts". Retrieved 2011-09-12. 
  18. ^ "日本で売れた洋楽アルバムトップ23 (Top-23 international albums on the Japanese Oricon Year-End Charts 1980". Archived from the original on 2011-08-29. Retrieved 2007-10-21. 
  19. ^ " Paul McCartney - McCartney". SNEP. Retrieved 13 July 2011. 
  20. ^ ポール・マッカートニー-リリース-ORICON STYLE-ミュージック "Highest position and charting weeks of McCartney II (2011 reissues) by Paul McCartney" (in Japanese). Oricon Style. ポール・マッカートニー-リリース-ORICON STYLE-ミュージック. Retrieved 13 July 2011. 
  21. ^ " - Paul McCartney - McCartney". Retrieved 2011-08-31. 
  22. ^ Music Week "Take That progress back to the top of album charts". Music Week. Retrieved 2011-08-31. 
  23. ^ "Music Albums, Top 200 Albums & Music Album Charts". Retrieved 2011-08-31. 
  24. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970-2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4871310779. 
  25. ^ "British album certifications – Paul McCartney – McCartney II". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter McCartney II in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Click Go
  26. ^ "American album certifications – Paul McCartney – Mc Cartney II". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH

External links

Preceded by
The Magic of Boney M. by Boney M.
UK Albums Chart number one album
31 May 1980 – 13 June 1980
Succeeded by
Peter Gabriel by Peter Gabriel

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