Monday, September 15, 2014

"Ebony and Ivory" by Paul McCartney with Stevie Wonder

#1 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Song#:  0991
Date:  04/10/1982
Debut:  29
Peak:  1 (7 weeks)
Weeks:  19
Genre:  Pop

Pop Bits:  After his group Wings officially dissolved, McCartney set out to record his fourth solo album. "Tug of War" was a platinum hit that reached #1 on the album chart, thanks mostly to this first single. A McCartney penned tune, he had Stevie Wonder in mind for a duet partner and the two recorded the song together in the studio. Oddly, scheduling conflicts kept the two from appearing in the video together, so their parts were filmed separately (these days it is very common for the opposite to happen - record separate, appear in the video together). The single debuted in the Top 30 and shot to #1 quickly. The song's 7-week run in the top spot would be both artists' longest stay at #1 (as solo artists). Inevitable Grammy nominations followed for Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Pop Vocal Performance. "Tug of War" would also nab a nom for Album of the Year.

ReduxReview:  This ended up being one of those loath it/love it songs. I admit that back in the day I totally loved it. The whole theme, the duet, the video, etc. seemed so awesome. It was like an event. But over the years it has lost a lot of its initial charm and it's more cloying and annoying than a great piece of music. Derided not long after its initial chart run, the song has made several "worst songs" lists over the years. I can't say that it is one of the worst songs ever to be a hit, but I find it unfortunate that it became McCartney's biggest solo chart hit. I have a tendency these days to hit the forward button when listening to a McCartney playlist, but it does have some nice nostalgia attached.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) The song's racial harmony come courtesy of the black and white keys on a piano. McCartney got the idea for the song after hearing a routine by comedian/musician Spike Milligan where Milligan was pointing out on a piano that there could only be harmony when the black and white keys worked together. 2) McCartney and Wonder recorded another duet for the "Tug of War" album. "What's That You're Doing?" was co-written by the pair and it received a Grammy nod for Best R&B Performance.


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