Wednesday, March 18, 2015

"Tug of War" by Paul McCartney

Song#:  1200
Date:  10/02/1982
Debut:  75
Peak:  53
Weeks:  8
Genre:  Pop

Pop Bits:  McCartney's fourth solo album (and first after Wings dissolved), "Tug of War," was a major #1 hit thanks to the singles "Ebony and Ivory" (#1 duet with Stevie Wonder) and "Take It Away" (#10). This thoughtful third title-track single may have been a little too subdued for the time as it missed getting into the top half of the chart. Oddly, it also peaked at #53 in the UK. But it didn't matter much as the album would be a platinum seller that grabbed a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year.

ReduxReview:  Why this song was issued as a single is anyone's guess. My theory is that this was kind of an important message song that held particular meaning around the time, so it may have seemed appropriate to get out to the masses. Some critics consider it McCartney's equivalent of "Imagine" (the John Lennon song). Perhaps it may be, but that doesn't mean it makes for a good single. I'm sure this sounded out of place on pop radio back then with new wave and "Jack and Diane" ruling the airwaves. It is a lovely song and I do like it, but not as a single.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Although eliminated from the single version, the grunts and groans heard at the beginning of the song came from a recording of an actual tug of war battle. The sounds are from the annual championship games that were held in Huddersfield. Tug of war is a worldwide organized sport that had its own international governing body. It was even an Olympic sport from 1900-1920. Although the sport may seem relatively harmless, it can cause some very severe injuries including amputations. Most famously, in 1997 two men who participated in a mass tug of war in Taipei (a holiday celebration event) had their left arms amputated below the shoulder when the nylon rope snapped and recoiled back quickly with enough force to sever their arms. Fortunately for both, surgery was able to be performed that reattached their limbs. That may make you think twice before participating in one at the annual company picnic or family reunion...


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