Sunday Music – Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey

Posted on Sun 12/27/2020 by


Today’s music video is Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey from Paul and Linda McCartney.

Link to Video at You Tube

This video was posted to You Tube by Angel Carmona

Now, while this song was preceded by a couple of songs from Paul McCartney after he left The Beatles, this one song is perhaps one of the most significant of those early songs in his solo career.

The love of music is a pretty esoteric thing, that in the main, creeps up on you without your even realising, and more often than not happens when you are young, usually in your early teens, around the time you start High Scool. As that young person, you don’t make a conscious decision as to the style or genre of music you will like throughout your life, and then only stay with that music. Conscious decisions like that happen later in life. At that age when you begin to appreciate music, you just know what you like, and that is what stays with you. You hear certain singers, male or female, and bands, and like the music, and those artists are the ones who stay with you, and as you get older, more are added to that list of artists you like. And you always like them. I’m almost 70 years old now, and songs, and artists I became aware of almost 60 years ago are songs I still like when I hear them now, all that time later.

I came to appreciate music in the early 60s, and that was what is referred to now as perhaps The Golden Age. There was so much good music around in those early years of the 60s that you didn’t know where to turn, and it changed on what seemed to be an almost daily basis. One of those bands I really liked, well, so did everybody really, was The Beatles. For seven or eight years, that band was at the very top of the music World. Every album was awaited with bated breath, thinking, what will they have for us next, and every time, they delivered, and every time, the new music was better than earlier music you loved so much. And then they split.

I wondered, well, so did we all really, if as solo artists, they would deliver anything like the music we had become accustomed to when they were a group. Many years on now, we know that they all had huge careers after they all went their separate ways, but, at the time, there was a sense of expectancy, will they still make great music, or will they just fade away? There was no particular single band member I liked better than the others, because I just loved their music as a band.

Three of them had hits after the band broke up, and those hits came and went. It actually looked like George Harrison might be the one who was going on to a huge career, but he was just the first. I remember hearing songs from each of them as individual artists, but I was basically just used to them as a band. The three of them actually had Number One hits, but to me, I was not really enamoured enough to like them as a single artist more than I liked them as the consolidated band, The Beatles.

Then, late in 1971 was ending, I heard the song I have featured today, and my head snapped back the fist time I heard it. Now this I did like. It was just so darned quirky, and besides that, it was really good music, and lyrics that somehow sort of told a short story. The song became a Top Five Hit, and spent almost five Months in the Australian Top 40.

From that point I noticed Paul McCartney and his band, formed a little after this Single, and that band was Wings, and besides the album that this Single was on. Ram, I have five other albums by that band Wings, and they became perhaps one of my favourite bands, in a short list of around eight or so bands, and how do you separate favourites?

The song was originally recorded back in late 1970, but was not released for almost a year after that, and as I mentioned, it was late in 1971 before it became a hit here in Australia.

The significance of this song I mentioned right at the top did not become apparent until a lot later.

This song was a mix of a number of unfinished tunes, melodies, and lyrics, all just mixed in together in the one song, something that is quite evident as you listen to the song. Now this was something new, a departure from music at the time, just one song with the one melody, tune, structure, and one set of flowing lyrics. This seems to be a collection of different pieces of music, different tunes and different lyrics, all just seemingly thrown together. However, now here imagine how this song has to be put together, with musical bridges between the differing parts, and then lyrics that lead into each other. With the music you can hear those subtle changes, and with the lyrics, here, Paul inserted some sound effects. I suppose it was a bit of a gamble to do a whole song like this, as a collection of a number of different things, but this is where it worked so well. And it wasn’t like this was an artist just staring out his career. He was already hugely famous, so if this didn’t work, well, it didn’t work, so let’s do something else. He COULD actually afford to do something like this.

And then it worked, and how it worked. It was a Number One in the biggest music market on the Planet, the U.S. and also in his homeland, while here in Australia, it only made it into the Top Five.

The significance…… It worked. Hey how about we do that again.

At the same time as this became a hit here in Australia, he had formed the first group of musicians to take the name Wings.

Over their next five albums they brought out as a band, each and every one of them has songs, and here note the plural, so not just one song, but a number of songs on each album which is a compilation of different tunes, lyrics, and structure. It’s almost like you are so used to his music that you don’t even notice it at all, but every album has those songs on them.

That’s what makes this song so significant.

And it doesn’t just apply to his music, as the video clip highlighting this song, the one above is also the same, a mixture off different scenes taken across a number of years and all then compiled into the one video clip.

There was no such thing as video clips at the dawn of the 1970s, so while this looks like a seamless video clip, it is actually a compilation of different scenes. Right at the start you see both Paul and Linda holding a baby inside those large duffel coats they are wearing. That baby is Mary, their first child they had together, and she was born in August of 1969. So there is vision of her at that age, and you also see Linda’s child from her first marriage, Heather, who was born in 1962, so in those early scenes, she is seven. Later in the video clip, you see a now older Mary, almost 18 Months to 2 years old with an older Heather also. The bleak scenes on the beach and of them riding  are all from their Scottish home on The Mull Of Kintyre. (hey, remember that?) There are also earlier scenes of both Paul and Linda together in London, and in the South of England. So, this video clip covers a period of what could be four or five years.

So, a seemingly simple song, albeit a very catchy one, has a significant history, not just for this one artist, but in the Pantheon of music. While Paul McCartney released many songs of a single structure, he also had numerous hits that were a compilation of many different things, both musically, and lyrically as well.

And, on top of that, it was nothing new. The Beatles did the same thing with a couple of songs on their last album Abbey Road.

This song also won Paul McCartney a Grammy Award for Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists.

It makes you want to look at his monster hit Band On The Run in a whole new light eh!

Posted in: Music, Videos