Monday, May 14, 2012

Take it Away

Right around Paul's 40th birthday select London-area memebrs of the McCartney "Fun Club" were sent invitations to be extras in Paul's newest music video, "Take it Away."   Here are the stories of two fans who attended the video shoot.  This is from the Nov/Dec 1982  issue of The Write Thing.

Take it Away Video Shoot 23-6-82 by Kathy Turner

When the self-addressed envelope came through my letter-box I realized that one way or the other, I’d know if I was seeing Paul or not.  When I opened up the envelope to find two letters of introduction to the Emi film Studios at Elstree, I was thrilled to say the least!

My friend Margaret Drayton and I arrived at Elstree about 9:20a.m. that day and joined an already growing que.  Once we got to the check-in desk we had to show our introduction letters and have a paw print stamped on our hands.  Eventually we were lead to an enormous building which turned out to be “Stage 3.”    It was vast, and almost devoid of anything except some hideous green/blue plastic chairs.  We waited with anticipation, but at 10:30a.m. we were informed that we wouldn’t be needed until 2 pm, could we please come back later.  We were also told not to lose the paw mark from our hands, but as we stepped out of the studio the rain came down in torrents!  Not many people were able to keep them intact.  As long as we hung onto our letters it would be ok. 

When we came back to Studio 3 we waited and waited.  At one point we were told to go to the back of the stage which we did only to find it was for nothing.  We were beginning to feel a little peeved at our treatment. 

Eventually at 4pm we were told everything was ready.  The excitement began to return.  We were lead about 100 at a time (Margaret and I made sure we were in the first 100) to stage 4 where Paul, Linda, RIngo and Eric Stewart were already on stage jamming.  Paul introduced everyone and Ringo got cheers and ovations that lasted ages.  When he got to the other drummer, Paul said, “a Steve Gadd look-alike called Butler.”

At one point Linda started to sing, “Maybe I’m Amazed,” it sounded pretty good!  But she only did a tiny bit.  We kept having attempts at shooting the same bit of video with Paul miming only to the end of the record but it kept failing for one reason or another, but interspersed with this was the most incredible jam session you could imagine.  Paul sang everything from Eddie Cochran, Buddy Holly, Coasters to Elvis. At one point he made this complete blues song up in a matter of minutes.

It was so good to see Ringo and Paul together again.  Ringo tried to persuade Paul to sing “Yesterday” taking his hand and leading him to the mike, but Paul wouldn’t.

After a while, Paul said he was going to take a break.  We had a lovely surprise when he came back, as he came up our side aisle so we were able to get some photographs of him close up.

During the next phase we were ushered out to Stage 3 again, but on the way back Margaret slipped in a door and got us front row seats!  It was incredible, like being at a Wings concert as the jamming continued.  We were able to take more photos.  Margaret was actually sitting next to Ringo’s wife, Barbara Bach who as thoroughly enjoying the whole thing and very “in time” with the music.  Next to her was George Martin’s wife who also looked to be enjoying the proceedings.

After Paul said it was finished, he said if anyone wanted autographs they could come up but he begged us to be calm, but of course people weren’t.  I find it hard to understand why the most civilized of people become like animals when they’re fighting for something, even Paul’s autograph.  He was a brave man to have stayed there so long.  They were on the whole not a very well-behaved bunch and really swamped Paul.  As I was nearing him, I was getting mangled by the crowd and Paul saw it and said to give me some room.  After he signed my photo he told them to let me out!  I felt quite protected – he was very sweet.

Shortly after that Paul had had enough as the crowd was obviously not going to obey the ‘stay calm” request he was ushered out.  Apart from that, and the occasional rudeness of the officials the rest was unforgettable.  It made me realize how privileged I was to watch one of the biggest musical geniuses the world has ever produced and also one for the most approachable and friendly Superstars.

From Tony Luscombe

The filming took up very little time consisting of repeated sections of the song with carefully orchestrated audience reaction (standing up at a given point, etc.) ending suddenly and leaving the band to continue playing for a few seconds.  The real interest was in the periods between shooting when they performed a number of standards and filled in with jams (often rather directionless) including an improvised “Elstree Blues.”  The clearly hadn’t rehearsed anything and the performance was surprisingly coherent; Paul’s vocals were consistently, impeccable – particularly on a superb Buddy Holly imitation for “Peggy Sue.”  Other songs they played around with were “20 Flight Rock,”  “Rockin’ and Reelin’” “Searchin’” and something based around the “Bo Diddley” riff.  At one point George Martin played muzak version of “Here There and Everywhere” and in one gap Ringo jokingly suggested that they have a go at “Mull of Kintyre.”  It was good to see the resulting video, although the scenes at Elstree are the weakest, the audience reaction looking rather contrived.

1 comment:

  1. I was in London the day the video premiered on Top Of The Pops and I talked to a few of the "mpl scruffs" who had been lucky to attend the shooting. One of the girls even had an audio recording on a cassette of some of Paul's on-stage jams. But alas, she wasn't willing to share it with anyone, she kept it as a personal souvenir.