http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/52a61c3e51116c4d97dd03b85f0f9e40ba779ab0.jpg Unplugged: The Official Bootleg

Paul McCartney

Unplugged: The Official Bootleg

Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 4 0
June 27, 1991

A limited release, according to Capitol Records, that will not exceed a U.S. run of 500,000 copies, this seventeen-song concert nonetheless could turn out to be a significant album for Paul McCartney — much more than another item for the collectors. A majority of these performances, taped in London last January for MTV Unplugged, offer strong, straightforward acoustic pop. Accompanied by bassist Hamish Stuart, guitarist Robbie McIntosh, pianist and accordionist Paul Wickens and percussionists Blair Cunningham and Linda McCartney, Paul McCartney reinvents treasures like "Every Night," "Blackbird" and "Here There and Everywhere" and lights up such Fifties inspirations as Gene Vincent's "Be-Bop-A-Lula" and Bill Monroe's "Blue Moon of Kentucky." Although the performances display the decisiveness of those on McCartney's Tug of War, for example, they of course spring from far different circumstances. "This is so informal, we'll start again!" McCartney says after first forgetting the opening lines of "We Can Work It Out."

In sharp contrast to McCartney's arena get-togethers last year, Unplugged's important point has little to do with nostalgia: The emphasis is on McCartney's songs, not the Beatlesque rock styles that have amounted to a major alternative-rock game plan for at least a decade. On Unplugged, McCartney catches, in confident and effective voice, some of the acoustic nonchalance of the Traveling Wilburys; at other times he comes across as the English João Gilberto — a country's epic pop singer and songwriter transfiguring local styles while the rest of the world listens in. If McCartney's next studio album figures out a way to retain the clarity, purpose, character and assertiveness of this concert, no one will be talking about runs of 500,000 copies.

Album Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Whoomp! (There It Is)”

    Tag Team | 1993

    Cecil Glenn — a.k.a., "D.C." — was a cook at Magic City, a nude dance club in Atlanta, when he first heard women shout "Whoomp — there it is!" Inspired by the party chant, he and partner Steve "Roll'n" Gibson wrote a song around it. Undaunted by label rejections, they borrowed $2,500 from Glenn's parents and pressed 800 singles, which quickly sold out in the Atlanta area. A record deal came soon after. Glenn said the song was meant for positive partying. "If you're going to say 'Whoomp there it is,' and you're doing something negative, we'd rather it not have come out of your mouth."

    More Song Stories entries »