.

Paul McCartney: New Album in February

Untitled set will feature covers of old favorites he grew up on

December 19, 2011 10:20 AM ET
paul mccartney
Sir Paul McCartney performs at the O2 Arena in London.
Jim Dyson/Redferns

Paul McCartney is set to release a new album of covers on February 7th. The as-yet untitled record will feature versions of Tin Pan Alley songs McCartney first heard as a boy. With guest appearances by Eric Clapton and Stevie Wonder, the album will also include two new compositions from the ex-Beatle.

In keeping with the Great American Songbook theme of the project, McCartney will be accompanied by Diana Krall's band. For the first time in his recording career, he will not play an instrument and will only sing.

McCartney said in a press release that when he began writing songs as a teenager, "I realized how well-structured these songs were, and I think I took a lot of my lessons from them. I always thought artists like Fred Astaire were very cool. Writers like Harold Arlen, Cole Porter, all of those guys – I just thought the songs were magical." An exclusive stream of the original track "My Valentine" is available today to premium members of McCartney's website for 24 hours.

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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