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After John, Paul McCartney found another partner to get the most out of him: Elvis

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The 1980s had not been going well for Paul McCartney. A series of commercial flops left even the artist taking stock. "It was time to prove something to myself," McCartney said back then. That he did. "Flowers in the Dirt," released in 1989, marked a rebirth.

But the most intriguing element of "Flowers" was shelved for decades. In 1987, McCartney had invited Elvis Costello to work with him. Four of their songs ended up on "Flowers," but a few others never came out. And both McCartney and Costello agree that their nine initial demo recordings remain the best part of their collaboration. On March 24, those demos are being released as part of an elaborate, box-set reissue of "Flowers in the Dirt."

We spoke recently with McCartney and Costello, separately and by phone, about their intense writing spurts, the challenges of turning the demos into a polished album and about their obvious differences over a certain synth-pop group.

In 1986, McCartney released his sixth solo studio album, "Press to Play," working with producer Hugh Padgham, known for his work with Phil Collins and the Human League.

McCartney: Sometimes you get caught up in trying to be the current flavor, trying to go along and flavor your cooking with the food of the month, and I think "Press to Play" was certainly that. ... I remember the records I listened to. "Let's Dance." Or "Drive" by the Cars. Records that were of the time and I probably just thought, "Yeah, it'd be quite nice to get into a bit of that."

McCartney's manager suggested he call Costello. Costello, then 33, came to McCartney's Hog Hill Mill Studio in East Sussex, England.Costello grew up loving the Beatles. But he didn't bring his fan club card.

By: Geoff Edgers

Source: The Chicago Tribune

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