Paul McCartney has released a previously unheard, acoustic version of ‘Calico Skies’ – listen to the track first on NME below.
The original ‘Calico Skies’ featured on McCartney’s 1997 album ‘Flaming Pie’ – his second-highest-charting album of the last 25 years.
The ‘Calico Skies [‘In The World Tonight’ Campfire Acoustic]’ version features on a new boxset containing unreleased demos, outtakes, and rehearsal tapes from the album’s recording sessions. Also containing a newly remastered version of the album, the boxset is released today.
You can listen to the song below or download it for free here.
The acoustic version of ‘Calico Skies’ was first recorded on February 25, 1997 when a hurricane struck in the US where McCartney was staying at the time.
Speaking about the making of the track, McCartney told NME: “I wanted to write something acoustic in the vein of Blackbird, something simple that would stand on its own and which you wouldn’t have to put drums on or an arrangement – and if anyone said ‘give us a song’, you could just do it.”
Speaking about the story behind the song, McCartney added: “We were in America and they’d just had a big hurricane – Bob, I believe – and it’d knocked out all of the power so there was no light, everything was candlelit, all the cooking had to be done on a wood fire. And we like all that enforced simplicity. It’s very primitive.
“So, we had a few days of that and because I couldn’t play any records, I spent a lot of time on my acoustic guitar, making up little bits and pieces and ‘Calico Skies’ was one of them. It’s just a simple little song to play to people when you’re sitting around in candlelight, powerless after a hurricane. It’s a primitive little powercut memory.”
McCartney also recently released a new EP featuring a remastered version of ‘Beautiful Night’ with Ringo Starr.
The EP is part of the forthcoming re-release of ‘Flaming Pie’, which also features a 1995 demo of the track, an alternate ‘Run Through’ recording, and ‘Oobu Joobu Part 5’ – a medley of Beautiful Night-themed chat, alternate mixes and interview recordings of McCartney and Starr speaking about the song.