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In 2020 when I was working with Spencer Segelov on our collaboration single 'Minefield', I saw that he had been a part of a Bandcamp project called 'Corona Revolver', which featured cover versions of the songs from the classic Beatles album 'Revolver', performed by various independent artists. The project was done for fun, but it included a link for people to donate to Welsh healthcare workers. I thought it was a great idea, and it inspired me to start a similar project.
Paul McCartney is my favourite songwriter, and given how many beloved and acclaimed songs he's written over the last 60+ years, he's one of the very few people who could lay claim to the title of 'greatest songwriter of all time'. In 2021 I contacted all my musician friends to ask if they wanted to be part of a tribute album to celebrate his 80th birthday the following year. Unsurprisingly, a lot of them said they respected and idolised McCartney as much as I did, and were happy to be involved - this included several people who I had collaborated with before, like Spencer Segelov, Gavin Kaufman, Kian Sparkes and Nathan Snyder (aka Vandarth).
I made it clear to everyone from the outset that what I wanted to do with this project was shine a light on some of McCartney's lesser-known gems, because he's written so many great songs over the years that casual fans might not be aware of (and let's be honest, the world doesn't need another version of 'Yesterday' or 'Let It Be'!). I already knew what track I wanted to cover - a simple but beautiful guitar ballad from his second self-titled solo album called 'One Of These Days'. I had always planned to record an album of cover versions of songs by my favourite songwriters one day, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to do the McCartney song I already had picked out.
I wanted to record the song the way McCartney did with all the songs on his three self-titled albums - i.e. I wanted to perform, record, produce and mix it all by myself. Even for a track with just vocals, acoustic guitar and keyboard, this would prove to be a huge challenge. Recording, comping and mixing all the tracks took me much longer than I thought it would, but I was pleased with the end result - it follows the template of the original song reasonably closely, but it also includes several additional layers of harmony and instrumentation.
I found most of the other artists by searching YouTube and Instagram for people who had already done McCartney cover versions. Some people (like Glenn Case, Tudor Smith and Anabela) were happy for me to use versions they had already recorded, and others (like Alen, Tim Pannell and Henry Greenwood) offered to record new tracks from scratch. Whilst searching for people I was particularly lucky to come across Richard Cummins, who, apart from being a great singer and a big McCartney fan, was also an experienced recording engineer. He was keen for the project to be of the highest possible quality, so he very kindly offered to master the album. He elevated the project to something much more polished and professional-sounding than it ever would have been without him, so I'm particularly grateful to him for his talent and hard work.
In recent years the term GOAT (meaning 'greatest of all time') has become quite commonly used, and I knew early on that this would be a great title for the album - not only because it was applicable to Paul McCartney, but because it would make a humourous reference to his album 'RAM'. With that in mind, I designed a cover that was stylised in a very similar way to the cover of 'RAM', featuring McCartney feeding a baby goat. And seeing as McCartney is a long-time animal rights advocate and all-round animal lover, I wanted the proceeds from the project to go an animal charity, so I thought Battersea Dogs & Cats Home would be an appropriate one.
The album ended up having 14 tracks, inspired by songs from throughout McCartney's solo career, and each one was recorded entirely by the individual artist involved. They were all so generous with their time and talent, and I think that together we made a great and worthy tribute to the legendary songwriter. It was released exclusively on Bandcamp on June 18th 2022, his 80th birthday.
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