Paul McCartney has announced that his next solo album, as yet untitled, will be a collection of romantic ballads and standards, with jazz pianist Diana Krall and her band accompanying the ex-Beatle. The album will be released by Concord/Hear Music on February 7. In addition to the cover material, the album will include two new McCartney originals, “My Valentine” and “Only Our Hearts.”
The album was produced by Tommy LiPuma and, in addition to Krall and band, features an orchestra on some tracks, as well as guest appearances by Eric Clapton and Stevie Wonder. Bassist John Clayton also reportedly plays on the album.
According to a press release from McCartney’s publicist, “This is the album Paul has been thinking about making for more than 20 years, and probably the last thing his fans are expecting. ‘In the end it was “Look, if I don’t do it now, I’ll never do it,'” the release quotes McCartney as saying.
“When I kind of got into songwriting, I realized how well structured these songs were and I think I took a lot of my lessons from them,” McCartney further says in the press release. “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. And then, as I got to be a songwriter I thought it’s beautiful, the way they made those songs.'”
McCartney also says that he and John Lennon based several early Beatles compositions on standards from the early part of the 20th century.
The press release says that during the recording McCartney, for the first time in his career, “performed exclusively in the vocal booth without any instrument-no guitar, no bass, no piano.”
He added, “It was important for me to keep away from the more obvious song choices, so many of the classic standards will be unfamiliar to some people.”
The album was recorded at Capitol Studios in Los Angeles, New York and London throughout 2011.
Last spring, McCartney told Rolling Stone, “I’ve wanted to do that kind of thing forever, since the Beatle days. But then Rod [Stewart] went mad on it. I thought, ‘I have to wait so it doesn’t look like I’m trying to do a Rod.'”