Paul McCartney, “Hey Hey” from Pipes of Peace (1983): One Track Mind

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“Hey Hey” holds a special significance on Paul McCartney’s Pipes of Peace, and not just because it’s the lone instrumental. It’s also one of just three songs on the project not written solely by McCartney: The other two feature Michael Jackson.

For bassist and co-writer Stanley Clarke, “Hey Hey” represents something else: The fullest flowering of a new friendship. The song gets off to a raucous start, before Clarke steps forward for a memorably jazz-inflected interlude. That Paul McCartney would move aside for a fellow bassist says a lot about their mutual admiration for one another.

Clarke, in an exclusive Something Else! Sitdown, praises the former Beatles star as “a very melodic player. Melody just comes right out of him. That’s only natural for him to play the bass like that. He does it without thinking. He’s a writer who sings songs, so it was only natural when he plays the bass, his lines would be very melodic.”

Over the years, Stanley Clarke has made a name for himself in fusion circles, even while collaborating with rockers from Stewart Copeland to Jeff Beck to Ronnie Wood. He ended up contributing to both Pipes of Peace, released on Oct. 31, 1983, and Paul McCartney’s predecessor from a year before, Tug of War. (That’s Clarke on the slow-burning “Somebody Who Cares.”)

These sessions, held in producer George Martin’s AIR Studios at Montserrat in the Caribbean, helped create a lasting bond between performers known for their work on the same instrument. “He’s a beautiful player,” Stanley Clarke says of Paul McCartney. “Of all of the recordings I’ve played on, those two records are among the most memorable. We went down to this island, and I hung out with Paul for a couple of weeks. I really, really had a lot of fun.”

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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