Friday, 11 May 2012

PAUL McCARTNEY & The Tudor Minstrels

In the autumn of 1966 the Beatles had just finished touring, Revolver was in the shops, and the boys were having a break. George was getting to grips with the sitar in India, John was filming How I Won The War in Spain, Ringo was knocking around (and visiting John on set), and Paul was setting up house in St. John's Wood, as well as immersing himself in London's underground. He'd also let NEMS know that he would like to write some film music, so when the opportunity arose to compose for the comedy drama The Family Way, he brewed up a couple of tunes - the strident Theme From The Family Way and the pretty Love In The Open Air (click here to hear it). They were duly arranged by George Martin and recorded by studio musicians in time for a soundtrack album to appear on Decca in December. Having assured Martin that they had no intention of extracting a 45, Decca cheekily did just that, crediting it to The Tudor Minstrels (a nod to the Boulting Brothers' company, Tudor Films). By this time Martin had recorded different versions of both tracks to be released on United Artists, so the singles ended up competing with each other. Hey-ho, both flopped, as did the LP.

The Tudor Minstrels disc certainly makes for pleasant listening, and can be called the first solo musical project by a Beatle (albeit not actually featuring one). It carries sole writing credits for Paul, even though John helped with Love In The Open Air. Incidentally, the 45 that UA released in October 1967 to tie in with How I Won The War doesn't feature any Lennon involvement, despite being credited to his character in the film.

Here's the full story behind Paul's work on The Family Way:


Also on December 24th 1966, Eric Clapton reviewed the Tudor Minstrels' 45 thus (as part of Melody Maker's weekly Blind Date feature):

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