On this day in music history: May 16, 1980 – &…

On this day in music history: May 16, 1980 – “McCartney II”, the second solo album by Paul McCartney is released. Produced by Paul McCartney, it is recorded at Spirit of Ranachan Studios in Campbelltown, Scotland and EMI Replica Studio in London from July – August 1979. McCartney begins recording his second solo album during the Summer of 1979 while Wings is in limbo (officially disbanding in 1981), at High Park, his farmhouse in rural Scotland. Much like his first solo effort “McCartney” in 1970, he uses the same method of recording, by plugging microphones directly into a Studer sixteen track tape machine. The sessions are prolific, yielding twenty new songs, with the released LP containing only eleven tracks, the rest surface as non-album B-sides or remain unreleased. Though it receives mixed reviews upon its release for its experimental, somewhat less polished sound, it is an immediate hit, spinning off three singles including “Coming Up” (#1 US Pop, #2 UK) and “Waterfalls” (#9 UK). Some copies of the US LP come packaged with a bonus 7" disc featuring the live version of “Coming Up” (recorded in December of 1979 in Glasgow, Scotland) which becomes a huge hit on US radio stations, overtaking the original studio version in airplay. In 2011, the album is remastered and reissued in three different editions including a single CD of the original album, a two CD set with eight bonus tracks, and a three CD + DVD box set edition containing unreleased material from the sessions, including unedited versions of four songs that appeared on the original release (plus additional tracks from the same sessions). In December of 2017, the album is remastered and reissued on vinyl, on standard black and limited edition clear vinyl. “McCartney II” hits number one on the UK album chart, peaking at number three on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.