On this day in music history: May 17, 1971 – &…

On this day in music history: May 17, 1971 – “RAM”, by Paul & Linda McCartney is released. Produced by Paul & Linda McCartney, it is recorded at Columbia Recording Studio in New York City from November – December 1970, A&R Recording Studios in New York City in January 1971, and Sound Recording Studios in Los Angeles, CA from February – March 1971. His second album following the break up of The Beatles, McCartney records in the US during the Winter of 1970/71. It is an immediate commercial success in spite of taking a major drubbing from critics, also raising the ire of his former Beatle band mates, particularly John Lennon, who feels that several songs are directed at him. Lennon’s suspicions (and many fans) about this are further heightened by a photo of two beetles copulating on the back of the album jacket, and that it is another thinly veiled message against them. Lennon responds with the songs “How Do You Sleep?” and “Crippled Inside”, included on his album “Imagine” released later in 1971. The front cover photo of McCartney holding a male sheep by the horns is spoofed by Lennon on a postcard inserted into the “Imagine” album, with John holding a pig by the ears. In spite of the negative critical response, the album is well received by the public, and in time, opinions change and is regarded as one of McCartney’s best albums. In the US, it is initially released without a single. Radio stations begin playing the track “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” which is released as a single three months after the album, hitting number one in September of 1971. In 2012, the album is remastered and reissued in three different editions which includes a four CD + DVD archival box set that also include the rare promo mono mix of the album as well as the long out of print album “Thrillington” (featuring instrumental versions of the songs played by an orchestra). The bonus disc also includes the stand alone single “Another Day” and it’s B-side “Oh Woman, Oh Why” (#5 Pop), as well as the later B-side “Little Woman Love” and other outtakes from the sessions. The mono version of “RAM”, originally issued as a promo only LP to radio stations in the US (issued in some foreign territories), is also released. The reissue faithfully replicates the promo release, coming in a plain white sleeve, with the title handwritten on the front and the credits on a typewritten insert. The album is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP in December of 2017, on standard black and limited edition yellow vinyl. “RAM” hits number one on the UK album chart, peaking at number two on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.