“Pipes of Peace” by Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney in “Pipes of Peace” proposes a solution to some of humanity’s problems. As he suggests in the intro of the song, love could actually make certain problems vanish.
In the first verse, McCartney addresses the many children being born in the world while speaking about how adults have the responsibility of ensuring that they receive the best of their love, affection and guidance. The chorus focuses on teaching the younger generation not to propagate chaos and war, but to teach them how to live along the tune of peace. The message that runs through the song is that of rekindling love and promoting peace in order to make the world a better place.
Facts about “Pipes of Peace”
This is the title song and opening track from Paul McCartney’s fourth-solo album. The release date of the tune was on 28 October 1983. And it also served as the second single from the project, as deemed by Parlophone Records.
The Pipes of Peace album itself featured two Macca collaborations with the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson (1958-2009). And those two songs would be another hit single, “Say Say Say”, as well as “The Man”.
Interesting to note is that this song marks the only time Paul McCartney scored a number one on his native UK Singles Chart as a solo artist. Here, the song has also been certified silver. Additionally the track managed to top the singles’ chart in nearby Ireland.
Adding to the song’s success is that fact that it received a nomination for the distinguished Ivor Novello Award in 1984.
It has been noted that Paul McCartney took the recording of this song very seriously, as he did so “between 20 and 30” times before finally getting it the way he wanted. And the issuance of the album was delayed a couple of months from its original release date due to “Pipes of Peace” (the song) being recorded late.
McCartney’s first wife, Linda McCartney (1941-1998), provided backup vocals on this track. And the song was produced by George Martin (1926-2016), who Macca worked with extensively most-notably during his Beatles’ days.
Aside Linda McCartney, several other prominent singers featured on this track. One such musician was a renowned British flautist who goes by the name Adrian Brett. Also, singer-songwriter Eric Stewart of The Mindbenders fame also features on this song. Just like Linda, Stewart also contributed backing vocals to “Pipes of Peace”.
In addition to his vocals, McCartney also played drums, piano and bass on this track.
The music video to this song featured Macca in more of an acting role, portraying both a German and British soldier during World War I. And it was indeed an epic production – put together by producer Hugh Symonds – even by today’s standards. For instance, the clip featured in excess of 100 extra actors. Also Paul McCartney, who was a bit more countercultural during those days, cut his hair specifically to add a level of historical realism to the visual.
In all, Pipes of Peace is based on the concept of solving personal and societal problems by showing love to people and rooting for peace.
UK Singles Chart Performance
Like was said above, this was McCartney’s first time topping the UK Singles Chart as a solo artist. Of course he had topped this single charts several times as a member of the Beatles. Actually he had achieved that feat approximately 17 times with the Beatles. But as a solo artist, he first enjoyed this achievement on the 14th of January, 1984. At this enviable spot, the song stayed for 2 weeks before being replaced by Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s “Relax“.
NOTE: Macca had actually got a UK number 1 single before this track in 1982 with the song “Ebony & Ivory“. However, since that was a collaboration between himself and Stevie Wonder, it is not actually considered a bona fide solo effort.
In 1984, a total of 14 songs reached the number 1 position in the official single charts in UK. “Pipes of Peace” was the first of these 14 songs to achieve that feat in 1984. Other notable artists who achieved a UK #1 in 1984 include the following: