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McCartney records some old favourites

It might not be quite what the world of rock music has been crying out for: a Paul McCartney easy listening album. Beatles fanatics will be excited, though, at the news that the last surviving Beatle who isn’t Ringo Starr will be releasing new material in 2012.

By "new" we mean cover versions of songs that inspired him during his childhood. It seems that, before he discovered rock 'n' roll and a sarcastic pal called John Lennon, Macca liked nothing better than humming along to Fred Astaire and Cole Porter tunes.

"I just thought the songs were magical," McCartney said. "And then, as I got to be a songwriter I thought it's beautiful, the way they made those songs. These were the songs me and John based quite a few of our things on."

McCartney’s last solo album Memory Almost Full was released in 2007 to critical indifference, but recent live performances have been greeted with acclaim for the vitality and power of the greatest hits set. McCartney also played pre-Christmas shows in Manchester and Liverpool.

McCartney resisted the temptation to reinvent his sound by using a stripped-back hardcore band on the album sessions, and instead enlisted old chums Stevie Wonder and Eric Clapton. With the emphasis on "old".

"It was very spontaneous, kind of organic," McCartney said about the choice of songs and the recording sessions, "which then reminded me of the way we'd work with The Beatles.”

Anyone who has ever seen the film Let It Be might raise a sardonic eyebrow at that claim.

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