Monday, October 05, 2015

Björk's Strings-Only Version Of Vulnicura Is Okay, But No Thrillington

Stereogum, take it away:
Björk’s been messing with her latest creation in interesting ways since its release, first through a three part remix project, and now through a special “strings-only” version of the record. The website’s also dubbing it the “acoustic” cut of the album, which I guess is technically true, but these songs sound just as grand with only the strings, her voice, and the viola organista in play.
That's pretty cool, I guess. But Paul McCartney beat this a long time ago with Thrillington:
In 1977, EMI released what has become Paul McCartney's most obscure and least known album of his career - Thrillington. The album, an instrumental, orchestrated version of his Ram LP, was hardly noticed by the press or the rest of the music world. Hardly surprising, considering the almost complete absence of Paul's name anywhere on the album. Even the artist was listed as someone else - somebody named Percy "Thrills" Thrillington.

Time has revealed that the man behind Percy was none other than Paul McCartney. As chronicled in the Spring 1995 issue of Club Sandwich, McCartney's official fan club newsletter, Paul and Linda dreamed up the idea of the fictional socialite, going as far as placing ads in British newspapers detailing his whereabouts and announcing his upcoming activities (there were, of course, none). But as much as Paul was behind the Thrillington persona, as well as being the source of the songs appearing on the album (which he also produced), there was another man who was as much responsible for what became Thrillington, arranger Richard Hewson.

The story of Thrillington begins nearly a decade before with the beginning of Apple Records. In the mid-60's, Richard Hewson was attending college at the Guild Hall in London. Though studying classical music, he had a strong interest in jazz. "We had a little band; there was only three of us," recalls Hewson. "I played guitar in those days. We had a drummer called Nigel Anthony, who's now an actor." The bass player was another friend of Hewson's, former Peter and Gordon member Peter Asher, who played upright bass in the combo. "We used to go around to his basement in Wimpole Street and practice. At the time, Paul was going out with Peter's sister, Jane, so I got to know him then."
Read the rest of the story and then kick back to listen...

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