The Shelf is Sinking – “Tug of War” Remixed, Revisited and Rebought

I don’t know how it happens (okay, I do but that’s beside the point).

First you buy one copy of something then you buy another slightly different version of that same album and then months later you look at your shelves and notice that your CD’s looks more like store inventory than a collection!

At least that’s what happened to me with the Paul McCartney album Tug of War which was recently (2015) reissued and remixed as part of McCartney’s wonderful Archive Collection.

Ever since it’s release in 1982, Tug of War has remained one of my all-time favorite McCartney albums for several reasons.

First off you have an album full of top-rate McCartney songs – always a good starting point. Songs like “Tug of War”, “Take it Away”, “The Pound is Sinking” (one hell of a great vocal by McCartney on this one!), “Here Today” and “Wanderlust” are all Beatles level songwriting and still sound majestic to this day.

Second, you have great production by the esteemed and legendary producer George Martin (who, to those not in the know, was The Beatles producer throughout their career).

Martin lends a classical sheen to the songs here and really enhances McCartney’s artful pop bringing a level of sophistication to this collection that brings the music up a notch or two in McCartney’s solo canon.

Third, there’s a bit of nostalgia involved as this album came out the year I turned sixteen and for some reason the music from my teenage years still shines like a beacon in the night as far as my musical memories and enjoyment are concerned.

Anyway, back to the future so to speak.

It all started with it was announced in late 2015 that a Super Deluxe Limited edition version of McCartney’s Tug of War album was going to be released and only 1000 copies were being produced with “handwritten, numbered” photos as part of the set (more on that later).

Now I’ve been pretty good about not buying every stinking version of these McCartney Archive Collection albums. Most of them come out on vinyl, CD and Deluxe CD versions (which contain books and a DVD and extra music) so I pretty much stick to the Deluxe and CD versions and occasionally the vinyl version.

Okay, I do every so often get tempted by the evil Best Buy bonuses like the groovy tote bag they issued for Tug of War or the stray bonus 45 that came with their issues of Venus and Mars and Wings at the Speed of Sound.

BUT this Super Deluxe limited version of one of the McCartney Archive Collection albums was a first (and last it seems) as no other McCartney album has had a special set like this made for it.

Now just to show the collector mindset I was convinced, and truth be told I still wonder, that McCartney hand numbered the photos in each of the 1000 Super Deluxe sets himself.

It’s not as far-fetched as it seems as he did sign (or initial as it seems) a Record Store Day pressing of his song “Hope for the Future” so there is precedent. McCartney himself seems to hold the Tug of War album in high esteem so I wouldn’t put it past him to sneak his handwriting on the set.

I did manage to get my order in as soon as I saw the link on McCartney’s Website and I’m still glad I did. The set is really beautiful and now goes for crazy money – way, way more than the original asking price.

Well as you can see above I didn’t stop at the Super Deluxe limited version of Tug of War lol.

As of this writing I also own the 2 disc vinyl version from Barnes & Noble which came with an exclusive pressing of the “Ebony and  Ivory” 45, the regular 2 CD version of the set, the Best Buy 2 CD set with tote bag, the regular Deluxe Edition (I had some store credit at a local record store so couldn’t resist – I know you have to be a collector TRUST ME), the Capitol reissue CD from last year as well as the Capitol SHM-CD mini-lp version from Japan also from last year!

Whew, that’s a lot of Tug of War!

I’ve since calmed down again and am trying to keep these Archive sets in perspective. Plus the rate of archive releases from McCartney has slowed down and I fear they may go to online/download versions in the future but it’s not like I lack physical McCartney discs anyway!

Okay, who am I kidding? I can be weak but I at least I’m not buying every stinking variation of the other McCartney Archive albums, the Tug of War album holds a soft spot in my heart so I went a little crazy with that one.

Before I leave this I must point out my thoughts on the new 2015 remix of Tug of War. I think it’s mostly good but it is mixed a bit too loud for my tastes (the vinyl version is lower so it’s a bit kinder to the ears) and while some songs work some songs like “Take it Way” lose a bit of the magic that exists in the original mix.

Thankfully the original mix was included in the Deluxe and Super Deluxe sets and is still my preferred was of listening to the album.

The 2015 remix is okay and a fun oddity but it shouldn’t replace the much superior original mix in my opinion.

So, feast your eyes above at my Tug of War madness!

And if you’ve never heard the Tug of War album before you must hurry online or order from Amazon or your nearest record store (yes, they still have them!) as it’s one of the best albums in McCartney’s long and winding career (couldn’t resist!).

Until next time, be well and … Take it Away!




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