Thursday, September 30, 2010

Give My Regards to Broad Street

Give My Regards to Broad Street is the name of a film and soundtrack album, masterminded by Paul McCartney. They were both released in 1984, following the success of McCartney's previous albums Tug of War and Pipes of Peace. The film of Broad Street proved to be a financial disaster, but the soundtrack album sold well. The movie, starring Paul McCartney, was the last film appearance of classical actor Sir Ralph Richardson. The title is a pun on George M. Cohan's classic show tune "Give My Regards to Broadway", making reference to London's Broad Street railway station, which closed in 1986.

Filming and recording of Broad Street began in November 1982, after Pipes of Peace's completion. Production on the album and film continued until July the following year. In the interim, Pipes of Peace and its singles were released, and the film project was thus scheduled for an Autumn 1984 release once an appropriate amount of time had passed.

Film history

Starring McCartney, his wife Linda, Ringo Starr and his wife Barbara Bach, as well as Bryan Brown, Ralph Richardson, and Tracey Ullman, the film details a day in the life of McCartney (somewhat like The Beatles' A Hard Day's Night). The master tapes to McCartney's new album are suspected of being stolen by an employee with a shady past (who has also disappeared), and amid much searching (and music), the tapes are found in the possession of the man in question, who had accidentally locked himself in a shed in a railway station; both are discovered by McCartney. After a sensational media build-up, the film—with its less-than-exciting plot—was ravaged by critics upon its November unveiling and Give My Regards to Broad Street ended up as one of 1984's most notable cinematic flops. Despite the film being a flop, "No More Lonely Nights" was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and a BAFTA Film Award for Best Original Song-Motion Picture.

Soundtrack album

Preceded by "No More Lonely Nights (Ballad)", a worldwide top 10 hit featuring guitar work by David Gilmour, Give My Regards to Broad Street entered the UK charts at #1 while going gold with a #21 peak in the United States (selling under expectations there). It would also mark the end of McCartney's brief alliance with Columbia Records in the US which had started with the final Wings album Back to the Egg in 1979. McCartney would re-sign with EMI worldwide (where he remained until 2007) with his Columbia output reverting back to his new - and original - label in the US.

The majority of the album - which is sequenced in the order of the songs' appearance in the film - features re-interpretations of many of his past classics of The Beatles and Wings: "Good Day Sunshine", "Yesterday", "Here, There and Everywhere", "Silly Love Songs" (the only Wings song included), "For No One", "Eleanor Rigby" and "The Long and Winding Road". There were also interpretations of songs from McCartney's more recent albums; "Ballroom Dancing" and "Wanderlust" from Tug of War and "So Bad" from Pipes of Peace. Besides "No More Lonely Nights" (also heard in a dance version), the only previously-unheard tracks were "Not Such A Bad Boy", "No Values" and a symphonic extension of "Eleanor Rigby" entitled "Eleanor's Dream". The scope of the album was so immense that when it saw release that October, its vinyl issue had specially edited versions of its songs. The cassette and the later CD edition preserved the tracks' full lengths, while the CD went one further by including a bonus 1940's-styled piece called "Goodnight Princess".

Simultaneously with the film's premiere in November McCartney's Rupert Bear recording "We All Stand Together", started back in 1980 and credited to 'Paul McCartney and the Frog Chorus', was released and became a hit single in the UK, reaching #3. The accompanying animated film was shown in cinemas immediately preceding the main Give My Regards To Broad Street feature.

Give My Regards to Broad Street was remastered in 1993 and reissued on CD as part of 'The Paul McCartney Collection' series with two extended dance mixes of "No More Lonely Nights (playout version)" as bonus tracks.

Video Game

There was a video game (Cat. no. ICD-0082) released on the Commodore 64 home computer in 1985 based on the film, the game was released by Mastertronic and licensed by MPL Communications and 20th Century Fox.


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