Happy Birthday to Tug Of War by Paul McCartney / 30 years old today

Paul McCartney / Tug Of War / 30th Anniversary Edition

Paul McCartney‘s Tug Of War was released 30 years ago today. Here we take a look back at the period in question through archive interviews and video footage.

His first album since the death of John Lennon, Tug Of War saw McCartney working with Beatles producer George Martin, nine years after Martin orchestrated Paul’s Bond theme Live and Let Die.

The album would go on to become a significant commercial and critical success.

“Nationwide” interview UK TV – prior to the release of the album Paul discusses getting older (grey hair!), the dissolution of Wings and John’s death.

“McCartney’s supreme accomplishment…” – Original Tug Of War Advert produced for Australia.

Ebony And Ivory – the first single from the album, released in March 1982 was a transatlantic number one. This is the rare ‘solo’ version without Stevie Wonder. It was an extra track on the original 12-inch single. The B-side Rainclouds is still unreleased on CD.

Here Today – Paul’s moving tribute to John Lennon set to rare footage of working with George Martin in the recording studio.

Wanderlust – A fans’ favourite, this Tug Of War album track was re-recorded for the ill-fated 1984 film Give My Regards To Broadstreet (clip below is from the film).

Take It Away – the second single released from Tug Of War in June 1982. It reached number 15 in the UK and number 10 on the US Billboard Hot 100. The B-side I’ll Give You A Ring is another Tug Of War era track unreleased on CD.

Tug Of War – the title track and third single released in September 1982. (reached number 53 in the UK and the US Billboard Hot 100).

Tug Of War will undoubtedly get the deluxe treatment sometime in the next few years as part of McCartney’s Archive Collection reissue programme. Here’s how we think a deluxe Tug Of War might look.


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Kier Smith

‘Tug of war’ Is a superb album, and one of McCartney’s best. ‘The pound is sinking’ & ‘Dress me up as a robber’ are both wacky but brilliant. ‘The title track is one of his best solo songs. The duets with Stevie are both great for different reasons. ‘Wanderlust’ is a beauty.

I’d really love to see ‘Press to play’ given some special treatment. I think it’s a bit of a crazy album but I love it for that reason and think it would be reviewed favourably in this day and age. There’s always good songs. Regrettably, Paul has never played one of them live. How good an opener could ‘Stranglehold’ be? maybe a feature could be made of ‘Pretty little head’ mid set? ‘Only love remains’ could replace ‘Let it be’ or an over-used Beatles song?

[…] Tug Of War at 30 / The album remembered. […]


A little late, but wanted to say I loved the write-up. I think ultimately Tug of War was McCartney’s best album of the 80s – the title track is a classic. Not to mention Ballroom Dancing, Take It Away, Here Today, Wanderlust, etc.

Why this hasn’t been given the deluxe treatment, I can’t imagine. For that matter, his other great 80s album – Flowers in the Dirt, should also be given the deluxe treatment.

Hopefully the “McCartney Collection” re-issues work their way up through these fine later albums at some point. Anyway – great stuff!