Over New Years, Paul McCartney and rapper Kanye West released a surprise joint effort called “Only One,” a song about West’s daughter. Surprise collaborations are kind of McCartney’s bag.
In 1993 a group called the Fireman released an album of experimental music called Strawberries Ocean Ships Forest, and a follow-up in 1998 called Rushes. It wasn’t until 2008 that the identity of the band’s members were finally revealed: Martin Glover (or “Youth”) of the 1980s goth band Killing Joke…and some guy named Paul McCartney.
Beat poet and literary figure Allen Ginsberg recorded an album of poetry set to music in 1996 called The Ballad of the Skeletons. Under the free verse of the title song, McCartney played drums, guitar, and organ.
In 1996, rockabilly legend Carl Perkins asked McCartney to sing with him on “My Old Friend” for his album Go Cat Go! It was nothing new—Perkins wrote the song for McCartney’s 1981 solo album Tug of War.
Nirvana immediately ended after the 1994 suicide of front man and chief creative force Kurt Cobain. He had big shoes to fill, and arguably only McCartney could handle the job. He performed with the rest of Nirvana (Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, and Pat Smear) in December 2012 at The Concert for Sandy Relief. The song was called “Cut Me Some Slack,” a hard rock tune McCartney and Nirvana wrote together.
McCartney’s biggest achievements came with the Beatles, but his three biggest solo hits came in 1982 and 1983. Two of those were collaborations with Michael Jackson (“Say Say Say” and “The Girl is Mine”) and Stevie Wonder (“Ebony and Ivory.”)
For more music trivia enjoy Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Plunges into Music.