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Run Devil Run (Paul McCartney album)

Run Devil Run is the eleventh solo studio album by Paul McCartney, released in 1999. It features mostly covers of both familiar and obscure 1950s rock and roll songs, along with three original McCartney compositions written in the same style, including the title track. As his first project following first wife Linda's death in 1998, McCartney felt the need to get back to his roots and perform some of the music he loved as a teenager. On 14 December 1999, McCartney returned to the Cavern Club stage to play a set publicising the new album.


 [hide*1 Background


Following the death of his wife Linda McCartney in April 1998, Paul McCartney had a period of a year of mourning.[1] Wanting to keep things fresh, a lesson he had learned from his experiences working on The Beatles Anthology project and put to use on Flaming Pie, McCartney planned to cut the album as quickly as possible in much a similar way The Beatles had recorded in their early years.[1] Asking Chris Thomas to help produce,[nb 1] McCartney booked time at Abbey Road Studios to undertake his quest.[3]

Music and lyrics[edit]Edit

The album consists of twelve cover versions of rock and roll songs and three McCartney originals: "Run Devil Run", "Try Not to Cry" and "What It Is". "Blue Jene Bop" was written and recorded by Gene Vincent in 1956.[4] "She Said Yeah" had been recorded by Larry Williams.[4] "All Shook Up" had been recorded by Elvis Presley.[4] "No Other Baby" was written by Dickie Bishop and Bob Watson,[5] and was originally recorded in 1958 by skiffle group The Vipers[nb 2][6] and released as a single, despite never owning a copy of the song, it had made a big enough imprint on McCartney for him to record it 30 years on.[4] "Lonesome Town" had been recorded by Ricky Nelson.[4] "Try Not to Cry" was about recounting a widower's suffering.[7] "Movie Magg" had been recorded by Carl Perkins.[4] "Brown Eyed Handsome Man" had been recorded by Chuck Berry.[4] "What It Is" had been written a few months prior to Linda's death.[4] "Shake a Hand" was written by Joe Morris and recorded by Little Richard in 1958.[6]

Recording and structure[edit]Edit

He wasn't thinking it was going to be the next big record. He was just free to enjoy himself.[3]

– Chris Thomas, on the recording sessions

Wanting to work with reliable and empathetic musicians, he called up Pink Floyd's David Gilmour to play guitar.[nb 3][3] Also recruited were guitaristMick Green,[nb 4] keyboardists Pete Wingfield and Geraint Watkins, and on drums Deep Purple's Ian Paice and Dave Mattacks.[3] McCartney played bass[3] although he did play electric guitar in some instances. McCartney wanted the sessions to be laid back, with no post-production.[3] McCartney had brought a list of material that he wished to play,[3] the songs being early rock and roll songs from his childhood and a few originals he had written in a similar style.[3] The initial sessions were a week[3] in early March; a few more sessions were done in April and May, the album—featuring three new McCartney songs among the old classics—was complete.[4]


Released on 4 October 1999 in the UK, and a day later in the US, reaching number 12 in the UK and number 27 in the US.[8] The title Run Devil Run was inspired by Miller's Rexall Drugs, a hoodoo and herbal medicine shop in South Downtown Atlanta with products by that very name.[9] It appealed to McCartney as a great title for a rock and roll song, which he duly composed. The store is located at 87 Broad Street in Atlanta, Georgia.

To stimulate sales, a number of different bonus discs and singles were issued to accompany the album. Two special editions of Run Devil Run with limited-edition bonus discs were available only at certain retailers. A special limited edition of the album, sold only at Best Buy, featured a bonus interview disc. A similar special limited edition of the album, sold only at Musicland and Sam Goody stores, featured a four-track E.P. that contained the original artists' versions of four songs on the album: "Blue Jean Bop" by Gene Vincent & His Blue Caps, "Lonesome Town" by Ricky Nelson, "Coquette" by Fats Domino, and "Let's Have a Party" by Wanda Jackson.

"No Other Baby" was released as a 7" vinyl single in the UK with two songs on the B-side, "Brown Eyed Handsome Man" and a non-album track entitled "Fabulous". In America, "No Other Baby" was released on a special juke-box single, with "Try Not to Cry" included as the B-side. "No Other Baby", "Brown Eyed Handsome Man" and "Fabulous" were released together on two different CD singles, one of which contained stereo versions of the three songs and the other of which contained mono versions of the three songs. The music video for "No Other Baby", which was filmed in black and white, highlights McCartney's grief after Linda's death.[6]

McCartney filmed a performance at The Cavern Club as part of promotion for the album,[10] on 14 December 1999.[11]

Also, in the UK, all fifteen songs on the album, along with "Fabulous", were released on 25 December 1999, as set of eight 7-inch singles sold together in a Run Devil Run Limited Edition Collector's Boxdesigned to look like a record case from the 1950s.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic [12]
Entertainment Weekly A-[13]
Robert Christgau A−[14]
Rolling Stone [15]

Run Devil Run received rave reviews. McCartney biographer Peter Ames Carlin said that despite the rock and roll songs being written by others, the album is "the most deeply autobiographical album of Paul's career."[4] Rhapsody praised the album, calling it one of their favourite cover albums.[16]

Track listing[edit]Edit

  1. "Blue Jean Bop" (Gene Vincent/Hal Levy) – 1:57
  2. "She Said Yeah" (Larry Williams) – 2:07
  3. "All Shook Up" (Otis Blackwell/Elvis Presley) – 2:06
  4. "Run Devil Run" (Paul McCartney) – 2:36
  5. "No Other Baby" (Dickie Bishop/Bob Watson) – 4:18
  6. "Lonesome Town" (Baker Knight) – 3:30
  7. "Try Not to Cry" (McCartney) – 2:41
  8. "Movie Magg" (Carl Perkins) – 2:12
  9. "Brown Eyed Handsome Man" (Chuck Berry) – 2:27
  10. "What It Is" (McCartney) – 2:23
  11. "Coquette" (Johnny Green/Carmen Lombardo/Gus Kahn) – 2:43
  12. "I Got Stung" (David Hill/Aaron Schroeder) – 2:40
  13. "Honey Hush" (Joe Turner) – 2:36
  14. "Shake a Hand" (Joe Morris) – 3:52
  15. "Party" (a.k.a. "Let's Have a Party") (Jessie Mae Robinson) – 2:38
iTunes exclusive track
  1. "Fabulous" (Bernie Lowe/Kal Mann) – 2:16
    • In 2007, upon adding McCartney's catalogue of music, the iTunes Store added his cover of the Charlie Gracie song as an exclusive bonus track on this album.


Personnel per booklet.[17]



Peak positions[edit]Edit

Chart (1999) Position
Norwegian VG-lista Albums Chart[18] 12
UK Albums Chart[19] 12
Austrian Albums Chart[20] 18
German Media Control Albums Chart[21] 21
Swedish Albums Chart[22] 23
United States Billboard 200[23] 27
Japanese Oricon Albums Chart[24] 30
Swiss Albums Chart[25] 36
Belgian Albums Chart (Flanders)[26] 44
Dutch Mega Albums Chart[27] 53
French SNEP Albums Chart[28] 55

Year-end charts[edit]Edit

Chart (1999) Position
UK Albums Chart[29] 117

Certifications and sales[edit]Edit

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Japan (Oricon Charts) 14,870[30][31]
United Kingdom (BPI)[32] Gold 105,332[29]

  • sales figures based on certification alone ^shipments figures based on certification alone xunspecified figures based on certification alone

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