Memory Almost Full – 2007

Memory Almost Full is the fourteenth solo studio album by Paul McCartney, discounting his Wings-and-Beatles-era discography, his orchestral works and his output as the Fireman. It was released in the United Kingdom on 4 June 2007 and in the United States a day later. The album was the first release on Starbucks’ Hear Music label. It was produced by David Kahne and recorded at Abbey Road Studios, Henson Recording Studios, AIR Studios, Hog Hill Mill Studios and RAK Studios between October 2003, and from 2006 to February 2007. In between the 2003 and 2006 sessions, McCartney was working on another studio album, Chaos and Creation in the Backyard (2005), with producer Nigel Godrich.

Memory Almost Full reached the Top 5 in both the UK and US, as well as Denmark, Sweden, Greece, and Norway. The Grammy-nominated album has sold over 2 million copies worldwide and has been certified gold by the RIAA for shipments of over 500,000 copies just in the United States. The album was released in three versions: a single disc, a 2-CD set, and a CD/DVD deluxe edition, the latter of which was released on 6 November 2007.

Nine demos were recorded at The Mill studio in September 2003 by Paul McCartney and his touring band. A month later, in October, album sessions for Memory Almost Full began, and were produced by David Kahne and recorded at Abbey Road Studios. McCartney and the band recorded the songs “You Tell Me”, “Only Mama Knows”, “Vintage Clothes”, “That Was Me”, “Feet in the Clouds”, “House of Wax”, “The End of the End”, and “Whole Life”. However, the sessions were cut short and put on hiatus when McCartney started another album, Chaos and Creation in the Backyard, with producer Nigel Godrich. In the website constructed for the album, McCartney stated: “I actually started this album, Memory Almost Full, before my last album Chaos and Creation in the Backyard, released September 2005. (…) When I was just finishing up everything concerned with Chaos and had just got the Grammy nominations (2006) I realised I had this album to go back to and finish off. So I got it out to listen to it again, wondering if I would enjoy it, but actually I really loved it. All I did at first was just listen to a couple of things and then I began to think, ‘OK, I like that track – now, what is wrong with it?’ And it might be something like a drum sound, so then I would re-drum and see where we would get to. … In places it’s a very personal record and a lot of it is retrospective, drawing from memory, like memories from being a kid, from Liverpool and from summers gone. The album is evocative, emotional, rocking, but I can’t really sum it up in one sentence”.


Many songs from Memory Almost Full were from a group of songs, which also included songs from Chaos and Creation in the Backyard, and some intended for the former nearly ended up on the latter. Any songs that were started, but not finished, for Chaos and Creation in the Backyard, McCartney didn’t want to re-do for Memory Almost Full. As sessions for the album progressed McCartney wrote some more songs, something that McCartney used to do when he was in the Beatles. A song called “Perfect Lover” was recorded at either one of the three following studios: RAK Studios, AIR Studios or Ocean Way Studios; sometime between November 2003 and April 2005. “Perfect Lover”, in its original form was more folk-like, similar to Chaos and Creation in the Backyard’s “Friends to Go”. “Perfect Lover” went through a minor lyrical change, the bridge was changed, and an overhaul of its musical arrangement, before it finally became “Ever Present Past”. Two years after the 2003 session, sessions for the album started again. The book Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013). A Journey Through Paul McCartney’s Songs After The Beatles reports that the recordings of the album were started in September–October 2003 and resumed in February 2004 at Abbey Road, with other sessions taking place between March 2006 and February 2007.

New tracks were recorded at the following studios: McCartney’s home studio in Sussex, The Mill, Los Angeles’ Henson Studios, London’s RAK Studios and AIR Studios, and New York’s SeeSquared Studios. The songs recorded at those studios were “Nod Your Head”, “In Private”, “222”, “Gratitude”, “Mr. Bellamy”, “See Your Sunshine”, and “Ever Present Past”. Of those songs, “Mr. Bellamy”, “Ever Present Past”, “Gratitude”, “Nod Your Head”, and “In Private” were all recorded on the same day, in March 2006. As well as working on songs from the first Memory Almost Full album session in 2003, “Why So Blue” was re-recorded. In total, between 20 and 25 songs were recorded for the album. “Dance Tonight” was recorded, along with “Feet in the Clouds” and “222” being reworked, between January and February 2007 at RAK Studios, as the last song recorded for the album. The album was mixed by Kahne and Andy Wallace.