Life happens. Whether it’s about work, home, traveling, concerts, making radio, family gatherings, meeting up with dear friends, the need for sleep – all of the above prompted an impromptu hiatus for me away from the blog as of late. My (eventual) weekly goal for the blog is to have seven songs of the day, plus one (real) one-hit wonder of the week and one album of the week. Don’t worry – I’ll get there.
Hard to believe it’s been more than a fortnight since my last blog entry. Even harder to believe is all of the violence taking place in the country that I love so much. There are more unnecessary police shootings where select LEOs are abusing their power and are not protecting or serving, killing first and asking and answering questions later. And now, perhaps because of it, five Dallas police officers are dead (to my knowledge, one of them was recently married and all five had absolutely nothing to do with any of these other police shootings).
Sadly, it’s not the first time I’ve hoped for peace over violence on this blog. It continues to be my hope. This blog post is for Dallas and beyond…
Recorded over the course of three years and released in late October 1983, Paul McCartney’s fourth studio album post-Wings, PIPES OF PEACE, first gained attention with the album’s debut single, “Say Say Say,” another big collaboration with Michael Jackson. “Say Say Say” was an international smash, and became Michael Jackson’s biggest solo hit ever here in the U.S. (spending 6 weeks at No. 1 on the BILLBOARD Hot 100 over the 1983-84 holiday season).
But it’s the album’s second single – the title track – I want to highlight here today. The single “Pipes Of Peace” was released in the U.K., Ireland and around the globe in early December 1983. Though the parent album wasn’t as well-received as other McCartney efforts, the title track resonated with folks in some parts of the world, yours truly included, though it took awhile.
The music video for “Pipes Of Peace” depicts that famous 1914 Christmas truce in France between British and German troops during World War I. Paul McCartney portrays both a British soldier and a German soldier, and both armies meet up in the middle and exchange photos, a warm drink, food, smokes, play soccer (or football, depending on where you’re reading this) and enjoy a few laughs and some cheer in a time that wasn’t funny or cheerful at all. Then, a shell blast lands near both sets of troops and they each retreat back to their respective sides.
“Pipes Of Peace” spent 2 weeks at No. 1 in January 1984 on the singles charts in both the U.K. and Ireland. Paul McCartney had 17 No. 1 songs to his name in the U.K. with The Beatles, one with Wings and one with Stevie Wonder, but “Pipes Of Peace” was the only No. 1 he had in his U.K. homeland just under his name.
Here in North America, “Pipes Of Peace” was somehow relegated as a B-side to the single, “So Bad,” a move that still surprises me to this day. The decision to have “So Bad” as the A-side over “Pipes Of Peace” was also reflected in its chart performance. “So Bad” stopped at No. 23 on the BILLBOARD Hot 100 and at No. 11 in Canada.
The violence in this country and beyond unfortunately seems more commonplace than not right now. I wish it wasn’t. And I’m not going to use this forum to express my thoughts on the whole gun issue in this country. You’re more apt to find me complaining more about what does or what doesn’t constitute a (real) one-hit wonder of the 80s. I’d much rather have you send a thought or a prayer to those affected than talk about violence here. I don’t want to talk about violence here. This blog was created to showcase two of the things I love most in this world – 80s music and writing. Well, maybe three things now – I’m a pretty big fan of peace too…
“All ‘round the world / Little children being born to the world / Got to give them all we can ’til the war is won / Then will the work be done? / Help them to learn / Songs of joy instead of burn, baby burn / Let us show them how to play the Pipes of Peace / Play the Pipes of Peace…”