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Beatles Rarity Of The Week – “Tough On A Tightrope” (Julian Mendelsohn mix)

Posted by on December 31, 2012 at 6:00 am.

Welcome to the final Beatles Rarity Of The Week for 2012! I’m hoping that whatever you have in store to bring in the new year turns out happy and that good music is not too far away. For BROW I’m looking back at the mid-eighties when vinyl LPs were quickly losing ground to the up-and-coming audio CD format. The music industry was doing all they could to encourage this newer technology including the incentive of often including extra tracks on CDs not offered on their vinyl LP counterparts. This was apparently to illustrate the superiority of CDs by the fact that they could accommodate a longer playing time without affecting the quality of the music.

One example of this was Paul McCartney’s Press To Play album released on August 22, 1986 and containing 10 tracks. The CD release contained three additional tracks not present on the LP: “Write Away,” “It’s Not True” and “Tough On A Tightrope.” Other albums by Paul from this era including Give My Regards To Broad Street and Flowers In The Dirt also had tracks on the CD that were not included on the albums. When Paul had his CD catalog remastered in 1993, more additions were added as bonus tracks making the difference between the CD and LP formats even more. In the case of Press To Play, “Spies Like Us” and “Once Upon A Long Ago” were added bringing the track listing up to 15.

The three songs omitted from the vinyl Press To Play LP were included as b-sides for three of the album’s associated vinyl singles (of the four listed below):

Singles from Press To Play LP:
1) “Press”/”It’s Not True” (rel. Jul. 1986)
2) “Pretty Little Head”/”Write Away” (rel. Oct. 1986)
3) “Stranglehold”/”Angry” (rel. Oct. 1986)
4) “Only Love Remains”/”Tough On A Tightrope” (rel. Jan. 1987)

Several of the songs on Paul’s 7 and 12-inch singles included different mixes than the versions heard on the LPs or CDs including this week’s BROW feature, “Tough On A Tightrope.” The version on the 7-inch “Only Love Remains” single and the Press To Play CD clocks in at about 4:40 and was mixed by Hugh Padgham who mixed most of the other tracks on the album. In December of 1986 a 12-inch single of “Only Love Remains” was issued with a nearly 7 minute version of “Tough On A Tightrope” that was a remix by Julian Mendelsohn. It leaves out the second verse heard on the shorter version and instead includes an extended intro and exclusive percussion segment. This special mix has not been issued since the vinyl single was released in 1986. That is why you’ll need to pardon my little bit of vinyl crackle on this forgotten relic from Paul’s singles catalog.

Paul McCartney - Tough On A Tightrope

Cover art for Only Love Remains 12 in. single, 1986

Cover art for Only Love Remains 12 in. single, 1986


Extra info: The 12-inch single of “Only Love Remains” also included an alternate mix of “Talk More Talk,” another Press To Play track that was remixed by Paul and Jon Jacobs. Like “Tough On A Tightrope” it has not been released since the vinyl single was released in 1986. Similarly, an alternate mix of the Press To Play track “Angry” that only appears on an eighties 12-inch single can be read about and listened to on an earlier BROW here.

As I said up top, this will be my last entry for 2012. I want to thank all reading (no matter when you’re reading it!) for being a part of The Beatles Rarity. Your presence, your comments and all of the input, feedback and encouragement I have received are what keeps things going here. 2012 has been a very busy year on the site and I have some great plans and expectations for next year too, so I hope you’ll be here for it!


See you here in 2013…

Here are some Amazon links to read more on, or purchase, some music related to this post:

1) Press to Play – CD issuance of Press To Play including standard mix of “Tough On A Tightrope.”

2) More Amazon links for any of your favorite Beatles-related music: The Beatles, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

27 people think this is FAB!

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  • George says:

    Wow! I haven’t heard this song before. You just made my new year. :-)

  • Anna says:

    This is great! I also never heard this before. It is so hard to keep up with all of Paul’s alternate releases. It drives me crazy!

  • Karen says:

    THANKS! Have never heard this and it’s such a thrill to hear a new track in the new year!!!!

  • YouKnowMyNameLookUpThe# says:

    I see a couple people here say they hadn’t even heard the song before. I think they owe it to themselves to buy a new Macca CD a month for 2013. lol Seriously, Press to Play was one of my favorite albums of Paul’s after Wings. The hard part is deciding which mix of each song I prefer. lol For example, I prefer the album mix of Press to the single mix. I also prefer the Video mix of Pretty Little Head to the album version.

    My hope is he includes many if not all of these unique mixes in the box set/Archive book (whichever) that gets released for this album. I am hoping the re-do of the website is an indication that the HP experiment archiving thing of putting bonus content on the website for a fee rather than giving it to paying customers who collect his work on CD, is no more. Ram certainly could have used some more bonus content on that extra CD and it IS available. Not complaining about what we got, just saying that it’s short-sighted to think I won’t grab what I want from the website in a one month fee then stop my scribe to the pay portion. Whereas, I’ll pay for bonus content on CDs.

    Anyway, if you’re reading this, do yourself a favor and buy Tug of War, Pipes of Peace and Press to Play today! You won’t regret it. I may prefer one mix over another, but the mixes on each album are still fine and as the only song that “suffers” if you will is Pretty Little Head. But that’s my opinion because I just like the up front lead vocal in the video mix where you can hear the lyrics perfectly. Otherwise, it still has a great bouncing rhythm and it was fine with me until I heard the video mix on MTV back in 1987. lol

    PS- If you’re interested, that video mix is available on the McCartney Years DVD set.

  • I had this on vinyl and haven’t heard it for years. Sooo gorgeous. Thanks you for posting.

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