Welcome to this week’s Beatles Rarity of the Week. Paul McCartney’s album Memory Almost Full got off to a good start when released in 2007 with the lead off single “Ever Present Past” in the U.S. and “Dance Tonight” in the rest of the world. “Dance Tonight” was issued as the second single from the album in the U.S. on around May 23, 2007, but only via download. In the U.K. it was also issued as an oddly-shaped 9-inch vinyl picture disc (see photo at left).
Shortly after purchasing a new left-handed mandolin from a shop in London, Paul was playing the instrument in the presence of his then 3-year old daughter Beatrice, who couldn’t help but dance when she heard Paul play it. After being inspired by her dancing, Paul says “Dance Tonight” quickly “wrote itself.” It was recorded in February 2007 as a last-minute addition to Memory Almost Full.
Paul recorded the song at his Hog Hill Mill Studios facility in Sussex (U.K.) playing all the instruments himself, which in addition to his new mandolin, included drums, percussion, lead guitar, bass and keyboards. It ended up as the perfect opener for the new album.
As a purchase incentive in the United States, Itunes offered an exclusive acoustic version of the song with only Paul, his mandolin and percussion. This track was included as a free download only if you pre-ordered the Itunes edition of Memory Almost Full before the release date of June 5, 2007. There was still another means for Americans to acquire this version of the song after the release date. The current issue of Rolling Stone magazine at the time was a special 40th anniversary edition that came with an Itunes download card that allowed one free download of the track. Now, with this promotion long gone, there is no longer any means of obtaining this track in the U.S. It is available in the U.K., and possibly other markets outside of the U.S. but only via selected music download outlets and no physical media. Thankfully, regardless of where you happen to be, you can still listen to it on The Beatles Rarity.
The title Memory Almost Full is an anagram of “for my soulmate LLM” (the initials of Paul’s late wife Linda Louise McCartney).
Several official live versions of “Dance Tonight” have been released since the standard version on Memory Almost Full.
- A performance was recorded at the Electric Ballroom in London on June 7, 2007 and made available on a bonus DVD that was included with a special deluxe reissue of Memory Almost Full released on November 6, 2007.
- The U.K. CD single of “Ever Present Past” contained a live version as a b-side recorded at Amoeba Records in Los Angeles on June 27, 2007. This version also appeared on a disc that came free with the January 17, 2010 edition of the U.K. newspaper The Mail. The freebie CD titled Paul McCartney Live In Los Angeles contained 11 other songs recorded by Paul at Amoeba Records that day.
- Paul also performed this song live at New York City’s Citi Field on July 18, 2009. This recording appears on the Good Evening New York City 2-CD/DVD set.
Here are some Amazon links to read more on, or purchase, some music related to this post:
1) Memory Almost Full 2007 CD containing studio version of “Dance Tonight”
2) Memory Almost Full – CD/DVD Deluxe Edition CD-DVD Deluxe reissue containing studio version of “Dance Tonight” plus a live performances of it and other tracks recorded at the Electric Ballroom in London on June 7, 2007.
3) Ever Present Past – U.K. CD single with b-side of “Dance Tonight” recorded at Amoeba Records in Los Angeles on June 27, 2007.
4) Good Evening New York City [2 CD + 1 DVD Combo] – 2009 2-CD/1-DVD edition, includes live version of “Dance Tonight” recorded at New York City’s Citi Field on July 18, 2009.