Why Paul McCartney’s ‘Give My Regards to Broad Street’ Was Doomed to Fail
A Paul McCartney album revisiting classic Beatles tracks with help from members of Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and his old Fab Four bandmates should have been a slam dunk. Instead, the messy, unfocused Give My Regards to Broad Street caused McCartney's decade-long winning streak to come to a crashing halt.
McCartney entered the '80s on a high note with the chart-topping solo albums McCartney II and Tug of War, followed by the Top 5 hit Pipes of Peace. In late 1982, McCartney began working on a film titled Give My Regards to Broad Street, which chronicles a day in the life of the cute Beatle as he tracks down the missing master tapes for his new album.
The accompanying Broad Street soundtrack combined a handful of new songs with 10 reworked versions of Beatles, Wings and solo tunes. Pink Floyd's David Gilmour plays a guitar solo on the lead single "No More Lonely Nights," while Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones appears on a rerecorded version of Tug of War's "Ballroom Dancing." Most importantly, the project also reunites McCartney with Ringo Starr and Beatles producer George Martin.
With so many power players onboard, Give My Regards to Broad Street should have been an unqualified success. But critics eviscerated the film and soundtrack, which topped the charts in McCartney's native U.K. but peaked at No. 21 on the Billboard 200, his worst showing to date. It was the beginning of a creative and commercial tailspin that McCartney wouldn't correct until he teamed up with Elvis Costello for 1989's acclaimed Flowers in the Dirt.
Watch the video below to learn more about Give My Regards to Broad Street, and tune into our "Doomed to Fail?" video series each week as we dust off ill-fated classic rock albums and determine whether they're hidden gems or better left forgotten.