Paul McCartney - Chaos and Creation in the Backyard

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Posted on Mon, 11/02/2015 - 12:15pm
by Ron Wallace

Member since: Sat, 01/24/2015

Release Type

Studio Album

Release Year


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Album Overview

Chaos and Creation in the Backyard is the thirteenth solo studio album by Paul McCartney, released in 2005. A long time in the making, the set was produced by Radiohead and Beck collaborator Nigel Godrich at George Martin's suggestion.

McCartney plays almost all of the instruments, similar to his 1970 album McCartney and the 1980 McCartney II album. In addition, Chaos and Creation in the Backyard marks the first time since 1984's Give My Regards to Broad Street that McCartney was not involved in producing one of his studio albums.

Chaos and Creation in the Backyard was McCartney's last rock album release for longtime label EMI. He signed a deal with Hear Music, owned by Starbucks, in March 2007.


1Fine Line
2How Kind Of You
3Jenny Wren
4At The Mercy
5Friends To Go
6English Tea
7Too Much Rain
8A Certain Softness
9Riding To Vanity Fair
10Follow Me
11Promise To You Girl
12This Never Happened Before

Music and lyrics

McCartney said that the song "Friends to Go" is influenced by, and dedicated to George Harrison.


Upon being asked to produce an album with McCartney, Godrich admitted:

"My initial reaction was one of terror, not only because it's a very important person, but I really wasn't sure how willing he would be to get his hands dirty."

The two tentatively began a collaboration, recording the songs "This Never Happened Before" and "Follow Me" which was enough to convince both of them that they could develop an album. Godrich's participation was active: he inspired McCartney to write the song "At the Mercy", added piano loops on "How Kind of You" and worked with McCartney to slow the tempo of "Riding to Vanity Fair" which McCartney says "changed the mood completely". Although initially taken aback, McCartney appreciated Godrich's tenacity and honesty.

According to McCartney, Godrich was at times blunt in his appraisal of McCartney's songs-in-progress during the making of Chaos and Creation in the Backyard:

"Nigel... refused to allow me to sing songs that he didn't like, which was very cheeky of him."


Recording sessions for the album were done over a long period of time, with many pauses. First sessions were held at RAK Studios, London in September 2003 by McCartney and his band. After a few takes, Godrich said to McCartney he wanted to work with him alone, not involving the band. After some months' break, sessions resumed at Ocean Way Studios, Los Angeles in April 2004, with more sessions in September. Final recordings took place at AIR Studios, London in April 2005.


The cover for Chaos and Creation in the Backyard is from a photograph of McCartney strumming a guitar in his family's back yard in Liverpool, taken by brother Mike McCartney (aka Mike McGear) and originally entitled Paul Under Washing, before being retitled Our Kid Through Mum's Net Curtains.


The first single, the upbeat "Fine Line", was released in late August 2005, ahead of the release of Chaos and Creation in the Backyard, and reached No. 20 in the UK. A second single, "Jenny Wren", reached No. 22 in the UK that November.

The 'US' Tour in 2005 helped to promote the album in the US and Canada.

There was also a promotional concert for the album held at Abbey Road Studios, called Chaos and Creation at Abbey Road.


At Metacritic, the album holds an average Metascore of 78 out of 100, based on 19 reviews, which indicates a generally favourable reception. Advance reviews for Chaos and Creation in the Backyard suggested that after delivering Flaming PieRun Devil RunDriving Rain and this album – all in uninterrupted succession – McCartney was in a late-career creative peak. Many critics and longtime listeners also considered that the album was unusually reflective and intimate-sounding for McCartney. The sudden shift in direction was generally considered an unexpected and welcome surprise, and resulted in four Grammy nominations for the album, including the nomination for Album of the Year.

Reviewing for the BBC, Daryl Easlea described Chaos and Creation as "Very, very good", and added: "'Riding To Vanity Fair', 'Too Much Rain', 'Anyway' and 'How Kind Of You' are full of subtle nuances, killer hooks and sweet surprises. They really do rank among his very best work." In The New York Times, Jon Pareles wrote that McCartney's return to a multi-instrumentalist role "makes the songs more intimate and less conventional", while remarking of the project: "Sir Paul chose a producer who favored the experimental side: Nigel Godrich … Sir Paul also lined up his best backup band since the Beatles: himself."

In the United States, Chaos and Creation in the Backyard debuted at the number 6 on the Billboard 200 with sales of 91,545 copies. It stayed on chart for a total of 21 weeks, selling over 530,000 copies up to 2007. However, the album underperformed in the United Kingdom, peaking at the number 10 and spending only three weeks inside the top 200, with cumulative sales of around 45,000 units. It fared better in France, selling in excess of 100,000 copies during a 21-week chart run. According to the annual report published by EMI, Chaos and Creation in the Backyard had sold 1.3 million copies worldwide by the end of March 2006.


  • Paul McCartney – Bösendorfer grand piano, Baldwin spinet, Höfner bass guitar, Epiphone Casino electric guitar, Martin D28 acoustic guitar, Ludwig drums, shakers, tambourine, vocals, flugelhorn, guerrero, piano and Epiphone acoustic guitar loops, Epiphone Texan acoustic guitar, Ludwig floor tom, Steinway grand piano, Fender Telecaster electric guitar, cello, mass vibrachimes, B3 organ, tambourine on snare, Höhnermelodica, Ludwig bass drum, recorders, tubular bells, Fender Stratocaster electric guitar, Martin 12 string guitar, Schmidt autoharp, maracas, Petersen classical guitar, Crown upright piano, harmonium, Paistegong, cymbal, triangle, Toy glockenspiel, Wurlitzer electric piano, percussion, block, Yamaha grand piano,Gibson L5 electric guitar, moog
  • Millennia Ensemble – strings, brass instrument
  • Joby Talbot – string arrangement, conducting, brass arrangement
  • Nigel Godrich – piano and Epiphone acoustic guitar loops
  • Pedro Eustache – duduk
  • Jason Falkner – electric guitar, classical guitar
  • James Gadson – drums
  • Joey Waronker – bass drum, bongos, shaker
  • The Los Angeles Music Players – strings
  • David Campbell – string arrangement
  • Rusty Anderson – acoustic guitar
  • Brian Ray – acoustic guitar
  • Abe Laboriel Jr. – percussion, block, tambourine


  • Nigel Godrich – producer
  • Dan Grech-Marguerat – production assistant
  • Darrell Thorp – engineer
  • Alan Yoshida – mastering
  • Mike McCartney – cover
  • Brian Clarke – inlay
  • Bill Bernstein – back cover
  • Paul McCartney, Stylorouge London – art direction


Chaos and Creation in the Backyard - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia : taken from -