Music

Paul McCartney - "Hot As Sun/Glasses"

In my opinion, “Hot As Sun/Glasses” is one of Paul McCartney’s best instrumental tracks. However, it is actually several different compositions put together and there are some lyrics at the end.

The first part, “Hot As Sun”, written in 1959, is one of the first instrumental songs McCartney wrote. A happy-sounding guitar-based melody, it uses an organ to make the carnival-sounding middle part. It then abruptly cuts into “Glasses”, which is mostly composed by the sound of electronic waves traveling through the rims of drinking glasses. This is a technique that McCartney seems to be fond of; in the PBS TV special Chaos and Creation at Abbey Road (available on The McCartney Years DVD set), he shows how it can be done.

The song ends with an eight-second sample of “Suicide”, an old-fashioned ditty that McCartney first began to compose in 1956. He experimented around with it for the Beatles in 1969, but it wasn’t completed until 1974, when he offered it to Frank Sinatra to record. He reportedly was not pleased with it. McCartney, however, recorded several full-length versions of “Suicide” that have never been officially released. It might see the light of day if McCartney is re-released with bonus material, as Band On The Run is scheduled for in August. Currently, if you know where to look, it can be found on the internet as a bootleg.

Though “Hot As Sun/Glasses” was never released as a single or performed in concert by McCartney, it has made its way into pop culture in some unusual ways. In 1978, singer Noosha Fox recorded a version of the song that featured lyrics written by Tim Rice. Elaine Page covered the song later on, and her liner notes said that McCartney wrote it especially for her, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. While I have heard “Hot As Sun/Glasses” used as bumper music for PBS’ History Detectives TV series, YouTube is full of reports from New Yorkers who claim that a sped-up version of this song was used as a theme for local reruns of Popeye cartoons! Some people have wondered if the song was originally recorded that way and then slowed down, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

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