Off the Ground is an album by Paul McCartney, released in 1993. As his first studio album of the 1990s, it is also the follow-up to the acclaimed Flowers in the Dirt from 1989, and bears many similarities with its predecessor.
Recording and structure
When the sessions for the album began in the fall of 1991, McCartney decided to use his current touring band as session musicians, most of whom had already appeared on Flowers In The Dirt. In addition, "Mistress And Maid" and "The Lovers That Never Were", which emerged from his songwriting collaboration with Elvis Costello, made their appearance on this album. Unlike Flowers In The Dirt, however, Costello would not appear on Off the Ground.
One of the main differences between Flowers In The Dirt and Off The Ground is the leaner, more direct sound. With the musicians sounding less studied than they had on the previous release, Off The Ground has a relaxed, natural feel by comparison. Another change is McCartney's increased interest in social issues, be it the scathing anti-animal cruelty rocker "Looking For Changes" (McCartney and his wife Linda long-time vegetarians by this time) or paeans for a better world ("Hope Of Deliverance" and "C'Mon People").
The lead single, "Hope Of Deliverance", was released in the last week of December 1992 and the album followed in February 1993. While Off The Ground hit #5 in the UK and reached #17 in the US, where it eventually went gold, it was the first Paul McCartney album to not contain a sizeable US hit single since Wings' Wild Life in 1971. While "Hope of Deliverance" floundered there, it managed to reach #18 in the UK, where "C'Mon People" would become a minor hit as well. Worldwide positions for the album were generally good but that was mainly because Off the Ground was released during the very poorly competitive post-Christmas season. The album spent only 6 weeks inside the Top 100 in the UK, eventually reaching #5 there. In Germany, the album was particularly successful and certified platinum with "Hope of Deliverance" reaching #3 on the singles chart and the album spending four weeks at #2.
Some weeks after its release, McCartney launched "The New World Tour", taking in many successful shows across the globe during the summer months. These gigs were documented on the album Paul Is Live, which followed at the end of 1993.
Although generally considered a slightly weaker successor to Flowers In The Dirt and now somewhat overlooked, Off The Ground is prized by many McCartney followers.
The feet on the album cover are actually of McCartney, his wife Linda and his touring band.
Off The Ground: The Complete Works
Off The Ground: The Complete Works is a two-disc set released in Japan and the Netherlands. This edition included Paul McCartney's rare use of swear words in the song "Big Boys Bickering", a protest song. Other notable songs on this edition are "Long Leather Coat" and "I Can't Imagine"
Also, when the iTunes store added his catalog of music in 2007, they included "I Can't Imagine" as an exclusive bonus track on the album.