Paul McCartney – Uncle Albert – Admiral Halsey

I remember hearing this before I knew who Paul McCartney was…it was unbelievably catchy but I had no clue what it was about…still don’t.

Paul combined pieces of various unfinished songs to create this… in the later years of The Beatles, he helped do this for the Abbey Road Medley. As a result, Uncle Albert – Admiral Halsey contains 12 different sections over the course of its 4:50 running time.

This jumble of character voices, sound effects, and changing tempos turned off a lot of listeners, but many others thought it was brilliant. The song wasn’t released as a single in the UK, but in America, it became McCartney’s first #1 hit as a solo artist.

Albert was Albert Kendall, who married Paul’s aunt Milly (becoming “Uncle Albert”) and provided inspiration for a portion of this song suite. Albert had a habit of getting drunk and reading from The Bible; the only time he read from the Bible was when he was drinking.

The song peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100 and #1 in the UK in 1971.

Stella, the McCartneys’ daughter, would be born a week and a half after “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” topped the charts.

This song won the Grammy Award for Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists in 1971.

From Songfacts

Linda McCartney is credited as a co-writer on this song with Paul. She sang background and contributed some of the vocal ideas, but how much she actually wrote on the song is questionable. Paul had some incentive to credit her as a songwriter: under a deal he signed with The Beatles, songs he wrote until 1973 were owned by Northern Songs publishing and Maclen Music. By splitting the credits with his wife, he could keep half the royalties in the family. The publishers brought a lawsuit against Paul for this practice, which was settled out of court.

The flugelhorn solo that leads into the “Hands across the water” section was played by American bebop trumpeter Marvin Stamm.

Uncle Albert – Admiral Halsey

We’re so sorry, Uncle Albert
We’re so sorry if we caused you any pain
We’re so sorry, Uncle Albert
But there’s no one left at home
And I believe I’m gonna rain.
We’re so sorry but we haven’t heard
A thing all day
We’re so sorry, Uncle Albert,
But if anything should happen
We’ll be sure to give a ring

Yeah, yeah,

We’re so sorry, Uncle Albert
But we haven’t done a bloody thing all day
We’re so sorry, Uncle Albert,
But the kettle’s on the boil
And we’re so easily called away

Hands across the water (water)
Heads across the sky
Hands across the water (water)
Heads across the sky

Admiral Halsey notified me
He had to have a berth or he couldn’t get to sea
I had another look and I had a cup of tea and butter pie (butter pie?)
The butter wouldn’t melt so I put it in the pie

Hands across the water (water)
Heads across the sky
Hands across the water (water)
Heads across the sky

Live a little, be a gypsy, get around (get around)
Get your feet up off the ground
Live a little get around
Live a little, be a gypsy, get around (get around)
Get your feet up off the ground
Live a little, get around

Hands across the water (water)
Heads across the sky
Hands across the water (water)
Heads across the sky
Ooo——ooo—–

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

26 thoughts on “Paul McCartney – Uncle Albert – Admiral Halsey”

    1. I guess this is a micro example of the Abbey Road medley. I do agree with you it is a good record…Not a song that you would break out the acoustic guitar.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. adore it. Like you’re getting 5 pop hits in one, as opposed to the later practice of taking one 20 second hook and repeating it endlessly for a whole song, not even bothering to change the lyrics or slightly change the melody to keep it interesting. Oops!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, I honestly kind of had forgotten about this tune. If you think about it, it’s almost mind-boggling this tune made it to no. 1 on the Billboard, especially from today’s dismal perspective. But even when you consider 1971 was a different, it’s not exactly your typically pop song with all these different parts and sounds.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hans said it on the comment…it’s a better record than a song…because you couldn’t break out the acoustic for this one lol…but it is inventive and clever.

      Like

  3. I adore this song. As I said on Hans’ blog, I bought the 45 at 13 and had the Ram album (well, my bf at the time did.) I love the way they change things up in it and those sound effects work so well.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. LOL yea him and I did it again. We do this every now and then…post the same song.

      Now that is cool that you knew the album as well. It’s hard not to like this song. I like the way he used all of his unused songs and put them together.
      I wish more artists would do this

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I was going to say…cool a 13-year-old boyfriend had that album!…It’s good anyway at 18…that album as grown in stature over the years…now it’s considered a classic.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It worked for me. I don’t mind songs that shift gears and head in another direction…or overlapping songs like Scarborough Fair/Canticle or No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature. Excellent pieces.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I like this song, with all its weird voices and everything. Kind of like a word stew, which, if he took a bunch of pieces of unfinished songs and glued them all together, is an appropriate way to think of it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It really worked… Hans made a comment and it’s true…it’s a good song but a better record. Not like you and I could break out our acoustics and play it.

      Liked by 1 person

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