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“We were very eager to hear the song when Paul talked about it with Mayor Giuliani on our 'Remember and Rebuild' special. MTV will be airing it as soon as we get it.”
——MTV's Tom Calderone
CAPITOL DOES A "FREEDOM" STRIP
Inspirational McCartney Anthem to Be Included on New Album, as MTV, VH1 Pledge Support
As far as Capitol execs were concerned, the label's last-minute decision to include “Freedom,” Sir Paul McCartney’s anthemic new song from the VH1 Concert for New York City, on his upcoming album, Driving Rain, was a no-brainer.

“We all witnessed a historic moment at Madison Square Garden,” said Capitol SVP Mark DiDia. “[President/CEO] Andy Slater and I heard the song at rehearsal. We looked at each other and he said, ‘This has to be on the record.’”

The live track—with swiftly re-recorded vocals—has been stripped onto Rain in time for its Nov. 13 street date. The revised version of the CD was pressed over the weekend.

The track is the first song penned by a major artist in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks to resonate with a mass audience—though it undoubtedly won’t be the last. It’s also evidence of the ability of music icons like McCartney to both reassure and inspire audiences in troubled times.

“We weren’t even expecting ‘Freedom’ to come out of all this,” insisted VH1 topper John Sykes. “It was something Paul wrote the weekend before the concert, which just shows what a genius songwriter he is.”

The ex-Beatle’s new song, a straightforward, determined ode with the refrain “I will fight for the right to live in freedom,” received a delirious response from the Concert crowd and shows signs of having a similar impact at radio, video and retail

The song is currently being rush-released to all formats; a video, which will probably incorporate concert footage, is anticipated shortly. Capitol plans to ship an initial 500k of Driving Rain.

Said Rick Krim, VH1 Exec. VP of Talent & Music Programming: “We’re excited to see the video and look forward to getting it on the air as soon as possible. It was a thrill to have Paul close the highest-rated show of all time on VH1. There’s never been a better time for a new Paul McCartney album. People who never heard the song before were leaving the concert singing ‘Freedom.’”

“We have received overwhelming demand for ‘Freedom’ based on the performance at the ‘Concert for New York,’” related Capitol promo whiz Dan Hubbert. “The early feedback from Pop and Adult radio has been great. Orders at retail are up exponentially due to the stripping of the song on the record. We are all very excited at the prospect of breaking a Paul McCartney song.”

The previously appointed single, “From a Lover to a Friend,” will now go to retail as part of a double-A-sided disc with “Freedom.”

MTV has joined VH1 in committing to air the new McCartney song. Sr. VP Music and Talent Programming Tom Calderone: “We were very eager to hear the song when Paul talked about it with Mayor Giuliani on our Remember and Rebuild special. MTV will be airing it as soon as we get it.”

MTV's relationship with McCartney has been active in recent years. He made a surprise appearance at the 1999 VMAs, co-hosted the 100 Greatest Pop Songs special and was part of the channel's 100 Greatest Videos of All Time. After the Sept. 11 tragedy, McCartney created a video postcard for MTV viewers, following his message of hope with a performance of “Let It Be.”

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