Ebony and Ivory explained

Ebony and Ivory
Artist:Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder
From Album:Tug of War
B-Side:"Rainclouds"
Released:March 29, 1982
Format:7"
Recorded:1981
Genre:Pop/R&B
Label:Parlophone/EMI (UK)
Columbia (US)
Producer:George Martin

"Ebony and Ivory" is a 1982 number-one single by Paul McCartney, performed with Stevie Wonder. It was released on March 29 of that year. At the simplest level, the song is about the ebony (black) and ivory (white) keys on a piano, but also deals with integration and racial harmony on a deeper level. The title was inspired by McCartney hearing Spike Milligan say "black notes, white notes, and you need to play the two to make harmony folks!".[1] The song is featured on McCartney's album Tug of War as well as several of Wonder's Greatest Hits albums. The song reached number one on both the UK and the US charts in 1982.

Although written by McCartney alone, the song was performed live in the studio by both McCartney and Wonder, though due to conflicting work schedules, both recorded their parts for the song's music video separately (as explained by Sir Paul in his commentary for The McCartney Years 3-dvd boxed set).

"Ebony and Ivory" spent seven weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and was the fourth-biggest hit of 1982.[2] For McCartney, the song's run atop the chart was the longest of any of his post-Beatles works, and second longest career-wise (behind "Hey Jude" with The Beatles); for Wonder, it was his longest-running chart-topper.[3] The song also spent five weeks atop the adult contemporary chart.[4]

Following the song's massive chart success, it was derided as "saccharine" and was later named as the tenth worst song of all time by Blender magazine.[5] On October 2007 it was named the worst duet in history by BBC 6 Music listeners.[6]

The song listed at #59 on Billboard's Greatest Songs of all time.http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/specials/hot100/charts/top100-titles-60.shtml

Popular culture references

This song has been parodied in many US television shows, such as The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Everybody Hates Chris and Saturday Night Live, as well as movies such as Undercover Brother and Guess Who.

Personnel

Bass, guitar, synthesisers, vocoder, percussion, piano and vocals

Electric piano, synthesisers, drums, percussion and vocals

Chart positions

Chart (1982)Peak
position
UK Singles Chart1[8]
U.S. Billboard Hot 1001[9]
U.S. Billboard AC1[10]
German Media Control Singles Chart1
Norwegian VG-lista Singles Chart1[11]
Australian Kent Music Report2
Swiss Singles Chart2[12]
Swedish Singles Chart2[13]
Austrian Singles Chart3[14]
Japanese Oricon Singles Chart26[15]
Japanese Oricon International Chart1[16]

Notes and References

  1. Martin, George (editor): Making Music, page 62. Pan Books, 1983. ISBN 0-330-26945-3
  2. http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/charts/yearend_chart_display.jsp?f=The+Billboard+Hot+100&g=Year-end+Singles&year=1982 Billboard Year-End Hot 100 Singles - 1982
  3. Whitburn, Joel, "Top Pop Singles: 1955-2006," 2007.
  4. The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 6th Edition, 1996
  5. http://www.blender.com/guide/articles.aspx?id=819 Run for Your Life! It’s the 50 Worst Songs Ever! Article on Blender :: The Ultimate Guide to Music and More
  6. Web site: Ebony and Ivory voted worst duet. 2007-10-06. 2007-10-08. BBC News.
  7. http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/editorials/zeropunctuation/2980-Zero-Punctuation-Uncharted-Drake-s-Fortune The Escapist : Zero Punctuation: Uncharted: Drake's Fortune
  8. Web site: Chart Stats - Paul McCartney And Stevie Wonder - Ebony And Ivory. BPI. 2008-08-06.
  9. Web site: allmusic (((Tug of War > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles)))".. allmusic. Billboard. 2008-07-16.
  10. Web site: allmusic (((Tug of War > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles)))".. allmusic. Billboard. 2008-07-16.
  11. Web site: norwegiancharts.com - Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder - Ebony & Ivory. VG-lista. 2008-08-06.
  12. Web site: norwegiancharts.com - Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder - Ebony & Ivory. VG-lista. 2008-08-06.
  13. Web site: swedishcharts.com - Paul McCartney - Ebony & Ivory. 2008-08-06.
  14. Web site: norwegiancharts.com - Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder - Ebony & Ivory. VG-lista. 2008-08-06.
  15. Web site: Paul McCartney Japanese Singles Chart listings. Original Confidence. 2008-07-16.
  16. http://www18.ocn.ne.jp/~hbr/JPP1.htm List of number-one singles on the Japanese Oricon International Chart (1968-2000)