Unplugged (The Official Bootleg) is a live unplugged performance by Paul McCartney, recorded and released in 1991. Following the vastness of his world tour recently captured on Tripping the Live Fantastic, McCartney relished the opportunity to strip back his songs and appear on the newly launched acoustic-only show MTV Unplugged. Consequently, McCartney was the first in a long line of artists to release an unplugged album.
Unlike other artists who appeared on the acclaimed show with acoustic instruments plugged into amplifiers (producing the sound heard), McCartney's instruments were 100% unplugged. Microphones were carefully placed close to guitars, pianos, etc. to pick up the sound (this can be seen on the album, where a large rectangular microphone can be seen in front of McCartney's acoustic guitar).
Using the same line-up that recently backed him (save for Blair Cunningham who had replaced Chris Whitten), McCartney used the opportunity to dust off some of his rarer tracks, including three from his 1970 debut album McCartney, alongside several covers and amid a helping of familiar Beatles hits.
This recording was one of the first in the famed MTV Unplugged series.
Several tracks performed in the show were not included on the album, as follows: "Things We Said Today", "Midnight Special", "Matchbox", "Mean Woman Blues" and "The Fool". Among numbers rehearsed by the band but not performed at all, include: "Mother Nature's Son", "Figure of Eight", "Cut Across Shorty", "Heartbreak Hotel", "Heart of the Country", "She's My Baby", and "Mrs Vandebilt".
With McCartney in a loose and carefree context, critical response to Unplugged (The Official Bootleg) was very warm.
Initially released in a limited edition, individually numbered run in 1991, Unplugged (The Official Bootleg)—with artwork that recalls Снова в СССР's—was reissued in a more permanent fashion in the late 1990s. Upon its original issue, it reached number 7 in the UK and became McCartney's highest peaking US album in almost ten years, reaching number 14.
All songs written by Paul McCartney, except where noted.
- Side one
- "Be-Bop-A-Lula" (Gene Vincent/Tex Davis) – 4:04
- "I Lost My Little Girl" – 1:45
- "Here, There and Everywhere" (Lennon–McCartney) – 3:16
- "Blue Moon of Kentucky" (Bill Monroe) – 4:21
- "We Can Work It Out" (Lennon–McCartney) – 2:48
- "San Francisco Bay Blues" (Jesse Fuller) – 3:29
- "I've Just Seen a Face" (Lennon–McCartney) – 3:01
- "Every Night" – 3:24
- "She's a Woman" (Lennon–McCartney) – 3:39
- Side two
- "Hi-Heel Sneakers" (Robert Higginbotham) – 4:08
- "And I Love Her" (Lennon–McCartney) – 4:17
- "That Would Be Something" – 4:02
- "Blackbird" (Lennon–McCartney) – 2:09
- "Ain't No Sunshine" (Bill Withers) – 4:05
- "Good Rockin' Tonight" (Roy Brown) – 3:42
- "Singing the Blues" (Melvin Endsley) – 3:46
- "Junk" – 2:26
- Paul McCartney – acoustic guitar, drums and vocals
- Linda McCartney – piano, Indian harmonium, percussion and vocals
- Hamish Stuart – acoustic bass guitar, acoustic guitar and vocals
- Robbie McIntosh – acoustic guitars, piano, dobro and vocals
- Paul "Wix" Wickens – piano, keyboards, accordion, percussion, acoustic bass guitar and vocals
- Blair Cunningham – drums and percussion