Paul McCartney gives away an MP3 of rare Flowers in the Dirt demo

Paul McCartney is giving away an MP3 of demo from a track on Flowers in the Dirt that will not be included on any of the physical versions of the reissue, including the £135 box set.

The demo is of album track Distractions which is orchestrated by the late Clare Fischer on the album. The demo was recorded in 1987 by Paul alone and demonstrates that he had fine-tuned the melody and lyric from an early stage. This version does feature some sound effects at the end – an idea that was ditched for the master version.

It’s a charming recording and without wanting to labour the point, it’s sad to see little gems that this not included as part of the actual release. However, this strategy is now familiar enough, having been in effect since 2014 when Paul issued free MP3s of unheard versions Rock Show and Letting Go from the Venus and Mars album. In 2015 the single edit of the title track of Tug Of War was left off the reissue and also given away as a download, was an instrumental edit of the 2015 remix of Say Say Say. All of these tracks are still available from the download section of Paul McCartney’s website.

Download the demo version of Distractions 

43 responses to Paul McCartney gives away an MP3 of rare Flowers in the Dirt demo

  1. cmi says:

    160 kbps mp3 download in 2017 is a mauveton!
    If you scream and shout that you’re so kind to give us FREE download, give it in true lossless quality. If you so stingy to give proper quality recording for FREE, sell it for 0,99 $ or something.

    As for the demo itself, it’s really great, some unused lyrics and almost perfect vocal performance.

  2. HS says:

    This just made me laugh…

  3. Paul Wren says:

    I echo others comments about this whole reissue being a mess.

  4. Carl says:

    WOW could they bastardize this issue any more – digital down loads instead of physical product, cassettes, MP3’s!! Whatever happened to just issuing a standard SDE – absolutely crazy??!!

  5. DAVID HAYES says:


  6. Paul says:

    Lots of comments about the format etc but none about the music. A shame that talk about the reissue of one of his best albums is dominated by (mostly justified) grumbles and there is very little to say about the record itself.

    As for this free download – I’ve listened to it once and that’s enough, spoiled by the over-loud snare drum. The sound effects at the end are perhaps the most interesting part, albeit reminiscent of things he did 20 years earlier. I wonder what else is still in the archives.

  7. Dogfacedboy says:

    To quote his writing partner of the time – I used to be disgusted, now I try to be amused

  8. Keith Brittain says:

    Don’t bother, Paul. You’ve already stuck your finger in our eye by refusing to release the 12″inches and sides on a proper CD in the “Flowers” box. I’ll spend my money on box sets with artists that actually value me as a fan – Fleetwood Mac, U2, The Doors……

  9. Kenneth Tilley says:

    I’ve cancelled my pre-order, this is getting stupid, he bangs on about streaming being “The Future” then promptly puts out a RSD release on an obsolete format and now low bit rate mp3.
    Thumbs aloft Macca.

  10. Stan Butler says:

    A 160 kbps mp3. Thanks, Macca. you’re too kind.

  11. Ben Williams says:

    It is nice to have a free download but I think the frustation is that tracks like this aren’t included on a £134.99 box set. And with the absolute wealth of material recorded between 1987 and 1989, it is criminal not have a really special box with this material properly included. This demo isn’t even in the download-only section of the deluxe set. Either MPL are incredibly out of touch with fans and how people listen to music, or they’re plain daft!

  12. adam shaw says:

    I had to check the track listing of the box set a couple of times to make sure this track wasnt on it .
    My only gripe about this new give away is that there must be a lot more demos that could have been put on the box set downloads .

  13. Gavin Hancock says:

    What’s next…a wax cylinder featuring additional exclusive material? Macca has well and truly jumped the shark.

    • Julian Hancock says:

      Why not, given that many ‘specials’ on CD and (especially) vinyl remain unplayed.

    • Klaus says:

      I suppose the next offer will be him coming to your home playing the B-sides just for you and whoever you’re inviting to the show, allowing you to record all of the gig with your smartphone for a mere 200.000 (fill in currency of your country). Japanese price multiplies by 100 of course.

  14. Ron says:

    Thank you, Paul.

  15. Philip Cohen says:

    Whatever McCartney does with the “Flowers in the Dirt” box, it’s no longer my problem. I bought all of the previous “Paul McCartney Archives” boxes(except “Wings Over America”), but I won’t buy “Flowers in The Dirt” with its’ released/related rarities being download-only. Universal’s warehouses will be filled with unsold boxed sets. McCartney will have to swallow his pride and repair his damaged relationship with his long-time fans. Getting rid of manager Scott Rodger would be a good place to start.

    • DaveM says:

      @Philip, I hope you are right about the warehouse full of unsold box sets, it may mean we get a deal alert from SDE at a reasonable price and then I am in.

    • Keith Brittain says:

      Yes….so true. I have all the Archive releases but will not buy the morsels in the “Flowers” box that his majesty will dole out to the fans. And, yes, Paul’s arrogant, haughty, and condescending manager has to go.

  16. ken.e says:

    I like it, great song with a unexpected ending but better on the album.

    Yes I am frustrated by the download only tracks etc. Don’t let it be a distraction from how good Paul McCartney is and the music he has given us.

    Thanks for letting us know.

  17. Stevie B says:

    Lots of artists offer free tracks as downloads via their websites. It’s a way of getting tracks out there like it or not. And as for the cassette of previously unreleased tracks…as was said on SDE earlier this week, it’s exactly the kind of thing that RSD is about.

  18. noyoucmon says:

    Sweet lord, the generosity!!!!!!!! If only it came on cassette, too!!!!!!

  19. MikeyH says:

    and just to really make us lard, let’s stick out three tracks on a cassette..for RECORD store day…insane and out of touch. Steering people who would otherwise buy this to download it all for free….

  20. elliott buckingham says:

    never liked this album have the original cd release but loved my brave face and this one and very surprised there was no 12″ mix for either single

  21. Kauwgompie says:

    A huge “WHATEVER” to this entire release….

  22. Beatleron says:

    This is my favorite McCartney solo album.
    When will he realize hardly anybody cares anymore. This hundred configurations of Flowers is ridiculous.
    You couldn’t give this to me. 25 years ago i’d be waiting in front of my record store.
    A terrible mark on his musical legacy

  23. DUKEVIKING says:

    It’s a FREE exclusive track – what more do people want? There are other battles to pick with on this set but not for this.

    • Stevie B says:

      Absolutely! Go download it and enjoy.

    • Joachim says:

      I can’t understand why people are complaining about getting a song for FREE. Download it. If you like it – keep it, if you don’t – delete it…

      If you need a piece of plastic to enjoy this – burn it to CD…

      • Paul Sinclair says:

        I think it’s more the cumulative effect of all the bad decisions around this reissue, rather than the individual FREE download.

      • Philip Cohen says:

        The idea of burning the downloaded material(from the download coupon in the “Flowers in The Dirt” boxed set) to CD would be fine, but that is assuming that the downloading system at McCartney’s website works properly. Over the course of the various “Paul McCartney Archives” boxed sets, McCartney has used several companies to administer the downloads. Sometimes the downloads have been easy to access and downloaded in a reasonable amount of time. Though I was able to download the high resolution downloads of “Venus and Mars” & “Wings at The Speed of Sound” easily, my attempt to use the high resolution download coupons with the “Tug of War” & “Pipes of Peace” boxes ended in frustration. The downloads were slow as a snail and the downloads soon froze. Contact customer service? Perhaps they would have helped, but McCartney’s website generated an “error” message(that my message couldn’t be sent). In the end, I got identical downloads from an unofficial website with no problem. The downloads are the exact same downloads that McCartney’s website was offering, and I was entitled to them ,after all, since I had purchased the “Tug of War” & “Pipes of Peace” boxed sets.

    • Dave says:

      Admirable !

  24. Javier says:

    Also, I’m laughing louder when I think of all the music I’ll be able to buy thanks to the 122 pounds I’ve saved by not buying this mess.

  25. Javier says:

    I was very angry with this, but by now it is getting really hilarious and I’m really having a laugh.

  26. Rob says:

    Thanks but no thanks.

  27. Charles K. says:

    Hilarious! Whether inadvertent or not he master trolling!

  28. Armidge says:

    Don’t you see? This is laying the groundwork for “previously unreleased on [insert format]” content for the next [Insert number] Anniversary re-re-re-re-re-release. The record company plays a dangerous game, though, betting on how many of us will actually care by that point.

  29. mike says:

    This just gets worse…..

  30. Soren says:

    This release is a big mess

  31. karl says:


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