“Once Upon a Long Ago,” a dreamy, wintery song, was released towards the end of 1987. The song was the new song from his greatest hits album, entitled All The Best! In terms of his career, it was his fortieth single, and reached number ten in the UK music charts. The song was an outtake from the Press to Play sessions, recorded in 1986, with George Martin and Phil Ramone producing it.
The B-side, “Back on My Feet,” was a song he had written with Elvis Costello, on the heels of the sessions for his next album, Flowers In The Dirt, which had a number of collaborations with Costello. I’ve always felt this B-side was a lost classic, an upbeat pop number that deserved a greater airing. As far as I know, it hasn’t been released in widespread form on CD, save for a brief European maxi single.
All the Best! was released with different track listings in Europe, Japan, and the United States, for consideration to each market’s chart hits. Still, it was a shame that he did not release the single or the song in America. I bought the twelve-inch single when it came out; the B-sides on that record were “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” and “Midnight Special,” both recorded for the Choba B CCCP album, which was then unreleased outside of the Soviet Union. (I haven’t included them in this post, but those songs are readily available on Youtube and from your local music retailer.)
It was a typical puzzling move for Macca–one of his best songs, not released in the United States. Business decisions aside, the single stands as one of McCartney’s best–and one many people haven’t heard.