Paul McCartney guitarist Brian Ray says his cover of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’ “The Tears of a Clown,” which you can download free, is an homage to more than just Motown.
“Free, Cheap Trick and the Who are obvious and clear hat tips in my version of “The Tears of a Clown,” he told us in an email. “I loved doing this recording, produced by Oliver Leiber (the son of Rock Hall of Fame lyricist Jerry Leiber) and I and it just reverted back to me after being a UMe exclusive at iTunes.”
Ray, who has been playing with Paul McCartney since 2002, says the song is also a nod to his past.
“It was also an homage of sorts to the Reggie Knighton Band with whom I played in the late 70’s,” he says. “We recorded an album with Roy Thomas Baker, performing a version Reggie arranged with us. It is nearly identical, sans the Who breakdown and solo.”
Ray’s past also includes a connection with Smokey Robinson himself. He co-wrote the singer’s 1987 hit “One Heartbeat.”
Ray began offering a free download of “The Tears of a Clown” this week. It’s available free through his website or in our earlier story. The song features his live band, Black Unicorn, with Ray on guitars, vocals and backing vocals, Matt Laug on drums, Peter Thorn on guitar and John Button on bass.
He also told us “The Tears of a Clown” isn’t in advance of a new project.
“It is a one off, not leading to a new album. Just one cool track to keep the love goin’!”
- McCartney guitarist offers free download of Motown cover
- Interview: Working with Paul McCartney just another accomplishment for guitar whiz Brian Ray (Pt. 1)
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