LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Paul McCartney will kick off 2012 with an album of cover tunes and two original songs, he said on Monday, offering fans a glimpse of the music that inspired one of the biggest rock bands ever, the Beatles.
The yet-to-be-titled album, due for release on February 7, will showcase the former Beatle on a "deeply personal journey" covering classic American songs that inspired him and bandmate John Lennon when they wrote their own tunes.
"When I kind of got into songwriting, I realized how well structured these songs were, and I think I took a lot of my lessons from them," McCartney said in a statement.
"I always thought artists like Fred Astaire were very cool. Writers like Harold Arlen, Cole Porter, all of those guys -- I just thought the songs were magical. And then, as I got to be a songwriter I thought it's beautiful, the way they made those songs."
Teaming up with Grammy-winning jazz musician Diana Krall and producer Tommy LiPuma, the ex-Beatles frontman recorded his vocals in a booth without instruments for the first time in his musical career.
"It was very spontaneous, kind of organic, which then reminded me of the way we'd work with the Beatles. We'd bring a song in, kick it around, when we found a way to do it we'd say 'Okay, let's do a take now' and by the time everyone kind of had an idea of what they were doing, we'd learnt the song. So that's what we did, we did the take live in the studio," said McCartney.
While the full tracklist is yet to be revealed, the album will feature collaborations on two new, original songs, with legendary musicians Stevie Wonder on "Only Our Hearts" and Eric Clapton on "My Valentine."
(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)