Prepare for Paul McCartney mania in 2012 as the beloved Beatle turns 70 in June.
On deck much sooner: a new solo album, "Kisses on the Bottom," released Feb. 7 by Hear Music/Concord, as well as a fully endorsed tribute record featuring covers of classic compositions from Sir Paul's catalog -- with The Beatles and Wings and from his solo career.
Among the artists slated to participate are Billy Joel, Brian Wilson, B.B. King, Willie Nelson, Steve Miller, Jeff Lynne, Heart, Wanda Jackson, Kiss, Alice Cooper, Ronnie Spector, The Cure and Corinne Bailey Rae. The collection, which has yet to partner with a label or distributor, is being curated by longtime producer and music supervisor Ralph Sall ("Clueless," "10 Things I Hate About You," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"), the man who practically invented the tribute genre with 1991's "Deadicated" featuring the songs of The Grateful Dead performed by the likes of Jane's Addiction and Elvis Costello.
Sall met McCartney while working on 2003's Albert Brooks-Michael Douglas remake "The In-Laws," which featured several McCartney songs on the soundtrack.
"It grew out of that experience," says Sall, whose Bulletproof Entertainment is a leader in teen movie soundtracks. "A good idea goes a long way, but it was important that it be blessed by Paul." Indeed, in the 2-1/2 years that he's been pitching the project, well over a dozen big-name artists have recorded tracks for the album, many with backup from McCartney's touring musicians, guitarist Rusty Anderson and bassist Brian Ray.
In addition, Sall shot video of the sessions-in-progress and interviewed many of the participants. He plans to use that footage for a TV special. Of both the audio and visual components, Sall says, "It will be a good venue to show appreciation of his catalog -- you can tell by the variety of participants that Paul's music is truly timeless. Whether you're 8 or 80, everyone loves Paul McCartney."
The former Beatle also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Thursday, making him the last of the Fab Four to receive the honor. In a busy week, the rocker will receive the MusiCares Person of the Year award on Friday, before performing on Sunday night's Grammy Awards.