“We All Stand Together” by Sir Paul McCartney is being re-released to mark the 100th birthday of Rupert the Bear. The song will available on a limited edition picture disc vinyl on 6th November via MPL/Capitol/UMe, and the Rupert and The Frog Song animated short that accompanied its 1984 debut is being re-released, too.
Also celebrating the 40th anniversary of when Paul McCartney recorded the song at AIR Studios, London, the new vinyl release is specially shaped, exactly the same as the 1984 release, and the 2020 version also comes with a poster.
“We All Stand Together” has been remastered at Abbey Road Studios by Alex Wharton along with the B-side instrumental “We All Stand Together” (Humming Version) which was included on the original release.
Produced by George Martin and featuring The King’s Singers and the choir of St Paul’s Cathedral, “We All Stand Together” (also known as “The Frog Song”) was a huge hit upon release, remaining in the UK charts for 13 weeks, becoming a classic and a much-loved song by every school child in the 1980s.
The song was the focal point of Rupert and The Frog Song – a short animated film that Paul began work on in 1981 with animator Geoff Dunbar, a film now fully restored in 4k – as well as getting a new audio mix.
Written and produced by Paul and directed by Geoff, Rupert and The Frog Song was eventually released in 1984 and saw the former Beatle voice the character of Rupert and featured the voices of the beloved British TV icons June Whitfield (as Rupert’s mother) and Windsor Davies (Father Frog). Released simultaneously with “We All Stand Together”, the film went on to become the biggest selling video of 1985 in the UK, earning Paul a Grammy nomination in the process as well as seeing him win a revered Ivor Novello Award for Best Film Soundtrack and picking up a BAFTA for Best Animated Short Film.
The film, along with the amphibian anthem, were inspired by Paul’s childhood love of Rupert and a specific drawing Paul remembered from the 1958 Rupert Bear Annual, the original available today from secondhand retailers, as is a facsimile edition, released by Express Newspapers in 2006.
“I’ve always loved animation. It started with the Disney cartoons and went on from there,” says Paul. “As a kid I would always get the Rupert Bear Annual at Christmas. I remember getting the idea for a film project when looking through one of them. There was a standout image in colour and when I saw it I could imagine a concert of frogs with them all doing different parts, a choir and an orchestra, and I could almost hear the music.”
The project had been in the making for a long time. Paul’s original idea had been to make a feature length film, and he set about work for this in the 1970s, recording songs and writing stories that to this day remain unreleased, with one of the unreleased songs dating back to The Beatles Let It Be sessions in 1969.
“I had wanted to make a Rupert feature film for a while but didn’t realise what a difficult task it actually was,” Paul says. “I remember telling John Lennon about it and he encouraged me to have a go, which was great, but you need more than that to make a film. There were so many different things to think about, things like securing the rights. It was all too much. Eventually I had the idea to make a short film with an animator I admired, Geoff Dunbar.”
Like Paul, Geoff Dunbar had grown up on Rupert, and unlike other animators who were suggesting some kind of Rupert reboot, Geoff, sharing Paul’s vision, believed that Rupert shouldn’t change. Geoff took inspiration from the demo of “We All Stand Together”, and just as Paul had heard what the song might be years before when looking at the annual, Geoff started to visualise the film based on Paul’s music and he and Paul would back and forth ideas on the project as it started to come to life.
Rupert and The Frog Song was made in a pre-digital age, all handcrafted, and this year has undergone a painstaking and serious restoration process in which the film has been regraded and restored frame by frame.
Watching the new film Geoff says: “It’s delightful and absolutely thrilling. I’m totally blown away by it and the sound quality too. I’ve always maintained what a marvelous piece of work it was. It was seriously adored and a massive hit all over the world.”
The magic of Rupert and The Frog Song can be recaptured once again for existing fans and new audiences on the 6th November 2020, when the new version will be made available on YouTube.
• Find the 1958 Rupert Bear Annual, the original available today from secondhand retailers, and the facsimile edition, released by Express Newspapers in 2006, on AmazonUK | Rupert Bear items on AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)