Paul McCartney - "Man We Was Lonely"

by Jessy Krupa

9 July 2010


Side A of McCartney closes with “Man We Was Lonely”, which was the first song that both Paul and his wife, Linda, wrote together and sang together as a duet. In a way, it is a precursor to Wings. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that it is about the pair’s true feelings for each other, being that the two could be considered lonely before they got together. When they first started dating, Linda was a recent divorcee and Paul’s long-term relationship with actress Jane Asher had just ended.

Regardless of the song’s meaning, Paul admitted in 1970 that it was one of the last songs recorded for the album. He and Linda wrote the chorus while in bed the morning of the day it was recorded. Later that afternoon, they wrote the middle part. The background is made up of a bass drum and three different guitars, all played by Paul and tracked on together later. As for the song’s unique steel guitar sound, Paul revealed that he created it by playing his Telecaster “with a drum peg”.
In an interview with Guitar Legends magazine, Paul mentions that he “thought of himself as Johnny Cash” while recording it, and played it to both Johnny and June Carter Cash when they met once. There is a rumor going around the Internet that McCartney and Johnny Cash recorded a duet of the song together in the 1980s, and that Cash considered putting it on his Water from The Wells Of Home album. It is also rumored to be one of the unreleased McCartney songs that would be released on a “studio sessions” boxed set, or as a bonus track on one of his upcoming album remasters.

One thing we can be certain about is the fact that “Man We Was Lonely” seems to be popular with little-known rock bands. In 2001, World Party covered it on the Listen to What the Man Said: Popular Artists Tribute to Paul McCartney charity benefit album for the Susan B. Komen Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Also, Design covered it on its Tomorrow Is So Far Away album.

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