"Goodbye" session

Mar 01-02, 1969 • For Mary Hopkin

Album Songs recorded during this session officially appear on the Goodbye / Sparrow 7" Single.
Morgan Studios, London, UK

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As a follow-up to Mary Hopkin’s first single “Those Were The Days” (released in September 1968) and first album “Post Card” (released in February 1969), Paul McCartney decided to write her a song for her next single. In February 1969, he recorded a demo of “Goodbye” for Mary to learn and for arranger Richard Hewson to write a score. On March 1 and 2, 1969, they were at Morgan Studios for the proper recording.

I didn’t have in mind any more Russian folk songs so I just wrote one for her. I thought it fit the bill. It wasn’t as successful as the first one but it did all right. My main memory of it is from years later, going on a boat trip from the north of Scotland to the Orkney Islands. The skipper of the boat was called George, and he told me it was his favourite song. And if you think of it from a sailor’s point of view, it’s very much a leaving-the-port song. He had the strangest Scottish accent, almost sort of Norwegian, as the Orkneyans do. He was quite proud of the fact that that was his favourite song.

Paul McCartney – from “Many Years From Now”, by Barry Miles, 1997

For the recording, Mary sang and performed acoustic guitar, while Paul played bass, acoustic guitar, ukulele, along with thigh-slapping percussion and drums. Backing vocals, horns and strings, in Hewson’s arrangement, were overdubbed.

He did demo ‘Goodbye’ for me, which he wrote and then produced. And when we recorded it we played the guitar part together, plus Paul added a thigh slap all through the song and played ukulele.

Mary Hopkin – Interview with Record Collector, 1988

The two of you played acoustic guitar together on “Goodbye” right?

Yes, we did. And Paul put a thigh–slap on there—on his own thigh, I might add! It’s a good song for its kind, but whether it was suited to me, I don’t know. It was easy for me to do those songs. They were fun little pop songs. So it was very easy for me to say, “Oh. Okay. Yes.” But as soon as I realized what was happening, I started putting the reins on, and putting my foot down about what material I was going to do.

I trusted Paul’s judgment, anyway. I would never condemn him for what he did; because he did what he felt was right for me. And I really enjoyed working with him.

Mary Hopkin – Interview with Goldmine, 1992

Paul then wrote a follow-up song to “Those Were the Days,” a G song called “Goodbye,” which Mary Hopkin sang beautifully. “Goodbye” featured an arrangement by Richard Hewson, whom I had brought to Apple to work on James Taylor’s album. Paul and I used him for “Those Were the Days” and Paul stuck with him for “Goodbye.” The arrangement Richard did for “Goodbye” incorporated many of Paul’s favourite elements. The trumpet doing pa-pa-pa-pa eighth notes is very much a Paul kind of idea. Indeed, the little pitter-patter noise that Paul put in there for percussion is very Buddy Holly influenced, another of Paul’s favourites. Paul McCartney, by the way, also played the bass on that record.

From “The Beatles from A to Zed: An Alphabetical Mystery Tour” by Peter Asher

During that session, another song, “Sparrow“, written by Benny Gallagher and Graham Lyle, a songwriting duo signed to Apple Publishing, was also recorded. Mary sang and played guitar, Paul added maracas, a session musician played upright bass, and Richard Hewson arranged a choir part.

“Sparrow” was lovely, because that’s when my friendship with [songwriters] Benny Gallagher and Graham Lyle started. And we’ve been friends ever since, which is about the most wonderful thing that’s come out of my time with Apple. It was a little somber, on reflection, but at the time I was happy with it.

Mary Hopkin – Interview with Goldmine Magazine, 1992

The March 1 session was filmed by Apple’s Tony Bramwell for a promotional clip. In the footage, Hopkin is seen miming the song, and there are shots of her and McCartney in the control room listening to a playback.


Last updated on October 31, 2021

Songs recorded



Written by Paul McCartney


Album Officially released on Goodbye / Sparrow



Written by Graham Lyle, Benny Gallagher


Album Officially released on Goodbye / Sparrow


Musicians on "Goodbye"

Paul McCartney:
Thigh-slapping percussion, Drums, Acoustic guitar, Ukulele, Producer, Bass
Richard Hewson:
Mary Hopkin:
Vocals, Acoustic guitar
Strings, Backing vocals, Horns

Musicians on "Sparrow"

Paul McCartney:
Richard Hewson:
Orchestra arrangement
Mary Hopkin:
Vocals, Guitar
Bass, Choir

Production staff

Paul McCartney:

Going further

If we like to think, in all modesty, that the Paul McCartney Project is the best online ressource for everything Paul McCartney, The Beatles Bible is for sure the definitive online site focused on the Beatles. There are obviously some overlap in terms of content between the two sites, but also some major differences in terms of approach.

Read more on The Beatles Bible


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Margaret O’Brien 1 year ago

My husband has written a few songs that I feel are very good. He suffered a stroke after contacting Covid so needs help with releasing them. I would be so grateful if someone would be willing to take this on it would make his day!

The PaulMcCartney Project 1 year ago

Hi Margaret, thanks for your message. We have no knowledge how to release or promote songs. My first advise would to publish them on your own using Youtube or Soundcloud platforms. Hope this helps.

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