"Put It There" video sessions

April 26-28th, 1989


From Club Sandwich N°71, Autumn 1994:

[…] The truth is, family love is what this game is all about. And there’s not enough of it going around these days. Nowhere near enough. Too many children know only one parent, there is too much poverty, not only of the purse but of the mind, too much abuse, too little support from uncaring societies and governments. We, the human race, are heading in the wrong direction.

No song, -whatever it may be, whomever be the composer or singer, can singlehandedly redress this situation. But the more that we, as a people, can spread the message of peace, and of love, the more chance, surely, we stand of finally hearing the message, and the more chance we may have to turn the negative tide into positive, and to start accentuating it.

‘Put It There’, issued on Flowers In The Dirt, is just a song. A two minute tune in what textbooks stuffily describe as the popular idiom. Standing alone it cannot change anything. Paul wouldn’t expect it to. But as a reminder to its listeners of the values of family life and family love, it may have a longer lasting effect. The video for ‘Put It There’, equally, can prick consciences,’ generate warmth and stoke up the dying embers of human kindness.

And so it did. (The past tense is actually the more appropriate when writing of a video, since they’re rarely seen after the record they are made to promote has exceeded its “sell by” date.) ‘Put It There’, the promotional video, encapsulated all the love and warmth of the audio recording, celebrating the bonding that can exist between a parent (in this case, a father) and a child.

As is well documented, Paul wrote the song after a saying he remembered his own father using when he (Paul) was himself a child: holding out his hand he would say “Put it there, if it weighs a ton”. On its own this may not mean much, but parents and their children can develop secret sayings and languages all their own, and these can carry more meaning to the parties involved than any famous Shakespeare quotation. The video for ‘Put It There’ easily conveyed this, through clever use of sepia and monochromatic images of fathers and sons – their colour, creed or nationality irrelevant – being together. The father shaves, the son watches and dreams of emulating, the father and son make music together, play football together, build a model airplane together, shake hands together. They’re joshing and cuffing – or, to use the modern parlance, bonding. It’s hard not to be moved by it.

Picking on his acoustic guitar, Paul features in the video too, but it’s Paul alone – no Linda, no World Tour band, no Flowers In The Dirt musicians. Their inclusion would have served only to detract from the simple, eloquent message being conveyed.

It is not a new message, and many reading this will recognise it from a certain 1967 song, but it obviously needs re-stating, and re-stating, and re-stating: love is all you need.

Last updated on September 5, 2020

Going further

Eight Arms to Hold You: The Solo Beatles Compendium

We owe a lot to Chip Madinger and Mark Easter for the creation of those session pages, but you really have to buy this book to get all the details!

Eight Arms To Hold You: The Solo Beatles Compendium is the ultimate look at the careers of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr beyond the Beatles. Every aspect of their professional careers as solo artists is explored, from recording sessions, record releases and tours, to television, film and music videos, including everything in between. From their early film soundtrack work to the officially released retrospectives, all solo efforts by the four men are exhaustively examined.

As the paperback version is out of print, you can buy a PDF version on the authors' website

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