Recording "Get It"

Tuesday, February 24, 1981 • For Paul McCartney

Part of

"Tug Of War" sessions at AIR Studios, Montserrat

February 2 till March 3, 1981 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Tug Of War

Album Songs recorded during this session officially appear on the Tug Of War Official album.
AIR Studios, Montserrat

Master release

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Carl Perkins arrived in Montserrat on February 21st, 1981. But the entire first day of recording with him was on the 24th. McCartney and Perkins rehearsed and jammed on old songs, before recording the song “Get It“.

From an interview with Guitar Player Magazine:

You played with Carl Perkins on “Get It” [from the album Tug of War]. How did you two get together?

Paul McCartney: I rang him up, and he was in the States playing clubs. We met him in the very early days with the Beatles, and he was a good old friend, such a down-home boy. I love Carl — he’s so great. I’ll tell you a story about Carl; I don’t think he’ll mind me telling this. We were recording at Montserrat, and a musician friend was sailing around the world on a yacht — a bit of a tax dodge, I think [laughs] — and he sailed into Montserrat, and came to see us. He invited us to his boat. There was this British naval crew piping us aboard this spotless yacht. Carl was really impressed with the buffet and the champagne, and the way it was all laid out. He came over to me and said, “Paul, where I come from they call this shittin’ in high cotton.” It’s one of my favorite expressions. After that, we recorded “Get It.” At the end of the song, you can hear both of us laughing — and that’s the joke we’re laughing at. We had to cut the joke out, though, because we’d have never gotten it played on the radio.

Did you both play guitar on that song?

Paul McCartney: Yeah, I just played a little bit, and Carl played a rhythm part. The fun tended to come when we had a free moment. He and I sat on the floor of the studio, and we were talking, and there was a mic on. I was just telling him about some of his old songs that we loved, like “Lend me Your Comb” and “Your True Love.” I told him we were big fans of his and we used to do “Your True Love.” Then we’d sing together. Then we’d stop, and he’d say, “Well, you know, Paul, I used to do this,” and he’d show me some fingerpicking thing he used to do.

From Tug Of War Archive Collection, 2015

The plan to have Carl out to Montserrat was me paying homage to him. I’d known him on and off through the years. We’d played a bit together, but nothing seriously. We’d never made a record together, and I thought, ‘I’d love to write a song for him to sing.’ […]

I wanted to do this song with him called ‘Get It’. So we rehearsed a bit. I showed him how it went – where I might sing, where he might sing – and he was happy to do it. But when we got in the studio he wasn’t very comfortable about using headphones. In the old days of Sun Records, they didn’t use headphones, they just played live, in a room. Laid down a track and that was it. The engineers dealt with the technical side. So we had a moment where Carl was going to do a bit of vocal. He put the headphones on and he was going ‘Ohhhh, man…’ and he couldn’t get to grips with it at all. He was having a terrible time.

[With Carl] we had to go back and use the early techniques that we’d used when we baulked at using headphones. You wouldn’t think there would be anyone who didn’t know about headphones, but in the early days of recording it was how people recorded. All the great Elvis records, all the great rock ‘n’ roll records, were the band just standing there, playing, and you just played it live.

Paul McCartney, from Tug Of War Archive Collection, 2015.
Paul McCartney and Carl Perkins at AIR Studios, Montserrat, 1981
Paul McCartney and Carl Perkins at AIR Studios, Montserrat, 1981

Last updated on May 10, 2020

Songs recorded


Get It

Written by Paul McCartney



Honey Don't

Written by Carl Perkins


Going further

Paul McCartney: Music Is Ideas. The Stories Behind the Songs (Vol. 1) 1970-1989

With 25 albums of pop music, 5 of classical – a total of around 500 songs – released over the course of more than half a century, Paul McCartney's career, on his own and with Wings, boasts an incredible catalogue that's always striving to free itself from the shadow of The Beatles. The stories behind the songs, demos and studio recordings, unreleased tracks, recording dates, musicians, live performances and tours, covers, events: Music Is Ideas Volume 1 traces McCartney's post-Beatles output from 1970 to 1989 in the form of 346 song sheets, filled with details of the recordings and stories behind the sessions. Accompanied by photos, and drawing on interviews and contemporary reviews, this reference book draws the portrait of a musical craftsman who has elevated popular song to an art-form.

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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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