The Paul McCartney Project

Average Person

Written by Paul McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the Pipes Of Peace Official album.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1983
Sessions This song has been recorded during the following sessions

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Song facts

Average Person” is a track from 1983 album “Pipes Of Peace“.

“Average Person” is another of your story songs, like “Eleanor Rigby” and “Penny Lane”. What prompted you to start writing that kind of song in the first place?

I think a lot of them, besides “Eleanor Rigby”, tend to be comedy. It’s me doing the tongue-in-cheek thing, whereas “Eleanor Rigby” was more serious. I think that’s why it was more successful. I’ve still got a few that I haven’t released because I don’t think they are that good. It’s quite a fun thing to do, to just dream up a name of a character and just try and write the story of that character and then make it fit with another character. “Eleanor Rigby”, I did it with Father McKenzie and Eleanor. With some of these, I try and make too many fit. They’re not always the most successful.

Paul McCartney interview, UNCUT, October 2015

Both “Tug Of War” and “Pipes Of Peace” were always envisaged as albums amounting to more than simply a collection of songs, Paul has already explained the themes of each album, but originally both he and George Martin saw them shaping up as complete productions, utilising sound effects, creating visual vignettes on record. George Martin recalled a couple of occasions when they tried to create that effect: “We actually thought of ‘Average Person’ as being a stagey sort of thing — at one time we thought of making the album sound like a stage production – It was Paul’s idea, that theatrical aspect. We even tried him doing the vocal like a stage — I lined up a lot of mikes, and he actually did a funny walk on ‘l say, I say…’ kind of thing…

Paul: “On ‘Average Person,’ we were trying to get the live show thing, more as if you were watching a picture, rather than just listening to a song, so we put a lot of sound effects to match the things. It was quite a production!

From Club Sandwich N° 31, 1983

Last updated on February 23, 2020

Lyrics

Look at the average person
Speak to the man in the street
Can you imagine the first one you'd meet?

Well, I'm talking to a former engine driver
Trying to find out what he used to do
Tells me that he always kept his engine
Spit and polished up as good as new
But he said his only great ambition
Was to work with lions in a zoo
Oh to work with lions in a zoo
Yes dear, you heard right
Told me his ambition was to work with lions every night

Look at the average person
Speak to the man on the beat
Can you imagine the first one you'd meet?

Well, I met a woman working as a waitress
I asked exactly what it was she did
Said she worked the summer crowd at seasides
Winter time she ran away and hid
Once she had a Hollywood audition
But the part was given to a kid.
Yes, the part was given to a kid
Yes sir, you heard it right
Hollywood ambition made a starlet grown up overnight

Well I bumped into a man who'd been a boxer
Asked him what had been his greatest night
He looked into the corners of his memory
Searching for a picture of the fight.
But he said he always had a feeling
That he lacked a little extra height
(Could have used a little extra height)
Yes mate, you heard it right
He always had a feeling that he might have lacked a little height.

Look at the average person
Speak to the man in the queue
Can you imagine the first one is you?
Look at the average person

Officially appears on


Pipes Of Peace

Official album • Released in 1983

4:33 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitar (?), Arrangement, Backing vocals, Bass, Electric guitar (?), Piano, Vocals
Linda McCartney:
Backing vocals
Denny Laine:
Acoustic guitar (?), Electric guitar (?)
Ringo Starr:
Drums
Eric Stewart:
Backing vocals
George Martin:
Arrangement, Producer
Geoff Emerick:
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Jon Jacobs:
Mixing engineer assistant, Recording engineer assistant
Mike Stavrou:
Recording engineer assistant
?:
Horns

Session Recording:
February 16-18th, 1981
Studio:
AIR Studios, Montserrat

Session Recording:
July 1981
Studio:
AIR Studios, London, UK

Session Mixing:
Sep 01, 1981
Studio:
AIR Studios, London, UK

Credits & recording details courtesy of Luca Perasi • Buy Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013) on Amazon


Pipes Of Peace (1993)

Official album • Released in 1993

Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitar (?), Arrangement, Backing vocals, Bass, Electric guitar (?), Piano, Vocals
Linda McCartney:
Backing vocals
Denny Laine:
Acoustic guitar (?), Electric guitar (?)
Ringo Starr:
Drums
Eric Stewart:
Backing vocals
George Martin:
Arrangement, Producer
Geoff Emerick:
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Jon Jacobs:
Mixing engineer assistant, Recording engineer assistant
Mike Stavrou:
Recording engineer assistant
?:
Horns

Session Recording:
February 16-18th, 1981
Studio:
AIR Studios, Montserrat

Session Recording:
July 1981
Studio:
AIR Studios, London, UK

Session Mixing:
Sep 01, 1981
Studio:
AIR Studios, London, UK

Credits & recording details courtesy of Luca Perasi • Buy Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013) on Amazon


Pipes Of Peace - Archive Collection

Official album • Released in 2015

4:34 • Studio versionA.2015 • 2015 remaster

Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitar (?), Arrangement, Backing vocals, Bass, Electric guitar (?), Piano, Vocals
Linda McCartney:
Backing vocals
Denny Laine:
Acoustic guitar (?), Electric guitar (?)
Ringo Starr:
Drums
Eric Stewart:
Backing vocals
George Martin:
Arrangement, Producer
Geoff Emerick:
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Jon Jacobs:
Mixing engineer assistant, Recording engineer assistant
Mike Stavrou:
Recording engineer assistant
Sam Okell:
Remastering
Alex Wharton:
Remastering
?:
Horns

Session Recording:
February 16-18th, 1981
Studio:
AIR Studios, Montserrat

Session Recording:
July 1981
Studio:
AIR Studios, London, UK

Session Mixing:
Sep 01, 1981
Studio:
AIR Studios, London, UK

Credits & recording details courtesy of Luca Perasi • Buy Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013) on Amazon


Pipes Of Peace - Archive Collection

Official album • Released in 2015

4:05 • DemoB • 2015 remaster

Paul McCartney:
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Performed by:
Paul McCartney
Alex Wharton:
Mastering

Session Recording:
August 1980
Studio:
Rude Studio, Campbeltown, Scotland

Bootlegs


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol.15

Unofficial album

4:01 • Studio version


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol.16

Unofficial album

3:16 • Studio version


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol.16

Unofficial album

4:05 • Studio version


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol.16

Unofficial album

8:30 • Studio version


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol.16

Unofficial album

4:25 • Studio version


Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.


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Gianluca 2 years ago

In this song backing vocals are also by Denny Laine .
You can clearly heard him expecially tobthe end


The PaulMcCartney Project 2 years ago

Thanks Gianluca - will fix this ! Much work for me to do on "Pipes Of Peace". Pages still pretty empty at this stage :(