The Paul McCartney Project

Back In Brazil

Written by Paul McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the Egypt Station Official album.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 2018
Sessions This song has been recorded during the following sessions

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Song facts

Back In Brazil” is a track from 2018 album “Egypt Station“. From “Words Between The Tracks” YouTube series:

So I was in Brazil on tour… This is one of those nice free days where there was nothing planned and I had a piano in the room of the hotel room, so I got this little riff and got this idea of “Back in Brazil”. There was this girl who dreams of a future far far better world, she meets a man and he fits him with a plan. You know, so it’s a story about a couple and trials and tribulations… Things are going well and she plans a date but he can’t come cuz they got him working late… And so it was just an imaginary story of two young brazilian people and it’s kind of dancey so I wanted to put Brazilian rhythms and get the flavor.

Paul McCartney

In October 2017, during the Brazilian leg of his One On One tour, in interviews with Brazilian newspapers, Paul mentioned he was working on a Brazil-related song:

Between one show and another, I’m making the new album. And it’s interesting because there’s a special track for Brazil, but that’s all I can tell you right now. I think you’ll like this.

Paul McCartney

Paul mentioned this song again in March 2018, for a Q&A on its official website. From paulmccartney.com, March 29, 2018:

“You’re known to experiment with musical genres. Have you ever thought of exploring some of the Latin American genres like son, rumba, salsa, merengue, tango, samba, etc.?”

Paul replied, “Thanks for your question, Yvonne. And yeah, once or twice! You know I’ve done something along those lines. My new album actually has something which is decidedly Latin. But I don’t know if it will make the cut. You never know with these things, but I think it will and people will understand what I’m talking about when they hear it. But I love Latin rhythms and have often experimented with them, but not a definitive thing like a tango or a salsa. It’s more the general rhythms of the country that I love.”

Here is what producer Greg Kurstin had to say about “Back in Brazil“, when interviewed for Rolling Stone on July 3, 2018:

What’s the Brazilian song you were talking about?

That’s called “Back in Brazil.” That was one of the first songs that we recorded and we probably did four or five different versions until we got the version that we ended up with. It was one of the trickier ones to get the feel of, to get the drum groove and all that stuff. It started out as something very different than what it became. But I’m really happy with it. It has the clarinets playing the electric-piano part. It started out with electric piano and drums and the whole band, and then we stripped it all down and built it all up with orchestra instruments. When it really came to life for me was when we brought in [composer] Alan Broadbent and he helped with the arrangement. He did the strings and the clarinets and the flute and stuff like that. I like the arrangements he did on that.

Greg Kurstin

Paul McCartney interviewed for Sodajerker podcast, 2018:

[Back In Brazil] was always a hard one to crack because I’d written it on a day off in Brazil, when I just happened to be on my own. Nancy had gone to New York for something, so I happened to be just there on my own. I’d done everything I wanted to, I’d had a breakfast, I’d been to the gym, so now I was just lounging around and there was a little piano in the, little Wurlitzer in the suite I was staying in, so I started playing with that and so I knew the basic thing, so I wrote the song there in Sao Paulo. Then we came to record it and we couldn’t kind of get it right, we tried quite a few things on the rhythms to get the feel and in the end, we got the one that’s on the record and we were pleased with it. Greg put that sort of, [makes beeping sound], little sort of thing and we put some percussion on it and suddenly it just fell into place.

Paul McCartney

When reading the lyrics, one may wonder why Paul chose to use a Japanese word in a song dedicated to Brazil. Paul gave the following explanation – from paulmccartney.com, September 28, 2018:

Well, I originally blocked in that little phrase with ‘hechibam, hechibam’ thinking that later – when I went to Brazil – someone would say ‘Oh, that’s very similar to * a proper Brazilian word * ‘ I was getting a massage in Brazil – and it happened to be by a Japanese lady –  and somehow the word ‘Ichiban’ came up in conversation. I said, ‘That’s  Japanese, isn’t it?’ and she said,’Yeah it is! It means great, fabulous, number one!’

I thought,’Oh wow, that’s it! That’s the word! And the rationale for it was that the largest population of Japanese people – outside Japan – is in Brazil. So I said to her, ‘Have you got a group of mates that could  sing, who could help? I’d like to just record that word ‘Ichiban’!’ She said, ‘Yeah, I could probably …’ So I asked,’Do you think they could come to a studio tomorrow?’ as I was about leave the country. She said,’Sure, I think I can get some people together!’ So I said, ‘About 6 o’clock or something?’ as I was due to leave at around 8 o’clock. She said,’No, no, they’ll still be working.’ So I asked ‘7 o’clock?’ and she said, ‘Yeah!’ So I organised a little studio on the way out to the airport, and managed to arrange for her  friends to come! So, I came in and told them what I wanted to do, and we had a lot of fun! It only took about half an hour or so, and I got them to shout ‘Ichiban! Ichiban!’ and we had to try and get it in time, and accurate. But that’s what happened – crazy story! But that is how the Japanese word ‘Ichiban’ happens to be in ‘Back In Brazil’!

Paul McCartney

On September 16, 2018, an official music video for “Back In Brazil” has been published. From RollingStone:

A Paul McCartney concert saves a couple’s relationship in the singer’s new video for “Back in Brazil.”

The clip, which follows the song’s loose narrative, opens with a free-spirited Brazilian woman walking on a beach, dancing with street performers and strolling through her city. At one point, she sparks a conversation with a stranger and invites him to an upcoming McCartney concert.

The man agrees to attend but is forced to work late, leaving her alone at the show. The protagonist holds up a sign for McCartney, and the former Beatle calls her onstage to dance around during a song. The man arrives to the venue after the set to apologize, but the overjoyed woman hugs him and says, “No, no. There’s no need to say sorry. I met Paul McCartney!” […]

Last updated on November 30, 2018

Lyrics

Back in Brazil
There lives a girl
Dreams of the future
And a far far better world

Back in Brazil
She meets a man
He’s tall and handsome
And he fits in with her plan

Bright lights ahead
Music and fun
Nights are for dancing
And the days are for the sun
All kinds of weather
Will surely come and go
But they’re together
And together they will steal the show

Ichiban, ichiban, ichiban
Ichiban, ichiban, ichiban
Ichiban, ban ban ban ban ban

Back in Brazil
She makes a date
He has to cancel
‘cos they’ve got him working late

Back in Brazil
She feels afraid
Hope starts to crumble
And her dreams begin to fade

Her lights are out
She’s gone to bed
Nights are for sleeping
If a girl’s to get ahead
Even the weather
Has started changing too
But they’ll be together
And together they will make it through

Ichiban, ichiban, ichiban
Ichiban, ichiban, ichiban
Ichiban

So we raise a family
As the clouds roll by
Making pictures of us in the sky
The kids are happy
And they don’t ask why
Ba ba ba ba ba ba, you and I

Officially appears on


Egypt Station

Official album • Released in 2018

3:17 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitar, Bass, Bird recording, Co-producer, Congas, Electric guitar, Harmonium, Triangle, Vocals, Wurlitzer
Abe Laboriel Jr.:
Backing vocals, Drums
Alan Broadbent:
Orchestration
Keith Smith:
Engineering assistant
Pedro Eustache:
Bamboo flute, Dadook
Matt Funes:
Viola
Greg Kurstin:
Bass fx, Engineering, Producer, Wurlitzer
Steve Orchard:
Engineering
Jamie Kirkham:
Engineering assistant
Mark ‘Spike’ Stent:
Mixing
Michael Freeman:
Mixing assistant
Alex Pasco:
Engineering
Billy Bush:
Engineering
Julian Burg:
Engineering
Matt Tuggle:
Engineering assistant
Collin Kadlec:
Engineering assistant
Brad Giroux:
Engineering assistant
Paul Pritchard:
Engineering assistant
Derek Stockwell:
Mixing assistant
Everton Nelson:
1st violin
John Metcalfe:
1st viola
Bruce White:
2nd viola
Ian Burdge:
Cello
Al Schmitt:
Engineering
Steve Genewick:
Engineering assistant
Vanessa Freebairn-Smith:
Cello
Jodi Burnett:
Cello
Caroline Campbell:
Violin
Mario De Leon:
Violin
Peter Kent:
Violin
Songa Lee:
Violin
Natalie Leggett:
Violin
Robin Olson:
Violin
Katia Popov:
Violin
Michele Richards:
Violin
Kathleen Sloan:
Violin
Tereza Stanislav:
Violin
Marcy Vaj:
Violin
Josefina Vergara:
Violin
Amy Wickman:
Violin
John Wittenberg:
Violin
Darrin McCann:
Viola
Andrew Duckles:
Viola
Kate Reddish:
Viola
Rob Brophy:
Viola
Richard Dodd:
Cello
Rudy Stein:
Cello
Gayle Levant Richards:
Harp
Marcia Dickstein:
Harp
Dan Higgins:
B flat clarinet
Stuart Clark:
B flat clarinet
Joshua Ranz:
B flat clarinet
Philip O’Connor:
B flat clarinet
Ralph Williams:
Contrabass clarinet in b flat
James Hovorka:
Trumpet
Kye Palmer:
Trumpet
Miguel Guerrero:
Trumpet
Doug Tornquist:
Tuba
Mauricio Cersosimo:
Engineering
KIKO KLB:
Engineering assistant
Ana Flávia Kazumi Sakamoto Fonzaghi:
Choir
Mary Miwako Abe Takeda:
Choir
Michelli Kaori Katayama Tamari:
Choir
George Yuji Motoda:
Choir
Luciana Mayumi Abe Yoshizaki:
Choir
Irene Ueti Sakamoto:
Choir
Jorge Kazuo Sakamoto:
Choir
Felipe Yuiji Katayama:
Choir
Eliana Shoyama:
Choir
Afonso Mitsuo Sawada:
Choir
Cíntia Sayuri Sawada:
Choir
Nely Abe:
Choir
Lucia Abe Okuda:
Choir
Thiago Eiji Taromaru:
Choir
Tetuji Taromaru:
Choir
Rosa Seiko Sawada Abe:
Choir
Nanci Hitomi Abe:
Choir

Session Recording:
Unknown dates
Studio:
Henson Recording Studios, Los Angeles

Session Recording:
Unknown dates
Studio:
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Recording:
Unknown dates
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Unknown dates
Studio:
KLB Studios, Sao Paulo, Brazil


Egypt Station (Deluxe edition)

Official album • Released in 2018

3:17 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitar, Bass, Bird recording, Co-producer, Congas, Electric guitar, Harmonium, Triangle, Vocals, Wurlitzer
Abe Laboriel Jr.:
Backing vocals, Drums
Alan Broadbent:
Orchestration
Keith Smith:
Engineering assistant
Pedro Eustache:
Bamboo flute, Dadook
Matt Funes:
Viola
Greg Kurstin:
Bass fx, Engineering, Producer, Wurlitzer
Steve Orchard:
Engineering
Jamie Kirkham:
Engineering assistant
Mark ‘Spike’ Stent:
Mixing
Michael Freeman:
Mixing assistant
Alex Pasco:
Engineering
Billy Bush:
Engineering
Julian Burg:
Engineering
Matt Tuggle:
Engineering assistant
Collin Kadlec:
Engineering assistant
Brad Giroux:
Engineering assistant
Paul Pritchard:
Engineering assistant
Derek Stockwell:
Mixing assistant
Everton Nelson:
1st violin
John Metcalfe:
1st viola
Bruce White:
2nd viola
Ian Burdge:
Cello
Al Schmitt:
Engineering
Steve Genewick:
Engineering assistant
Vanessa Freebairn-Smith:
Cello
Jodi Burnett:
Cello
Caroline Campbell:
Violin
Mario De Leon:
Violin
Peter Kent:
Violin
Songa Lee:
Violin
Natalie Leggett:
Violin
Robin Olson:
Violin
Katia Popov:
Violin
Michele Richards:
Violin
Kathleen Sloan:
Violin
Tereza Stanislav:
Violin
Marcy Vaj:
Violin
Josefina Vergara:
Violin
Amy Wickman:
Violin
John Wittenberg:
Violin
Darrin McCann:
Viola
Andrew Duckles:
Viola
Kate Reddish:
Viola
Rob Brophy:
Viola
Richard Dodd:
Cello
Rudy Stein:
Cello
Gayle Levant Richards:
Harp
Marcia Dickstein:
Harp
Dan Higgins:
B flat clarinet
Stuart Clark:
B flat clarinet
Joshua Ranz:
B flat clarinet
Philip O’Connor:
B flat clarinet
Ralph Williams:
Contrabass clarinet in b flat
James Hovorka:
Trumpet
Kye Palmer:
Trumpet
Miguel Guerrero:
Trumpet
Doug Tornquist:
Tuba
Mauricio Cersosimo:
Engineering
KIKO KLB:
Engineering assistant
Ana Flávia Kazumi Sakamoto Fonzaghi:
Choir
Mary Miwako Abe Takeda:
Choir
Michelli Kaori Katayama Tamari:
Choir
George Yuji Motoda:
Choir
Luciana Mayumi Abe Yoshizaki:
Choir
Irene Ueti Sakamoto:
Choir
Jorge Kazuo Sakamoto:
Choir
Felipe Yuiji Katayama:
Choir
Eliana Shoyama:
Choir
Afonso Mitsuo Sawada:
Choir
Cíntia Sayuri Sawada:
Choir
Nely Abe:
Choir
Lucia Abe Okuda:
Choir
Thiago Eiji Taromaru:
Choir
Tetuji Taromaru:
Choir
Rosa Seiko Sawada Abe:
Choir
Nanci Hitomi Abe:
Choir

Session Recording:
Unknown dates
Studio:
Henson Recording Studios, Los Angeles

Session Recording:
Unknown dates
Studio:
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Recording:
Unknown dates
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Unknown dates
Studio:
KLB Studios, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Videos

Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.


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Antonio 3 months ago

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlcdj9gIKvA


The PaulMcCartney Project 3 months ago

Thanks Antonio ! Will update the page with this video (pretty nice one, I find)


Kevin McCrea 3 months ago

Back in Brazil is an enjoyable song and it sounds like something Sir Paul and Sting could have fun with. Wondered if the 2 collaborated on this song. Sting would approve. Love the album Egypt station. Best of Sir Paul. Best wishes to all!


Art 1 months ago

One of the best songs I feel on the album. Thanks for this great write up on the song and filling in some of the questions I had about the song.


The PaulMcCartney Project 1 months ago

My pleasure, @Art :)