The Paul McCartney Project

Ballroom Dancing

Written by Paul McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the Tug Of War Official album.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1982
Timeline This song has been written (or started being written) in 1980 (Paul McCartney was 38 years old)

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Song facts

Ballroom Dancing” is a song from 1982 album “Tug Of War“.

Like most people, I’ve got memories that go back to when I was a teenager, like when George Harrison and I used to go to the local dance and neither of us would ever dare to ask a girl to dance until the last waltz. It was then that we thought, ‘Oh God, we’ve wasted all our money when all we came here for was to touch a girl. We’ve got to do it. Okay, let’s waltz, come on.’ We were always too shy but we’d always try and grab someone for that last dance. But most times we’d get refused. We never really got into ballroom dancing but that was where you went if you wanted to dance. We’d go to The Locarno or The Grafton, all the big ballrooms. And with The Beatles, the ballroom circuit was a big circuit. We did a lot of ballrooms in our early career before we gravitated to the theatres. The song ‘Ballroom Dancing’ was just little images you have as a kid, flying carpets, playing Davy Crockett, going down the Nile in a china cup, all these childhood images mixed up with this ballroom. It’s a lot of little images involved in growing up.

Paul McCartney, from Badman, Keith. The Beatles: The Dream Is Over – Off The Record 2 (p. 303).

I wrote the song about my own childhood memories of sailing down the Nile in a china cup, or any other similar game we might play. “I’ll be Rommel and you can play Tom Mix, the cowboy”. It could be anything. I chose going down the Nile in a china cup because it sums it all up. China and Nile are fantasy words to kids. It could have been Alexandria, Cairo or Singapore – they were magic exotic places.

The first verse is very young childish games, the second verse is slightly growing up and on to the flying carpet stage and Davy Crockett hats and stuff, and it keeps coming back to “We used to fight like cats and dogs”, and that’s just the idea that childhood wasn’t all glorious wonderful summer days.

Basically it’s all my childhood memories distilled into one song, which develops into memories of being a teenager going to dance halls and ballrooms – only they’re called discos now.

Paul McCartney – From the “Give My Regards To Broad Street” book, Pavilion Books, 1984
Paul’s handwritten lyrics for Ballroom Dancing – From the “Tug Of War Archive Collection” @ 2015 MPL Communications Inc

Ballroom Dancing” was re-recorded for the McCartney’s 1984 movie, “Give My Regards To Broad Street“.

Story of the “Ballroom Dancing” clip :

MUSIC – Ballroom Dancing (A tableau of THREE CHILDREN in a giant teacup sailing down the River Nile. On a painted backdrop are palms and pyramids while painted waves are pulled from side to side to represent the Nile.)

(Camera returns to the tableau again for Verse 2. This time the three kids are supposed to be the same three kids a little bit older. They are on a ‘carpet ride to a foreign land’. The carpet floats mid-air against a backdrop of painted sky and start. The camera pulls away from the stage to reveal that the ballroom floor has now filled up with FORMATION DANCER, all dressed identically like the first couple. Camera tracks through dancers, performing their formal steps to swing doors at the back which are suddenly thrown open).

(THREE TEENAGERS stride through the door, causing a stir in the room. They are clearly the children from the tea cup and carpet cameos grown up. The GIRL still wears her red hair in bunches, BOY 1 wears dark glasses and a suit and BOY 2 wears T-shirt, jeans and carries a bomber jacket. They attract the attention of some of the ROCK ‘N’ ROLLERS standing at the bar who leap over the balustrade to join them.

(The FORMATION DANCERS put on a show of icy disdain and try to continue their dancing unperturbed)

(The whole ballroom is bedlam now, teenagers and formation dancers lashing out at each other, until eventually the whole set above the band collapses in a confused heap of drapes and toppling pillars)

(The girl kicks one of the formation dancers off the stage who falls backwards into a group of lady formation dancers who all fall over into a heap, legs in the air)

From Club Sandwich N°34, 1984

Last updated on May 2, 2020

Lyrics

Well I used to smile when I was a pup
Sailing down the Nile in a china cup
With the recipe for a lovely day
Sticking out of my back pocket

But it wasn't always such a pretty sight
'cos we used to fight like cats and dogs
Till we made it up in the ballroom

Ballroom dancing, made a man of me
One, two, three, four
I just plain adore your
Ballroom dancing, seen it on TV
I got what I got from ballroom dancing
Big B.D.

Well I used to fly when I was a kid
And I didn't cry if it hurt a bit
On a carpet ride to a foreign land
At the time of Davy Crockett

But it wasn't always such a pretty sight
'cos we used to fight like cats and dogs
Till we made it up in the ballroom

Ballroom dancing, made a man of me
One, two, three, four
I just plain adore
Your ballroom dancing, seen it on TV
I got quite a lot from ballroom dancing
Big B.D

Well it went so fast and we all grew up,
Now the days that passed in the china cup
Are the memories of another day
And I wouldn't want to knock it

But it wasn't always such a pretty sight,
'cos we used to fight like cats and dogs
Till we made it up in the ballroom

Ballroom dancing made a man of me
One, two, three, four
I just plain adore
Your ballroom dancing, seen it on TV
I got quite a lot from ballroom dancing
Big B.D.

Oh!

Officially appears on


Tug Of War

Official album • Released in 1982

4:08 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Arrangement, Backing vocals, Bass, Drums, Electric guitar, Percussion, Piano, Vocal
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals, Piano
Denny Laine :
Electric guitar
Ringo Starr :
Drums
Eric Stewart :
Backing vocals
George Martin :
Arrangement, Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Jon Jacobs :
Assistant mixing engineer, Assistant recording engineer
John Barclay :
Horn
Jack Brymer :
Clarinet gliss
Peter Marshall :
Narration
Chris Spedding :
Guitar
David Ogden :
Violin
David Willis :
Saxophone
Raymond Swinfield :
Saxophone
Thomas Whittle :
Horn

Session Recording:
Jan 02, 1981
Studio :
Parkgate Studio, Sussex, UK

Session Overdubs:
Dec 14, 1980
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Session Overdubs:
Mar 17, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

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


A sample from "Tug Of War"

12" Single • Released in 1982

4:06 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Arrangement, Backing vocals, Bass, Drums, Electric guitar, Percussion, Piano, Vocal
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals, Piano
Denny Laine :
Electric guitar
Ringo Starr :
Drums
Eric Stewart :
Backing vocals
George Martin :
Arrangement, Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Jon Jacobs :
Assistant mixing engineer, Assistant recording engineer
John Barclay :
Horn
Jack Brymer :
Clarinet gliss
Peter Marshall :
Narration
Chris Spedding :
Guitar
David Ogden :
Violin
David Willis :
Saxophone
Raymond Swinfield :
Saxophone
Thomas Whittle :
Horn

Session Recording:
Jan 02, 1981
Studio :
Parkgate Studio, Sussex, UK

Session Overdubs:
Dec 14, 1980
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Session Overdubs:
Mar 17, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

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


Give My Regards To Broad Street (CD version)

Official album • Released in 1984

4:51 • Studio versionB

Paul McCartney :
Piano, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Piano, Vocals
Ringo Starr :
Drums
George Martin :
Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Recording engineer (?)
Jon Jacobs :
Assistant engineer (?)
John Barclay :
Horn
Dave Edmunds :
Guitar
John Paul Jones :
Bass
Ray Swinfield :
Horn
Henry MacKenzie :
Horn
Stuart Breed :
Assistant engineer (?)
Chris Spedding :
Electric guitar, Guitar
David Willis :
Horn
Jack Armstrong :
Horn
Jonh Barclay :
Horn
Alan Donney :
Horn
Dougie Robinson :
Horn
Tommy Whittle :
Horn
John Kelly :
Recording engineer (?)

Give My Regards To Broad Street (LP version)

Official album • Released in 1984

4:35 • Studio version


Give My Regards To Broad Street (1993)

Official album • Released in 1993

4:51 • Studio version


Tug Of War (1993)

Official album • Released in 1993

4:08 • Studio versionA1993 • 1993 remaster

Paul McCartney :
Arrangement, Backing vocals, Bass, Drums, Electric guitar, Percussion, Piano, Vocal
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals, Piano
Denny Laine :
Electric guitar
Ringo Starr :
Drums
Eric Stewart :
Backing vocals
George Martin :
Arrangement, Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Jon Jacobs :
Assistant mixing engineer, Assistant recording engineer
John Barclay :
Horn
Jack Brymer :
Clarinet gliss
Peter Marshall :
Narration
Chris Spedding :
Guitar
David Ogden :
Violin
David Willis :
Saxophone
Raymond Swinfield :
Saxophone
Thomas Whittle :
Horn

Session Recording:
Jan 02, 1981
Studio :
Parkgate Studio, Sussex, UK

Session Overdubs:
Dec 14, 1980
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Session Overdubs:
Mar 17, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

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


Tug Of War - Archive Collection

Official album • Released in 2015

4:08 • Studio versionC • 2015 remix

Paul McCartney :
Arrangement, Backing vocals, Bass, Drums, Electric guitar, Percussion, Piano, Remixing, Vocal
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals, Piano
Denny Laine :
Electric guitar
Ringo Starr :
Drums
Eric Stewart :
Backing vocals
George Martin :
Arrangement, Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Recording engineer
Jon Jacobs :
Assistant recording engineer
John Barclay :
Horn
Jack Brymer :
Clarinet gliss
Peter Marshall :
Narration
Chris Spedding :
Guitar
David Ogden :
Violin
David Willis :
Saxophone
Raymond Swinfield :
Saxophone
Thomas Whittle :
Horn
Alex Wharton :
Mastering
Steve Orchard :
Remixing

Session Recording:
Jan 02, 1981
Studio :
Parkgate Studio, Sussex, UK

Session Overdubs:
Dec 14, 1980
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Session Overdubs:
Mar 17, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Session Mixing:
Mar 02, 2015
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK


Tug Of War - Archive Collection

Official album • Released in 2015

2:02 • DemoD

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


Tug Of War - Archive Collection

Official album • Released in 2015

Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Arrangement, Backing vocals, Bass, Drums, Electric guitar, Percussion, Piano, Vocal
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals, Piano
Denny Laine :
Electric guitar
Ringo Starr :
Drums
Eric Stewart :
Backing vocals
George Martin :
Arrangement, Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Jon Jacobs :
Assistant mixing engineer, Assistant recording engineer
John Barclay :
Horn
Jack Brymer :
Clarinet gliss
Peter Marshall :
Narration
Chris Spedding :
Guitar
David Ogden :
Violin
David Willis :
Saxophone
Raymond Swinfield :
Saxophone
Thomas Whittle :
Horn

Session Recording:
Jan 02, 1981
Studio :
Parkgate Studio, Sussex, UK

Session Overdubs:
Dec 14, 1980
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Session Overdubs:
Mar 17, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

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

Bootlegs


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol.15

Unofficial album

4:15 • Rehearsal

Session Recording:
Jul 04, 1980
Studio :
Finchden Manor, Tenterden, Kent, UK


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol.15

Unofficial album

1:59 • Demo

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


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol.16

Unofficial album

7:50 • Rehearsal

Session Recording:
Oct 30, 1980
Studio :
Pugin Hall, Tenterden, Kent, UK


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol.30

Unofficial album

4:28 • Studio version


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol.30

Unofficial album

6:14 • Studio version


Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.


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