The Paul McCartney Project

Beautiful Night

Written by Paul McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the Flaming Pie Official album.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1997
Timeline This song has been written (or started being written) in 1986 (Paul McCartney was 44 years old)

Related sessions

This song has been recorded during the following studio sessions


Home recordings

August 1986






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Song facts

From Wikipedia:

Beautiful Night” is a song by Paul McCartney and is the 13th track on his 1997 album Flaming Pie. In December 1997, it was released as the third and final single from that album, peaking at number 25 in the UK Singles Chart (see 1997 in British music).

The song was originally recorded in August 1986 in New York. That version can be heard on the CD single as part of the “Oobu Joobu” section.

The song features the first of two collaborations McCartney performed with Ringo Starr on Flaming Pie (the second being “Really Love You“) as well as an orchestration by George Martin, recorded at Abbey Road Studios.

The video accompanying the single was directed by Julien Temple and had to be re-edited as a brief glimpse of a woman skinnydipping caused a minor controversy. Also appearing in the video were Ringo Starr, Linda McCartney (her final appearance in a music video) and the band Spud (although they are shown performing with McCartney, they did not contribute to the recording of the track). The video debuted during an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

From the album liner notes:

Working on the Anthology prompted Paul to suggest that he and ringo renew a collaboration not experienced for ten years. “Beautiful Night” was a decade old itself, and a recording made in New York had been on the shelf, unused, since 1986. With Paul at the piano and Ringo on drums (playing, incidentally, a replica arrangement of his own kit, which Paul had bought and modeled on Ringo’s set up after the “Real Love” session) the song came together comfortably. Wanting to play some guitar on the end, Paul also introduced a new element to his composition, the uptempo finale. Finally, the recording was enhanced by an orchestral arrangement scored by George Martin and overdubbed at Abbey Road on St. Valentine’s Day 1997.

“I unearthed this old song for when Ringo was coming, changed a few lyrics and it was really like the old days, I realized that we hadn’t done this for so long, but it was very comfortable. And it was still there.”

Paul McCartney, in Club Sandwich n°82, Summer 1997:

I wrote ‘Beautiful Night’ quite a few years ago, and I’ve always liked it, and people who heard an early recording that I made in New York, with some of Billy Joel’s players, have said that they liked it too. But I always felt that we hadn’t quite “pulled it off’ – you know? We had a good evening and a great time but I just didn’t feel that it was the one. Also, I was still changing a few lyrics. So I did it with Ringo instead – I’ve been saying to him for years that we should do some more work together. He’s great. 

I sat at the piano and Ringo sat at the drums. It was so comfortable and lovely to work with him again. Jeff Lynne and I produced. Ringo was very happy with it and we tagged on the fast bit at the end, which wasn’t on the original recording. 

Ringo came here, to the studio, to do ‘Free As A Bird’ and ‘Real Love’, and brought his kit with him. It sounds great when it’s recorded, the snare, the bass. He then left his kit here, in storage, so I phoned up and ordered exactly the same pieces, and set up my new kit in exactly the same way. In fact, Ringo used my model of his kit for ‘Beautiful Night’.

Mark Lewisohn, in Club Sandwich n°82, Summer 1997:

[…] With Paul at the piano and Ringo on drums, the song came together comfortably. Wanting to play some guitar on the end, Paul introduced a new element to his composition, the uptempo finale, and the microphone caught some characteristic ad-libbing by Ringo and Paul as they prepared to leave the studio. The recording then remained the same for nine months before Paul decided to have it enhanced by an orchestral arrangement, scored by George Martin and recorded in Studio One at Abbey Road on 14 February 1997.

Ringo Starr, in Club Sandwich N°83, Autumn 1997:

Tell me how you came to work with Paul again, this time round.

He had this song he wanted me to play on. And that’s what happened – I went down to his studio and we played on the track. What’s it called?

‘Beautiful Night’!

Yeah, I’m sorry! He invited me to play on ‘Beautiful Night’ and I said “Sure”. I think it’s a beautiful track. […]

You are also singing on ‘Beautiful Night’.

I’m singing on the return at the end, yeah. He said, “You can sing this” and I said “Okay, thanks. What notes are they?” and sang them. When we go and do his song he’s in charge. I mean, I can give him everything I’ve got, but he’s written the song and he has a programme for it. If I do something that changes it and he likes it, then we’ll do that. But he is Mr McCartney when we do his song. And I’m Mr Ringo when we do mine. We’re just musician buddies. […]

Ringo Starr, in Club Sandwich N°83, Autumn 1997

Last updated on June 16, 2020

Lyrics

Someone's gone out fishing
Someone's high and dry
Someone's on a mission, to the lonely Lorelei
Some folks got a vision of a castle in the sky
And I'm left stranded, wondering why

You and me together
Nothing feels so good
Even if I get a medal from my local neighbourhood
I won't need a castle, they've got castles in Versailles
And I'm still stranded, wondering why

Make it a beautiful night for me
It's a beautiful night for love
A wonderful sight for lovers of love to behold
Make it a beautiful night for me
It's a beautiful night for love
A wonderful sight for lovers of love to behold

Some boat's on the ocean
We're here in this room
Seems to me the perfect way to spend an afternoon
We can look for castles, pretty castles in the sky
No more wondering, wondering why

Things can go wrong, things can go right
Things can go bump in the dead of the night
So let me be there, let me be there
Let me be there with you in the dead of the night

Make it a beautiful night for me
It's a beautiful night for love
A wonderful sight for lovers of love to behold
Make it a beautiful night for me
Such a beautiful night for love
Such a wonderful sight for lovers of love to behold

Yeah, it's a beautiful night
Yeah, it's a beautiful night

Yeah, beautiful night, beautiful night
It's such a beautiful night, beautiful night.

Officially appears on


Flaming Pie

Official album • Released in 1997

5:03 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Additional percussion, Backing vocal, Bass guitar, Electric guitar, Hammond organ, Lead vocal, Piano, Producer, Wurlitzer piano
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocal
Ringo Starr :
Additional percussion, Backing vocal, Drums
Jeff Lynne :
Acoustic guitar, Backing vocal, Electric guitar, Producer
George Martin :
Orchestral arrangement
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Jon Jacobs :
Recording engineer
John Barclay :
Trumpet
Keith Smith :
Assistant engineer
David Ogden :
Violin
Susan Milan :
Flute
Belinda Bunt :
Violin
Roger Garland :
Violin
Maciej Rakowski :
Violin
Rita Manning :
Violin
Bernard Partridge :
Violin
Jeremy Williams :
Violin
David Woodcock :
Violin
Graeme Scott :
Viola
Robert Bailey :
Cello
Anthony Pleeth :
Cello
Chris Laurence :
Double-bass
Michael Thompson :
Horn
Richard Watkins :
Horn
Andrew Crowley :
Trumpet
Mark Bennett :
Trumpet
Nigel Black :
Horn
Richard Edwards :
Trombone
Andy Fawbert :
Trombone
Marcia Crayford :
Violin
Adrian Levine :
Violin
Jackie Hartley :
Violin
Keith Pascoe :
Violin
Julian Tear :
Violin
Briony Shaw :
Violin
Bogustav Kostecki :
Violin
Jonathan Reeves :
Violin
Robert Smissen :
Viola
Stephen Thees :
Viola
Levine Andrade :
Viola
Philip Dukes :
Viola
Ivo Van Der Werff :
Viola
Stephen Orton :
Cello
Martin Loveday :
Cello
Robin McGee :
Double-bass
David Theodore :
Oboe

Session Recording:
May 13, 1996
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Recording:
May 14, 1996
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Overdubs:
Feb 14, 1997
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

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


Beautiful Night #2

EP • Released in 1997

5.03 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Additional percussion, Backing vocal, Bass guitar, Electric guitar, Hammond organ, Lead vocal, Piano, Producer, Wurlitzer piano
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocal
Ringo Starr :
Additional percussion, Backing vocal, Drums
Jeff Lynne :
Acoustic guitar, Backing vocal, Electric guitar, Producer
George Martin :
Orchestral arrangement
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Jon Jacobs :
Recording engineer
John Barclay :
Trumpet
Keith Smith :
Assistant engineer
David Ogden :
Violin
Susan Milan :
Flute
Belinda Bunt :
Violin
Roger Garland :
Violin
Maciej Rakowski :
Violin
Rita Manning :
Violin
Bernard Partridge :
Violin
Jeremy Williams :
Violin
David Woodcock :
Violin
Graeme Scott :
Viola
Robert Bailey :
Cello
Anthony Pleeth :
Cello
Chris Laurence :
Double-bass
Michael Thompson :
Horn
Richard Watkins :
Horn
Andrew Crowley :
Trumpet
Mark Bennett :
Trumpet
Nigel Black :
Horn
Richard Edwards :
Trombone
Andy Fawbert :
Trombone
Marcia Crayford :
Violin
Adrian Levine :
Violin
Jackie Hartley :
Violin
Keith Pascoe :
Violin
Julian Tear :
Violin
Briony Shaw :
Violin
Bogustav Kostecki :
Violin
Jonathan Reeves :
Violin
Robert Smissen :
Viola
Stephen Thees :
Viola
Levine Andrade :
Viola
Philip Dukes :
Viola
Ivo Van Der Werff :
Viola
Stephen Orton :
Cello
Martin Loveday :
Cello
Robin McGee :
Double-bass
David Theodore :
Oboe

Session Recording:
May 13, 1996
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Recording:
May 14, 1996
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Overdubs:
Feb 14, 1997
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

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


Beautiful Night #1

EP • Released in 1997

5:03 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Additional percussion, Backing vocal, Bass guitar, Electric guitar, Hammond organ, Lead vocal, Piano, Producer, Wurlitzer piano
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocal
Ringo Starr :
Additional percussion, Backing vocal, Drums
Jeff Lynne :
Acoustic guitar, Backing vocal, Electric guitar, Producer
George Martin :
Orchestral arrangement
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Jon Jacobs :
Recording engineer
John Barclay :
Trumpet
Keith Smith :
Assistant engineer
David Ogden :
Violin
Susan Milan :
Flute
Belinda Bunt :
Violin
Roger Garland :
Violin
Maciej Rakowski :
Violin
Rita Manning :
Violin
Bernard Partridge :
Violin
Jeremy Williams :
Violin
David Woodcock :
Violin
Graeme Scott :
Viola
Robert Bailey :
Cello
Anthony Pleeth :
Cello
Chris Laurence :
Double-bass
Michael Thompson :
Horn
Richard Watkins :
Horn
Andrew Crowley :
Trumpet
Mark Bennett :
Trumpet
Nigel Black :
Horn
Richard Edwards :
Trombone
Andy Fawbert :
Trombone
Marcia Crayford :
Violin
Adrian Levine :
Violin
Jackie Hartley :
Violin
Keith Pascoe :
Violin
Julian Tear :
Violin
Briony Shaw :
Violin
Bogustav Kostecki :
Violin
Jonathan Reeves :
Violin
Robert Smissen :
Viola
Stephen Thees :
Viola
Levine Andrade :
Viola
Philip Dukes :
Viola
Ivo Van Der Werff :
Viola
Stephen Orton :
Cello
Martin Loveday :
Cello
Robin McGee :
Double-bass
David Theodore :
Oboe

Session Recording:
May 13, 1996
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Recording:
May 14, 1996
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Overdubs:
Feb 14, 1997
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

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


Beautiful Night #1

EP • Released in 1997

4:02 • Studio versionB • 1986 original version

Paul McCartney :
Piano, Vocals
Phil Ramone :
Producer
Neil Jason :
Bass
David Brown :
Electric guitar
Liberty Devitto :
Drums
David Lebolt :
Synthesizer
Steve Rinkoff :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Dave O'Donnell :
Assistant mixing engineer, Assistant recording engineer

Session Recording:
Aug 21-22, 1986
Studio :
The Power Station, New York, USA


Flaming Pies

Official album • Released in 1997

5:03 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Additional percussion, Backing vocal, Bass guitar, Electric guitar, Hammond organ, Lead vocal, Piano, Producer, Wurlitzer piano
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocal
Ringo Starr :
Additional percussion, Backing vocal, Drums
Jeff Lynne :
Acoustic guitar, Backing vocal, Electric guitar, Producer
George Martin :
Orchestral arrangement
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Jon Jacobs :
Recording engineer
John Barclay :
Trumpet
Keith Smith :
Assistant engineer
David Ogden :
Violin
Susan Milan :
Flute
Belinda Bunt :
Violin
Roger Garland :
Violin
Maciej Rakowski :
Violin
Rita Manning :
Violin
Bernard Partridge :
Violin
Jeremy Williams :
Violin
David Woodcock :
Violin
Graeme Scott :
Viola
Robert Bailey :
Cello
Anthony Pleeth :
Cello
Chris Laurence :
Double-bass
Michael Thompson :
Horn
Richard Watkins :
Horn
Andrew Crowley :
Trumpet
Mark Bennett :
Trumpet
Nigel Black :
Horn
Richard Edwards :
Trombone
Andy Fawbert :
Trombone
Marcia Crayford :
Violin
Adrian Levine :
Violin
Jackie Hartley :
Violin
Keith Pascoe :
Violin
Julian Tear :
Violin
Briony Shaw :
Violin
Bogustav Kostecki :
Violin
Jonathan Reeves :
Violin
Robert Smissen :
Viola
Stephen Thees :
Viola
Levine Andrade :
Viola
Philip Dukes :
Viola
Ivo Van Der Werff :
Viola
Stephen Orton :
Cello
Martin Loveday :
Cello
Robin McGee :
Double-bass
David Theodore :
Oboe

Session Recording:
May 13, 1996
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Recording:
May 14, 1996
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Overdubs:
Feb 14, 1997
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

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


Flaming Pie - 6-track sampler cassette

Cassette • Released in 1997

5:02 • Rough mixA1 • It is a rough mix which features the backing prior to the orchestral overdubs

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Additional percussion, Backing vocal, Bass guitar, Electric guitar, Hammond organ, Lead vocal, Piano, Producer, Wurlitzer piano
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocal
Ringo Starr :
Additional percussion, Backing vocal, Drums
Jeff Lynne :
Acoustic guitar, Backing vocal, Electric guitar, Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Jon Jacobs :
Recording engineer
Keith Smith :
Assistant engineer

Session Recording:
May 13, 1996
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Recording:
May 14, 1996
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

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


Pure McCartney (Deluxe)

Official album • Released in 2016

4:43 • Studio versionA2016

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Additional percussion, Backing vocal, Bass guitar, Electric guitar, Hammond organ, Lead vocal, Piano, Producer, Wurlitzer piano
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocal
Ringo Starr :
Additional percussion, Backing vocal, Drums
Jeff Lynne :
Acoustic guitar, Backing vocal, Electric guitar, Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Jon Jacobs :
Recording engineer
John Barclay :
Trumpet
Keith Smith :
Assistant engineer
David Ogden :
Violin
Susan Milan :
Flute
Belinda Bunt :
Violin
Roger Garland :
Violin
Maciej Rakowski :
Violin
Rita Manning :
Violin
Bernard Partridge :
Violin
Jeremy Williams :
Violin
David Woodcock :
Violin
Graeme Scott :
Viola
Robert Bailey :
Cello
Anthony Pleeth :
Cello
Chris Laurence :
Double-bass
Alex Wharton :
Remastering
Michael Thompson :
Horn
Richard Watkins :
Horn
Andrew Crowley :
Trumpet
Mark Bennett :
Trumpet
Nigel Black :
Horn
Richard Edwards :
Trombone
Andy Fawbert :
Trombone
Marcia Crayford :
Violin
Adrian Levine :
Violin
Jackie Hartley :
Violin
Keith Pascoe :
Violin
Julian Tear :
Violin
Briony Shaw :
Violin
Bogustav Kostecki :
Violin
Jonathan Reeves :
Violin
Robert Smissen :
Viola
Stephen Thees :
Viola
Levine Andrade :
Viola
Philip Dukes :
Viola
Ivo Van Der Werff :
Viola
Stephen Orton :
Cello
Martin Loveday :
Cello
Robin McGee :
Double-bass
David Theodore :
Oboe

Session Recording:
May 13, 1996
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Recording:
May 14, 1996
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Overdubs:
Feb 14, 1997
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

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


Flaming Pie - Archive Collection

Official album • Released in 2020

5:08 • Studio versionA • 2020 remaster

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Additional percussion, Backing vocal, Bass guitar, Electric guitar, Hammond organ, Lead vocal, Piano, Producer, Wurlitzer piano
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocal
Ringo Starr :
Additional percussion, Backing vocal, Drums
Jeff Lynne :
Acoustic guitar, Backing vocal, Electric guitar, Producer
George Martin :
Orchestral arrangement
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Jon Jacobs :
Recording engineer
John Barclay :
Trumpet
Keith Smith :
Assistant engineer
David Ogden :
Violin
Susan Milan :
Flute
Belinda Bunt :
Violin
Roger Garland :
Violin
Maciej Rakowski :
Violin
Rita Manning :
Violin
Bernard Partridge :
Violin
Jeremy Williams :
Violin
David Woodcock :
Violin
Graeme Scott :
Viola
Robert Bailey :
Cello
Anthony Pleeth :
Cello
Chris Laurence :
Double-bass
Michael Thompson :
Horn
Richard Watkins :
Horn
Andrew Crowley :
Trumpet
Mark Bennett :
Trumpet
Nigel Black :
Horn
Richard Edwards :
Trombone
Andy Fawbert :
Trombone
Marcia Crayford :
Violin
Adrian Levine :
Violin
Jackie Hartley :
Violin
Keith Pascoe :
Violin
Julian Tear :
Violin
Briony Shaw :
Violin
Bogustav Kostecki :
Violin
Jonathan Reeves :
Violin
Robert Smissen :
Viola
Stephen Thees :
Viola
Levine Andrade :
Viola
Philip Dukes :
Viola
Ivo Van Der Werff :
Viola
Stephen Orton :
Cello
Martin Loveday :
Cello
Robin McGee :
Double-bass
David Theodore :
Oboe

Session Recording:
May 13, 1996
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Recording:
May 14, 1996
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Overdubs:
Feb 14, 1997
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

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


Flaming Pie - Archive Collection

Official album • Released in 2020

4:27 • Studio versionC • 1995 demo


Flaming Pie - Archive Collection

Official album • Released in 2020

4:09 • Studio versionD • Run Through

Bootlegs


Where Footprints Never Go - Unofficial Rarities - Ultimate Archive Collection

Unofficial album • Released in 2016

1:02 • Studio versionE • From "Flaming Pie" EPK #2

Paul McCartney :
Piano, Vocals

Session Recording:
Spring - summer 1997 ?
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol.20

Unofficial album

6:12 • Studio version


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol.24

Unofficial album

2:00 • Studio version


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol.24

Unofficial album

1:23 • Studio version


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol.24

Unofficial album

0:45 • Studio version


Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.


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