Bluebird

Album This song officially appears on the Band On The Run (UK version) Official album.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1973

Related sessions

This song has been recorded during the following studio sessions


"James Paul McCartney" sessions

February - March 1973




"Band On The Run" sessions #3

Late October / Early November 1973





Other songs named after a bird


On The Wings Of A Nightingale

Officially appears on EB 84



Single Pigeon

Officially appears on Red Rose Speedway


Blackbird

Officially appears on The Beatles (Mono)


Two Magpies

Officially appears on Electric Arguments


Long Tailed Winter Bird

Officially appears on McCartney III

Related interviews


Meeting The Beatles : Exclusive Interview with Howie Casey

Jun 01, 2018 • From Beatles Magazine


Maybe We're Amazed

May 05, 2001 • From TV Guide


Paul's fun on the run

Dec 08, 1973 • From Disc and Music Echo

Related articles


Spread the love! If you like what you are seeing, share it on social networks and let others know about The Paul McCartney Project.

Song facts

From Wikipedia:

“Bluebird” is a song written by Paul and Linda McCartney and originally performed by the British rock band Wings, released on their 1973 album Band on the Run. According to author John Blaney, it was written during a vacation in Jamaica. However, author Vincent Benitez claims the song was written as early as 1970 or 1971, noting that Paul and Linda sang the song during a live interview in New York City in 1971. In Continental Europe it was also released as the B-side of the “Mrs. Vandebilt” single.

Recording and music

“Bluebird” was reportedly composed by McCartney in 1971, during his holiday in Jamaica. Although much of the Band on the Run album was recorded in Lagos, Nigeria in August and September 1973, “Bluebird” was completed later in 1973 at AIR Studios in London. The percussionist on the song, Remi Kabaka, was from Lagos but happened to be in London when the song was being recorded. One highlight of the song is a saxophone solo played by session musician Howie Casey. Casey repeated his solo during the Wings Over the World tour in 1975 and 1976. Other musical elements of the song include acoustic guitars and calypso-like percussion.

Lyrics and chords

In the lyrics, Paul McCartney compares himself in love to a bluebird. The opening lyrics are:

Late at night when the wind is still
I’ll come flying through your door
And you’ll know what love is for
I’m a bluebird

Blaney interprets the bluebird as “a metaphor for the transcendent power of love and the liberation of the human spirit from mental and physical bondage”. Benitez regards the bluebird as a metaphor for love itself – love that is the only source of transcendent freedom. The song describes the singer’s revitalization after having been upset at the beginning of the song. Jon Landau describes the song as “a simple love song” but sees in its “flying” motif a continuation of the theme of escape that runs throughout the Band on the Run album. The singer tells his lover that when he, as a bluebird, kisses her she can also become a bluebird, at which point they become absolutely free.

The song is in the key of F major although it sounds like it is in E-flat major due to the way the guitars are tuned. The refrain is simply a rhythmic chart based on the phrase “I’m a Bluebird” sung by McCartney with Linda and Denny Laine providing harmony. Benitez states about the music that “the harmonic schemes of verse and chorus strongly suggest that the text of each verse raises a question, only to be answered by each chorus through its exclamations of being a bluebird.”

Reception

Donald Guarisco of AllMusic describes “Bluebird” as “a simple bit of acoustic pop that overflows with hooks thanks to a slick arrangement” and “a delightful, breezy pop tune”. NME critics Roy Carr and Tony Tyler commented that McCartney’s “lightweight touch … works superbly on ‘Bluebird'” and likened it to “Blackbird” from the Beatles’ self-titled double album (also known as the “White Album”).

Paul McCartney & Wings (with Joe English and Jimmy McCulloch) recorded “Bluebird” along with an apology to Japanese fans for their being unable to tour in Japan after he was denied entry into the country. An incomplete version of the video was included with the 25th Anniversary Edition of Band on the Run, and a longer version (including the apology) was included on the 2001 documentary Wingspan – An Intimate Portrait.

In 2017 Rolling Stone magazine ranked “Bluebird” as McCartney’s 14th greatest post-Beatles song, stating that it “features a bittersweet melody only McCartney could have written, carried along by guitar that lilts like Brazilian bossa nova and soft-touch percussion from Nigerian instrumentalist Remi Kabaka”. […]

From Paul McCartney In His Own Words, Paul Gambaccini:

The only other musician on the album, other than the orchestra, is, funnily enough, African! We were gonna use African musicians, but when we were told we were about to pinch the music we thought ‘Well, up you, we’ll do it ourselves then, so there’s no question about it.’ Then we were back in London working at AIR Studios and this old friend from the past named Remi Kabaka turns up. And he’s from Lagos! He played on one of the tracks, he plays a bit of percussion on Bluebird, so he’s the only one who ended up doing anything on the album.

We wrote it in Jamaica when we were on holiday. In the recording, we used a bloke called Harry Casey who we’ve never used before. I know him from way back, when we were in Hamburg. Then he used to be in a group called Derry and the Seniors – at that time he looked about 40, with his pork-pie hat and long drape jacket. Now he looks about 25 and is your groovy session player! He played a blinder of a sax solo.

Helping us on percussion is a guy called Lenny Kabaka – the only African we used. When we were back in London he just turned up at the studio, and we found out he was from Lagos!

Paul McCartney – From interview with Disc Magazine, 1973

Last updated on March 19, 2022

Lyrics

Late at night when the wind is still
I'll come flying through your door
And you'll know what love is for,
I'm a bluebird
I'm a bluebird
I'm a bluebird

Touch your lips with a magic kiss,
And you'll be a bluebird too,
And you'll know what love can do,
I'm a bluebird
I'm a bluebird
I'm a bluebird

Bluebird - Ah - Ha
Bluebird - Ah - Ha
Bluebird Bluebird

Fly away through the midnight air,
As we head across the sea,
And at last we will be free,
You're a bluebird
You're a bluebird yea – yea, yea,
You're a bluebird

Bluebird - Ah – Ha . . .

SAX SOLO

Bluebird - Ah – Ha . . .

All alone on a desert island
We're living in the trees,
And we're flying in the breeze
We're the bluebirds
We're the bluebirds
We're the bluebirds
Singing Bluebird ...

Officially appears on


Band On The Run (UK version)

Official album • Released in 1973

3:24 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Backing vocals, Bass, Chimes (?), Guiro (?), Maracas (?), Percussion (?), Producer, Triangle (?), Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals, Chimes (?)
Denny Laine :
Acoustic guitar, Backing vocals
Howie Casey :
Sax
Remi Kabaka :
Drums, Percussion
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Monday :
Assistant engineer
Pete Swettenham :
Assistant engineer

Session Recording:
September 1-23, 1973
Studio :
EMI Studios, Lagos, Nigeria

Session Overdubs:
October 1973
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Session Mixing:
Late October / Early November 1973
Studio :
Kingsway Studios, London, UK

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


Band On The Run (US version)

Official album • Released in 1973

3:24 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Backing vocals, Bass, Chimes (?), Guiro (?), Maracas (?), Percussion (?), Producer, Triangle (?), Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals, Chimes (?)
Denny Laine :
Acoustic guitar, Backing vocals
Howie Casey :
Sax
Remi Kabaka :
Drums, Percussion
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Monday :
Assistant engineer
Pete Swettenham :
Assistant engineer

Session Recording:
September 1-23, 1973
Studio :
EMI Studios, Lagos, Nigeria

Session Overdubs:
October 1973
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Session Mixing:
Late October / Early November 1973
Studio :
Kingsway Studios, London, UK

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


Wings Over America

Official live • Released in 1976

3:44 • LiveL1

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Producer, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Vocals
Denny Laine :
Acoustic guitar, Vocals
Jimmy McCulloch :
Acoustic guitar, Vocals
Howie Casey :
Saxophone
Joe English :
Drums, Vocals
Mark Vigars :
Assistant mixing engineer
Phil McDonald :
Mixing engineer, Overdubs recording
Jack Maxson :
Recording engineer
Tom Walsh :
Assistant recording engineer

Concert From the concert in Cincinnati, USA on May 27, 1976


Band On The Run (1993)

Official album • Released in 1993

3:24 • Studio versionA1993 • 1993 remaster

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Backing vocals, Bass, Chimes (?), Guiro (?), Maracas (?), Percussion (?), Producer, Triangle (?), Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals, Chimes (?)
Denny Laine :
Acoustic guitar, Backing vocals
Howie Casey :
Sax
Remi Kabaka :
Drums, Percussion
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Monday :
Assistant engineer
Pete Swettenham :
Assistant engineer
Peter Mew :
Remastering

Session Recording:
September 1-23, 1973
Studio :
EMI Studios, Lagos, Nigeria

Session Overdubs:
October 1973
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Session Mixing:
Late October / Early November 1973
Studio :
Kingsway Studios, London, UK

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


Band On The Run (DTS 5.1)

Official album • Released in 1996

3:24 • Studio versionB • DTS Mix / Quadraphonic version

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Backing vocals, Bass, Chimes (?), Guiro (?), Maracas (?), Percussion (?), Producer, Triangle (?), Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals, Chimes (?)
Denny Laine :
Acoustic guitar, Backing vocals
Howie Casey :
Sax
Remi Kabaka :
Drums, Percussion
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Monday :
Assistant engineer
Pete Swettenham :
Assistant engineer

Session Recording:
September 1-23, 1973
Studio :
EMI Studios, Lagos, Nigeria

Session Overdubs:
October 1973
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Session Mixing:
Early 1974
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

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


Band On The Run (25th Anniversary)

Official album • Released in 1999

3:24 • Studio versionA1999 • 1999 remaster

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Backing vocals, Bass, Chimes (?), Guiro (?), Maracas (?), Percussion (?), Producer, Triangle (?), Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals, Chimes (?)
Denny Laine :
Acoustic guitar, Backing vocals
Howie Casey :
Sax
Remi Kabaka :
Drums, Percussion
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer, Remastering
Monday :
Assistant engineer
Pete Swettenham :
Assistant engineer
Greg Calbi :
Remastering

Session Recording:
September 1-23, 1973
Studio :
EMI Studios, Lagos, Nigeria

Session Overdubs:
October 1973
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Session Mixing:
Late October / Early November 1973
Studio :
Kingsway Studios, London, UK

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


Band On The Run (25th Anniversary)

Official album • Released in 1999

0:55 • LiveL2 • Recorded during the 1975 Australia tour, as part of a video message for Japanese fans

Performed by :
Paul McCartneyLinda McCartneyDenny LaineJimmy McCullochJoe English
Paul McCartney :
Producer
Geoff White :
Recording engineer

Wingspan Hits And History

Official album • Released in 2001

3:26 • Studio versionA2001 • 2001 remaster

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Backing vocals, Bass, Chimes (?), Guiro (?), Maracas (?), Percussion (?), Producer, Triangle (?), Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals, Chimes (?)
Denny Laine :
Acoustic guitar, Backing vocals
Howie Casey :
Sax
Remi Kabaka :
Drums, Percussion
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer, Remastering
Monday :
Assistant engineer
Pete Swettenham :
Assistant engineer
Peter Mew :
Remastering

Session Recording:
September 1-23, 1973
Studio :
EMI Studios, Lagos, Nigeria

Session Overdubs:
October 1973
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Session Mixing:
Late October / Early November 1973
Studio :
Kingsway Studios, London, UK

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


Wingspan Hits And History (US version)

Official album • Released in 2001

3:26 • Studio versionA2001 • 2001 remaster

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Backing vocals, Bass, Chimes (?), Guiro (?), Maracas (?), Percussion (?), Producer, Triangle (?), Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals, Chimes (?)
Denny Laine :
Acoustic guitar, Backing vocals
Howie Casey :
Sax
Remi Kabaka :
Drums, Percussion
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer, Remastering
Monday :
Assistant engineer
Pete Swettenham :
Assistant engineer
Peter Mew :
Remastering

Session Recording:
September 1-23, 1973
Studio :
EMI Studios, Lagos, Nigeria

Session Overdubs:
October 1973
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Session Mixing:
Late October / Early November 1973
Studio :
Kingsway Studios, London, UK

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


Wingspan Hits And History (Japanese version)

Official album • Released in 2001

3:26 • Studio versionA2001 • 2001 remaster

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Backing vocals, Bass, Chimes (?), Guiro (?), Maracas (?), Percussion (?), Producer, Triangle (?), Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals, Chimes (?)
Denny Laine :
Acoustic guitar, Backing vocals
Howie Casey :
Sax
Remi Kabaka :
Drums, Percussion
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer, Remastering
Monday :
Assistant engineer
Pete Swettenham :
Assistant engineer
Peter Mew :
Remastering

Session Recording:
September 1-23, 1973
Studio :
EMI Studios, Lagos, Nigeria

Session Overdubs:
October 1973
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Session Mixing:
Late October / Early November 1973
Studio :
Kingsway Studios, London, UK

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


Bootlegs


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol. 5

Unofficial album

3:22 • Studio version


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol. 7

Unofficial album

3:21 • Studio version


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol.9

Unofficial album

0:56 • Studio version


Rrrrooock Show

Unofficial live

4:09 • Live

Concert From the concert in Los Angeles, USA on Jun 23, 1976


Welcome To Washington

Unofficial live

4:30 • Live

Concert From the concert in Seattle, USA on Jun 10, 1976


Live performances

“Bluebird” has been played in 62 concerts and 96 soundchecks.

Latest concerts where Bluebird has been played







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