The Paul McCartney Project

Bluebird

Album This song officially appears on the Band On The Run Official album.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1973
Sessions This song has been recorded during the following sessions

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Song facts

From Wikipedia:

Bluebird” is a song credited to Paul and Linda McCartney that was originally released on the Wings’ album Band on the Run. According to author John Blaney, it was written during a vacation in Jamaica. However, author Vincent Benitz 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 probably composed by McCartney in 1971, during his vacation 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. However, the percussionist on the song, Remi Kebaka, 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

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. 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. 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.

Reaction

Donald Guarisco of Allmusic described “Bluebird” as “a simple bit of acoustic pop that overflows with hooks thanks to a slick arrangement” and “a delightful, breezy pop tune.” Authors Roy Carr and Tony Tyler noted that McCartney’s “lightweight touch…works superbly on ‘Bluebird’ (which recalls “Blackbird” from 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.

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.

Last updated on October 30, 2016

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

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 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 (DTS 5.1)

Official album • Released in 1996

3:24 • DTS mixC

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

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 (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

Wingspan Hits And History

Official album • Released in 2001

3:26 • 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


Never Stop Doing What You Love

Official album • Released in 2005

3:23 • 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 - Archive Collection

Official album • Released in 2010

3:25 • 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 - Archive Collection

Official album • Released in 2010

3:29 • TV showB • From "One Hand Clapping"

Performed by:
Paul McCartneyLinda McCartneyDenny LaineJimmy McCullochHowie CaseyGeoff Britton
Paul McCartney:
Producer
Geoff Emerick:
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Mark Vigars:
Assistant recording engineer
John Barrett:
Assistant mixing engineer

Session Recording:
Aug 27, 1974
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


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 63 soundchecks.

Latest concerts where “Bluebird” has been played








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