The Paul McCartney Project

Call Me Back Again

Album This song officially appears on the Venus and Mars Official album.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1975

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Song facts

From Wikipedia:

“Call Me Back Again” is a song credited to Paul and Linda McCartney and performed by Wings. It was originally released on the album Venus and Mars. It was performed throughout their world tours in Australia and America and a live version was included on the album Wings Over America. It was also included on the compilation album Wingspan: Hits and History. The song was also included on the theatrical version of the film Rockshow, documenting the Wings 1976 tour, but was excluded from the laserdisc version of the film.

McCartney primarily wrote the song at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, California in 1974 and completed the song in New Orleans, Louisiana, where most of the recording sessions for Venus and Mars, including those for “Call Me Back Again,” took place. Although the song does not reference the city of New Orleans, it is one of the few songs on Venus and Mars to betray the influence of the city. The song is a bluesy New Orleans-style soul ballad. Paul Nelson of Rolling Stone Magazine described it as being “well-sung” and “urban-blues-and-Sixties-soul-influenced.” The lyrics tell of the singer’s grief that his girlfriend no longer returns his phone calls. Although the phone calls from his girlfriend used to bring him joy, now that she stopped returning his calls he pleads for her to call him back again. Allmusic critic Donald A. Guarisco compares the lyrics to lyrics in classic singles by such soul singers as Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding.

“Call Me Back Again” is in the key of F major and in 12/8 time. The structure is relatively simple, alternating the verse and the refrain, with an intro and an outro at the beginning and end. The melody incorporates gospel music elements. The song incorporates a prominent horn part arranged by Tony Dorsey. Other instrumentation includes what Guarisco describes as “searing guitar riffs and pulsating piano lines.”

McCartney’s vocal performance has received considerable praise from critics. John Blaney describes his singing as “a killer vocal that underlines a recording to relish,” which “has a depth of emotion rarely equaled and reveals what a supreme vocalist he is.” Guarisco described his singing as “a wild-eyed wail of a vocal that is a perfect blend of soulful grit and rock energy.” Vincent Benitez particularly praised the vocal performance in the outro, stating that “McCartney shines as a bluesy vocal soloist, ad-libbing as the music fades out.” In the book The Rough Guide to the Beatles, Chris Ingham noted a similarity between McCartney’s vocal in “Call Me Back Again” and that in The Beatles’ song “Oh! Darling,” although he considered “Call Me Back Again” to be “an inert sludge rocker.” Author Tim Riley also remarked on the similarity between “Call Me Back Again” and “Oh! Darling.” Robert Rodriguez, calling the song “a piano-based soul shouter” took the “Oh! Darling” analogy further, stating that it “fully achieved what the Fabs’ ‘Oh! Darling’ only hinted at, with a full-throated vocal unheard since the coda of ‘Hey, Jude’ seven years before.” McCartney himself stated “I ended up just sort of ad-libbing a bit, stretching out a bit. I like that myself. I had a chance to sing.”

Although the lyrics seem straightforward, music professor Vincent Benitez has postulated a possible alternative interpretation. Benitez notes that in the documentary Wingspan-An Intimate Portrait, intersperses a live performance of “Call Me Back Again” with McCartney’s explanation of a short poem he had written at the time about his feelings about the possibility of a Beatles reunion:

Benitez takes this as evidence that the lyrics of “Call Me Back Again” may have included a message that the Beatles were not interested in reuniting. In particular, he notes that this may be the case if the “you” in the chorus “But I ain’t never no no no no no never heard you calling me” refers to a reunion.

Last updated on February 22, 2014

Lyrics

Well when I, when I was
Just a little baby boy
Every night I would call
Your number brought me joy

I called your house, every night since then
But I ain't never, no no never
Heard you calling me
Come on and call me back again
Come on and call me back again

I’ve heard your name
every night since then
But I ain't never, no no never
Heard you calling me
Come on and call me back again
Yeah call me back again

Well when I, when I was
just a little baby boy
Every night,
every night I would call
because your number brought me joy

Oh -– I’ve called your name
every night since then
But I ain't never, no no no no never
Heard you calling me
Come on and call me back again

I’ve called your name
Every night since then
But I ain't never, no no no no never
Heard you calling me
Come on and call me back again
Come on and call me back again
Come on and call me back again
Boo hoo, boo hoo babe
Call me back again
Call me back again
Call me back again
Why won’t you call me back again?

Officially appears on


Venus and Mars

Official album • Released in 1975

5:01 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Clarinet, Producer, Strings arrangement, Vocals
Linda McCartney:
Mellotron flutes
Denny Laine:
Backing vocals, Electric guitar
Jimmy McCulloch:
Electric guitar
Joe English:
Drums
Steve Howard:
Trumpet
Tony Dorsey:
Strings arrangement
Alan O'Duffy:
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Biff Dawes:
Assistant mixing engineer
Clyde Kerr:
Trumpet
John Longo:
Trumpet
Michael Pierce:
Alto sax
Alvin Thomas:
Alto sax
Carl Blouin:
Baritone sax

Wings Over America

Official live • Released in 1976

5:16 • LiveL1

Paul McCartney:
Piano, Producer, Vocals
Linda McCartney:
Keyboard, Vocals
Denny Laine:
Bass, Vocals
Jimmy McCulloch:
Electric guitar, Vocals
Howie Casey:
Saxophone
Joe English:
Drums, Vocals
Thaddeus Richard:
Saxophone
Mark Vigars:
Assistant mixing engineer
Phil McDonald:
Mixing engineer, Overdubs recording
Steve Howard:
Trumpet
Tony Dorsey:
Trombone
Jack Maxson:
Recording engineer
Tom Walsh:
Assistant recording engineer

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


Venus And Mars (1993)

Official album • Released in 1993

5:01 • Studio versionA


Wingspan Hits And History

Official album • Released in 2001

5:00 • Studio version


Wings Over America - Archive Collection

Official live • Released in 2013

5:16 • LiveL1.2013 • 2013 remaster

Paul McCartney:
Piano, Producer, Vocals
Linda McCartney:
Keyboard, Vocals
Denny Laine:
Bass, Vocals
Jimmy McCulloch:
Electric guitar, Vocals
Howie Casey:
Saxophone
Joe English:
Drums, Vocals
Thaddeus Richard:
Saxophone
Mark Vigars:
Assistant mixing engineer
Phil McDonald:
Mixing engineer, Overdubs recording
Steve Howard:
Trumpet
Tony Dorsey:
Trombone
Jack Maxson:
Recording engineer
Tom Walsh:
Assistant recording engineer
Guy Massey:
Remastering
Steve Rooke:
Remastering
Simon Gibson:
Remastering

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


Venus And Mars - Archive Collection

Official album • Released in 2014

5:01 • Studio version

Bootlegs


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol. 6

Unofficial album

2:03 • Studio version


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol. 8

Unofficial album

5:02 • Studio version


Rrrrooock Show

Unofficial live

5:51 • Live

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


Welcome To Washington

Unofficial live

6:25 • Live

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


Venus And Mars Outtakes Are Alright Tonight

Unofficial album

5:25 • Outtake


Live performances

“Call Me Back Again” has been played in 60 concerts.

Latest concerts where “Call Me Back Again” has been played








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gris 6 months ago

I was at the concerts in venice and munich ,see mccartney on st marc square was like a fairy tale to me even though the band seemed a little tired or maybe a little too much Italian wine ,but the munich concert musically speaking was exceptional maybe the best of the whole 1976 tour I say that because I know a lot of recordings from the american tour and that night the rickenbaker man exploded with his voice and talent especially on "call me back again"
Thanks again Paul for a magical night


The PaulMcCartney Project 6 months ago

Thanks for sharing those wonderful memories, Gris !