Dear Friend

Album This song officially appears on the Wild Life LP.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1971
Timeline This song has been written (or started being written) in 1971 (Paul McCartney was 29 years old)

Master release


Related sessions

This song has been recorded during the following studio sessions


Home recordings

Circa 1970



Wild Life mixing #1

Aug 06, 1971


Wild Life mixing #2

Oct 05, 1971


Other message songs to John Lennon


Too Many People

Officially appears on Ram


Related interviews



You Gave Me The Answer - 'Wild Life' Special

Oct 29, 2018 • From paulmccartney.com


RAM, Wings, and Beyond: An Interview with Denny Seiwell

May 22, 2012 • From The Morton Report



The Club Sandwich Interview

Winter 1994 • From Club Sandwich


Trying to keep things loose

Nov 20, 1971 • From Sounds


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

If we exclude the 53 seconds of “Mumbo Link“, “Dear Friend” is the closing track of Wings’ first album “Wild Life” released in 1971. If “Wild Life” has often been considered as a low-point in Paul McCartney’s career, “Dear Friend” is usually recognized as one of the best tracks of the album (the other one being “Tomorrow“).

The song has been written about John Lennon, as Paul explained in a Club Sandwich interview, 1994:

“Dear Friend” was written about John, yes. I don’t like grief and arguments, they always bug me. Life is too precious, although we often find ourselves guilty of doing it. So after John had slagged me off in public I had to think of a response, and it was either going to be to slag him off in public — and some instinct stopped me, which I’m really glad about — or do something else. So I worked on my attitude and wrote “Dear Friend”, saying, in effect, let’s lay the guns down, let’s hang up our boxing gloves.

From paulmccartney.com, October 29, 2018:

And then with ‘Dear Friend’, that’s sort of me talking to John after we’d had all the sort of disputes about The Beatles break up. I find it very emotional when I listen to it now. I have to sort of choke it back. I’m not going to cry in front of all you lot though! [Paul gestures to the five of us in the room sitting on the edge of our seats, captivated by the story!] But, for me, it is a bit like that. I remember when I heard the song recently, listening to the roughs [remastering works-in-progress] in the car. And I thought, ‘Oh God’. That lyric: ‘Really truly, young and newly wed’. Listening to that was like, ‘Oh my God, it’s true!’ I’m trying to say to John, ‘Look, you know, it’s all cool. Have a glass of wine. Let’s be cool.’ And luckily we did get it back together, which was like a great source of joy because it would have been terrible if he’d been killed as things were at that point and I’d never got to straighten it out with him. This was me reaching out. So, I think it’s very powerful in some very simple way. But it was certainly heartfelt. 

Paul McCartney

Often I would think of John, and what a pity it was that we’d argued so publicly and so viciously at times. At the time of writing this song, in early 1971, he’d called the McCartney album “rubbish” in Rolling Stone magazine. It was a really difficult time. I just felt sad about the breakdown in our friendship, and this song kind of came flowing out. “Dear friend, what’s the time?/ Is this really the borderline? Are we splitting up? Is this ‘you go your way; I’ll go mine’?”

Paul McCartney – From Paul McCartney reveals the stories behind his greatest hits | The Sunday Times Magazine | The Sunday Times (thetimes.co.uk), 2021

It’s just about a dear friend, whatever it means to you. It’s really ‘Dear friend, quit messing around. Let’s just throw the wine, have a good time and stop messing.’ Like George says, ‘Isn’t it a pity that we break each other’s hearts.’ Well, that’s me saying, ‘Let’s not…’

Paul McCartney – From “The Beatles: Off The Record 2 – The Dream is Over: Dream Is Over Vol 2” by Keith Badman

Are there any songs which reply to John?

I don’t write anything consciously. Sometimes when I’m pissed off with John over the Apple business a line might creep in. I suppose when I wrote ‘Too many people preaching practices/Don’t let them tell you what you want to be’ was at him. If there’s anything on this album ‘Dear Friend’ is the nearest thing to that.

Paul McCartney – Interview with Disc And Music Echo, November 1971

The album was completed before John’s album [Imagine] came out

Paul McCartney – Interview with Disc And Music Echo, November 1971

Some have seen this song as an answer to John Lennon’s “How Do You Sleep“, featured on the “Imagine” album. It seems however unlikely as “Imagine” was published in September 1971, while “Dear Friend” has been recorded in July 1971.

From Wings Wild Life | Paul McCartney & Wings

Last updated on April 24, 2022

The book "The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present", published in 2021, covers Paul McCartney's early Liverpool days, the Beatles, Wings, and solo careers, by pairing the lyrics of 154 of his songs with first-person commentaries of the circumstances in which they were written, the people and places that inspired them, and what he thinks of them now.

"Dear Friend" is one of the 154 songs covered.

Lyrics

Dear friend, what's the time
Is this really the borderline
Does it really mean so much to you

Are you afraid, or is it true
Dear friend, throw the wine
I'm in love with a friend of mine
Really truly, young and newly wed
Are you a fool, or is it true

Are you afraid, or is it true?

Variations


A Stereo version • From "Wild Life"

A1993 1993 remaster • From "Wild Life (1993)"

A2018 2018 Remaster • From "Wild Life - Archive Collection"

A2022 2022 half-speed mastering • From "Wild Life (50th Anniversary)"

B Rough mix • From "Wild Life - Archive Collection"

C Home Recording I • From "Wild Life - Archive Collection"

D Home Recording II • From "Wild Life - Archive Collection"

E "Orchestra Up" version

Officially appears on


Wild Life

LP • Released in 1971

5:59 • Studio versionA • Stereo

Paul McCartney :
Bass, Piano, Vibraphone (?), Vocals
Denny Seiwell :
Drums, Trumpet (?)
Richard Hewson :
Orchestration
Tony Clark :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Alan Parsons :
Mixing engineer assistant
Chris Blair :
Recording engineer assistant
Unknown musician(s) :
Four cellos, Four flutes, Harp, Oboe, Tenor saxophone, Two french horns, Two trombones

Session Recording:
Jul 24, 1971
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 05, 1971
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Session Orchestra overdubs:
Oct 16, 1971
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 16, 1971
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

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


Wild Life (1993)

Official album • Released in 1993

5:59 • Studio versionA1993 • Stereo • 1993 remaster

Paul McCartney :
Bass, Piano, Vibraphone (?), Vocals
Denny Seiwell :
Drums, Trumpet (?)
Richard Hewson :
Orchestration
Tony Clark :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Alan Parsons :
Mixing engineer assistant
Peter Mew :
Remastering
Chris Blair :
Recording engineer assistant
Unknown musician(s) :
Four cellos, Four flutes, Harp, Oboe, Tenor saxophone, Two french horns, Two trombones

Session Recording:
Jul 24, 1971
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 05, 1971
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Session Orchestra overdubs:
Oct 16, 1971
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 16, 1971
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

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


Wild Life - Archive Collection

Official album • Released in 2018

5:49 • Studio versionA2018 • Stereo • 2018 Remaster

Paul McCartney :
Bass, Piano, Vibraphone (?), Vocals
Denny Seiwell :
Drums, Trumpet (?)
Richard Hewson :
Orchestration
Tony Clark :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Alan Parsons :
Mixing engineer assistant
Alex Wharton :
Remastering
Chris Blair :
Recording engineer assistant
Steve Orchard :
Remastering
Unknown musician(s) :
Four cellos, Four flutes, Harp, Oboe, Tenor saxophone, Two french horns, Two trombones

Session Recording:
Jul 24, 1971
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 05, 1971
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Session Orchestra overdubs:
Oct 16, 1971
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 16, 1971
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

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


Wild Life - Archive Collection

Official album • Released in 2018

5:53 • Rough mixB

Paul McCartney :
Bass, Piano, Vibraphone (?), Vocals
Denny Seiwell :
Drums, Trumpet (?)
Tony Clark :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Alan Parsons :
Mixing engineer assistant
Alex Wharton :
Mastering
Chris Blair :
Recording engineer assistant

Session Recording:
Jul 24, 1971
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Aug 06, 1971
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

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


Wild Life - Archive Collection

Official album • Released in 2018

4:49 • DemoC • Home Recording I

Performed by :
Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney :
Producer
Alex Wharton :
Mastering

Session Recording:
Circa 1970 ?
Studio :
Campbeltown, Scotland


Wild Life - Archive Collection

Official album • Released in 2018

2:02 • DemoD • Home Recording II

Performed by :
Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney :
Producer
Alex Wharton :
Mastering

Session Recording:
Circa 1970 ?
Studio :
Campbeltown, Scotland


2018 exclusive downloads

Download • Released in 2018

5:59 • Studio versionE • Stereo • Orchestra Up

Paul McCartney :
Bass, Piano, Vibraphone (?), Vocals
Denny Seiwell :
Drums, Trumpet (?)
Richard Hewson :
Orchestration
Tony Clark :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Alan Parsons :
Mixing engineer assistant
Chris Blair :
Recording engineer assistant
Unknown musician(s) :
Four cellos, Four flutes, Harp, Oboe, Tenor saxophone, Two french horns, Two trombones

Session Recording:
Jul 24, 1971
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 05, 1971
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Session Orchestra overdubs:
Oct 16, 1971
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 16, 1971
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

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


Wild Life (50th Anniversary)

LP • Released in 2022

5:59 • Studio versionA2022 • Stereo • 2022 half-speed mastering

Paul McCartney :
Bass, Piano, Vibraphone (?), Vocals
Denny Seiwell :
Drums, Trumpet (?)
Richard Hewson :
Orchestration
Tony Clark :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Alan Parsons :
Mixing engineer assistant
Chris Blair :
Recording engineer assistant
Miles Showell :
Mastering
Unknown musician(s) :
Four cellos, Four flutes, Harp, Oboe, Tenor saxophone, Two french horns, Two trombones

Session Recording:
Jul 24, 1971
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 05, 1971
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Session Orchestra overdubs:
Oct 16, 1971
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 16, 1971
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

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

Bootlegs


Backyard +

Unofficial album

2:14 • Studio rehearsal


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol. 2

Unofficial album • Released in 2002

2:14 • Demo • 1970


Wild Life Demos

Unofficial album • Released in 2003

4:51 • Outtake


Wild Life Demos

Unofficial album • Released in 2003

2:04 • Outtake


Wild Life Demos

Unofficial album • Released in 2003

1:05 • Outtake


Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.

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45 Years Ago: Paul McCartney Introduces Wings With the Tossed-Off 'Wild Life' 6 years ago

[…] “I don’t like grief and arguments; they always bug me,” McCartney told Club Sandwich in 1994. “Life is too precious, although we often find ourselves guilty of doing it. So, […]



Rickie 7 months ago

Wild Life album a low point? Like most of McCartney's work, it's pure genius. (With the exception of the albums made much later whilst he was married to a very unpleasant female) Unique sounding (but not quite as unique as the astounding Red Rose Speedway)


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