The Paul McCartney Project

Dear Friend

Album This song officially appears on the Wild Life Official album.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1971
Sessions This song has been recorded during the following sessions

Other message songs to John Lennon

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. 

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.

Last updated on November 2, 2018

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?

Officially appears on


Wild Life

Official album • Released in 1971

5:59 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Bass (?), Piano, Vibraphone (?), Vocals
Denny Laine:
Bass (?)
Denny Seiwell:
Drums, Trumpet (?)
Richard Hewson:
Orchestration

Session Recording:
Jul 24, 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 versionA

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


Wild Life (2018)

Official album • Released in 2018

Studio version • 2018 Remaster


Wild Life (2018)

Official album • Released in 2018

Rough mix


Wild Life (2018)

Official album • Released in 2018

Demo • Home Recording I


Wild Life (2018)

Official album • Released in 2018

Demo • Home Recording II

Bootlegs


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


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol.28

Unofficial album • Released in 2004

4:51 • Demo


Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.


Contribute!

Have you spotted an error on the page? Do you want to suggest new content? Or do you simply want to leave a comment ? Please use the form below!

Your comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


45 Years Ago: Paul McCartney Introduces Wings With the Tossed-Off 'Wild Life' 2 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, […]