The Paul McCartney Project

Despite Repeated Warnings

Written by Paul McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the Egypt Station Official album.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 2018
Sessions This song has been recorded during the following sessions

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Song facts

Despite Repeated Warnings” is a track from 2018 album “Egypt Station“. From “Words Between The Tracks” YouTube series:

I was in Japan and I was reading a newspaper – I think it was like the Tokyo Times, Japan Times or something – and there was something about climate change and it’s typical, you know, the way people are kind of not doing anything about it.

“It’s all gonna be fine, don’t worry, oh yeah sure there’s icebergs melting but it doesn’t matter, it’s not melting in London so don’t worry about it, you know”

And the phrase was in this article, it started off “Despite repeated warnings, they’re not listening”. You know, it’s the idea. I like that phrase “Despite repeated warnings”. I thought, yeah, that sums up a lot of people’s feelings. And then thought, well, what I’ll do is I’ll do a kind of song where I used symbolism and so the person will be symbolic of certain politicians and people who argue that climate change is a hoax, and we know a few. So I’ll do it about that and I’ll get somebody to symbolize one of those people. So I thought, okay it’s a sea captain and he’s steering a boat and he’s gonna go towards the icebergs but he’s been warned, and he’s going because he thinks he’s right, and he thinks they’re all making too much of it. The usual arguments you know…

So that’s what it’s about. It’s a sort of story like the Titanic. If they’d been warned, hey, you’re gonna sink from icebergs, and if the captain said “it doesn’t matter, it’ll be fine”. So it’s that, using that kind of idea, so there’s a sort of mad daft captain, and then there’s all the people on the boat who know he’s got it wrong.

So it’s very symbolic for what’s going on in some areas of politics in my mind. So it’s one of those songs like Band On The Run or Live And Let Die that is kind of episodic and it’s kind of an epic production. That is it, and it is hopefully trying to remind people that climate change is not a hoax, and that we should avoid having a mad captain steering us towards the icebergs.

Paul McCartney

In some other interviews, Paul has been clearer regarding the “certain politicians” he refers to. For instance: 

Beatles legend Paul McCartney has written a song about Donald Trump on his new album. Macca was speaking to students at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA) when he made the announcement. While McCartney, 75, didn’t imply whether the song was in favour of the US President or not, he did say that he felt he HAD to write it.

He told students at LIPA : “Sometimes the situation in the world is so crazy, that you’ve got to address it.”

From Liverpool Echo, July 28, 2017

Trump is in there. Not Brexit, it was written before Brexit. But Trump, definitely. It’s more about anyone who would deny climate change. Y’ know, I’m married to an American, I go to America a lot and I have a lot of American family, American friends… and we tend to be liberal. But there’s one or two that you don’t talk to if you’re out having dinner, ‘cos you know they’re gonna stick up for him. I don’t want to be an activist particularly, but if I feel there’s an injustice I want to make myself heard. Putting this guy Pruitt in charge of the environmental agency, a guy who fought against it when he was in the office – it’s so insane. I know who the captain is, I think most people get it.

From  Paul McCartney interview in MOJO October 2018

On a Twitter Q&A in September 2018, Paul explained his goal on making a song about bullying:

You talk about a lot of social issues on the album, such as bullying and global warming. What was your goal or your reasoning for these songs? They’re great.

Oh thanks! They’re subjects that interest me & the nice thing about being a songwriter is you can sometimes make a difference with a song. If you don’t lay it on too thick and become preachy then I think it can influence people’s thoughts in a good way. That’s what I hope anyway!

Paul McCartney

Here is what producer Greg Kurstin has to say about “Despite Repeated Warnings“:

I’ve read that “Despite Repeated Warnings” is a real epic.

It is. That’s in the style of some of Paul’s other epic, extended songs like “Band on the Run” and “Live and Let Die.” These are songs that are epic and orchestral and have many different sections and movements to them. This one was his concept. Lyrically, he could probably tell you what it’s about, but there’s definitely some political references there.

He took the band into the rehearsal room and worked out the structure of it and brought it to L.A. and I worked with them and we tweaked it and worked out the arrangement. It was a long evolution to get it to where it got in the end. A lot of orchestral musicians came in. We had brass players and the Muscle Shoals horn guys came in to do some brass stuff. It was quite the job of getting that together because it was like five or six songs in one. It’s about seven minutes long.

Interview with producer Greg Kurstin, from Rolling Stone, July 3, 2018:
Each track of “Egypt Station” has been given individual artwork that was first published on Twitter on August 14, 2018

Last updated on September 12, 2018

Lyrics

Despite repeated warnings
Of dangers up ahead
The captain won’t be listening
To what’s been said

He feels that there’s a good chance
That we have been misled
And so the captain’s planning
To steam ahead

What can we do, what can we do
What can we do to stop this foolish plan going through
What can we do, what can we do
This man is bound to lose his ship and his crew

Despite repeated warnings
From those who ought to know
He’s got his own agenda and so he’ll go

Those who shout the loudest
May not always be the smartest
But they have their proudest moments
Right before they fall

Red sky in the morning
Doesn’t ever seem to phase him
But a sailor’s warning signal
Should concern us all

How can we stop him
Grab the keys and lock him up
If we can do it
We can save the day

The engineer lives with
His wife and daughter Janet
But he misses them so

Although he’s working with
The best crew on the planet
They never want him to go

He had a premonition
He senses something’s wrong
And by his own admission
He knew it all along
The captain’s crazy
But he doesn’t let them know it
He’ll take us with him
If we don’t do something
Soon to slow it

How can we stop him
Grab the keys and lock him up
If we can do it
We can save the day

Below decks the engineer cries
The captain’s gonna leave us when the temperatures rise
The needle’s going up
The engine’s gonna blow
And we’re gonna be left down below
Down below

Yes we can do it
Yes we can do it now
Yes we can do it

Yes we can do it
Yes we can do it now
Yes we can do it
Yes we can do it now
Yes we can do it
Yes we can do it now

If life would work out
The way you plan it
That’d be so fine
For the wife and Janet
Sometimes you might
Have to battle through it
But that’s the way you learn
How you’ve got to do it

Yes we can do it whoa, whoa
Yes we can do it whoa, whoa
Yes we can do it whoa, whoa
Yes we can do it whoa, whoa

Despite repeated warnings
Of dangers up ahead
Well the captain wasn’t listening
To what was said

So we went to the captain
And we told him to turn around
But he laughs in our faces
Says that we are mistaken

So we gather around him
Now the ropes that have bound him
Prove that he should have listened
To the will of the people
It’s the will of the people
It’s the will of the people

Officially appears on


Egypt Station

Official album • Released in 2018

6:57 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitar, Bass, Co-producer, Drums, Electric guitar, Harmonium, Moog, Percussion, Piano, Vocals
Rusty Anderson:
Acoustic guitar, Backing vocals, Electric guitar
Abe Laboriel Jr.:
Backing vocals, Drums
Paul Wickens:
Hammond, Orchestral synths, Rhodes
Brian Ray:
Acoustic guitar, Backing vocals, Electric guitar
Alan Broadbent:
Orchestration
Keith Smith:
Engineering assistant
Matt Funes:
Viola
Greg Kurstin:
Drums and percussion programming, Engineering, Harpsichord, Moog synths, Piano, Producer
Paul Boothroyd:
Engineering
Steve Orchard:
Engineering
Jamie Kirkham:
Engineering assistant
Mark ‘Spike’ Stent:
Mixing
Michael Freeman:
Mixing assistant
Alex Pasco:
Engineering
Julian Burg:
Engineering
Matt Tuggle:
Engineering assistant
Collin Kadlec:
Engineering assistant
Brad Giroux:
Engineering assistant
Paul Pritchard:
Engineering assistant
Derek Stockwell:
Mixing assistant
Doug Moffet:
Tenor sax
Steve Herrman:
Trumpet
Tom ‘Bones’ Malone:
Trumpet
Charles Rose:
Trombone
Jim Hoke:
Baritone sax
Everton Nelson:
1st violin
John Metcalfe:
1st viola
Bruce White:
2nd viola
Ian Burdge:
Cello
Al Schmitt:
Engineering
Steve Genewick:
Engineering assistant
Vanessa Freebairn-Smith:
Cello
Jodi Burnett:
Cello
Caroline Campbell:
Violin
Mario De Leon:
Violin
Peter Kent:
Violin
Songa Lee:
Violin
Natalie Leggett:
Violin
Robin Olson:
Violin
Katia Popov:
Violin
Michele Richards:
Violin
Kathleen Sloan:
Violin
Tereza Stanislav:
Violin
Marcy Vaj:
Violin
Josefina Vergara:
Violin
Amy Wickman:
Violin
John Wittenberg:
Violin
Darrin McCann:
Viola
Andrew Duckles:
Viola
Kate Reddish:
Viola
Rob Brophy:
Viola
Richard Dodd:
Cello
Rudy Stein:
Cello
Gayle Levant Richards:
Harp
Marcia Dickstein:
Harp
Dan Higgins:
B flat clarinet
Stuart Clark:
B flat clarinet
Joshua Ranz:
B flat clarinet
Philip O’Connor:
B flat clarinet
Ralph Williams:
Contrabass clarinet in b flat
James Hovorka:
Trumpet
Kye Palmer:
Trumpet
Miguel Guerrero:
Trumpet
Doug Tornquist:
Tuba

Session Recording:
Unknown dates
Studio:
Henson Recording Studios, Los Angeles

Session Recording:
Unknown dates
Studio:
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Recording:
Late 2017 ?
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
2018 ?
Studio:
Henson Recording Studios, Los Angeles


Egypt Station (Deluxe edition)

Official album • Released in 2018

6:57 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitar, Bass, Co-producer, Drums, Electric guitar, Harmonium, Moog, Percussion, Piano, Vocals
Rusty Anderson:
Acoustic guitar, Backing vocals, Electric guitar
Abe Laboriel Jr.:
Backing vocals, Drums
Paul Wickens:
Hammond, Orchestral synths, Rhodes
Brian Ray:
Acoustic guitar, Backing vocals, Electric guitar
Alan Broadbent:
Orchestration
Keith Smith:
Engineering assistant
Matt Funes:
Viola
Greg Kurstin:
Drums and percussion programming, Engineering, Harpsichord, Moog synths, Piano, Producer
Paul Boothroyd:
Engineering
Steve Orchard:
Engineering
Jamie Kirkham:
Engineering assistant
Mark ‘Spike’ Stent:
Mixing
Michael Freeman:
Mixing assistant
Alex Pasco:
Engineering
Julian Burg:
Engineering
Matt Tuggle:
Engineering assistant
Collin Kadlec:
Engineering assistant
Brad Giroux:
Engineering assistant
Paul Pritchard:
Engineering assistant
Derek Stockwell:
Mixing assistant
Doug Moffet:
Tenor sax
Steve Herrman:
Trumpet
Tom ‘Bones’ Malone:
Trumpet
Charles Rose:
Trombone
Jim Hoke:
Baritone sax
Everton Nelson:
1st violin
John Metcalfe:
1st viola
Bruce White:
2nd viola
Ian Burdge:
Cello
Al Schmitt:
Engineering
Steve Genewick:
Engineering assistant
Vanessa Freebairn-Smith:
Cello
Jodi Burnett:
Cello
Caroline Campbell:
Violin
Mario De Leon:
Violin
Peter Kent:
Violin
Songa Lee:
Violin
Natalie Leggett:
Violin
Robin Olson:
Violin
Katia Popov:
Violin
Michele Richards:
Violin
Kathleen Sloan:
Violin
Tereza Stanislav:
Violin
Marcy Vaj:
Violin
Josefina Vergara:
Violin
Amy Wickman:
Violin
John Wittenberg:
Violin
Darrin McCann:
Viola
Andrew Duckles:
Viola
Kate Reddish:
Viola
Rob Brophy:
Viola
Richard Dodd:
Cello
Rudy Stein:
Cello
Gayle Levant Richards:
Harp
Marcia Dickstein:
Harp
Dan Higgins:
B flat clarinet
Stuart Clark:
B flat clarinet
Joshua Ranz:
B flat clarinet
Philip O’Connor:
B flat clarinet
Ralph Williams:
Contrabass clarinet in b flat
James Hovorka:
Trumpet
Kye Palmer:
Trumpet
Miguel Guerrero:
Trumpet
Doug Tornquist:
Tuba

Session Recording:
Unknown dates
Studio:
Henson Recording Studios, Los Angeles

Session Recording:
Unknown dates
Studio:
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Recording:
Late 2017 ?
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
2018 ?
Studio:
Henson Recording Studios, Los Angeles

Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.


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Cami Lee 2 months ago

Wow, these lyrics are really, really insipid. Makes "Jailer Man and Sailor Sam" seem like Goethe. Time for Paul to retire to Boca and concentrate on shuffleboard. Maybe cutting down on the weed would help too.


Shawn Fraley 2 months ago

Never thought Paul would alianate half of the Country but he couldn't resist. Really liked him but he's just like the rest of the left. Sad!


Cassi 2 months ago

I am absolutely in love with song. The way the music shows the danger and urgency, then brings back to a sense of calm that we can get control if we just work together is beautiful. Beatles aren't known for keeping their thoughts secret, and I'm glad and proud of Paul for continuing to speak his mind and fight for all of us.


Robert Spinello 2 months ago

Yea, you tell him Paul!


Dan Bloom 2 months ago

it's a cli-fi song with cli-fi lyrics and i love it. dan bloom editor at the Cli-Fi Report www.cli-fi.net


Juan Anthony 2 months ago

@Cami Lee; He stopped smoking around 2015 so... Probably he should get back on it? jajaja


alan wheeler 1 months ago

I think Paul is right on target! I don't know why people on the right consider climate change a partisan issue and whats more that Paul could alienate half the country by writing about REAl Science ! Ride on Mr. McCartney I love the new album and can't get enough of it!!!! As good as anything you've ever done!