The Paul McCartney Project

Distractions

Written by Paul McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the Flowers In The Dirt Official album.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1989
Sessions This song has been recorded during the following sessions

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

Distractions” is a song written by Paul McCartney, released on his 1989 album “Flowers In The Dirt. After having recorded a demo of it in August 1987, he started recorded it in the studio in April 1988, later moving to California to add string overdubs.

Paul McCartney in “Club Sandwich 52, Summer 1989“:

There’s a nice story about this… I heard an album a few years ago by someone off Prince’s label. Paisley Park, called the Family …And there were some string arrangements on it that were really interesting… I thought’ Wow, great. I wonder who this is?’… it said Clare Fischer…So I said to Linda, ‘These arrangements are incredible and it’s this Clare Fischer…some LA chick, I think’…and while she thought it was this kind of great, blonde LA lady she didn’t like them. We found out, actually, it’s this guy who’s about 50 years old, who’s got a grey beard and he’s a great fellow.. .So then Linda was saying ‘I love these arrangements, I love this guy’s work!’ That’s wives, you know!… he did an arrangement which I love, it’s very Hollywood and it’s very… like Doris Day movies, which is a very strange little area, you know, but it’s lovely.

From paulmccartney.com, March 10, 2017:

I like a good love song, you know. And it’s always nice to be in the mood to write a ballad and that was the case when I sat down to write this. It just occurred to me that if you love someone, one of the problems is that you don’t always spend enough time with that person. Because you’ve got things to do, you’ve got work or you’ve got other obligations to other people or whatever. And so I thought, yeah you could call those distractions from the main event kind of thing. That was basically what this is:

What is this thing in life that persuades me to take time away from you?
… Distractions, like butterflies

I elaborated on that theme, it’s just someone wishing they could spend more time with their loved one. And you know for me at that time it was about Linda. But people often say to me, ‘Who did you write this about?’ and even though then I would have been writing specifically about Linda – because she was the object of my affection – I liked the idea that it could also be the sort of dream of romance. It could just be an ideal – we all love someone and wish we could spend more time with that someone. A romantic ideal! I know that a young couple won’t hear this about me and Linda, the guy will hear it about him and his girlfriend, the girl will hear that it’s about her and her boyfriend, and I like that. I like that about my songs, that people use them for their own purpose. And I think that’s a very romantic idea.”

Paul McCartney, in People Music, March 24, 2017:

“That’s one of my favorites. I got in touch with this guy called Clare Fischer, who I thought was a woman with the name Clare. I just knew of the person’s work off of a Prince album [1986’s Parade], where I heard a really nice arrangement. When I’d written this song I thought, ‘It would be really nice to have a really good arrangement, slightly jazz tinged but not too much.’ So I got in touch with Clare, and I was quite surprised to find out that he was a middle-aged man. [laughs] But he was great—a bit of a genius. He and I talked about it a lot and he got the idea. I really liked that arrangement.

Sometimes you hit a lyric that means something to you. For me, if you love someone, you really want to just hang out with them all the time and then just have the best time and the best life. But then you’ve got to go to work, you’ve got to do this, you’ve got to do that. So I just call all of those things distractions.”

At some point, “Distractions” was considered to be the 3rd single from “Flowers In The Dirt” (potentially with “Lindiana“, an unreleased song from 1984 sessions with David Foster, as B-Side); but was finally dropped in favor of “Figure Of Eight“.

As part of the “Put It There” documentary, a video containing studio clips was shot; with an alternate mix [A1] as soundtrack.

Last updated on April 13, 2017

Lyrics

What is this thing in life that persuades me to spend
Time away from you?
If you can answer this you can have the moon
This is the place to be, anyway you can see
There's a lovely view
Why are there always so many other things to do?

Distractions, like butterflies are buzzing 'round my head,
When I'm alone I think of you
And the life we'd lead if we could only be free
From these distractions.

The postman's at the door
While the telephone rings on the kitchen wall,
Pretend we're not at home and they'll disappear.
I want to be with you, tell me what I can do,
Nothing is too small
Away from all this jazz we could do anything at all.

Distractions like butterflies are buzzing ‘round my head.
When I'm alone I think of you
And the things we'd do if we could only be through
With these distractions.

I'll find a peaceful place far away from the noise of a busy day
Where we can spend our nights counting shooting stars,
Distractions like butterflies are buzzing ‘round my head.
When I'm alone I think of you
And the things we'd do if only we could be through
With the distractions like butterflies they're
Buzzing round my head, when I'm alone I think of you
And the life we'd lead if we could only be free
From these distractions.

Officially appears on


Flowers In The Dirt

Official album • Released in 1989

4:41 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Harmonies, Lead vocal, Percussion, Producer, Solo guitar
Linda McCartney:
Harmonies
Hamish Stuart:
Acoustic guitar, Harmonies
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Neil Dorfsman:
Mixing
Chris Witten:
Drums, Percusson
Clare Fischer:
Orchestration
Arne Frager:
Engineer
Matt Butler:
Assistant engineer

Session Recording:
April - July 1988
Studio:
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Overdubs:
Nov 01, 1988
Studio:
Mad Hatter Studios, Los Angeles, USA

Session Mixing:
Jan 30th - Feb 4th 1989 ?
Studio:
Hog Hill Studio, or AIR Studios, or Metropolis Studios, UK ?


Flowers In The Dirt - Special Package

Official album • Released in 1990

4:41 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Harmonies, Lead vocal, Percussion, Producer, Solo guitar
Linda McCartney:
Harmonies
Hamish Stuart:
Acoustic guitar, Harmonies
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Neil Dorfsman:
Mixing
Chris Witten:
Drums, Percusson
Clare Fischer:
Orchestration
Arne Frager:
Engineer
Matt Butler:
Assistant engineer

Session Recording:
April - July 1988
Studio:
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Overdubs:
Nov 01, 1988
Studio:
Mad Hatter Studios, Los Angeles, USA

Session Mixing:
Jan 30th - Feb 4th 1989 ?
Studio:
Hog Hill Studio, or AIR Studios, or Metropolis Studios, UK ?


Flowers In The Dirt (1993)

Official album • Released in 1993

4:41 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Harmonies, Lead vocal, Percussion, Producer, Solo guitar
Linda McCartney:
Harmonies
Hamish Stuart:
Acoustic guitar, Harmonies
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Neil Dorfsman:
Mixing
Chris Witten:
Drums, Percusson
Clare Fischer:
Orchestration
Arne Frager:
Engineer
Matt Butler:
Assistant engineer

Session Recording:
April - July 1988
Studio:
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Overdubs:
Nov 01, 1988
Studio:
Mad Hatter Studios, Los Angeles, USA

Session Mixing:
Jan 30th - Feb 4th 1989 ?
Studio:
Hog Hill Studio, or AIR Studios, or Metropolis Studios, UK ?


Flowers In The Dirt (2017)

Official album • Released in 2017

4:43 • Studio versionA • 2017 remaster


2017 exclusive downloads

Download • Released in 2017

4:57 • Demo • Recorded and mixed by Paul McCartney at Rude Studio, Campbeltown, Scotland 1987

Bootlegs


Flowers In The Dirt - Ultimate Archive Collection

Unofficial album • Released in 2015

4:40 • RemixA1 • Video mix. Remix of the LP track, used for the lip-synched video found on the Put It There documentary. As it was incomplete on both ends, the intro and the outro are grafted on.

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Harmonies, Lead vocal, Percussion, Producer, Solo guitar
Linda McCartney:
Harmonies
Hamish Stuart:
Acoustic guitar, Harmonies
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Neil Dorfsman:
Mixing
Chris Witten:
Drums, Percusson
Clare Fischer:
Orchestration
Arne Frager:
Engineer
Matt Butler:
Assistant engineer

Session Recording:
April - July 1988
Studio:
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Overdubs:
Nov 01, 1988
Studio:
Mad Hatter Studios, Los Angeles, USA

Session Mixing:
Jan 30th - Feb 4th 1989 ?
Studio:
Hog Hill Studio, or AIR Studios, or Metropolis Studios, UK ?


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol.22

Unofficial album

4:18 • RemixA1 • Alternate mix

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Harmonies, Lead vocal, Percussion, Producer, Solo guitar
Linda McCartney:
Harmonies
Hamish Stuart:
Acoustic guitar, Harmonies
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Neil Dorfsman:
Mixing
Chris Witten:
Drums, Percusson
Clare Fischer:
Orchestration
Arne Frager:
Engineer
Matt Butler:
Assistant engineer

Session Recording:
April - July 1988
Studio:
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Overdubs:
Nov 01, 1988
Studio:
Mad Hatter Studios, Los Angeles, USA

Session Mixing:
Jan 30th - Feb 4th 1989 ?
Studio:
Hog Hill Studio, or AIR Studios, or Metropolis Studios, UK ?


Flowers In The Dirt - Ultimate Archive Collection

Unofficial album • Released in 2015

4:41 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Harmonies, Lead vocal, Percussion, Producer, Solo guitar
Linda McCartney:
Harmonies
Hamish Stuart:
Acoustic guitar, Harmonies
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Neil Dorfsman:
Mixing
Chris Witten:
Drums, Percusson
Clare Fischer:
Orchestration
Arne Frager:
Engineer
Matt Butler:
Assistant engineer

Session Recording:
April - July 1988
Studio:
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Overdubs:
Nov 01, 1988
Studio:
Mad Hatter Studios, Los Angeles, USA

Session Mixing:
Jan 30th - Feb 4th 1989 ?
Studio:
Hog Hill Studio, or AIR Studios, or Metropolis Studios, UK ?

Videos

Live performances

“Distractions” has been played in 1 concerts.

Latest concerts where “Distractions” has been played


Interview for Brazilian TV

May 03, 1989 • United Kingdom • The Barn at the Mill • TV show


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.