Etcetera

Written by Paul McCartneyUnreleased song

Master album


Related sessions

This song has been recorded during the following studio sessions


Related songs


Related interviews


The Club Sandwich Interview

Winter 1994 • From Club Sandwich

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Song facts

I offered it to Marianne Faithfull and Mick Jagger, who were looking for a song for Marianne to record, but it wasn’t what she wanted. I think she was looking for an “Eleanor Rigby” and instead I offered her an “Etcetera”.

Paul McCartney – From Club Sandwich interview, 1994

From Wikipedia:

“Etcetera” is an unreleased song recorded as a demo by Paul McCartney on 20 August 1968, during a session for The Beatles (also known as “the White Album”).

Background

Paul McCartney recalls in his authorised biography, Many Years from Now, that he had written the song, intending to give it to Marianne Faithfull to record, but she passed on recording it, as did the Beatles. The music was then adapted, and given to the Black Dyke Mills Band, whose brass band instrumental version “Thingumybob” became the A-side of one of the first four simultaneously-released singles on the Beatles’ new record label Apple.

Recording

The song was recorded as a demo during the same session that produced other “White Album” songs “Mother Nature’s Son” and “Wild Honey Pie“. McCartney recorded one take of the song while waiting for session musicians to arrive. After the take was recorded, the tape was taken away by George Martin’s assistant, Chris Thomas. The recording is said to have lyrics, a bridge, and an introduction that is reminiscent of “Here, There and Everywhere“.

Unreleased status

McCartney himself has not spoken well of “Etcetera”. He has stated that “it’s a bad song” and that he’s “glad it died in a tape bin”. On the other hand, engineer Alan Brown called it “a very beautiful song.” Brown described the song as a “ballad and has the word ‘etcetera’ several times in the lyric. I only heard it twice: when [McCartney] recorded it and when we played it back to him. The tape was taken away and I’ve never heard of it since.”

Music critic Richie Unterberger describes “Etcetera” as “the second most sought-after outtake” from the White Album. In terms of the tape itself, Unterberger writes that EMI engineer Alan Brown recalled that the tape is no longer in EMI’s vaults. However, an acetate copy of the song has surfaced in McCartney’s personal archive in the early years of the 21st century. The song has yet to be released officially.

According to Beatles Bible:

One of the rarest of all Beatles-era recordings, Etcetera was an early version of Thingumybob, written by Paul McCartney and later recorded by the Black Dyke Mills Band for Apple Records. […]  Thingumybob had been recorded in Saltaire near Bradford, Yorkshire on 30 June 1968. McCartney produced the session, and the song was released by Apple, meaning that the EMI studio staff may not have recognised its similarity to Etcetera.

Paul McCartney in "Many Years From Now", by Barry Miles:

I knew Marianne so it was natural that I would be asked to write a song at some point. I did write a song but it was not a very good one. It was called Etcetera and it’s a bad song. I think it’s a good job that it’s died a death in some tape bin. Even then I seem to remember thinking it wasn’t very good. There was always the temptation to keep your better songs for yourself and then give your next-best songs to other established people, so when it was someone like Marianne, who at the time was a newcomer, those people would tend to end up with fairly dreadful offerings of mine.

I suppose, thinking back on it, after As Tears Go By maybe they were looking for more sort of a Yesterday, something more poignant, more baroque. I probably thought, well, this is really all I’ve got at the moment. I’ll send it round and hope it’s all OK, and maybe they’ll put a baroque thing on it and that’ll make it OK. She probably did Yesterday because they figured, Well at least it’s better than Etcetera.

Paul McCartney, Club Sandwich interview, 1994:

The book about the Beatles’ recording sessions says that you recorded a demo of a song called “Etcetera” during the ’“White Album” era. Whatever happened to it?

I offered it to Marianne Faithfull and Mick Jagger, who were looking for a song for Marianne to record, but it wasn’t what she wanted. I think she was looking for an “Eleanor Rigby” and instead I offered her an “Etcetera”. I’ve got a lot of those silly little songs — they can’t all work out well, and sometimes when people ask me for one I’ll pull out one of those.

Paul McCartney

This was a very beautiful song. I recall it was a ballad and had the word ‘etcetera’ several times in the lyric. I only heard it twice: when he recorded it and when we played it back to him. The tape was taken away and I’ve never heard of it since.

Alan Brown, engineer – The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn

Last updated on September 4, 2021

Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.

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