The Paul McCartney Project

Flaming Pie

Written by Paul McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the Flaming Pie Official album.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1997
Sessions This song has been recorded during the following sessions

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Song facts

Flaming Pie” is a Paul McCartney song appearing on the eponymous album released in 1997. From the liner notes:

The “pie” lyric that had arrived unto Paul on horseback fitted perfectly with some funky riffs he and Jeff Lynne had evolved days earlier while waiting to overdub on to ‘Souvenir’. With lyric and music suddenly fashioned, “Flaming Pie” was recorded quickly – for, entirely appropriately. Paul suggested that the song be taped with the speed that the Beatles often worked, cutting three songs in a day. Setting themselves a four hour deadline, Paul singing live to his own piano accompaniment with Jeff on guitar before adding drums and bass, and then, guitars and harmony vocals.

“John joked that the name Beatles came in a vision from a man on a flaming pie, coming unto us…you are Beatles with an A. I was riding with my missus, thinking of lyrics, searching for a rhyme with ‘sky’… ‘bye’… ‘pie’. The story came back and I thought ‘Ooo, ‘flaming pie’.”

Paul McCartney, in Club Sandwitch n°82, Summer 1997:

We had some funny moments during the making of the Anthology, when we remembered things differently. The biggest was “who thought of the name Beatles?”. George and I both remember it the same way: John and Stu had come out of their flat in Gambier Terrace, Liverpool, and we were walking towards the Dingle, chatting, when they told us of their new name for the band. But, what with one thing and another, we didn’t exactly say this in the TV and video series. 

I was working with Jeff Lynne on ‘Souvenir’ when we decided that we wanted to add some raw, heavy-ish guitars. We had the amps belting in the studio, playing the guitars in the control room with long leads, and while the engineers were getting the sound we started vamping and found a few chords and some funky riffs. I started shouting a little bit of a melody and so I asked the engineer to stick on a DAT tape. We just jammed, but then I suggested we turn it into a song. The words came to me a few days later when I was out horse riding with Linda, going through some birch woods. I was musing and dreaming about the lyrics, looking for a rhyme for “sky”, going through the alphabet, when I got to “pie”. The words “flaming pie” fitted and I got quite excited about it. “Making love underneath the moon” became “Making love underneath the bed” – it was great fun to write.

Mark Lewisohn, in Club Sandwitch n°82, Summer 1997:

One of the many remarkable aspects for Paul when revisiting his earlier years for The Beatles Anthology was the problem of correlating differing memories of the same event. Perhaps the knottiest issue was the all-important “how did the Beatles acquire their name?”. The crux of the matter was a short, witty article written by John Lennon for the launch issue of the Liverpool pop paper Mersey Beat, published in July 1961, in which he wrote “How did the name arrive? It came in a vision – a man appeared on a flaming pie and said unto them ‘From this day on you are Beatles with an A’. Thank you, Mister Man, they said, thanking him.” While some recognise this as characteristic Lennon whimsy – much like the prose that would later go into his best-selling books – there remained, during the making of the Anthology TV series, a fantastic private debate as to whether or not John really did receive a vision about a man appearing on a flaming pie. 

The dispute fascinated Paul, and one morning in February 1996, while out horse-riding, his musings about song lyrics caused him to recall the phrase “flaming pie”. With what he now admits to being a “mischievous” gleam in his eye, he quickly wrote the entire set of verses and chorus, which fitted perfectly with some funky riffs he and Jeff Lynne had evolved days earlier while waiting to overdub guitars on to ‘Souvenir’. With lyric and music fashioned, ‘Flaming Pie’ was recorded quickly – for, entirely appropriately, Paul suggested that the song be taped with the speed that the Beatles often worked, cutting three songs in a day. Setting themselves a four hour deadline, the track came together with relative ease, Paul singing live to his own piano accompaniment (something rarely done in these days of expansive multi-tracking) with Jeff Lynne on guitar, before adding drums and bass and then more guitars and harmony vocals. 

Months later, with his collection of songs complete, Paul dismissed Calico Skies, The Song We Were Singing and Souvenir as possibilities and, finding its comedic element coming nicely unto him, had the vision to title his new album Flaming Pie.

Last updated on May 14, 2018

Lyrics

Making love underneath the bed
Shooting stars from a purple sky
I don't care how I do it
I'm the man on the flaming pie

Stick my tongue out and lick my nose
Tuck my shirt in and zip my fly
Go ahead, have a vision
I'm the man on the flaming pie

Everything I do has a simple explanation
When I'm with you, you could do with a vacation
I took my brains out and stretched ‘em on the rack
Now I'm not so sure I'm ever gonna get ‘em back

Cut my toes off to spite my feet
I don't know whether to laugh or cry
Never mind, check my rhythm
I'm the man on the flaming pie

I'm the man on the flaming pie
Now everything I do has a simple explanation
When I'm with you, you could do with a vacation
I took my brains out and stretched ‘em on the rack
Now I'm not so sure I'm ever gonna get ‘em back

Officially appears on


Flaming Pie

Official album • Released in 1997

2.27 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Bass guitar, Drums, Electric guitar, Harmony vocal, Lead vocal, Piano, Producer
Jeff Lynne:
Electric guitar, Harmony vocal, Producer
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Jon Jacobs:
Engineer
Keith Smith:
Assistant engineer

Session Recording:
Feb 27, 1996
Studio:
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK


Good Evening New York City

Official live • Released in 2009

2:25 • LiveL1 • Could have been record on 17, 18 or 21 July 2009

Paul McCartney:
Executive producer
Performed by:
Paul McCartneyRusty AndersonAbe Laboriel Jr.Paul WickensBrian Ray
Geoff Emerick:
Audio mixing
Paul Hicks:
Audio mixing
Jonas Westling:
Additional engineering
Richard Lancaster:
Additional engineering
John Henry:
Recording

Concert From the concert in New York, USA on Jul 17, 2009


Pure McCartney (Deluxe)

Official album • Released in 2016

Studio versionA1 • 2016 remaster

Paul McCartney:
Bass guitar, Drums, Electric guitar, Harmony vocal, Lead vocal, Piano, Producer
Jeff Lynne:
Electric guitar, Harmony vocal, Producer
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Jon Jacobs:
Engineer
Keith Smith:
Assistant engineer
Alex Wharton:
Remastering

Session Recording:
Feb 27, 1996
Studio:
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Videos

Live performances

“Flaming Pie” has been played in 69 concerts and 40 soundchecks.

Latest concerts where “Flaming Pie” has been played



Dublin • The O2

Dec 20, 2009 • Part of Good Evening Europe Tour






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Sylvain 2 years ago

Was he actually riding his missus? Or *with* her?!


The PaulMcCartney Project 2 years ago

haha - good spot Sylvain ! Issue fixed ;) Thank you for your comment.