The Paul McCartney Project

Goodbye

Written by Paul McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the Goodbye / Sparrow 7" Single.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1969
Timeline This song has been recorded in 1969
Sessions This song has been recorded during the following sessions

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Song facts

From Wikipedia:

Goodbye” is a song written by Paul McCartney (but credited to Lennon–McCartney) and performed by Mary Hopkin. It was released on 28 March 1969, and it reached No. 2 in the UK singles chart, prevented from reaching the top position by the Beatles’ single “Get Back“. In the US, released 7 April 1969, the song reached No. 13 on the singles chart. In the Netherlands and Ireland the single peaked at No. 1.

McCartney’s demo was officially released on the 2019 reissue of Abbey Road.

Background

The song was conceived as a follow-up to the success of Hopkin’s first single, produced by McCartney, titled “Those Were the Days“, which was highlighted on her debut album Postcard, one of the first records issued by the newly founded Apple Records. In later years, McCartney had little recollection of creating the song, which was written in a great hurry to capitalise on Hopkin’s popularity, but he did recall being told by a boat skipper from the Orkney Islands that it was the man’s favourite song, which seemed appropriate to McCartney since, “if you think of it from a sailor’s point of view, it’s very much a leaving-the-port song.” Allmusic critic Richie Unterberger described it as a “pleasant and catchy romp, rather like a Continental European folk love ballad in tone, with a dash of music hall.

Recording

To assist Hopkin in learning the song, McCartney recorded a solo demo at his home, 7 Cavendish Road, London, in February 1969. The song was arranged by Richard Hewson, who had also orchestrated “Those Were the Days,” and produced, along with its flip side, “Sparrow“, by Paul McCartney on 1 March 1969 at Morgan Studios in Willesden. To better match Hopkin’s voice, the key was raised from C major to E major. The recording was Apple’s first official double-A-side, and the first Apple record to feature a full-fledged picture sleeve.

For the recording, Hopkin sang and performed acoustic guitar, while McCartney played bass guitar, an acoustic guitar introduction and solo, along with lap-slapping percussion and drums. Backing vocals, horns and strings, in Hewson’s arrangement, were overdubbed. The session was filmed by Apple’s Tony Bramwell for a promotional clip. In the footage, Hopkin can be seen miming to the song inside the studio, combined with shots of her and McCartney in the control room listening to a playback.

The flip side “Sparrow” was written by Benny Gallagher and Graham Lyle, a songwriting duo signed to Apple Publishing. The recording took place on 2 March 1969; Hopkin sang and played guitar, McCartney added maracas, a session musician played upright bass, and Hewson arranged a choir part.

Mary Hopkin met her future husband, record producer Tony Visconti, while making foreign-language versions of the song.

The song was one of only two hits to be omitted from the compilation disc The Songs Lennon and McCartney Gave Away, issued originally in 1971 and re-released in 1979.

On 28 April 2014, “Goodbye” was released digitally along with “Those Were the Days” on Mary Hopkin Music.

Paul McCartney recording

For many years bootleg recordings existed of McCartney’s original demo of the song, recorded for Mary Hopkin. The international online magazine PopMatters published McCartney’s demo along with critical commentary expressing a preference for the composer’s version over Hopkin’s rendition.

The original demo by McCartney was officially released on the Super Deluxe Edition of Abbey Road in September 2019.

Goldmine: The Beatles were having serious problems by 1969. Did you feel that Paul was paying less attention to your career?

Mary Hopkin: Of course. A year went by before he wrote “Goodbye.” And that was after I’d said, “Look, how about another single?” But I understood. Obviously his priority was the Beatles, that’s natural. He said he wrote “Goodbye” in about 10 minutes. I’m not sure how true that is! It probably is.

Goldmine: The two of you played acoustic guitar together on “Goodbye” right?

Mary Hopkin: Yes, we did. And Paul put a thigh–slap on there—on his own thigh, I might add! It’s a good song for its kind, but whether it was suited to me, I don’t know. It was easy for me to do those songs. They were fun little pop songs. So it was very easy for me to say, “Oh. Okay. Yes.” But as soon as I realized what was happening, I started putting the reins on, and putting my foot down about what material I was going to do.

I trusted Paul’s judgment, anyway. I would never condemn him for what he did; because he did what he felt was right for me. And I really enjoyed working with him.

Interview with Mary Hopkin, Goldmine, 1992

Although I’m flattered that Paul wrote Goodbye especially for me, it was, I believe, a step in the wrong direction for me. I’m so grateful that he chose Those Were The Days as my first single. I think Those Were The Days, being originally a Ukrainian folk song, has a timeless quality, but Goodbye is set firmly in the sixties pop era.

Mary Hopkin – Goldmine magazine, 2007

I didn’t have in mind any more Russian folk songs so I just wrote one for her.

Paul McCartney, in reference to “Those Were The Days“, Mary Hopkin’s first hit based on a Russian folk melody, quoted from Abbey Road 2019 liner notes

My main memory of ‘Goodbye’ is from years later, going on a boat trip from the north of Scotland to the Orkney Islands. The skipper of the boat told me it was his favourite song. If you think of it from a sailor’s point of view, it’s very much a leaving-the-port song.

Paul McCartney, quoted from Abbey Road 2019 liner notes

Last updated on October 14, 2019

Lyrics

Please don't wake me up too late
Tomorrow comes and I will not be late
Late, today when it becomes tomorrow
I will leave to go away

Goodbye
(Goodbye)
Goodbye
(Goodbye)
Goodbye, goodbye
My love, goodbye

Songs that lingered on my lips
Excite me now and linger on my mind
Leave your flowers at my door
I'll leave them for the one who waits behind

Goodbye
(Goodbye)
Goodbye
(Goodbye)
Goodbye, goodbye
My love, goodbye

Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo
Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo
Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo
Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo

Goodbye
(Goodbye)
Goodbye
(Goodbye)
Goodbye, goodbye
My love, goodbye

Far away my lover sings a lonely song
And calls me to his side
When a song of lonely love invites me on
I must go to his side

Goodbye
(Goodbye)
Goodbye
(Goodbye)
Goodbye, goodbye
My love, goodbye

Officially appears on


Goodbye / Sparrow

7" Single • Released in 1969

2:26 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitar, Bass, Drums, Producer, Thigh-slapping percussion, Ukulele
Richard Hewson:
Arrangements
Mary Hopkin:
Acoustic guitar, Vocals

Session Recording:
March 1st-2nd 1969
Studio:
Morgan Studios, London


Abbey Road (2019)

Official album • Released in 2019

2:24 • DemoB1 • Home Demo

Paul McCartney:
Guitar, Lead vocal
Giles Martin:
Mix engineer, Producer
Sam Okell:
Mix engineer
Chris Sheldon:
Mix engineer

Session Recording:
February 1969
Studio:
Home studio, Cavendish Avenue, St.John's Wood

Bootlegs


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol. 1

Unofficial album

2:25 • DemoB

Paul McCartney:
Guitar, Lead vocal

Session Recording:
February 1969
Studio:
Home studio, Cavendish Avenue, St.John's Wood


Complete Acetate Collection 1961-1970

Unofficial album

2:22 • DemoB

Paul McCartney:
Guitar, Lead vocal

Session Recording:
February 1969
Studio:
Home studio, Cavendish Avenue, St.John's Wood


B-Sides Complete Vol. 6

Unofficial album • Released in 2000

2:22 • DemoB

Paul McCartney:
Guitar, Lead vocal

Session Recording:
February 1969
Studio:
Home studio, Cavendish Avenue, St.John's Wood


Complete Home Recordings 1968-69

Unofficial album • Released in 2002

2:22 • DemoB

Paul McCartney:
Guitar, Lead vocal

Session Recording:
February 1969
Studio:
Home studio, Cavendish Avenue, St.John's Wood


No. 3 Abbey Road N.W. 8

Unofficial album • Released in 2011

2:22 • DemoB

Paul McCartney:
Guitar, Lead vocal

Session Recording:
February 1969
Studio:
Home studio, Cavendish Avenue, St.John's Wood

Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.


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