The Paul McCartney Project

Here Today

Written by Paul McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the Tug Of War Official album.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1982

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Song facts

From Wikipedia:

“Here Today” is a song by Paul McCartney from his 1982 album Tug of War. McCartney wrote the song about his relationship with and love for John Lennon, who had died less than two years before. He stated the song was composed in the form of an imaginary conversation the pair might have had. The song was produced by The Beatles’ producer George Martin. Although not released as a single, the song reached #46 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock charts.

McCartney often performs the song live, and it is featured on the live albums Back in the World, Back in the U.S., and Good Evening New York City.

From an interview with Los Angeles Times, April 1982:

Did you resist writing a song about John at first?

Yes. I worried that it might not be good enough and that someone might think I was trying to cash in on it or something. I could just picture all these people sitting down after John’s death and saying, “I’m going to write a song about this…it’s a great idea.” None of the three of us [ex-Beatles] would think like that, but I had these worries in the back of my mind. I figured it was better to just avoid it. But eventually I just realized it was silly. I figured I’d just let it happen naturally, if I wrote a song about John, OK. If I didn’t, it’s OK, too. I’ve always had two sides to me: the creative and judicial. The creative starts to do something and the judicial starts to question and second-guess: ‘Is that right? Does that make sense? What will people think?’ I’ve begun trying to make sure the judicial doesn’t interfere with the creative. Anyway, I kind of forgot about the whole thing until I sat down one day and struck the beginning chords of “Here Today” and it fell out. 

Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney in "Conversations With McCartney", by Paul Du Noyer:

I wrote ‘Here Today’ about John. It’s just a song saying, you know, ‘If you were here today you’d probably say what I’m doing is a load of crap. But you wouldn’t mean it, cos you like me really, I know.’ It’s one of those ‘Come out from behind your glasses, look at me,’ things. It was a love song, really, not to John but a love song about John, about my relationship with him. I was trying to exorcise the demons in my own head. It’s tough when you have someone like John slagging you off in public, cos he’s a tough slagger-offer. So I wrote this song to try and come to terms with it. I thought I’d do that on stage but then someone suggested, ‘Why don’t you do one of John’s? That would be poignant.’ And it would, I don’t know if I could even get through it – you’ve got to deal with the emotion of something like that. [A year later Paul did tackle some Lennon material in concert.] But it would be nice to make a nod or a wink to the lad, cos he was great. He was a major influence on my life, as I suppose I was on his.

But the great thing about me and John is that it was me and John, end of story. Whereas everyone else can say ‘Well you know, he did this and so-and-so and so-and-so.’ The nice thing is that I can actually think. Come on, when we got in a little room it was me and John sitting down. It was me and him who wrote not these other people who think they all know about it. I must know better than them. I was the one in the room with him. But sometimes you don’t believe it.

From The Guardian, June 11, 2004:

[…] And then there is ‘Here Today’, the song he wrote in the wake of John Lennon’s death. “At least once a tour, that song just gets me,” he says. “I’m singing it, and I think I’m OK, and I suddenly realise it’s very emotional, and John was a great mate and a very important man in my life, and I miss him, you know? It happened at the first show, in Gijon: I was doing fine, and I found myself doing a thing I’ve done in soundcheck, just repeating one of the lines: ‘I love you, I love you, I love you.’ I did that and I thought, ‘That’s nice – that works.’ And then I came to finish the song, to do the last verse, and it was, ‘Oh shit – I’ve just totally lost it.’

Last updated on May 5, 2019

Lyrics

And if I said
I really knew you well
What would your answer be?
If you were here today
Here today

Well knowing you
You'd probably laugh and say
That we were worlds apart
If you were here today
Here today

But as for me
I still remember how it was before
And I am holding back the tears no more
I love you

What about the time we met?
Well I suppose that you could say that
We were playing hard to get
Didn't understand a thing
But we could always sing

What about the night we cried?
Because there wasn't any reason left
To keep it all inside
Never understood a word
But you were always there with a smile

And if I say I really loved you
And was glad you came along
Then you were here today,
For you were in my song
Here today

Officially appears on


Tug Of War

Official album • Released in 1982

2:29 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Arrangement, Guitar, Vocals
George Martin:
Arrangement, Producer
Jack Rothstein:
Violin
Bertrand Partridge:
Violin
Ian Jewel:
Viola
Keith Harvey:
Cello
Jon Kelly:
Engineer
John Underwood:
Viola
Patrick Halling:
Violin
Dennis Vigay:
Cello
Laurie Lewis:
Violin
Alan John Peters:
Violin
Galina Solodchin:
Violin
Michael Rennie:
Violin
George Turnlund:
Viola
Ken Essex:
Viola
Alexander Kok:
Cello
Peter Willison:
Cello
Renate Blauel:
Second engineer

Session Recording:
Nov 30, 1981
Studio:
AIR Studios, London

Session Mixing:
Dec 09, 1981
Studio:
Odyssey Studios, London


Back In The U.S.

Official live • Released in 2002

2:28 • LiveL1

Paul McCartney:
Executive producer
Performed by:
Paul McCartneyRusty AndersonAbe Laboriel Jr.Paul WickensBrian Ray
David Kahne:
Producer
Michael Brauer:
Engineer
Ricardo Chavarria:
Assistant engineer

Concert From the concert in Toronto, Canada on Apr 13, 2002


Back In The World

Official live • Released in 2003

2:28 • LiveL1

Paul McCartney:
Executive producer
Performed by:
Paul McCartneyRusty AndersonAbe Laboriel Jr.Paul WickensBrian Ray
David Kahne:
Producer
Michael Brauer:
Engineer
Ricardo Chavarria:
Assistant engineer

Concert From the concert in Toronto, Canada on Apr 13, 2002


Good Evening New York City

Official live • Released in 2009

2:27 • LiveL2 • 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


Tug Of War - Archive Collection

Official album • Released in 2015

2:28 • Studio version • 2015 remix


Tug Of War - Archive Collection

Official album • Released in 2015

Studio version


Pure McCartney

Official album • Released in 2016

Studio version


Pure McCartney (Deluxe)

Official album • Released in 2016

Studio version


Amoeba Gig

Official live • Released in 2019

Live

Concert From the concert in Los Angeles, USA on Jun 27, 2007

Live performances

“Here Today” has been played in 384 concerts and 3 soundchecks.

Latest concerts where “Here Today” has been played



Moline • TaxSlayer Center

Jun 11, 2019 • Part of Freshen Up Tour


Green Bay • Lambeau Field

Jun 08, 2019 • Part of Freshen Up Tour


Madison • Kohl Center

Jun 06, 2019 • Part of Freshen Up Tour




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