The Paul McCartney Project

I Don't Know

Written by Paul McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the I Don't Know / Come On To Me Streaming.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 2018
Sessions This song has been recorded during the following sessions

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Song facts

I Don’t Know” is a song written by Paul McCartney, and released alongside “Come On To Me” as a Double-A single in June 2018, ahead of the release of McCartney’s 2018 “Egypt Station” album. From the press release:

Following a whirlwind week that saw his Instagram presence rebooted as he played one of the most intimate gigs of his storied career, Paul McCartney is done keeping the world in suspense: ‘I Don’t Know’ and ‘Come On To Me’, will be released tomorrow as a double A-Side single.

The first tastes of Paul’s brand new studio album due out later this year on Capitol Records, the two A-sides are polar opposites: ‘I Don’t Know’ being a plaintive, soul-soothing ballad as only Paul can deliver, and ‘Come On To Me’ a raucous stomper that fans that first spark of chemistry into a rocking blaze.

Worldwide speculation about a new Paul McCartney album instantly reached fever pitch as his Instagram account whited out last week—only to ratchet higher as Paul was spotted taking selfies at landmarks in Liverpool the same day. The evening’s climactic event was a surprise gig at the tiny Liverpool Philharmonic Pub, during which ‘Come On To Me’ made its live debut alongside a set of classics spanning Paul’s career.

From “Words Between The Tracks” YouTube series:

I wrote this after going through a difficult period. Like people have nothing sort of madly serious or anything, but just one of those days when it’s like, “Oh my god, am I doing wrong here”, you know. And sometimes that’s a good way to write a song, because you’re coming from your soul. And we often used to say that writing a song was like talking to a psychiatrist, a therapist or something. Because you’re saying it… You are saying it in a song rather than in a room to a specialist. Yeah, so it was me just thinking this problem out, and putting it into a song.

Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney, interview with MOJO, October 2018:

Crows at the window, dogs at your door – what’s going on there?

That’s a grown-up song. Sometimes in your life, you’re not a god on Olympus. You’re a real person walking round the streets. I’m a grandfather, a father, a husband, and in that package there’s no guarantee that every minute’s gonna go right. In fact, quite the opposite. And there was a private occasion – I’m not gonna get into it – that brought me down. “God, what am I doing wrong?” I’m not knocking it, I have a great life. But from time to time, reality intrudes. This was one of those occasions where it was like, “Oh, fuck me…” The only thing I would do was sit down at the piano. “Got crows at the window! Dogs at ma door!” It all spilled out in that song.

So it’s a piano ballad in the blues tradition?

Well exactly, it really is. “Ma woman left me!” It wasn’t that, but it was that sort of feeling. I didn’t really know what to do about it, other than write a song. So I wrote the song and then felt I had more of an idea what to do. You write out your demons. It felt good to just say, “I don’t know what to do!” It’s like owning up.

Paul McCartney
Each track of “Egypt Station” has been given individual artwork that was first published on Twitter on August 14, 2018

Last updated on September 9, 2018

Lyrics

I got crows at my window
Dogs at my door
I don't think I can take any more
What am I doing wrong, I don't know

My brother told me
Life's not a pain
That was right when it started to rain
Where am I going wrong, I don't know

But it's alright, sleep tight
I will take the strain
You're fine, love of mine
You will feel no pain

Well, I see trouble
at every turn
I've got so many lessons to learn
What am I doing wrong, I don't know

Now what's the matter with me
Am I right, am I wrong
Now I've started to see
I must try to be strong

I tried to love you
Best as I can
But you know that I'm only a man
Why am I going wrong, I don't know

But it's alright, sleep tight
I will take the strain
Yeah, you're fine, little love of mine
You will feel no pain

I got crows at my window
Dogs at my door
I don't think I can take any more
What am I doing wrong, I don't know

Now what's the matter with me
I don't know, I don't know
What's the matter with me
I don't know, I don't know
What's the matter with me
I don't know, I don't know

Officially appears on


Egypt Station

Official album • Released in 2018

4:27 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitar, Bass, Co-producer, Drums, Percussion, Piano, Vocals
Keith Smith:
Engineering assistant
Greg Kurstin:
Backing vocal arrangement, Cello, Clarinet, Electric tremolo guitar, Engineering, Mellotron-flute, Producer, Synth-french horns, Timpani
Steve Orchard:
Engineering
Jamie Kirkham:
Engineering assistant
Mark ‘Spike’ Stent:
Mixing
Michael Freeman:
Mixing assistant
Alex Pasco:
Engineering
Billy Bush:
Engineering
Julian Burg:
Engineering
Matt Tuggle:
Engineering assistant
Collin Kadlec:
Engineering assistant
Brad Giroux:
Engineering assistant
Paul Pritchard:
Engineering assistant
Derek Stockwell:
Mixing assistant
Rob Millet:
Cimbalom

Session Recording:
Unknown dates
Studio:
Henson Recording Studios, Los Angeles

Session Recording:
Unknown dates
Studio:
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Recording:
Late 2017 ?
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
2018 ?
Studio:
Henson Recording Studios, Los Angeles


I Don't Know

CD Single • Released in 2018

3:45 • Studio versionA1 • Radio Edit

Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitar, Bass, Co-producer, Drums, Percussion, Piano, Vocals
Keith Smith:
Engineering assistant
Greg Kurstin:
Backing vocal arrangement, Cello, Clarinet, Electric tremolo guitar, Engineering, Mellotron-flute, Producer, Synth-french horns, Timpani
Steve Orchard:
Engineering
Jamie Kirkham:
Engineering assistant
Mark ‘Spike’ Stent:
Mixing
Michael Freeman:
Mixing assistant
Alex Pasco:
Engineering
Billy Bush:
Engineering
Julian Burg:
Engineering
Matt Tuggle:
Engineering assistant
Collin Kadlec:
Engineering assistant
Brad Giroux:
Engineering assistant
Paul Pritchard:
Engineering assistant
Derek Stockwell:
Mixing assistant
Rob Millet:
Cimbalom

Session Recording:
Unknown dates
Studio:
Henson Recording Studios, Los Angeles

Session Recording:
Unknown dates
Studio:
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Recording:
Late 2017 ?
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
2018 ?
Studio:
Henson Recording Studios, Los Angeles


I Don't Know

CD Single • Released in 2018

4:26 • Studio versionA • Original version

Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitar, Bass, Co-producer, Drums, Percussion, Piano, Vocals
Keith Smith:
Engineering assistant
Greg Kurstin:
Backing vocal arrangement, Cello, Clarinet, Electric tremolo guitar, Engineering, Mellotron-flute, Producer, Synth-french horns, Timpani
Steve Orchard:
Engineering
Jamie Kirkham:
Engineering assistant
Mark ‘Spike’ Stent:
Mixing
Michael Freeman:
Mixing assistant
Alex Pasco:
Engineering
Billy Bush:
Engineering
Julian Burg:
Engineering
Matt Tuggle:
Engineering assistant
Collin Kadlec:
Engineering assistant
Brad Giroux:
Engineering assistant
Paul Pritchard:
Engineering assistant
Derek Stockwell:
Mixing assistant
Rob Millet:
Cimbalom

Session Recording:
Unknown dates
Studio:
Henson Recording Studios, Los Angeles

Session Recording:
Unknown dates
Studio:
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Recording:
Late 2017 ?
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
2018 ?
Studio:
Henson Recording Studios, Los Angeles


Egypt Station (Deluxe edition)

Official album • Released in 2018

4:27 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitar, Bass, Co-producer, Drums, Percussion, Piano, Vocals
Keith Smith:
Engineering assistant
Greg Kurstin:
Backing vocal arrangement, Cello, Clarinet, Electric tremolo guitar, Engineering, Mellotron-flute, Producer, Synth-french horns, Timpani
Steve Orchard:
Engineering
Jamie Kirkham:
Engineering assistant
Mark ‘Spike’ Stent:
Mixing
Michael Freeman:
Mixing assistant
Alex Pasco:
Engineering
Billy Bush:
Engineering
Julian Burg:
Engineering
Matt Tuggle:
Engineering assistant
Collin Kadlec:
Engineering assistant
Brad Giroux:
Engineering assistant
Paul Pritchard:
Engineering assistant
Derek Stockwell:
Mixing assistant
Rob Millet:
Cimbalom
Rob Millett:
Cimbalon

Session Recording:
Unknown dates
Studio:
Henson Recording Studios, Los Angeles

Session Recording:
Unknown dates
Studio:
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Recording:
Late 2017 ?
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
2018 ?
Studio:
Henson Recording Studios, Los Angeles

Videos

Album • Egypt Station

Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.


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Mathew 6 months ago

"You'll find, love of mine" is not a right line, there must be "You're fine" (it can be seen in lyric video).
"I won't be your man" must be "I'm only a man"


The PaulMcCartney Project 5 months ago

Hi Mathew, thanks very much for this - I have made the changes !


Joanie Obx 3 months ago

Who's the female backup singer?


The PaulMcCartney Project 3 months ago

Hi Joanie, there is none female backup singer credited - but Greg Kurstin is credited for "backing vocal arrangement".


Fuh You! 1 months ago

"I Don't Know" was played in soundcheck for one of the Tokyo shows... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCNCic5CgM0&fbclid=IwAR09LiywWLmNkxL0ArvW56JtDD7Im9pF6jFFtfYkqfPkdFKVO5yU30e5iuY


The PaulMcCartney Project 1 months ago

Oh thank you @fuh you ! Didn't notice that !