- Album This song officially appears on the Chaos and Creation in the Backyard Official album.
- Timeline This song has been officially released in 2005
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“Jenny Wren” is a song from Paul McCartney’s 2005 album Chaos and Creation in the Backyard. It was released 21 November 2005 as the second single from the album in the United Kingdom.
Jenny Wren was written in Los Angeles, and is about a character of the same name from Charles Dickens’ novel Our Mutual Friend. It also refers to a bird known as the wren, which is reported to be McCartney’s favourite. McCartney wrote the tune in the same sort of finger picking style found in “Blackbird“, “Mother Nature’s Son” (The Beatles) and “Calico Skies” (Flaming Pie). The song earned a nomination for the 2007 Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance category.
The solo is played on an Armenian woodwind instrument, called duduk — a first in pop music history — played by Venezuelan born, world winds specialist & multi-instrumentalist Pedro Eustache. The guitar is tuned down a whole step for the song, providing a unique sound that reflects McCartney’s earlier works.
The song was recorded in October 2004, with duduk overdub added in a separate session on 25th of the same month.
The song has been covered by several artists, such as the Norwegian jazz trio SOLID! who recorded an instrumental version on their 2008 release Happy Accidents (AIM Records).
In the 2006 movie Failure to Launch, the name of Tripp’s wooden boat is Jennie Wren.
“Jenny Wren” charted at #22 on the UK Singles Chart.
From an interview of Paul by Gary Crowley (2005 UK promotional only interview CD, recorded July 2005 at Air Studios in London ; full interview available on Chronicles in the Backyard Disc 1):
Jenny Wren is next: how did that song get written?
With Jenny Wren it’s one of those things: I love to play acoustic guitar so I’ve done things like Blackbird, Mother Nature’s Son, – Calico Skies more recently just because I love playing acoustic guitar. It’s just a nice thing. Me and millions of other people love to do that. And I was in Los Angeles and I was in one of those moods. ‘I want to go and play my guitar in the great outdoors’ so I went into a spot in one of the canyons there, lovely nature spot, getting away from all the traffic and everything, and just found a little spot and just sat down and started playing guitar and I was, so when you get Blackbird it’s a kind of two part thing, Blackbird, instead of just (plays) a strumming thing it’s a little picking thing, (plays) so you’ve got the two notes so I was trying to do something similar so this was like (plays) so it’s always got the two, it’s got like a bass line and a little melody (plays) and when I got to there, that was cool because that sort of should have gone (plays) major, because it’s all been in the major till there but (plays) I found that was really nice and the cool thing about it was as I did it there’s another note comes out (plays) that little note just comes out by mistake (sings) so I just got a bit fascinated. ‘O.K. right.’ (Sings) ‘Like most other girls, Jenny Wren could sing, but a broken heart took her song away…’ So it’s just that kind of genre that I love and I just had a lot of fun, wrote the basis of it there outdoors in the canyon, lovely day, went back home that night to where we were staying and sat around while dinner was getting made and just sat around with the girls and sang it and made it up.
And who actually is Jenny Wren?
You know it was, it isn’t anyone. It’s like a lot of my things, it’s just a made up thing. But it’s funny actually I was talking to someone yesterday, and I was talking about how much I love Dickens, and I read a lot of Dickens. She was talking about it for different reasons. And this person said ‘Ah Jenny Wren, Our Mutual Friend’ which is this character in the Dickens book Our Mutual Friend; and she is a really cool little girl who’s sort of magical, who sees the good in things and I think subconsciously that reminded me that’s where I got it from, I think, but to me it was just something to do with Blackbird, a wren: a wren is one of my favourite birds, little English bird, it’s the smallest English bird and I always feel very privileged to see a wren because they’re very shy and it’s just ‘Ah!’ So a combination of all of that. It’s a favourite bird for me, and then instead of making it a bird, again like Blackbird, only more definitely this time I made it a woman, you know, a girl. So it was good fun doing it.
Last updated on December 3, 2014
Like so many girls
Jenny Wren could sing
But a broken heart,
Took her song away
Like the other girls
Jenny Wren took wing
She could see the world
And its foolish ways
How we spend our days
Casting love aside
Losing sight of life day by day
She saw poverty
Breaking up a home
Took her song away
But the day will come
Jenny Wren will sing
When this broken world
Mends its foolish ways
Then we'll spend our days
Catching up on life
All because of you Jenny Wren
You saw who we are Jenny Wren
Officially appears on
Official album • Released in 2016
Official album • Released in 2016
2:08 • Outtake
3:49 • Outtake
Unofficial album • Released in 2006
6:15 • Radio show
- Jul 28, 2005
- Abbey Road Studio 2
“Jenny Wren” has been played in 33 concerts.