The Paul McCartney Project

Jenny Wren

Written by Paul McCartney

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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Song facts

From Wikipedia:

“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

Lyrics

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
Wounded warriors
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


Chaos and Creation in the Backyard

Official album • Released in 2005

3:47 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Epiphone texan acoustic guitar, Ludwig floor tom, Vocals
Nigel Godrich:
Producer
Pedro Eustache:
Duduk

Recording:
October 2004
Studio:
Ocean Way Recording, Los Angeles


Jenny Wren

7" Single • Released in 2005

3:49 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitar, Tom, Vocals
Pedro Eustache:
Duduk

Credits & recording details courtesy of Luca Perasi • Buy Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013) on Amazon


Jenny Wren

CD Single • Released in 2005

3:49 • Studio versionA


Jenny Wren

CD Single • Released in 2005

3:49 • Studio versionA


Pure McCartney

Official album • Released in 2016

Studio version


Pure McCartney (Deluxe)

Official album • Released in 2016

Studio version

Bootlegs


Acoustic

Unofficial album

2:08 • Outtake


Acoustic

Unofficial album

3:49 • Outtake


Live In Iowa 2005

Unofficial live

4:02 • Live

Concert From the concert in Des Moines, USA on Oct 27, 2005


Toronto A. C. C.

Unofficial live • Released in 2005

5:13 • Live

Concert From the concert in Toronto, Canada on Oct 10, 2005


Chronicles in the Backyard Disc 3

Unofficial album • Released in 2006

6:15 • Radio show

Recording:
Jul 28, 2005
Studio:
Abbey Road Studio 2


Live performances

“Jenny Wren” has been played in 33 concerts.

Latest concerts where “Jenny Wren” has been played


Los Angeles • Staples Center

Nov 30, 2005 • Part of The US Tour


Los Angeles • Staples Center

Nov 29, 2005 • Part of The US Tour




Phoenix • Glendale Arena

Nov 23, 2005 • Part of The US Tour



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