Album This song officially appears on the Band On The Run (UK version) Official album.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1973

Song facts

From Wikipedia:

Jet” is a song by Paul McCartney and Wings from their album Band on the Run. Supposedly written about a jet black Labrador that McCartney owned, the song was the first British and American single to be released from the album. The song peaked at number 7 in both the British and American charts on 30 March 1974, also charting in multiple countries in Europe. It has been released on numerous compilation albums, and has since become one of the band’s most well-known tracks.

Along with “Helen Wheels” and “Junior’s Farm“, “Jet” is another McCartney song where his primary inspiration for composing the song arose in daily life.

Background

Reviewers have reported that the subject of the song is McCartney’s Labrador Retriever dog named “Jet“. McCartney has also substantiated this claim.

However, in a 2010 interview on the UK television channel ITV1 for the program Wings: Band on the Run (to promote the November 2010 CD/DVD re-release of the album) McCartney explained that Jet was the name of a pony he had owned, although many of the lyrics bore little relation to the subject; indeed, the true meaning of the lyrics has defied all attempts at decryption.

The song’s use of the word “suffragette” was described by McCartney as “crazy” and “silly“, not having any deep inspiration.

Recording

Whereas most of the Band on the Run album was recorded in Lagos, Nigeria, “Jet” was recorded entirely at EMI Studios in London after the group’s return (according to engineer Geoff Emerick in his book Here, There and Everywhere). Instrumentation used in the song includes electric guitars, bass, Moog, drums, piano, horns and strings. A closer listening reveals the Moog is used for the bass line during the verse and is simply Linda holding the root note.

Release and reception

Jet” was released as the debut single from Band on the Run in January 1974 (although in some countries, the Non-UK/US single “Mrs. Vandebilt” was released first). The single was a Top 10 hit for Paul McCartney and Wings, peaking at number 7 in both America and Britain. The single was backed with “Let Me Roll It” in Britain. When first released, in America the single’s B-side was “Mamunia“, another track from Band on the Run, but it was soon replaced with the British B-side.

Jet” has been released on multiple compilation albums, including Wings Greatest (1978) and All the Best! (1987).

Prominent music critic Dave Marsh named the song number 793 in his list of the 1001 greatest singles ever made. He referred to it as a “grand pop confection” that represented the only time McCartney approached the “drive and density” of his tenure with the Beatles. Writer Graham Reid has described it as a power pop “gem“.

Paul McCartney has since said that the soft rock band The Carpenters were fans of “Jet“.

I remember Richard and Karen Carpenter ringing me up to tell me about ‘Jet’ – they were like the last people on Earth I thought who’d like ‘Jet’! But they were like, ‘Oh, great record, man!’ So, you know, it was actually resonating with people. — Paul McCartney, Clash

We’ve got a Labrador puppy who is a runt, the runt of a litter. We bought her along a roadside in a little pet shop, out in the country one day. She was a bit of a wild dog, a wild girl who wouldn’t stay in. We have a big wall around our house in London, and she wouldn’t stay in, she always used to jump the wall. She’d go out on the town for the evening, like Lady And The Tramp. She must have met up with some big black Labrador or something. She came back one day pregnant. She proceeded to walk into the garage and have this litter… Seven little black puppies, perfect little black Labradors, and she’s not black, she’s tan. So we worked out it must have been a black Labrador. What we do is if either of the dogs we have has a litter, we try to keep them for the puppy stage, so we get the best bit of them, and then when they get a bit unmanageable we ask people if they want to have a puppy. So Jet was one of the puppies. We give them all names. We’ve had some great names, there was one puppy called Golden Molasses. I rather like that. Then there was one called Brown Megs, named after a Capitol executive. They’ve all gone now. The people change the names if they don’t like them.

Paul McCartney, Paul McCartney: In His Own Words

I make up so much stuff. It means something to me when I do it, and it means something to the record buyer, but if I’m asked to analyze it I can’t really explain what it is. ‘Suffragette’ was crazy enough to work. It sounded silly, so I liked it.

Paul McCartney, Paul McCartney: In His Own Words

I was up in Scotland and it was a nice day, and I was on this little farm up there. So one day I just took my guitar out into the countryside and up this big mountain. And I find this beautiful little spot and I’m just making up a song. And what came to mind was we had a little pony for the kids, it was called Jet. A little black pony. So I thought, “OK, [sings] Jet!” and just shouted that and struck an A chord. “Jet!” So I got a little rhythm going.

Then I just started to think of this thing of when Linda and I had first got married, you know, I had her father to deal with. He was a great man, a lovely man, but he definitely was a father figure. He could be a little bit serious, a little bit restrictive, so this whole idea came into my mind, “Jet, your father was a Sergeant Major.” I started going off down that track of [sings] ‘Jet, I can almost remember the funny faces. That time you told him that you were going to be marrying soon.’ And I just made it up.

It’s largely fictional. Then it gets to the chorus, I go for some reason – and I really have no idea where this popped from –  I do this ‘Ah, mater.’ And ‘mater’ is Latin for ‘mother.’ I don’t know why I stuck that in. Maybe it’s just a word I liked. It just developed and by the time I came down off that mountain with my guitar I had the song finished.

So it’s this crazy little song. Really, if you break it down, it’s about a little black pony and some marital troubles and a Latin mother [laughs] jumbled all into one. Now there’s a case where people can make up their own mind as to what they think that means.

Paul McCartney, interview by Niles Rodgers, January 2021

Last updated on January 8, 2021

Lyrics

Jet, Jet,
Jet I can almost remember their funny faces
That time you told them that you were going to be marrying soon
And Jet I thought the only lonely place was on the moon
Jet Jet Jet

Jet was your father as bold as the sergeant major
How come he told you that you were hardly old enough yet
And Jet I thought the major was a lady suffregette
Jet Jet Jet

Ah Mater want Jet to always love me
Ah Mater want Jet to always love me
Ah Mater . . . much later
Jet
And Jet I thought the major was a lady suffragette
Jet Jet
Ah Mater want Jet to always love me
Ah Mater want Jet to always love me
Ah Mater . . . much later
Jet with the wind in your hair
Of a thousand laces
Climb on the back and we'll go for a ride in the sky
And Jet I thought
that the major was a little lady suffragette

Jet-Jet-Jet
And Jet you know I thought
you was a little lady suffragette
Jet
A little lady
My little lady . . . yes

Officially appears on


Band On The Run (US version)

Official album • Released in 1973

4:09 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Bass, Drums, Electric guitar, Moog (?), Piano (?), Producer, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals, Keyboards, Moog (?)
Denny Laine :
Backing vocals, Electric guitar, Piano (?)
Tony Visconti :
Orchestration
Howie Casey :
Sax
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Pete Swettenham :
Assistant engineer
Beaux Arts Orchestra :
Strings

Session Recording:
October 1973
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Session Mixing:
Late October / Early November 1973
Studio :
Kingsway Studios, London, UK

Credits & recording details courtesy of Luca Perasi • Buy Paul McCartney: Music Is Ideas. The Stories Behind the Songs (Vol. 1) 1970-1989 on Amazon


Band On The Run (UK version)

Official album • Released in 1973

4:09 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Bass, Drums, Electric guitar, Moog (?), Piano (?), Producer, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals, Keyboards, Moog (?)
Denny Laine :
Backing vocals, Electric guitar, Piano (?)
Tony Visconti :
Orchestration
Howie Casey :
Sax
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Pete Swettenham :
Assistant engineer
Beaux Arts Orchestra :
Strings

Session Recording:
October 1973
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Session Mixing:
Late October / Early November 1973
Studio :
Kingsway Studios, London, UK

Credits & recording details courtesy of Luca Perasi • Buy Paul McCartney: Music Is Ideas. The Stories Behind the Songs (Vol. 1) 1970-1989 on Amazon


Jet / Let Me Roll It

7" Single • Released in 1974

4:09 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Bass, Drums, Electric guitar, Moog (?), Piano (?), Producer, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals, Keyboards, Moog (?)
Denny Laine :
Backing vocals, Electric guitar, Piano (?)
Tony Visconti :
Orchestration
Howie Casey :
Sax
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Pete Swettenham :
Assistant engineer
Beaux Arts Orchestra :
Strings

Session Recording:
October 1973
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Session Mixing:
Late October / Early November 1973
Studio :
Kingsway Studios, London, UK

Credits & recording details courtesy of Luca Perasi • Buy Paul McCartney: Music Is Ideas. The Stories Behind the Songs (Vol. 1) 1970-1989 on Amazon


Band On The Run (Quadraphonic version)

Official album • Released in 1974

4:09 • Studio versionB • DTS Mix / Quadraphonic version

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Bass, Drums, Electric guitar, Moog (?), Piano (?), Producer, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals, Keyboards, Moog (?)
Denny Laine :
Backing vocals, Electric guitar, Piano (?)
Tony Visconti :
Orchestration
Howie Casey :
Sax
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Pete Swettenham :
Assistant engineer
Beaux Arts Orchestra :
Strings

Session Recording:
October 1973
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Session Mixing:
Early 1974
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Credits & recording details courtesy of Luca Perasi • Buy Paul McCartney: Music Is Ideas. The Stories Behind the Songs (Vol. 1) 1970-1989 on Amazon


One Hand Clapping (2 LP edition)

LP • Released in 1974

3:59 • Studio versionD • Same take as the one released on Band on the Run archive edition but a radically different mix. Linda's Moog kicks off the track (which was mixed out in the previous version) and synth is also mixed high throughout. Also looks like a mix of two vocal takes.

Paul McCartney :
Bass, Producer, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals, Moog, Piano
Denny Laine :
Backing vocals, Electric guitar
Jimmy McCulloch :
Backing vocals, Electric guitar
Geoff Emerick :
Recording engineer
Geoff Britton :
Drums
Mark Vigars :
Assistant recording engineer
Steve Orchard :
Mixing engineer

Session Recording:
Aug 26, 1974
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Session Overdubs:
Aug 29, 1974
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Early 2024
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Wings Over America

Official live • Released in 1976

4:15 • LiveL1

Paul McCartney :
Bass, Producer, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Keyboard, Vocals
Denny Laine :
Electric guitar, Vocals
Jimmy McCulloch :
Electric guitar, Vocals
Howie Casey :
Saxophone
Joe English :
Drums, Vocals
Thaddeus Richard :
Saxophone
Mark Vigars :
Assistant mixing engineer
Phil McDonald :
Mixing engineer, Overdubs recording
Steve Howard :
Percussion, Trumpet
Tony Dorsey :
Tambourine, Trombone
Jack Maxson :
Recording engineer
Tom Walsh :
Assistant recording engineer

Concert From the concert in Cincinnati, USA on May 27, 1976


Wings Greatest

Official album • Released in 1978

4:11 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Bass, Drums, Electric guitar, Moog (?), Piano (?), Producer, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals, Keyboards, Moog (?)
Denny Laine :
Backing vocals, Electric guitar, Piano (?)
Tony Visconti :
Orchestration
Howie Casey :
Sax
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Pete Swettenham :
Assistant engineer
Beaux Arts Orchestra :
Strings

Session Recording:
October 1973
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Session Mixing:
Late October / Early November 1973
Studio :
Kingsway Studios, London, UK

Credits & recording details courtesy of Luca Perasi • Buy Paul McCartney: Music Is Ideas. The Stories Behind the Songs (Vol. 1) 1970-1989 on Amazon


All The Best! (Box Set)

Official album • Released in 1987

4:07 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Bass, Drums, Electric guitar, Moog (?), Piano (?), Producer, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals, Keyboards, Moog (?)
Denny Laine :
Backing vocals, Electric guitar, Piano (?)
Tony Visconti :
Orchestration
Howie Casey :
Sax
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Pete Swettenham :
Assistant engineer
Beaux Arts Orchestra :
Strings

Session Recording:
October 1973
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Session Mixing:
Late October / Early November 1973
Studio :
Kingsway Studios, London, UK

Credits & recording details courtesy of Luca Perasi • Buy Paul McCartney: Music Is Ideas. The Stories Behind the Songs (Vol. 1) 1970-1989 on Amazon


All The Best! (UK version)

Official album • Released in 1987

4:09 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Bass, Drums, Electric guitar, Moog (?), Piano (?), Producer, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals, Keyboards, Moog (?)
Denny Laine :
Backing vocals, Electric guitar, Piano (?)
Tony Visconti :
Orchestration
Howie Casey :
Sax
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Pete Swettenham :
Assistant engineer
Beaux Arts Orchestra :
Strings

Session Recording:
October 1973
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Session Mixing:
Late October / Early November 1973
Studio :
Kingsway Studios, London, UK

Credits & recording details courtesy of Luca Perasi • Buy Paul McCartney: Music Is Ideas. The Stories Behind the Songs (Vol. 1) 1970-1989 on Amazon


All The Best! (US version)

Official album • Released in 1987

4:09 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Bass, Drums, Electric guitar, Moog (?), Piano (?), Producer, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals, Keyboards, Moog (?)
Denny Laine :
Backing vocals, Electric guitar, Piano (?)
Tony Visconti :
Orchestration
Howie Casey :
Sax
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Pete Swettenham :
Assistant engineer
Beaux Arts Orchestra :
Strings

Session Recording:
October 1973
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Session Mixing:
Late October / Early November 1973
Studio :
Kingsway Studios, London, UK

Credits & recording details courtesy of Luca Perasi • Buy Paul McCartney: Music Is Ideas. The Stories Behind the Songs (Vol. 1) 1970-1989 on Amazon


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