The Paul McCartney Project

Junk

Written by Paul McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the McCartney Official album.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1970
Timeline This song has been written (or started being written) in 1968 (Paul McCartney was 26 years old)

Related sessions

This song has been recorded during the following studio sessions


The Esher recordings

Late May 1968


"McCartney" session (home recordings)

December 1969 to Jan 03, 1970



"McCartney" session at Abbey Road Studios

February–March 1970


Other songs from "McCartney" appearing on "Unplugged" (1991)


That Would Be Something

Officially appears on McCartney


Every Night

Officially appears on McCartney


Singalong Junk

Officially appears on McCartney

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Song facts

Junk” is a song written by Paul McCartney in March 1968 while the Beatles were in India, that appears on his first solo album released in 1970. An instrumental version of the song -named “Singalong Junk” also appears on this album. From Wikipedia:

It was originally under consideration for The Beatles (also known as the White Album). It was passed over for that LP, as it was for Abbey Road. It was eventually released on McCartney’s debut solo album McCartney in 1970. The version McCartney played for the rest of the Beatles, in May 1968, was among other songs demoed at George Harrison’s Kinfauns home, before the recording of The Beatles was released on Anthology 3 on 22 October 1996. The song’s working title was “Jubilee“, and also known as “Junk in the Yard“. Take one appeared on the McCartney album as “Singalong Junk” and whereas take two was issued as “Junk“.

Besides the exclusion of vocals, “Singalong Junk” features mellotron strings and the melody is played on a piano. The song also features more prominent drums. This version of the song is said to have been the original instrumental backing to which McCartney was planning on singing, but he opted for a simpler arrangement for the vocal version instead.

Junk” was included on an EP (along with “Another Day“, “Oh Woman, Oh Why” and “Valentine Day“) released only in Mexico. This song has been dropped from his live setlist, but was included on McCartney’s and Wings 2001 compilation Wingspan: Hits and History.

From Beatles Bible:

[…] A rough version, lasting just 16 seconds and sung in mock French, was busked on 9 January 1969 during the Get Back sessions at Twickenham Film Studios. […] Junk was first performed live as an instrumental during McCartney’s appearance on MTV Unplugged on 25 January 1991, and appeared as the final track on that year’s Unplugged (The Official Bootleg) album. An orchestral version opened McCartney’s 1999 album Working Classical.

From the press release of McCartney, 1970:

Originally written in India at Maharishi’s camp and completed bit by bit in London. Recorded vocal, two acoustic guitars and bass at home and later added to (bass drum, snare with brushes, and small xylophone and harmony) at Morgan.

Linda was very helpful, because she used to say, ‘I love to hear you play the guitar’. I was no longer sitting in a room on my own, like I used to be. So I’ll strum along when I watch telly. ‘Junk’ came along that way. Handlebars, sentimental jubilee, jam jars: I like images like that. There are certain words you like. I always used to say that candlestick was my favourite word. Certain words either make colours in your head or bring up a feeling. So the song was a pot-pourri of nice words that I had to make some sense out of, so it was ‘buy buy, sell sell, Junk says the sign in the yard’. To lump it all together I got the idea of ‘Junk’. It was a nice way to write a song. There was also the ‘Singalong’ instrumental version, influenced by Phil Spector’s technique of taking off the lyric for a B-side and calling it ‘Singalong’.

For Unplugged, I thought it would be nice to do a little instrumental, so I reminded the guys of it. It worked nice on the show: they used it as the playout and rolled the credits over it.

Paul McCartney, from Club Sandwich 55/56, Winter 1990/91
From Facebook – Here we see Paul’s original handwritten lyrics from 1968. mccartneyalbumatfifty #paulmccartney #thebeatles #mccartneylegacy

From Wikipedia:

“Junk” is a song written by English musician Paul McCartney and released on his debut studio album McCartney (1970). He wrote the song in 1968 with the Beatles while the group were studying Transcendental Meditation in India. After the band’s return from India, he recorded the song as a demo at Kinfauns, George Harrison’s home, before sessions for The Beatles (also known as “the White Album”) took place. It was ultimately passed over for inclusion on The Beatles and Abbey Road in 1969. After the group’s break-up, McCartney recorded the song for inclusion on McCartney. The lyrics describe various items in a junkyard. A slightly longer, instrumental version of the song, titled “Singalong Junk”, also appears on the album.

Contents

History

McCartney wrote “Junk”, along with another McCartney track “Teddy Boy“, during the Beatles’ visit to India in 1968. The song was one of several the Beatles demoed at George Harrison’s Kinfauns home before the recording of The Beatles in May 1968. The Esher demo was eventually released on Anthology 3 in 1996 and on the Super Deluxe edition of the “White Album” in 2018. While the song was considered for The Beatles (also known as the “White Album”), it was not included; neither did it find a place on Abbey Road. McCartney eventually recorded the song, along with “Teddy Boy”, in February 1970 for his debut solo album McCartney. The song’s working title was “Jubilee”; it was also known as “Junk in the Yard”. Take one appeared on the McCartney album as “Singalong Junk”, whereas take two was issued as “Junk”.

“Junk” was included on an EP (along with “Another Day“, “Oh Woman, Oh Why” and “Valentine Day”) released only in Mexico. The song has been dropped from his live setlist, but was included on the compilations Wingspan: Hits and History (2001) and Pure McCartney (2016).

Composition

The lyrics of “Junk” have McCartney describe numerous contents of a junkyard, including parachutes, army boots, and sleeping bags for two. The song’s chorus: “Buy, buy, says the sign in the shop window/why, why, says the junk in the yard” illustrate what it’s like for these items. Beside the exclusion of vocals, “Singalong Junk” features mellotron strings and the melody is played on a piano. That version also features more prominent drums. “Singalong Junk” is said to have been the original instrumental backing over which McCartney planned to sing, but he opted for a simpler arrangement for the vocal version instead.

Reception

Since release, “Junk” has received positive reviews from music critics, with many considering it a highlight of its parent album. In a review for McCartney on initial release, Langdon Winner of Rolling Stone complimented the album’s use of simplicity, saying that it “works very well.” Winner praised “Junk” and “Teddy Boy”, describing both as “low pressure compositions with gentle, poignant lessons to convey” that are “very tasteful and fun to listen to.”

Donald A. Guarisco of AllMusic considers “Junk” of the “finest moments” on McCartney, describing it as “a melancholy charmer of a ballad that has become a cult favorite with McCartney fans.” Guarisco further praises McCartney’s vocal performance, writing that it “captures [the song’s] wistful mood nicely.” In a retrospective review for McCartney, Record Collector has highlighted “Junk”, along with “Every Night” and “Maybe I’m Amazed”, as songs that “still sound absolutely effortless and demonstrate the man’s natural genius with a melody”. Joe Tangari of Pitchfork similarly evaluated both “Junk” and “Singalong Junk”, with “Maybe I’m Amazed”, as the “peaks” of McCartney.

Personnel

Live versions

Cover versions

Media appearances

References

Bibliography

External links

Last updated on June 2, 2020

Lyrics

Motor cars, handle bars, bicycles for two,
Broken hearted jubilee.

Parachutes, army boots, sleeping bags for two,
Sentimental jamboree.

Chorus.
"Buy, buy ", says the sign in the shop window
"Why, why?", says the junk in the yard.

Candlesticks, building bricks, something old and new,
Memories for you and me.

Repeat Chorus

Officially appears on


McCartney

Official album • Released in 1970

1:57 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Bass, Drums, Producer, Vocals, Xylophone
Phil McDonald :
Mixing engineer
Robin Black :
Recording engineer

Session Recording:
December, 1969
Studio :
At home, Cavendish Avenue, London

Session Overdubs:
February, 1970
Studio :
Morgan Studios, London

Session Mixing:
February, 1970
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

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


Unplugged (The Official Bootleg)

Official live • Released in 1991

2:27 • LiveL1

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Producer
Linda McCartney :
Harmonium
Robbie McIntosh :
Acoustic guitar
Hamish Stuart :
Acoustic bass
Paul Wickens :
Piano
Blair Cunningham :
Drums
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Eddie Klein :
Assistant engineer
Gary Stewart :
Assistant engineer
Peter Craigie :
Assistant engineer
Gary Bradshaw :
Monitor engineer

Concert From "MTV Unplugged" in Wembley, United Kingdom on Jan 25, 1991


McCartney (by DCC Compact Classics)

Official album • Released in 1992

1:57 • Studio versionA1992 • 1992 remaster

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Bass, Drums, Producer, Vocals, Xylophone
Phil McDonald :
Mixing engineer
Robin Black :
Recording engineer
Steve Hoffman :
Remastering

Session Recording:
December, 1969
Studio :
At home, Cavendish Avenue, London

Session Overdubs:
February, 1970
Studio :
Morgan Studios, London

Session Mixing:
February, 1970
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

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


McCartney (1993)

Official album • Released in 1993

1:57 • Studio versionA1993 • 1993 remaster

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Bass, Drums, Producer, Vocals, Xylophone
Phil McDonald :
Mixing engineer
Robin Black :
Recording engineer

Session Recording:
December, 1969
Studio :
At home, Cavendish Avenue, London

Session Overdubs:
February, 1970
Studio :
Morgan Studios, London

Session Mixing:
February, 1970
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Anthology 3

Official album • Released in 1996

2:25 • DemoB • Mono

Session Recording:
Late May 1968
Studio :
George Harrison's Home, Kinfauns, Esher, Surrey, UK


Working Classical

Official album • Released in 1999

2:49 • Classical versionC

Paul McCartney :
Executive producer
Eddie Klein :
Recording engineer
Andy Stein :
Arranger
Keith Smith :
Recording engineer
Steve Rooke :
Mastering
Krista Bennion Feeney :
First violin
Anca Nicolau :
Second violin
Joanna Hood :
Viola
Myron Lutzke :
Cello
Performed by :
Loma Mar Quartet
John Fraser :
Producer
Arne Akselberg :
Balance engineer
Paul Baily :
Editor
Caroline Haigh :
Editor

Session Recording:
February 21-25th, 1999
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road


Wingspan Hits And History

Official album • Released in 2001

1:57 • Studio versionA2001 • 2001 remaster

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Bass, Drums, Producer, Vocals, Xylophone
Geoff Emerick :
Remastering
Phil McDonald :
Mixing engineer
Robin Black :
Recording engineer
Peter Mew :
Remastering

Session Recording:
December, 1969
Studio :
At home, Cavendish Avenue, London

Session Overdubs:
February, 1970
Studio :
Morgan Studios, London

Session Mixing:
February, 1970
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


McCartney - Archive Collection

Official album • Released in 2011

1:57 • Studio versionA2011 • 2011 remaster

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Bass, Drums, Producer, Vocals, Xylophone
Phil McDonald :
Mixing engineer
Robin Black :
Recording engineer

Session Recording:
December, 1969
Studio :
At home, Cavendish Avenue, London

Session Overdubs:
February, 1970
Studio :
Morgan Studios, London

Session Mixing:
February, 1970
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

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


Pure McCartney

Official album • Released in 2016

1:57 • Studio versionA2011

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Bass, Drums, Producer, Vocals, Xylophone
Phil McDonald :
Mixing engineer
Robin Black :
Recording engineer

Session Recording:
December, 1969
Studio :
At home, Cavendish Avenue, London

Session Overdubs:
February, 1970
Studio :
Morgan Studios, London

Session Mixing:
February, 1970
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Pure McCartney (Deluxe)

Official album • Released in 2016

1:57 • Studio versionA2011

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Bass, Drums, Producer, Vocals, Xylophone
Phil McDonald :
Mixing engineer
Robin Black :
Recording engineer

Session Recording:
December, 1969
Studio :
At home, Cavendish Avenue, London

Session Overdubs:
February, 1970
Studio :
Morgan Studios, London

Session Mixing:
February, 1970
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Bootlegs


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol. 1

Unofficial album

2:36 • Demo • 5/68

Recording :
May 1968


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol. 1

Unofficial album

Demo • 1/9/69


Dome In Rehearsal

Unofficial live

2:07 • Soundcheck

Concert From the concert in Fukuoka, Japan on Nov 18, 1993


White Album Sessions Volume 1

Unofficial album

2:35 • Studio version


White Album Sessions Volume 1

Unofficial album

2:22 • Studio version


Live performances

“Junk” has been played in 1 concerts and 2 soundchecks.

Latest concerts where has been played


MTV Unplugged

Jan 25, 1991 • United Kingdom • Wembley • Limehouse Television Studios • TV show


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