The Paul McCartney Project

My Old Friend

Written by Carl Perkins

Album This song officially appears on the Go Cat Go! Official album.
Timeline This song has been written (or started being written) in 1984 (Paul McCartney was 42 years old)

Related sessions

This song has been recorded during the following studio sessions



Jam with Carl Perkins

Apr 27, 1993


Related songs


Get It

Officially appears on Tug Of War


Your True Love

Unreleased song



Movie Magg

Officially appears on Run Devil Run

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Song facts

My Old Friend” is a song written by Carl Perkins in 1981, while participating to the recording of Paul McCartney’s album “Tug Of War“. Carl Perkins was invited by Paul to Montserrat, where the recording of the album took place; and participated in Paul’s song, “Get It“. He spent eight days there

 to thank Paul for the invitation to Montserrat. Recorded on February 25, 1981, and released fifteen years later – after some sweetening – on Carl’s album Go Cat Go (October 15, 1996). On this album Carl presents collaboration with all of the Fab Four.

The night before I was supposed to leave, I thought I might run short of words telling Paul how much I appreciated him having me down there, so I wrote down some words and put a little tune to them. I called it ‘My Old Friend’, and sang it to him the next morning. Then I had to stay another day, because he said, ‘This is one we have to record.’ Linda told me, ‘He doesn’t cry a lot, but you touched him with that song.’ I only meant the song to be from me to him, but it turned out that it sounds like John Lennon is talking to him.

Carl Perkins. From Badman, Keith. The Beatles: Off The Record 2 – The Dream is Over: Dream Is Over Vol 2 (p. 303)

.

From Club Sandwich N°33, 1984:

[…] Paul really liked [My Old Friend] and got Carl to play it again for Linda and George Martin. Although Carl felt it was just a statement, Paul persuaded him to go into the studio there and then to put it down. Carl sang and played two guitar parts, Paul played organ, rhythm guitar, drums and bass, whilst adding backing vocals. It was cut within the hour.

Paul’s interest in the song was so strong that he asked Carl if he could take it back to England to work on an arrangement. Carl feels that Paul’s treatment is a masterpiece, which heightens the feelings expressed in the song. He says that My Old Friend means more to him than any other song he’s ever written, including Blue Suede Shoes, as it’s both his personal feeling to Paul whilst managing to hit a universal note with which many people can associate.

From http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RywM8Xy98Ew:

The night before he left, a song came to Carl that summed up his warm feelings about the visit, and he couldn’t get it out of his mind. It was so strong that Carl didn’t even write it down, which he said was strange for him. He usually always wrote his songs down immediately.

In the morning, Carl Perkins sang the song, which he named My Old Friend, for Linda and Paul, saying it was his gift for having him as a guest. Half way through the song, after singing “if we never meet again this side of life, in a little while, over yonder, where there’s peace and quiet, my old friend, won’t you think about me every now and then?” tears streamed down Paul’s face and he stood up and stepped outside.

Not knowing what the matter was, Carl stopped, a bit shaken. Didn’t Paul like the song? Linda warmly put her arms around Carl, and thanked him. She said the song was getting Paul to finally connect with his grief over John Lennon’s death.

Linda explained that the last time Paul talked to John, he had said the same line to Paul: “think about me every now and then, my old friend.”

Carl and Linda were now convinced that the song had been channeled from John Lennon’s spirit, as a gift to Paul.

Last updated on May 2, 2020

Lyrics

On the Isle of Montserrat
Though I never shall forget
Just a country boy, a guitar and a song
You invited me in
And you treated me like king
And you’ve given me a reason to go on

My old friend,
Thanks for inviting me in
My old friend,
May this goodbye never mean the end
If we never meet again this side of life
In a little while, over yonder,
Where it’s peace and quiet
My old friend,
Won’t you think about me every now and then

If I told you how I feel
Oh, it wouldn’t sound so real
‘Cause emotions, they are just now settin’ in
But it sure is great to know
That wherever we may go
We can always be the best of friends

My old friend,
Thanks for inviting me in
My old friend,
May this goodbye never mean the end
And if we never meet again this side of life
In a little while, over yonder,
Where it’s peace and quiet
My old friend,
Won’t you think about me every now and then

And I’ll think about you,
My old friend

Officially appears on


Go Cat Go!

Official album • Released in 1996

3:21 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Bass, Drums, Guitar, Piano, Producer, Vocals
Carl Perkins :
Guitar, Vocals
George Martin :
Producer, Strings arrangement
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Eddie Klein :
Mixing engineer
Keith Smith :
Mixing engineer
Jon Kelly :
String recording engineer
Mike Stavrou :
Recording engineer

Session Recording:
Feb 25, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, Montserrat

Session Overdubs:
Mid-April 1996
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK


The Legendary Songs Of Carl Perkins

Official album • Released in 2003

3:21 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Bass, Drums, Guitar, Piano, Producer, Vocals
Carl Perkins :
Guitar, Vocals
George Martin :
Producer, Strings arrangement
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Eddie Klein :
Mixing engineer
Keith Smith :
Mixing engineer
Jon Kelly :
String recording engineer
Mike Stavrou :
Recording engineer

Session Recording:
Feb 25, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, Montserrat

Session Overdubs:
Mid-April 1996
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Bootlegs


Tug Of War - Ultimate Archive Collection

Unofficial album • Released in 2016

3:27 • Studio versionB • Original version

Paul McCartney :
Bass, Drums, Guitar, Piano, Producer, Vocals
Carl Perkins :
Guitar, Vocals
George Martin :
Producer, Strings arrangement
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Eddie Klein :
Mixing engineer
Keith Smith :
Mixing engineer
Jon Kelly :
String recording engineer
Mike Stavrou :
Recording engineer

Session Recording:
Feb 25, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, Montserrat


Old Friends From Montserrat

Unofficial album

3:23 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Bass, Drums, Guitar, Piano, Producer, Vocals
Carl Perkins :
Guitar, Vocals
George Martin :
Producer, Strings arrangement
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Eddie Klein :
Mixing engineer
Keith Smith :
Mixing engineer
Jon Kelly :
String recording engineer
Mike Stavrou :
Recording engineer

Session Recording:
Feb 25, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, Montserrat

Session Overdubs:
Mid-April 1996
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK


Old Friends From Montserrat

Unofficial album

3:50 • Studio version


Tug Of War Sessions

Unofficial album • Released in 2015

3:20 • Alternate takeB • Rough Mix


Tug Of War Sessions

Unofficial album • Released in 2015

3:23 • Alternate takeA • Final Mix

Paul McCartney :
Bass, Drums, Guitar, Piano, Producer, Vocals
Carl Perkins :
Guitar, Vocals
George Martin :
Producer, Strings arrangement
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Eddie Klein :
Mixing engineer
Keith Smith :
Mixing engineer
Jon Kelly :
String recording engineer
Mike Stavrou :
Recording engineer

Session Recording:
Feb 25, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, Montserrat

Session Overdubs:
Mid-April 1996
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK


Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.


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