The Paul McCartney Project

On My Way To Work

Written by Paul McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the New Official album.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 2013
Sessions This song has been recorded during the following sessions

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Song facts

On My Way To Work” is a song from 2013 album “NEW“. From paulmccartney.com, April 11, 2018:

[…] ‘On My Way To Work’ sees Paul reminiscing about his time working with Speedy Prompt Delivery in Liverpool. In 2013, around the time of the original release of NEW, Paul spoke with Observer journalist Miranda Sawyer about the song:

“That’s all remembrances from Liverpool. The bus, top deck, me going to work… The specific work I was thinking of was my first job, as a second man on a lorry. The second man helps the driver unload when you get to the destination; the driver is the first man. He was very nice, my first man, because I was always knackered, and he would let me sleep. I would help load up the lorry, then get in and just sleep until we got half an hour from the destination, when he’d wake me up: ‘Oi, look lively!’ 

“So, that was one of my jobs. I was also a coil winder in a factory. But there was always the bus involved to get there, you know; nobody had a car. Big green buses, always the upper deck, for a ciggie, getting to work, clocking on…”

Produced by Giles Martin, ‘On My Way To Work’ has a winsome and warm sound courtesy of a twelve-string acoustic, mixing modern production, harmonies doubling in thirds with melodica, nostalgic guitar arpeggios and a slide guitar riff. It also features what we understand to be one of Johnny Depp’s favourite lines, where Paul name-checks the town of Chichester. […]

In a 2013 interview, Paul gave more details about the song writing process that led to “On My Way To Work“, from the importance of a good title as a starting point, to memories of Liverpool, and testing the song with some well known friends:

Sometimes what’s a great help in writing a song is an interesting title, because now you know what the novel is going to be called. And now you can start working. I did Live And Let Die, I had to work back from that title. I was going to John’s house one day with the Beatles and I asked the driver had he been busy and he said ‘l have been working eight days a week‘. So we then had that title. In the case of this new song I was flicking through an art catalogue and I saw a work by Damien Hirst, the young British artist. I saw one of his pictures and I looked for the title. It said ‘On My Way To Work’. And that intrigued me, I thought that’s a great title. It’s very mundane, but it says a lot. And everyone is going to be able to identify cause everyone is often on their way to work. So I thought what does that mean to me? The jobs I had before the Beatles would involve getting up early in the morning and going on a bus and the kind of buses we had were green double-deckers. So I started there on that journey and then just other memories came flooding in. One of the interesting things was in the chorus of that song, where I move away from the narrative, to just sort of something more to do with what I was thinking at that age was ‘How am I ever going to meet the ideal partner?’ Because there’s billions of people out there. ‘How am I ever going to run into the right one?’ And it was quite a disturbing thought to me at the time. And so I used that in the song to move away from the storyline. ‘But all the time I thought of you, How far away the future seemed. How can I have so many dreams without one of them coming true?’ So all of these things come into your mind. You’ve got a guitar, you start putting some chords to it. Write down the lyrics as you go. And then you’ve got a song. I was playing this to a friend of mine, I know Johnny Depp quite well, I was playing this to him and another friend – Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters as these guys were listening to some early playbacks. And Johnny is listening to this and says ‘I’m glad you got Chichester in there’. And I was very glad myself because it’s a nice rhythm and it’s kind of a funny town, there’s a little bit of humour in it ‘She came from Chichester to study history, she had removed her clothes for the likes of me.’

Paul McCartney, interview with David Dye, NPR World Cafe, October 2013

I started working at a coil-winding factory called Massey and Coggins. My dad had told me to go out and get a job. I’d said, ‘I’ve got a job, I’m in a band.’ But after a couple of weeks of doing nothing with the band it was, ‘No, you have got to get a proper job.’ He virtually chucked me out of the house. So I went to the employment office and said, ‘Can I have a job? Just give me anything.’ And the first job was sweeping the yard at Massey and Coggins. I took it.

Paul McCartney, The Beatles Anthology

There were a couple of jobs I had before… going on a bus like loads of people. It was quite an interesting period for me. I think it was probably interesting, because I stopped doing it. Top decks and buses appear in my songs, e.g. A Day In The Life. I met George on one of those bus rides, so it was kind of important to me. His dad was a bus driver

Paul McCartney

Last updated on May 28, 2019

Lyrics

On my way to work
I rode a big green bus
I could see everything
From the upper deck
People came and went
Smoking cigarettes
I picked the packets up
When the people left

But all the time I thought of you
How far away the future seemed
How could I have so many dreams
And one of them not come true

On my way to work
I bought a magazine
Inside a pretty girl
Liked to water ski
She came from Chichester
To study history
She had removed her clothes
For the likes of me

But all the time I thought of you
How would you know that I was there
How could a soul search everywhere
Without knowing what to do

On my way to work
As I was clocking in
I could see everything
How it came to be
People come and go
Smoking cigarettes
I pick the packets up
When the people leave

But all the time I think of you
How far away the future seems
How could I have so many dreams
And one of them not come true

On my way to work
But all the time I thought of you
How would you know that I was there
How could a soul search everywhere
Without knowing what to do

On my way to work
On my way to work

Officially appears on


New

Official album • Released in 2013

3:43 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Ciguitar, Drums, Guitar, Piano, Vocals
Rusty Anderson:
Guitar
Paul Wickens:
Accordion, Guitar, Piano
Brian Ray:
Guitar
Eddie Klein:
Assistant recording engineer (?)
Toby Pitman:
Programming
Cathy Thompson:
Violin
Laura Melhuish:
Violin
Patrick Kiernan:
Violin
Nina Foster:
Violin
Peter Lale:
Viola
Rachel Robson:
Viola
Caroline Dale:
Cello
Katherine Jenkinson:
Cello
Chris Worsey:
Cello
Richard Pryce:
Bass
Steve McManus:
Bass
Giles Martin:
Producer
Kevin Mills:
Assistant mixing engineer, Assistant recording engineer (?)
Sam Okell:
Recording engineer (?)
Chris Bolster:
Assistant recording engineer (?)
Jamie Kirkham:
Assistant recording engineer (?)
Mark 'Spike' Stent:
Mixing engineer
Geoff Swan:
Assistant mixing engineer
Bill Rahko:
Assistant recording engineer (?)
Nicolas Essig:
Assistant recording engineer (?)
Gordon Davidson:
Assistant recording engineer (?)
Iain Berryman:
Assistant recording engineer (?)
Seb Truman:
Assistant recording engineer (?)

Session Recording:
February - March 2013
Studio:
AIR Studios, London, UK

Session Overdubs:
April 2013
Studio:
Henson Recording Studios, Los Angeles

Session Mixing:
April 2013
Studio:
Henson Recording Studios, Los Angeles

Session Overdubs (Strings):
July 2013
Studio:
EMI Studios, Abbey Road


New (Deluxe Edition)

Official album • Released in 2013

3:43 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Ciguitar, Drums, Guitar, Piano, Vocals
Rusty Anderson:
Guitar
Paul Wickens:
Accordion, Guitar, Piano
Brian Ray:
Guitar
Eddie Klein:
Assistant recording engineer (?)
Toby Pitman:
Programming
Cathy Thompson:
Violin
Laura Melhuish:
Violin
Patrick Kiernan:
Violin
Nina Foster:
Violin
Peter Lale:
Viola
Rachel Robson:
Viola
Caroline Dale:
Cello
Katherine Jenkinson:
Cello
Chris Worsey:
Cello
Richard Pryce:
Bass
Steve McManus:
Bass
Giles Martin:
Producer
Kevin Mills:
Assistant mixing engineer, Assistant recording engineer (?)
Sam Okell:
Recording engineer (?)
Chris Bolster:
Assistant recording engineer (?)
Jamie Kirkham:
Assistant recording engineer (?)
Mark 'Spike' Stent:
Mixing engineer
Geoff Swan:
Assistant mixing engineer
Bill Rahko:
Assistant recording engineer (?)
Nicolas Essig:
Assistant recording engineer (?)
Gordon Davidson:
Assistant recording engineer (?)
Iain Berryman:
Assistant recording engineer (?)
Seb Truman:
Assistant recording engineer (?)

Session Recording:
February - March 2013
Studio:
AIR Studios, London, UK

Session Overdubs:
April 2013
Studio:
Henson Recording Studios, Los Angeles

Session Mixing:
April 2013
Studio:
Henson Recording Studios, Los Angeles

Session Overdubs (Strings):
July 2013
Studio:
EMI Studios, Abbey Road


New (Japan Edition)

Official album • Released in 2013

3:43 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Ciguitar, Drums, Guitar, Piano, Vocals
Rusty Anderson:
Guitar
Paul Wickens:
Accordion, Guitar, Piano
Brian Ray:
Guitar
Eddie Klein:
Assistant recording engineer (?)
Toby Pitman:
Programming
Cathy Thompson:
Violin
Laura Melhuish:
Violin
Patrick Kiernan:
Violin
Nina Foster:
Violin
Peter Lale:
Viola
Rachel Robson:
Viola
Caroline Dale:
Cello
Katherine Jenkinson:
Cello
Chris Worsey:
Cello
Richard Pryce:
Bass
Steve McManus:
Bass
Giles Martin:
Producer
Kevin Mills:
Assistant mixing engineer, Assistant recording engineer (?)
Sam Okell:
Recording engineer (?)
Chris Bolster:
Assistant recording engineer (?)
Jamie Kirkham:
Assistant recording engineer (?)
Mark 'Spike' Stent:
Mixing engineer
Geoff Swan:
Assistant mixing engineer
Bill Rahko:
Assistant recording engineer (?)
Nicolas Essig:
Assistant recording engineer (?)
Gordon Davidson:
Assistant recording engineer (?)
Iain Berryman:
Assistant recording engineer (?)
Seb Truman:
Assistant recording engineer (?)

Session Recording:
February - March 2013
Studio:
AIR Studios, London, UK

Session Overdubs:
April 2013
Studio:
Henson Recording Studios, Los Angeles

Session Mixing:
April 2013
Studio:
Henson Recording Studios, Los Angeles

Session Overdubs (Strings):
July 2013
Studio:
EMI Studios, Abbey Road


New (Collector's Edition)

Official album • Released in 2014

3:43 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Ciguitar, Drums, Guitar, Piano, Vocals
Rusty Anderson:
Guitar
Paul Wickens:
Accordion, Guitar, Piano
Brian Ray:
Guitar
Eddie Klein:
Assistant recording engineer (?)
Toby Pitman:
Programming
Cathy Thompson:
Violin
Laura Melhuish:
Violin
Patrick Kiernan:
Violin
Nina Foster:
Violin
Peter Lale:
Viola
Rachel Robson:
Viola
Caroline Dale:
Cello
Katherine Jenkinson:
Cello
Chris Worsey:
Cello
Richard Pryce:
Bass
Steve McManus:
Bass
Giles Martin:
Producer
Kevin Mills:
Assistant mixing engineer, Assistant recording engineer (?)
Sam Okell:
Recording engineer (?)
Chris Bolster:
Assistant recording engineer (?)
Jamie Kirkham:
Assistant recording engineer (?)
Mark 'Spike' Stent:
Mixing engineer
Geoff Swan:
Assistant mixing engineer
Bill Rahko:
Assistant recording engineer (?)
Nicolas Essig:
Assistant recording engineer (?)
Gordon Davidson:
Assistant recording engineer (?)
Iain Berryman:
Assistant recording engineer (?)
Seb Truman:
Assistant recording engineer (?)

Session Recording:
February - March 2013
Studio:
AIR Studios, London, UK

Session Overdubs:
April 2013
Studio:
Henson Recording Studios, Los Angeles

Session Mixing:
April 2013
Studio:
Henson Recording Studios, Los Angeles

Session Overdubs (Strings):
July 2013
Studio:
EMI Studios, Abbey Road


New (2014 Japan Tour Edition)

Official album • Released in 2014

3:43 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Ciguitar, Drums, Guitar, Piano, Vocals
Rusty Anderson:
Guitar
Paul Wickens:
Accordion, Guitar, Piano
Brian Ray:
Guitar
Eddie Klein:
Assistant recording engineer (?)
Toby Pitman:
Programming
Cathy Thompson:
Violin
Laura Melhuish:
Violin
Patrick Kiernan:
Violin
Nina Foster:
Violin
Peter Lale:
Viola
Rachel Robson:
Viola
Caroline Dale:
Cello
Katherine Jenkinson:
Cello
Chris Worsey:
Cello
Richard Pryce:
Bass
Steve McManus:
Bass
Giles Martin:
Producer
Kevin Mills:
Assistant mixing engineer, Assistant recording engineer (?)
Sam Okell:
Recording engineer (?)
Chris Bolster:
Assistant recording engineer (?)
Jamie Kirkham:
Assistant recording engineer (?)
Mark 'Spike' Stent:
Mixing engineer
Geoff Swan:
Assistant mixing engineer
Bill Rahko:
Assistant recording engineer (?)
Nicolas Essig:
Assistant recording engineer (?)
Gordon Davidson:
Assistant recording engineer (?)
Iain Berryman:
Assistant recording engineer (?)
Seb Truman:
Assistant recording engineer (?)

Session Recording:
February - March 2013
Studio:
AIR Studios, London, UK

Session Overdubs:
April 2013
Studio:
Henson Recording Studios, Los Angeles

Session Mixing:
April 2013
Studio:
Henson Recording Studios, Los Angeles

Session Overdubs (Strings):
July 2013
Studio:
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Bootlegs


Out There Japan Tour 2013

Unofficial live

4:09 • Live

Concert From the concert in Tokyo, Japan on Nov 18, 2013


Out There TOKYO 1st Nov. 18, 2013

Unofficial live • Released in 2013

4:17 • Live

Concert From the concert in Tokyo, Japan on Nov 18, 2013


Out There TOKYO 2nd Nov. 19, 2013

Unofficial live • Released in 2013

8:53 • Live

Concert From the concert in Tokyo, Japan on Nov 19, 2013


New Promotional Concerts 2013

Unofficial live • Released in 2013

Live


Alone Together Vol.2

Unofficial album • Released in 2014

0:31 • Alternate take • Medley with "Hosanna"


Live performances

“On My Way To Work” has been played in 2 concerts and 12 soundchecks.

Latest concerts where “On My Way To Work” has been played


Paul McCartney in Casual Conversation from LIPA

Jul 25, 2018 • United Kingdom • Liverpool • Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts



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