Only Mama Knows

Written by Paul McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the Memory Almost Full Official album.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 2007

Related sessions

This song has been recorded during the following studio sessions



"Memory Almost Full" sessions #5

January - February 2007

Related interviews


Spread the love! If you like what you are seeing, share it on social networks and let others know about The Paul McCartney Project.

Song facts

Only Mama Knows” is a song from Paul McCartney’s 2007 album, “Memory Almost Full“.

This really is like a short story. I’ve done that in the past, not always writing from a personal perspective. It’s good, because you use your imagination more, and that’s something I enjoy. I wrote about Eleanor Rigby, but I don’t know a woman who picks up rice in a church, and nor do I know anyone stranded in the transit lounge of an airport, as in Only Mama Knows. But I like to get into those imaginary stories, then follow them through and become that character. The lead character in this song is someone who was left by his mother, doesn’t know why she left him and doesn’t know if he’ll ever see his father’s face. It’s interesting because it takes you out of yourself. You can become an alter ego. It doesn’t have to be Paul McCartney singing it – it can be this other guy singing. It’s good to do; it lets you have another vocal approach, another emotional approach.

Paul McCartney – interview with Mail On Sunday, May 12, 2008

Last updated on January 19, 2021

Lyrics

Well I was found in the transit lounge
Of a dirty airport town
What was I doing on the road to ruin
Well my mama laid me down
My mama laid me down

Round my hand was a plastic band
With a picture of my face
I was crying left to die
This God forsaken place
This God forsaken place

Only Mama knows why she laid me down
In this God forsaken town
She was running to, what she ran from
Though I always wondered I never knew
Only Mama knows
Only Mama knows

I'm passing through, I'm on my way
I'm on the road, no ETA.
I'm passing through, no fixed abode
And that is why I need to try
To hold on. I've gotta hold on, gotta hold on

Was it planned as a one night stand
Or did she live in disgrace
Well I never will I ever see my father's face see
my father's face

Only Mama knows why she laid me down
In this God forsaken town
She was running to, what she ran from
Though I always wondered I never knew
Only Mama knows
Only Mama knows

Only Mama knows why she laid me down
In this God forsaken town
She was running to, what she ran from
Though I always wondered I never knew
Only Mama knows
Only Mama knows
I've gotta hold on. I've gotta hold on.
You've gotta hold on

Officially appears on


Ever Present Past (iTunes download)

Download

3:45 • Studio versionL1


Memory Almost Full

Official album • Released in 2007

4:18 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Bass, Mellotron, Vocals
Rusty Anderson :
Backing vocals, Electric guitar
Abe Laboriel Jr. :
Backing vocals, Drums
David Kahne :
Mixing engineer, Producer
Paul Wickens :
Backing vocals, Keyboards, Piano, Synthesizer
Brian Ray :
Backing vocals, Electric guitar
Geoff Emerick :
Recording engineer
Eddie Klein :
Assistant recording engineer
Millennia Ensemble :
Strings
Mirek Stiles :
Orchestra assistant recording engineer
Jamie Kirkham :
Assistant recording engineer
Andrew Dudman :
Orchestra recording engineering
Joby Talbot :
Orchestra conductor, String arrangement
Andy Wallace :
Mixing engineer
Adam Noble :
Recording engineer

Session Recording:
End of February 2004
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Session Overdubs:
January - February 2007
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

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


Ever Present Past

CD Single • Released in 2007

3:49 • LiveL1

Concert From the concert in Los Angeles, USA on Jun 27, 2007


iTunes Festival: London

EP • Released in 2007

3:49 • LiveL2

Concert From "iTunes Festival" in London, United Kingdom on Jul 05, 2007


Memory Almost Full - 2CD limited edition bonus disc

Official album • Released in 2007

4:18 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Bass, Mellotron, Vocals
Rusty Anderson :
Backing vocals, Electric guitar
Abe Laboriel Jr. :
Backing vocals, Drums
David Kahne :
Mixing engineer, Producer
Paul Wickens :
Backing vocals, Keyboards, Piano, Synthesizer
Brian Ray :
Backing vocals, Electric guitar
Geoff Emerick :
Recording engineer
Eddie Klein :
Assistant recording engineer
Millennia Ensemble :
Strings
Mirek Stiles :
Orchestra assistant recording engineer
Jamie Kirkham :
Assistant recording engineer
Andrew Dudman :
Orchestra recording engineering
Joby Talbot :
Orchestra conductor, String arrangement
Andy Wallace :
Mixing engineer
Adam Noble :
Recording engineer

Session Recording:
End of February 2004
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Session Overdubs:
January - February 2007
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

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


Amoeba's Secret

EP • Released in 2009

3:48 • LiveL1

Performed by :
Paul McCartneyRusty AndersonAbe Laboriel Jr.Brian RayDave Arch
Darrell Thorp :
Recording engineer

Concert From the concert in Los Angeles, USA on Jun 27, 2007


Good Evening New York City

Official live • Released in 2009

3:39 • LiveL3 • Could have been record on 17, 18 or 21 July 2009

Paul McCartney :
Executive producer
Performed by :
Paul McCartneyRusty AndersonAbe Laboriel Jr.Paul WickensBrian Ray
Geoff Emerick :
Audio mixing
Paul Hicks :
Audio mixing
Jonas Westling :
Additional engineering
Richard Lancaster :
Additional engineering
John Henry :
Recording

Concert From the concert in New York, USA on Jul 17, 2009


Live In Los Angeles

Official live • Released in 2010

3:32 • LiveL1

Performed by :
Paul McCartneyRusty AndersonAbe Laboriel Jr.Brian RayDave Arch
Darrell Thorp :
Recording engineer

Concert From the concert in Los Angeles, USA on Jun 27, 2007


Pure McCartney

Official album • Released in 2016

4:18 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Bass, Mellotron, Vocals
Rusty Anderson :
Backing vocals, Electric guitar
Abe Laboriel Jr. :
Backing vocals, Drums
David Kahne :
Mixing engineer, Producer
Paul Wickens :
Backing vocals, Keyboards, Piano, Synthesizer
Brian Ray :
Backing vocals, Electric guitar
Geoff Emerick :
Recording engineer
Eddie Klein :
Assistant recording engineer
Millennia Ensemble :
Strings
Mirek Stiles :
Orchestra assistant recording engineer
Jamie Kirkham :
Assistant recording engineer
Andrew Dudman :
Orchestra recording engineering
Joby Talbot :
Orchestra conductor, String arrangement
Andy Wallace :
Mixing engineer
Adam Noble :
Recording engineer

Session Recording:
End of February 2004
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Session Overdubs:
January - February 2007
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

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


Pure McCartney (Deluxe)

Official album • Released in 2016

4:18 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Bass, Mellotron, Vocals
Rusty Anderson :
Backing vocals, Electric guitar
Abe Laboriel Jr. :
Backing vocals, Drums
David Kahne :
Mixing engineer, Producer
Paul Wickens :
Backing vocals, Keyboards, Piano, Synthesizer
Brian Ray :
Backing vocals, Electric guitar
Geoff Emerick :
Recording engineer
Eddie Klein :
Assistant recording engineer
Millennia Ensemble :
Strings
Mirek Stiles :
Orchestra assistant recording engineer
Jamie Kirkham :
Assistant recording engineer
Andrew Dudman :
Orchestra recording engineering
Joby Talbot :
Orchestra conductor, String arrangement
Andy Wallace :
Mixing engineer
Adam Noble :
Recording engineer

Session Recording:
End of February 2004
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Session Overdubs:
January - February 2007
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

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


Bootlegs



Secret Live Los Angeles 2007

Unofficial live • Released in 2007

4:15 • Live

Concert From the concert in Los Angeles, USA on Jun 27, 2007


Secret Live Los Angeles 2007

Unofficial live • Released in 2007

1:13 • Live

Concert From the concert in Los Angeles, USA on Jun 27, 2007


Secret Live In New York 2007

Unofficial live • Released in 2007

4:41 • Live

Concert From the concert in New York City, USA on Jun 13, 2007



Live performances

“Only Mama Knows” has been played in 30 concerts and 32 soundchecks.

Latest concerts where Only Mama Knows has been played







Contribute!

Have you spotted an error on the page? Do you want to suggest new content? Or do you simply want to leave a comment ? Please use the form below!

Your comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.