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Released in 1989

Pads, Paws And Claws

Written by Paul McCartneyDeclan MacManus / Elvis Costello

Last updated on March 19, 2017

Album This song officially appears on the Spike Official album.

Timeline This song was officially released in 1989

Other songs from Spike featuring Paul McCartney

Pads, Paws and Claws” is a song written by Elvis Costello & Paul McCartney, recorded by Elvis & band to appear on his 1989 album “Spike“.

From Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink by Elvis Costello:

Paul now called for some more writing sessions, spread over a few days. This would mean having to stay overnight near the studio. I didn’t much venture out into the countryside in those days. When we’d mixed Punch the Clock outside of London, I’d asked a local cabdriver what people did for fun in the nearby village and he’d replied, “Oh, it’s all wife-swapping and witchcraft around here.

I’ d always suspected as much.

But this wasn’t going to be like 1977, when I had to kip on a broken sofa in Clover’s rat-infested rehearsal room. I was sleeping in a nice feather bed in the Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor Suite of a quaint local inn. I don’t know what legend was attached to the name on the door of the room, but it was just big enough for a four-poster bed and an ice bucket.

On my first night there, I walked into the bar for a glass of tonic and bitters. A sightless, slumbering dog, wheezing by the fire, caught the scent of my wretched soul and began barking and snarling at me. It then hauled itself up on all fours with considerable effort.

Don’t worry about him, he wouldn’t hurt a fly,” said the landlord. “He’s as blind as a bat.

At which the Pew-like Alsatian reared up on its hind legs, pinning me against the flocked wallpaper with its fore paws. The grey film of cataracts obscured its eyes, but its slobbering muzzle seemed to be working fine, and the dog seemed determined to locate my neck in order to sink in a fang.

Ah, he’s just playing with you, the silly old sod,” the landlord declared as he balled up a beer-soaked tap cloth and aimed it at the beast.

The next day we wrote “Pads, Paws and Claws” – which took its title from a children’s book about big cats that I’d found in a junk shop, rather than immortalizing my encounter with the hellhound of Rye – then we dashed off a little rock and roll tune called “Twenty Fine Fingers.

We were now working on two or three songs a day. Whenever Paul and I completed a number, we’d go downstairs to the recording studio on the ground floor and cut a demo with just two guitars or the piano.

They remain the most vivid and uncluttered versions of our songs.


She's a feline tormentor, not any vaudeville wife

With a drunk-town lament, he leads her a miserable life

But when he's full of that beer-champagne

She pads, paws, pads, paws and claws

And if he should wake up in some terrible dive

And he don't know if he's so-so, but he's so surprised he's alive

"Come on little honey, let me under your hive"

She pads, paws, pads, paws and claws

She pads, pads around the bedroom, practicing ways to flirt

He paws, pours another drink and anything in a skirt

Anything wearing a necklace

He thinks of claws scratching his back

He's going out there, he's not coming back

She's got spider-leg fingers, sharpened whenever he strays

And she carries a bird-purse with all of her womanly ways

While he's drinking hairspray, she knows that he never would dare

She could be in pictures if she wasn't all covered in fur

He's coming home now and here's the surprise

You wouldn't believe the lies that he tries

She cut him down to her favourite size

She pads, paws, pads, paws and claws

She pads, paws, pads, paws and claws

She pads, paws, pads, paws and claws

She pads, paws and claws

Oh yeah

Pads, paws, pads, paws, pads, paws and claws...

Officially appears on


Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.

Going further

Paul McCartney: Music Is Ideas. The Stories Behind the Songs (Vol. 1) 1970-1989

With 25 albums of pop music, 5 of classical – a total of around 500 songs – released over the course of more than half a century, Paul McCartney's career, on his own and with Wings, boasts an incredible catalogue that's always striving to free itself from the shadow of The Beatles. The stories behind the songs, demos and studio recordings, unreleased tracks, recording dates, musicians, live performances and tours, covers, events: Music Is Ideas Volume 1 traces McCartney's post-Beatles output from 1970 to 1989 in the form of 346 song sheets, filled with details of the recordings and stories behind the sessions. Accompanied by photos, and drawing on interviews and contemporary reviews, this reference book draws the portrait of a musical craftsman who has elevated popular song to an art-form.

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