The Paul McCartney Project

Press

Written by Paul McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the Press To Play Official album.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1986
Timeline This song has been written (or started being written) in 1985 (Paul McCartney was 43 years old)

Related sessions

This song has been recorded during the following studio sessions


"Press To Play" sessions #1

March - May 1985


"Press To Play" sessions #2

October 1st - December 6th 1985


"Press To Play" sessions #3

April 14th-18th 1986

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Song facts

From Wikipedia:

Press” is a song by Paul McCartney. It was released as a lead single from his sixth studio solo album, Press to Play, being McCartney’s 37th single. The single features the non-album track, “It’s Not True” as the B-side, which was also released as a bonus track on compact disc release of the album.

Background

Though hitting the Top 30 in both the US (number 21, for 8 weeks) and the UK (#25), “Press” marked the beginning of a downturn of McCartney’s fortunes on the singles charts, as it was the first time since Back to the Egg in 1979 that a lead single from a McCartney album failed to hit the Top 20 in the US/UK. This may have been because “Press” did not fit neatly into album-oriented rock or adult-contemporary radio formats popular at the time.

Release

Various issues in the UK include two 7″ singles (“Press” and “Press-video edit“), a 10″ single in a special fold-out sleeve and two 12” singles.

Promotional video

The 1986 music video for Press was shot entirely in the London Underground. Paul McCartney sings the song as he takes the Tube from South Kensington to Piccadilly Circus. As he takes the escalator to the platform and boards a Tube train, he begins singing the track. The video continues with scenes from around the Underground. These include shots of various commuters and buskers, featuring an accordionist and a violinist. McCartney interacts with members of the general public aboard the train and in the station, signing autographs, accepting a kiss from a female fan and leaving a tip for the violinist. In the final shot, he is seen riding the escalator up out of the Underground.

Critical reception

Writing for AllMusic, critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine stated that the track “is a terrific mid-’80s drum machine-driven slice of synth-pop, utterly featherweight in the best possible way.” and writing for Los Angeles Times, critic Terry Atkinson stated that the track “is a sprightly, sunny delight–one of the most playful, positive pop songs ever written about the joy of sex and its link with love.

From “Club Sandwich 42 – Autumn 1986“:

I actually played the guitar solo… Carlos played arpeggio guitar…which really pulled the track together… ‘Oklahoma was never like this’. That can mean whatever you want it to mean… It’s a symbol for the provinces, the sticks, the out of the way places. The line just wouldn’t change“. The other lyrics include a subtle update of Gary Glitter’s ‘Do You Wanna Touch Me‘ (‘Right there, that’s it. Yes.‘)”, the music is entirely infectious and there’s a good, unpretentious video to boot.

Oklahoma was never like this’. That can mean whatever you want it to mean. To me, when you’re writing songs, you often get a line you assume you’re going to edit later, you’re going to knock it out and put something sensible in. But every time I came to that line, I couldn’t sing anything else – just the scanning, the way it sang. People would have understood it if it was ‘Liverpool was never like this’, but it wouldn’t have sung the same. It’s a symbol for the provinces, the sticks, the out of the way places. The line just wouldn’t change, and when you meet such resistance from the lyrics themselves, you have to give in.

Paul McCartney, from Sound On Sound magazine, October 1986

Some of the tracks are completely live-with real people! But the bass on ‘Press’, for example, that’s a machine playing it. (On McCartney II I was) familiarising myself with… noise gates, synthesisers, sequencers…Once you understand it, it’s not difficult at alt-it’s like someone talking about a carburettor when there were blacksmiths… We did have a lot of these gimmicks to play around with, and sometimes they are more trouble than they’re worth, but occasionally you crack it and go ‘Oh, I haven’t heard that before!’

Paul McCartney, from Club Sandwich 42 – Autumn 1986
From the “Press To Play” sleeve – These coloured diagrams by Paul show the position of the voices and instruments in the mix of each track.

Last updated on May 2, 2020

Lyrics

Darling, I love you very, very, very much,
And I really am relying on your touch.
But with all these people listening in,
I don't know where I ought to begin.
Maybe we could hit upon a word,
Something that the others haven't heard,
When you want me to love you,
Just tell me to press.

Right there, that's it. Yes. When you feel the stress,
Don't just stand there, tell me to press.

You can give me what I want I must confess,
My body needs attention my mind is in a mess,
Oklahoma was never like this.
Never like this, it was never like this,
Never like this, say was it ever like this?
Oklahoma was never like this.
It was never like this…

Darling, I know it really wouldn't be a crime,
If I say I want to love you all the time.
But with all these people listening in,
I don't know where I ought to begin.
Maybe we should have a secret code,
Before we both get ready to explode.
When you want me to love you,
Just tell me to press. Press…

Right there, that's it. Yes.
When you feel the stress,
Don't just stand there.
Won't you tell me to press?

Officially appears on


Press To Play

Official album • Released in 1986

4:43 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Electric guitar, Keyboards, Producer, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals
Eric Stewart :
Backing vocals
Trevor Jones :
Assistant engineer (?)
Eddie Klein :
Assistant engineer (?)
Tony Clark :
Assistant engineer (?)
Matt Butler :
Assistant engineer (?)
Jon Kelly :
Assistant engineer (?)
Jerry Marotta :
Drums
Carlos Alomar :
Electric guitar
Eddie Rayner :
Keyboards (?), Synthesizers (?)
John Hammel :
Assistant engineer (?)
Matt Howe :
Assistant engineer (?)
Simon Chamberlain :
Synth bass (?)
John Bradbury :
Violin (?)
Gavin Wright :
Violin (?)
Hugh Padgham :
Engineering, Mixing, Producer, Recording engineer
Peter Mew :
Assistant engineer (?)
Burt Bevans :
Mixing engineer
Steve Forward :
Mixing engineer
Haydn Bendall :
Assistant engineer (?)

Session Recording:
March - May 1985
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Overdubs:
October 1st - December 6th 1985
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Mixing:
April 14th-18th 1986
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

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


Press / It's Not True

7" Single • Released in 1986

3:35 • Studio versionA1 • Video edit

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Electric guitar, Keyboards, Producer, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals
Eric Stewart :
Backing vocals
Trevor Jones :
Assistant engineer (?)
Eddie Klein :
Assistant engineer (?)
Tony Clark :
Assistant engineer (?)
Matt Butler :
Assistant engineer (?)
Jon Kelly :
Assistant engineer (?)
Jerry Marotta :
Drums
Carlos Alomar :
Electric guitar
Eddie Rayner :
Keyboards (?), Synthesizers (?)
John Hammel :
Assistant engineer (?)
Matt Howe :
Assistant engineer (?)
Simon Chamberlain :
Synth bass (?)
John Bradbury :
Violin (?)
Gavin Wright :
Violin (?)
Hugh Padgham :
Producer, Recording engineer
Peter Mew :
Assistant engineer (?)
Burt Bevans :
Mixing engineer
Steve Forward :
Mixing engineer
Haydn Bendall :
Assistant engineer (?)

Session Recording:
March - May 1985
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Overdubs:
October 1st - December 6th 1985
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Mixing:
April 14th-18th 1986
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

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


Press / It's Not True

12" Single • Released in 1986

4:43 • Studio versionA • Video Soundtrack - Mixed By Hugh Padgham

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Electric guitar, Keyboards, Producer, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals
Eric Stewart :
Backing vocals
Trevor Jones :
Assistant engineer (?)
Eddie Klein :
Assistant engineer (?)
Tony Clark :
Assistant engineer (?)
Matt Butler :
Assistant engineer (?)
Jon Kelly :
Assistant engineer (?)
Jerry Marotta :
Drums
Carlos Alomar :
Electric guitar
Eddie Rayner :
Keyboards (?), Synthesizers (?)
John Hammel :
Assistant engineer (?)
Matt Howe :
Assistant engineer (?)
Simon Chamberlain :
Synth bass (?)
John Bradbury :
Violin (?)
Gavin Wright :
Violin (?)
Hugh Padgham :
Producer, Recording engineer
Peter Mew :
Assistant engineer (?)
Burt Bevans :
Mixing engineer
Steve Forward :
Mixing engineer
Haydn Bendall :
Assistant engineer (?)

Session Recording:
March - May 1985
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Overdubs:
October 1st - December 6th 1985
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Mixing:
April 14th-18th 1986
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

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


Press / It's Not True

12" Single • Released in 1986

6:30 • Studio versionC • Dub Mix

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Electric guitar, Keyboards, Producer, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals
Eric Stewart :
Backing vocals
Trevor Jones :
Assistant engineer (?)
Eddie Klein :
Assistant engineer (?)
Tony Clark :
Assistant engineer (?)
Matt Butler :
Assistant engineer (?)
Jon Kelly :
Assistant engineer (?)
Jerry Marotta :
Drums
Carlos Alomar :
Electric guitar
Eddie Rayner :
Keyboards (?), Synthesizers (?)
John Hammel :
Assistant engineer (?)
Matt Howe :
Assistant engineer (?)
Simon Chamberlain :
Synth bass (?)
John Bradbury :
Violin (?)
Gavin Wright :
Violin (?)
Hugh Padgham :
Producer, Recording engineer
Peter Mew :
Assistant engineer (?)
Burt Bevans :
Mixing engineer, Remixing
Steve Forward :
Mixing engineer, Remixing
Haydn Bendall :
Assistant engineer (?)

Session Recording:
March - May 1985
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Overdubs:
October 1st - December 6th 1985
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

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


Press

12" Single • Released in 1986

3:35 • Studio versionA1 • Video Edit

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Electric guitar, Keyboards, Producer, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals
Eric Stewart :
Backing vocals
Trevor Jones :
Assistant engineer (?)
Eddie Klein :
Assistant engineer (?)
Tony Clark :
Assistant engineer (?)
Matt Butler :
Assistant engineer (?)
Jon Kelly :
Assistant engineer (?)
Jerry Marotta :
Drums
Carlos Alomar :
Electric guitar
Eddie Rayner :
Keyboards (?), Synthesizers (?)
John Hammel :
Assistant engineer (?)
Matt Howe :
Assistant engineer (?)
Simon Chamberlain :
Synth bass (?)
John Bradbury :
Violin (?)
Gavin Wright :
Violin (?)
Hugh Padgham :
Producer, Recording engineer
Peter Mew :
Assistant engineer (?)
Burt Bevans :
Mixing engineer
Steve Forward :
Mixing engineer
Haydn Bendall :
Assistant engineer (?)

Session Recording:
March - May 1985
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Overdubs:
October 1st - December 6th 1985
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Mixing:
April 14th-18th 1986
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

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


Press

12" Single • Released in 1986

3:35 • Studio versionA1 • Video Edit

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Electric guitar, Keyboards, Producer, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals
Eric Stewart :
Backing vocals
Trevor Jones :
Assistant engineer (?)
Eddie Klein :
Assistant engineer (?)
Tony Clark :
Assistant engineer (?)
Matt Butler :
Assistant engineer (?)
Jon Kelly :
Assistant engineer (?)
Jerry Marotta :
Drums
Carlos Alomar :
Electric guitar
Eddie Rayner :
Keyboards (?), Synthesizers (?)
John Hammel :
Assistant engineer (?)
Matt Howe :
Assistant engineer (?)
Simon Chamberlain :
Synth bass (?)
John Bradbury :
Violin (?)
Gavin Wright :
Violin (?)
Hugh Padgham :
Producer, Recording engineer
Peter Mew :
Assistant engineer (?)
Burt Bevans :
Mixing engineer
Steve Forward :
Mixing engineer
Haydn Bendall :
Assistant engineer (?)

Session Recording:
March - May 1985
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Overdubs:
October 1st - December 6th 1985
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Mixing:
April 14th-18th 1986
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

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


Press To Play (LP version)

Official album • Released in 1986

4:43 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Electric guitar, Keyboards, Producer, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals
Eric Stewart :
Backing vocals
Trevor Jones :
Assistant engineer (?)
Eddie Klein :
Assistant engineer (?)
Tony Clark :
Assistant engineer (?)
Matt Butler :
Assistant engineer (?)
Jon Kelly :
Assistant engineer (?)
Jerry Marotta :
Drums
Carlos Alomar :
Electric guitar
Eddie Rayner :
Keyboards (?), Synthesizers (?)
John Hammel :
Assistant engineer (?)
Matt Howe :
Assistant engineer (?)
Simon Chamberlain :
Synth bass (?)
John Bradbury :
Violin (?)
Gavin Wright :
Violin (?)
Hugh Padgham :
Producer, Recording engineer
Peter Mew :
Assistant engineer (?)
Burt Bevans :
Mixing engineer
Steve Forward :
Mixing engineer
Haydn Bendall :
Assistant engineer (?)

Session Recording:
March - May 1985
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Overdubs:
October 1st - December 6th 1985
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Mixing:
April 14th-18th 1986
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

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


Press To Play (1993)

Official album • Released in 1993

4:43 • Studio versionA1993 • 1993 remaster

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Electric guitar, Keyboards, Producer, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals
Eric Stewart :
Backing vocals
Trevor Jones :
Assistant engineer (?)
Eddie Klein :
Assistant engineer (?)
Tony Clark :
Assistant engineer (?)
Matt Butler :
Assistant engineer (?)
Jon Kelly :
Assistant engineer (?)
Jerry Marotta :
Drums
Carlos Alomar :
Electric guitar
Eddie Rayner :
Keyboards (?), Synthesizers (?)
John Hammel :
Assistant engineer (?)
Matt Howe :
Assistant engineer (?)
Simon Chamberlain :
Synth bass (?)
John Bradbury :
Violin (?)
Gavin Wright :
Violin (?)
Hugh Padgham :
Producer, Recording engineer
Peter Mew :
Assistant engineer (?)
Burt Bevans :
Mixing engineer
Steve Forward :
Mixing engineer
Haydn Bendall :
Assistant engineer (?)

Session Recording:
March - May 1985
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Overdubs:
October 1st - December 6th 1985
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Mixing:
April 14th-18th 1986
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, 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

4:47 • Studio versionA2016

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Electric guitar, Keyboards, Producer, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals
Eric Stewart :
Backing vocals
Trevor Jones :
Assistant engineer (?)
Eddie Klein :
Assistant engineer (?)
Tony Clark :
Assistant engineer (?)
Matt Butler :
Assistant engineer (?)
Jon Kelly :
Assistant engineer (?)
Jerry Marotta :
Drums
Carlos Alomar :
Electric guitar
Eddie Rayner :
Keyboards (?), Synthesizers (?)
John Hammel :
Assistant engineer (?)
Matt Howe :
Assistant engineer (?)
Simon Chamberlain :
Synth bass (?)
John Bradbury :
Violin (?)
Gavin Wright :
Violin (?)
Hugh Padgham :
Producer, Recording engineer
Alex Wharton :
Remastering
Peter Mew :
Assistant engineer (?)
Burt Bevans :
Mixing engineer
Steve Forward :
Mixing engineer
Haydn Bendall :
Assistant engineer (?)

Session Recording:
March - May 1985
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Overdubs:
October 1st - December 6th 1985
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Mixing:
April 14th-18th 1986
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

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

Bootlegs


Pizza And Fairy Tales

Unofficial album • Released in 2000

4:28 • Rough mix

Session Recording:
March - May 1985
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol.19

Unofficial album

4:25 • Studio version


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol.19

Unofficial album

6:19 • Studio versionC

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Electric guitar, Keyboards, Producer, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals
Eric Stewart :
Backing vocals
Trevor Jones :
Assistant engineer (?)
Eddie Klein :
Assistant engineer (?)
Tony Clark :
Assistant engineer (?)
Matt Butler :
Assistant engineer (?)
Jon Kelly :
Assistant engineer (?)
Jerry Marotta :
Drums
Carlos Alomar :
Electric guitar
Eddie Rayner :
Keyboards (?), Synthesizers (?)
John Hammel :
Assistant engineer (?)
Matt Howe :
Assistant engineer (?)
Simon Chamberlain :
Synth bass (?)
John Bradbury :
Violin (?)
Gavin Wright :
Violin (?)
Hugh Padgham :
Producer, Recording engineer
Peter Mew :
Assistant engineer (?)
Burt Bevans :
Mixing engineer, Remixing
Steve Forward :
Mixing engineer, Remixing
Haydn Bendall :
Assistant engineer (?)

Session Recording:
March - May 1985
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Overdubs:
October 1st - December 6th 1985
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

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


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol.19

Unofficial album

4:18 • Studio version


Good Times Comin'

Unofficial album • Released in 1994

4:17 • Studio version


Films


Press (version 1)

1986 • For Paul McCartney • Directed by Philip Davey


Press (version 2)

1986 • For Paul McCartney • Directed by Philip Davey

Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.


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Michelle 1 years ago

Rodgers and Hammerstein was never like this.