The Paul McCartney Project

Rockestra Theme

Written by Paul McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the Back To The Egg Official album.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1979
Sessions This song has been recorded during the following sessions

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

From Wikipedia:

“Rockestra Theme” is the fourth and final single on Wings’ final studio album Back to the Egg.

It was recorded on 3 October 1978 at Abbey Road Studios by an all-star collection of musicians dubbed “Rockestra”, although the song is technically credited to Wings. It was recorded as part of Wings’ 1979 album Back to the Egg and released as a single in France.

Musicians who performed on this song (and on “So Glad To See You Here”, also on Back to the Egg) included: Denny Laine, Laurence Juber, David Gilmour, Hank Marvin, Pete Townshend (guitars), Steve Holley, John Bonham, Kenney Jones (drums), Paul McCartney (piano), John Paul Jones, Ronnie Lane, Bruce Thomas (bass), Gary Brooker, Linda McCartney, Tony Ashton (keyboards), Speedy Acquaye, Tony Carr, Ray Cooper, Morris Pert (percussion), Howie Casey, Tony Dorsey, Steve Howard, Thaddeus Richard (horns).

One person taken out of the Rockestra Supergroup was Jeff Beck. After being asked to join by McCartney, Beck wanted to be able to have veto power over his own guitar parts, subsequently, McCartney withdrew his invitation.

In a 2001 interview on VH1, McCartney said Keith Moon was to have taken part in “Rockestra” but died one month before the recording sessions took place. Kenney Jones, who replaced Moon on drums within The Who, appeared instead. In the book Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013) Wings’ drummer Steve Holley recalled the session in an interview, saying “it was daunting”.

The song was performed again at the Concerts for the People of Kampuchea and released on the album and EP of the same name. This was a series of concerts featuring Queen, The Clash, the Pretenders, The Who, Elvis Costello, Wings, and many more artists which took place at the Hammersmith Odeon in London, England during December 1979 to raise money for the victims of war-torn Cambodia. The event was organized by McCartney and Kurt Waldheim, and it involved older artists such as McCartney and The Who as well as younger new wave acts like The Clash and the Pretenders. The last of the concerts was the last concert of Wings.

Most of the Rockestra wore silver suits for this performance. On the Concerts for Kampuchea home video, McCartney can be heard making a comment about Townshend before playing the song, making reference to Townshend being a “poof” (gay in British slang). “Thank you, Peter. Only lousy sod who wouldn’t wear the silver suit. Cuz he’s a poof.” Townshend made comment about it in several interviews following the performance.

Juber can be seen walking up behind Townshend after McCartney’s comment, and placing a silver top hat on his head. Townshend quickly grabs the hat and flings it into the audience.

“Rockestra Theme” won the first Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. The song was used as under the opening credits of the California Go! rad BMX sports show on ESPN.

Paul McCartney in "Conversations With McCartney", by Paul Du Noyer:

The ‘Rockestra Theme’ has good memories for me, of John Bonham in particular on drums, cos he’s the powerhouse behind the rhythm section. And all the great guys who showed up, (Pete) Townshend, Hank Marvin, a lot of really cool people. The idea was funny, but we were thinking recently of trying to revitalise it; every city has millions of people who play guitar, loads of drummers, and they only ever get together in really small units. Every city’s got millions of people who can play violin, viola and cello, and percussion, but they get together in large units. It was like an us-and-them thing. Why don’t we get together in large units?

That was the idea I was trying to float. I was hoping it would take off so much that people in Cleveland and people in Carlisle, kids would all get together and form rockestras, and do things like ‘Lucille’. Imagine twenty bass players — dum-dum-dum — ten drummers — bash bash bash — it would be a great scene, man, so someone’s still gotta do that. I may not get round to it but someone will, and I want inviting to it, please.

I got this little tune as an instrumental. I thought, it is a nice and easy melody line and it might be a good thing to try a lot of guitars on the melody line and, whereas most people use orchestra’s, normal orchestra’s, I thought the idea might be good to use rock instruments instead. And have what you would call a rockestra instead of on orchestra. 

Paul McCartney

I’ve been thinking about it for a long time and talking about it with various people. And you meet people in the business and you find other people saying ‘yeah, I was thinking of doing something like that’. So by the time I heard other people saying, ‘yeah, I’m gonna do that’, I thought, I’d better gonna do it, if ever I’m gonna do it, and just try to get it together. (…) So I rang up a lot of people, I thought it might be good to do it. And some of them couldn’t make it, and some of them could come. I just decided, whoever shows up, if only three of them show up, then that will be the rockestra and we’ll just see what we could do.

Paul McCartney

Last updated on October 15, 2018

Lyrics

*Oh
Yeah
We all right yeah
Yeah
Yeah
Well we might have
Not had any winter (or dinner?) no no no

Repeat*

Officially appears on


Back To The Egg

Official album • Released in 1979

2:35 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Piano, Vocals
Linda McCartney:
Backing vocals, Keyboards
Denny Laine:
Electric guitar
Howie Casey:
Horns
Laurence Juber:
Electric guitar
David Gilmour:
Electric guitar
Thaddeus Richard:
Horns
Steve Holly:
Drums
Ray Cooper:
Percussion
Tony Ashton:
Keyboards
Gary Brooker:
Piano
Pete Townshend:
Electric guitar
Bruce Thomas:
Bass
Ronnie Lane:
Bass
John Paul Jones:
Bass, Piano
Kenney Jones:
Drums
Tony Carr:
Percussion
Morris Pert:
Percussion
John Bonham:
Drums
Steve Howard:
Horns
Tony Dorsey:
Horns
Hank Marvin:
Electric guitar

Concerts for the People of Kampuchea

Official album • Released in 1981

2:39 • LiveL1

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Piano, Vocals
Linda McCartney:
Keyboards, Vocals
Denny Laine:
Guitars
Howie Casey:
Horns
Laurence Juber:
Guitars
Steve Holley:
Drums, Percussion
Thaddeus Richard:
Horns
Tony Ashton:
Keyboards
Gary Brooker:
Keyboards
James Honeyman:
Scott: guitars
Dave Edmunds:
Guitars
Billy Bremner:
Guitars
Pete Townshend:
Guitars
Robert Plant:
Guitars, Vocals
Bruce Thomas:
Bass, Vocals
Ronnie Lane:
Bass, Vocals
John Paul Jones:
Bass, Vocals
Kenney Jones:
Drums, Percussion
Tony Carr:
Drums, Percussion
Morris Pert:
Drums, Percussion
Speedy Acquaye:
Drums, Percussion
John Bonham:
Drums, Percussion
Steve Howard:
Horns
Tony Dorsey:
Horns

Concert From "Concert For The People of Kampuchea" in London, United Kingdom on Dec 29, 1979


Duane Eddy

Official album • Released in 1987

4:03 • Studio versionB1 • 7" version

Paul McCartney:
Background vocals, Bass, Producer
Nick Glennie-Smith:
Background vocals, Fairlight, Keyboards
Charlie Morgan:
Background vocals, Drums
Duane Eddy:
Guitar
Phil Pickett:
Background vocals, Piano
Jim Horn:
Tenor sax
Matt Howe:
Second engineer
John Jacobs:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Feb 04, 1987
Studio:
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Mixing:
Feb 05, 1987
Studio:
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK


Rockestra Theme (Extended Version)

12" Single • Released in 1987

6:26 • Studio versionB2 • Extended version

Paul McCartney:
Background vocals, Bass, Producer
Nick Glennie-Smith:
Background vocals, Fairlight, Keyboards
Charlie Morgan:
Background vocals, Drums
Duane Eddy:
Guitar
Phil Pickett:
Background vocals, Piano
Jim Horn:
Tenor sax
Matt Howe:
Second engineer
John Jacobs:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Feb 04, 1987
Studio:
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Mixing:
Feb 05, 1987
Studio:
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK


Rockestra Theme (Extended Version)

12" Single • Released in 1987

4:03 • Studio versionB1 • 7" version

Paul McCartney:
Background vocals, Bass, Producer
Nick Glennie-Smith:
Background vocals, Fairlight, Keyboards
Charlie Morgan:
Background vocals, Drums
Duane Eddy:
Guitar
Phil Pickett:
Background vocals, Piano
Jim Horn:
Tenor sax
Matt Howe:
Second engineer
John Jacobs:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Feb 04, 1987
Studio:
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Mixing:
Feb 05, 1987
Studio:
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK


Back To The Egg (1993)

Official album • Released in 1993

2:35 • Studio versionA


Wingspan Hits And History

Official album • Released in 2001

2:37 • Studio version

Bootlegs


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol. 6

Unofficial album

4:25 • Studio version


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol.11

Unofficial album

1:16 • Studio version


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol.12

Unofficial album

3:00 • Studio version


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol.12

Unofficial album

2:14 • Studio version


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol.12

Unofficial album

0:22 • Studio version


Live performances

“Rockestra Theme” has been played in 2 concerts.

Latest concerts where “Rockestra Theme” has been played


Concert For The People of Kampuchea

Dec 29, 1979 • United Kingdom • London • Hammersmith Odeon


Concert For The People of Kampuchea

Dec 29, 1979 • United Kingdom • London • Hammersmith Odeon


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.


clem865 1 years ago

*Oh
Yeah
We all right yeah
Yeah
Yeah
Well we might have
Not had any dinner no no no

Repeat*


The PaulMcCartney Project 1 years ago

Thanks Clem865 ! Will fix ! :)


The PaulMcCartney Project 1 years ago

Hi Clem865,
All lyrics sites mention "dinner", but https://www.paulmccartney.com/albums/songs/rockestra-theme mentions "winter"... Interesting !