Songbird In A Cage

Written by Paul McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the Rest Official album.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 2017
Timeline This song has been written (or started being written) in 2011 (Paul McCartney was 69 years old)

Related sessions

This song has been recorded during the following studio sessions

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Song facts

Songbird In A Cage” is a song written by Paul McCartney circa 2011, and given away to British-French actress and singer Charlotte Gainsbourg. She released the song on her 2017 album “Rest“.

From VultureHound, September 8, 2017:

Another essay, ‘Songbird in a Cage’, was penned for Charlotte by Sir Paul McCartney, no less. “We had a very nice lunch about six-and-a-half years ago”, she recalls. “I couldn’t believe that I was actually sitting next to him. I told him that if he ever had a song for me it would be a dream come true. A few weeks later he sent this track. It was a demo. I didn’t know what to do with it, because I wanted it to be part of the album. We had to reinvent it. Paul very sweetly came to Electric Lady. He did a bit of piano, some bass, a bit of guitar. It was incredible, just to see him work”.

From New York Times, November 9, 2017

[In 2013] she met with the D.J. and producer Sebastian Akchoté, known for his remixes of Daft Punk and Justice, and gave him a mood-board-style list of cinematic reference points […] Mr. Akchoté flew in [in autumn 2014] to join her at a small studio in Brooklyn. They went on to write and record the bulk of the album there over the next year or so […]

In 2016, they went to the Electric Lady studio in Manhattan to continue recording with help from others, including the Canadian composer Owen Pallett, who wrote string arrangements for several songs. For the upbeat groove “Songbird in a Cage,” Ms. Gainsbourg called in a favor from Paul McCartney, who had written the song for her years earlier and dropped by one day to play guitar, drums and piano. “He was like a child, having fun, trying every instrument,” Mr. Akchoté said. “It was unreal.

From Vanity Fair, October 2017:

You recorded most of it in Electric Lady Studios, in New York, including a song (“Songbird in a Cage”) written by Paul McCartney, who played bass and piano on it. How did that come about?

C.G.: I love him. I asked to have lunch with him in London around six years ago, and he was so sweet. I said if one day you have a song you don’t want for yourself, I’d love to work with you. A week later he sent me the song, I showed it to Sebastian, and we sort of pulled it to pieces—we made it more chaotic.

Last updated on April 11, 2021


Flying through the sky
All our senses reeling
Now you sit and cry
At the shadows on the ceiling

Songbird in a cage
Wings that never flutter
Once I saw a bird
Pecking in the gutter

Flying through the sky
All our senses reeling
Now you sit and cry
At the shadows on the ceiling

Songbird in a cage
Someone that takes pity
Opens up the door
Fly above the city

Someone still may come
Someone who takes pity
And through an open door
You may fly above the city

Songbird in a cage
Stars will still be shining
Through the bars of steel
Picture how ti was

Flying through the sky
All our senses reeling
Now you sit and cry
At the shadows on the ceiling

Flying through the sky
All our senses reeling
Now you sit and cry
At the shadows on the ceiling


A Album version

Officially appears on


Official album • Released in 2017

4:31 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Additional drums, Guitar, Piano
Charlotte Gainsbourg :
Sebastian Akchoté :
Drum programming, Harpsichord, Producer
Emile Sornin :
Bass, Electric organ, Electric piano, Glockenspiel, Noises, Tambourine
Vincent Taeger :
Tom Elmhirst :
Mixing engineer

Session Recording:
Circa 2016
Studio :
Electric Lady Sound Studios, New York City, USA

Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.


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Ade 4 years ago

Great interview with CG and Sebastian here re: the song - plus some footage of 'R kid' in the studio with them working on it.

The PaulMcCartney Project 4 years ago

Thanks Ade for the interview link :

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