The Paul McCartney Project

Spies Like Us

Written by Paul McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the Spies Like Us / My Carnival 7" Single.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1985
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


Home recording

August 1985


Other original film songs by Paul McCartney


Vanilla Sky

Officially appears on Music From Vanilla Sky



Live And Let Die

Officially appears on Live And Let Die

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Song facts

From Wikipedia:

“Spies Like Us” is the title song to the 1985 Warner Bros. motion picture of the same name, starring Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd, and Donna Dixon. It was written and performed by Paul McCartney, and reached #7 on the Billboard singles chart in early 1986, making it McCartney’s last US top ten hit until 2015. It also reached #13 in the UK.

Recording and release

Multiple releases were issued in the UK: a regular 7″ single, a 7″ shaped picture disc, a regular 12″ single featuring extended mixes and the B-side “My Carnival” (a Wings track from the Venus and Mars sessions) and a 12″ picture disc.

The minute-long outro is uptempo while the title is being sung repeatedly. When the movie Spies Like Us hit the theaters, producers opted to play the outro first in the closing credits before playing the entire song.

“Spies Like Us” was released on CD in 1993, as part of the release of The Paul McCartney Collection, as a bonus track on the album Press to Play. The B-side, “My Carnival“, was released as a bonus track on Venus and Mars, and the 12″ single was an exclusive to iTunes.

Music video

The video for the song, directed by John Landis (who also directed the film), was not aired by the BBC because Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase appeared in it playing instruments. British labour rules at the time prohibited non-musicians from performing in videos, and Aykroyd and Chase did not actually play on the record, though both have worked as professional musicians. The video ends with McCartney, Chase, and Aykroyd walking across Abbey Road, parodying the famous album cover.

The video was however played on the long running BBC show Top Of The Pops on 2 January 1986 having already briefly featured in its Top 40 Breakers section during December 1985.[…]

John Landis rang me and said he wanted an uptempo rock ‘n’ rolly thing. I thought I might have done a Bondy type song — the 75-piece orchestra, more melodic, with maybe an Eastern touch, the known ingredients for a ‘spy’ type of song. (But) I think one of the fun things about what I’m doing now is varying those things a bit.

Paul McCartney, from the press release

The song barely appears in the movie; it is only included at the very end of the credits sequence. It is also not included in the movie’s soundtrack released in the UK on February 21st, 1986.

Last updated on August 10, 2020

Lyrics

Ooh ooh what do you do
No one else can dance like you
So what's all the fuss
There ain't nobody that spies like us
Hey hey what do you say
Someone took your plans away
So what's all the fuss
There ain't nobody that spies like us
Hey don't feel afraid
Of an undercover aid
There's no need to fuss
There ain't nobody that spies like us
Spies like us
We don't know the meaning of fear
We play every minute by ear
One for all and all for one
Everybody's on the run
Especially at this time of year
Ooh ooh what do you do
No one else can dance like you
So what's all the fuss
There ain't nobody got spies like us
Hey hey what do you say
No one else can look that way
So what's all the fuss
There ain't nobody got spies like us
We get there by hook or by crook
We don't do a thing by…

Officially appears on


Spies Like Us / My Carnival

7" Single • Released in 1985

4:47 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Bass, Drums, Electric guitar, Keyboards, Percussion, Producer, Tambourine, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals
Eric Stewart :
Backing vocals
Phil Ramone :
Producer
Eddie Rayner :
Synthesizers
Kate Robbins :
Backing vocals
Ruby James :
Backing vocals
Hugh Padgham :
Producer

Session Recording:
September 1985
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Mixing:
September 1985
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK


Spies Like Us

12" Single • Released in 1985

7:10 • Studio versionA2 • Party Mix

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Bass, Drums, Electric guitar, Keyboards, Percussion, Producer, Tambourine, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals
Eric Stewart :
Backing vocals
Phil Ramone :
Producer
Eddie Rayner :
Synthesizers
Kate Robbins :
Backing vocals
Ruby James :
Backing vocals
Hugh Padgham :
Producer
John Potoker :
Remixing

Session Recording:
September 1985
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Mixing:
September 1985
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK


Spies Like Us

12" Single • Released in 1985

3:56 • Studio versionA3 • Alternative Mix (Known To His Friends As "Tom")

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Bass, Drums, Electric guitar, Keyboards, Percussion, Producer, Tambourine, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals
Eric Stewart :
Backing vocals
Phil Ramone :
Producer
Eddie Rayner :
Synthesizers
Kate Robbins :
Backing vocals
Ruby James :
Backing vocals
Hugh Padgham :
Producer
John Potoker :
Remixing
Art Of Noise :
Remixing

Session Recording:
September 1985
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Mixing:
September 1985
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK


Spies Like Us

12" Single • Released in 1985

3:46 • Studio versionA1 • DJ Version

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Bass, Drums, Electric guitar, Keyboards, Percussion, Producer, Tambourine, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals
Eric Stewart :
Backing vocals
Phil Ramone :
Producer
Eddie Rayner :
Synthesizers
Kate Robbins :
Backing vocals
Ruby James :
Backing vocals
Hugh Padgham :
Producer

Session Recording:
September 1985
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Mixing:
September 1985
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK


Press To Play (1993)

Official album • Released in 1993

4:45 • Studio versionA1993 • 1993 remaster

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Bass, Drums, Electric guitar, Keyboards, Percussion, Producer, Tambourine, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals
Eric Stewart :
Backing vocals
Phil Ramone :
Producer
Eddie Rayner :
Synthesizers
Kate Robbins :
Backing vocals
Ruby James :
Backing vocals
Hugh Padgham :
Producer

Session Recording:
September 1985
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Mixing:
September 1985
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK


The Art Of The 12", Volume Two (A Promotion Of A Way Of Life)

Official album • Released in 2012

5:36 • Studio versionA4 • Art Of Noise Remix

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Bass, Drums, Electric guitar, Keyboards, Percussion, Producer, Tambourine, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals
Eric Stewart :
Backing vocals
Phil Ramone :
Producer
Eddie Rayner :
Synthesizers
Kate Robbins :
Backing vocals
Ruby James :
Backing vocals
Hugh Padgham :
Producer
John Potoker :
Remixing
Art Of Noise :
Remixing

Session Recording:
September 1985
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Mixing:
September 1985
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Bootlegs


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol.19

Unofficial album

0:56 • Demo

Session Recording:
August 1985
Studio :
Rude Studio, Campbeltown, Scotland


Oobu Joobu Part 3

Unofficial album • Released in 1995

4:24 • Demo

Session Recording:
August 1985
Studio :
Rude Studio, Campbeltown, Scotland


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol.20

Unofficial album

4:47 • Alternate take • Early take 1

Session Recording:
September 1985
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol.20

Unofficial album

4:37 • Alternate take • Early take 2


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol.20

Unofficial album

3:55 • Studio versionA3 • Alternative Mix (Known To His Friends As "Tom")

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Bass, Drums, Electric guitar, Keyboards, Percussion, Producer, Tambourine, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals
Eric Stewart :
Backing vocals
Phil Ramone :
Producer
Eddie Rayner :
Synthesizers
Kate Robbins :
Backing vocals
Ruby James :
Backing vocals
Hugh Padgham :
Producer
John Potoker :
Remixing
Art Of Noise :
Remixing

Session Recording:
September 1985
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Session Mixing:
September 1985
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK


Films


Spies Like Us

1985 • For Paul McCartney • Directed by John Landis

Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.


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