The Paul McCartney Project

Suicide

Written by Paul McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the McCartney - Archive Collection Official album.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 2011
Timeline This song has been written (or started being written) in 1956 (Paul McCartney was 14 years old)

Related sessions

This song has been recorded during the following studio sessions


"McCartney" session (home recordings)

December 1969 to Jan 03, 1970




Mixing "Suicide"

May 03, 2010

Other songs from the "McCartney" instrumental medley


Hot As Sun

Officially appears on McCartney


Glasses

Officially appears on McCartney

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Song facts

Suicide” is one of the earliest songs written by Paul McCartney. It was likely composed in 1956 when he was fourteen. At this stage, it was formed of only one verse and a chorus. In January 1969, McCartney performed a 46-second long single versed version of the song during the Get Back sessions. From earlybeatlessongs:

Although the song disappears from the radar after Lennon and McCartney met, it popped up with several other oldies during the Get Back sessions (of which we shall hear plenty on this site), on January 26, 1969. Here we find audio of the song, with McCartney plonking through the track on piano, and Lennon joining in – obviously recognising it (thereby proving that it had been shown to him after the two teamed up). Interestingly there is a full lyric in place, which might have been written at the song’s genesis – it is impossible to be sure. (If it was, “Suicide” was an unusually sombre choice of title for an optimistic 14-year-old, let alone as a potential Sinatra hit.)

Paul McCartney would revisit the song a year after, during the recording of its first solo album, “McCartney“. An 8-seconds fragment of it appears at the end of “Glasses“.

That was a song I’d had forever, since I was about 16. I had my Dad’s old piano at home, that I used to tinker about on when there was no-one in the house. And my feelings were, then, that if you were ever going to be a songwriter, the height of it all was Sinatra. That would be the greatest stuff that you could do, really a little bit before rock ‘n’ roll, so you were thinking of standards and things. So around that time I wrote “When I’m 64” and this other thing. I thought it would be a bit of a Rat Pack, smoochy, with words like “When she tries to, run away, uh-huh…” Boom! And stabs from the band, you know. […]

It was a real early song of mine, and I used to do it as a joke, really. […] I actually once got a request from Sinatra, for a song. And I spoke to him on the phone and told him about it, “Great, Paul, send it along.” “Thank you, Frank”. And I sent it him and he thought I was taking the piss. “Is this guy kidding?” You know, sending Sinatra a song called “Suicide”. He did not get it! But I did think, “Oh God, maybe I should have changed it a bit to send it to him.”

So I never did anything with it but around the time of McCartney, I was just goofing around on piano and at the end of one of the takes there was a little bit of tape left, so I just did it and didn’t think to use it because it was Rat Pack, tongue in cheek. But I used that little fragment at the end of one of the tracks, ‘Glasses’.

Paul McCartney, in McCartney Archive Collection, 2011

McCartney would then revisit “Suicide” from time to time:

  • In 1974, he recorded a demo which appears on the so-called “Piano Tape”. The song appears in full length at 3:46 with a structure Intro/Verse/Verse/Bridge/Verse/Bridge/Outro.
  • In 1975, he recorded it again during the sessions for the film “One Hand Clapping”; but the song didn’t make it for the final result.
  • In April 1976, he performed an a capella rendition of it, when interviewed by Alan Freeman.
  • In March 1977, he recorded a studio demo, that was sent to Frank Sinatra (see story above)
  • Circa 1979 / 1980, it was considered for inclusion on the never-to-happen “Cold Cuts” project.
  • In 1984, McCartney mentioned the story about “Suicide” and Frank Sinatra during his participation to the TV Show “Aspel & Company”
  • In 1999, he performed a short rendition of the song during his appearance on the TV show, “Parkinson”.

Over the years, the song was copyrighted a few times and under different names (“Suicide, “Call It Suicide“, “I Call It Suicide“). It was finally officially released in 2011, when the 1969/1970 version was included on the “McCartney Archive Collection“.

An interesting anecdote related in the Steve Hoffman forums: in 1977, Paul McCartney hired the Marvel illustrator Bob Larkin to do a watercolor painting to be given to Frank Sinatra with the demo tape of the song “Suicide”, backstage at the Royal Albert Hall, early March 1977 (Paul & Linda were there with George & Olivia Harrison).

From liveauctioneers.com – Lot consists of an original watercolor illustration on board of Paul McCartney and Frank Sinatra by Marvel artist Bob Larkin. Signed and dated lower right 1977. Overall size approx. 15″ x 15″. Excellent image. Board has some light edgeand corner wear. Examine.

Last updated on June 7, 2020

Officially appears on


McCartney - Archive Collection

Official album • Released in 2011

2:50 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Mixing engineer, Piano, Producer, Vocals

Session Recording:
December, 1969
Studio :
At home, Cavendish Avenue, St. John's Wood, UK

Session Mixing:
May 03, 2010
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Bootlegs


A/B Road Complete Get Back Sessions - Jan 26th, 1969 - 1 & 2

Unofficial album • Released in 2004

0:47 • Rehearsal • Jan.26 - D2-12 - Suicide 26.28

Session Recording:
Jan 26, 1969
Studio :
Apple Studios, 3 Savile Row, London


Studio Rarities Vol. 1

Unofficial album • Released in 2014

Outtake • Complete version of "Hot As Sun / Glasses / Suicide" medley

Recording :
c. 1970


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol. 1

Unofficial album

0:48 • Demo • 1/26/69

Recording :
Jan 26, 1969


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol. 7

Unofficial album

1:37 • Demo • The Piano Tape

Recording :
Jul 14, 1974


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol. 7

Unofficial album

1:27 • Demo

Recording :
August 1974


Live performances

“Suicide” has been played in 1 concerts and 2 soundchecks.

Latest concerts where has been played


Parkinson

Dec 03, 1999 • United Kingdom • London • BBC Television Center, Studio 6 • TV show


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oldtownukesrick 2 months ago

Would have suited the white album