- Album This song officially appears on the McCartney - Archive Collection Official album.
- Timeline This song has been officially released in 2011
- Sessions This song has been recorded during the following sessions
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Suicide is one of Paul’s earliest compositions. A first studio take was taped during the Get Back rehearsals in January 1969. Another studio version was recorded in January 1970 for the “McCartney ” album, but only a few seconds of the song finally surfaced on this album. Another version was recorded for the “One Hand Clapping” video. A last version was taped as a demo in 1974 and given to Frank Sinatra who never recorded the song.
“Suicide” was a song written by Paul McCartney when he was just 14 years old. It was considered for release three times and is available (bootlegged) as a studio outtake from both the Beatles and Paul McCartney & Wings. The first time McCartney considered releasing the song was in 1970 when recording his McCartney album. He later decided that it didn’t fit in well with the family atmosphere of his album and it was dropped minus a few seconds of it at the end of “Hot As Sun / Glasses”.
The second time he considered releasing it was in 1974 when he attempted to give it to Frank Sinatra, who declined. Sinatra is quoted to have said “Is this guy trying to have me?” the third and final time McCartney attempted to release it was in 1975 when he recorded a piano/vocal only version of the song for the unreleased movie “One Hand Clapping”, an unreleased documentary about Paul McCartney & Wings in the studio. Other versions include a complete, four minute demo, a live television performance and a short studio outtake from 1969.
Complete known history of the song:
1956 Paul McCartney writes the song on the family piano
1969 A 46 second long single versed version is recorded during the “Get Back” sessions
1970 1:42 version taped for “McCartney”, 8 seconds of which appeared on the album
1974 A complete 3:46 Intro/Verse/Verse/Bridge/Verse/Bridge/Outro demo is taped by McCartney. The tape is offered to Frank Sinatra, who declines it.
1975 A Verse/Verse version similar to the one from 1970 is taped at Abbey Road Studios
2001 Paul plays a single verse of the song live on the Michael Parkinson Show, to some laughter from the studio audience.
Paul McCartney in "Conversations With McCartney", by Paul Du Noyer:
My feelings were that if you were ever going to be a songwriter, the height of it all was Sinatra. A bit before rock and roll, you were thinking of standards and things. So around that time I wrote ‘When I’m 64’ and this other thing, which I thought would be a bit Rat Pack, smoochy, with words like, ‘When she tries to, uh-huh…’ Boom! And stabs from the band, y’know?
I remember being in bed, and getting ideas for lyrics. That’s probably why they’re so bad! I kept a paper and pencil by my bed, I’d lean out and try and not wake up, try and write it down. The rhymes are painful but I used to do it as a joke: [in cabaret crooner voice] ‘When she tries to… Good evening ladies’n’gentlemen! Bop-bee-bop yeah! Welcome to Las Vegas!’ That kind of thing.
Like I’d do ‘Michelle’: ‘Ello [comic French accent], welcome to mah French clurb…’ You had a few party pieces and ‘Suicide’ was the Rat Pack one. I never did anything with it. But then I actually got a request from Sinatra for a song.
I spoke to him on the phone and told him about it: ‘Great, Paul, send it along.’ Thank you, Frank! So I got that out of it. I did a demo, sent it to him and he thought I was taking the piss. He really did. ‘Is this guy kidding?’ You know, sending Sinatra a song called ‘Suicide’? He did not get it.
I did think, Oh god, maybe I should have changed it a bit.
But around the time of McCartney, I was goofing around on piano and there was a bit of tape left, so I used that fragment at the end of ‘Glasses’. It’s actually quite a funky version, though I say it myself. Over the years people have said to me, ‘You know that little fragment that gets faded out? What was that?’
Last updated on October 29, 2016
Officially appears on
Official album • Released in 2011
0:00 • Studio version
0:48 • Demo • 1/26/69
- Jan 26, 1969
1:37 • Demo • The Piano Tape
- Jul 14, 1974
1:27 • Demo
- August 1974
3:46 • Demo
- February 1977
4:02 • Studio version
Album • MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol.25