Take It Away

Written by Paul McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the Tug Of War Official album.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1982
Timeline This song has been written (or started being written) in 1980 (Paul McCartney was 38 years old)

Song facts

From Wikipedia:

Take It Away” is a single by Paul McCartney from his 1982 album Tug of War. The single spent sixteen weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, reaching #10 It reached #15 in the UK. The music video, directed by John Makenzie, features former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr and long-time producer George Martin, both of whom played on the track, as well as actor John Hurt.

Although there is a segue from “Tug of War” into this song on the album, the single version instead starts cleanly but fades out earlier at the end.

From Something Else Reviews:

Celebrated at the time as a partial Beatles reunion, Paul McCartney’s “Take it Away” certainly starts that way, with an off-kilter rhythm courtesy of Ringo Starr and all of the tasteful hallmarks of a George Martin production — right down to the stoic piano accompaniment. But there was more to this standout track from Tug of War,released in April 1982.

The song’s most interesting new element, really, comes from 10cc alum Eric Stewart, whose presence clearly sparked Paul McCartney to dabble in some of that group’s now-famous layering of background vocals. “Take It Away” ends with a soaring loop of wordless sighs from a thousand Pauls, Erics and Lindas. A darker undertone surrounds the album, too, no matter how high that coda rises. That had more to do with the Beatle who wasn’t there, rather than the ones who were. […]

From an interview with Club Sandwich, 1982:

Andy Mackay – “Take It Away” seems a fairly straight forward, a very straight McCartneyish track, very cheerful, but that is one of the songs that sounds very British, funnily enough.

Paul – Well, there were a couple of songs that we ended up recording which Ringo asked me to write at a certain period. I was writing some songs for Ringo and “Take It Away” was in amongst those songs. I thought it would suit me better the way it went into the chorus and stuff; I didn’t think it was very Ringo.

Andy – I like it.

Paul – I mean, the chorus I think, was Ringo, the other bits… but that’s how that comes to be that kind of track I think, I was right in that sort of direction with Ringo in mind actually.

From puremccartney.com – PAUL, AIR STUDIOS, MONTSERRAT, 1981. IN THE PHOTO USED ON THE COVER OF SINGLE ‘TAKE IT AWAY’
Paul’s handwritten lyrics for Take It Away – From the “Tug Of War Archive Collection” @ 2015 MPL Communications Inc

Lyrics

Take it away
Want to hear you play
Till the lights go down
Take it away
Don't you want to stay
Till there's no one else around!

Take it away
Want to hear you play
Till the lights go down
Take it away
Don't you want to stay
Till there's no one else around?

Lonely driver
Out on the road
With a hundred miles to go
Sole survivor
Carrying the load,
Switches on his radio

Take it away
Want to hear you play
Till the lights go down (down down)
Take it away
Don't you want to stay
Till there's no one else around?

REPEAT

In the audience,
Watching the show
With a paper in his hand
(In his hand, in his hand)
Some important impresario
Has a message for the band

Take it away
Want to hear you play
Till the lights go down (down down)
Take it away
Don't you want to stay
Till there's no one else around?

You never know who may be
Listening to you
You never know who may be
Listening to you
Take it away - take it away

After hours
Late in the bar
By a darkened corner seat
Faded flowers wait in the jar
Till the evening is complete

Officially appears on


Tug Of War

Official album • Released in 1982

4:16 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Arrangements, Backing vocals, Bass, Piano, Vocal
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals
Ringo Starr :
Drums
Eric Stewart :
Backing vocals, Guitar
George Martin :
Arrangements, Electric piano, Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Steve Gadd :
Drums
Jon Jacobs :
Assistant mixing engineer, Assistant recording engineer
Mike Stavrou :
Assistant recording engineer
Unknown musician(s) :
Horns

Session Recording:
Feb 16-18, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, Montserrat

Session Overdubs:
Mar 23, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Session Mixing:
December 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Take It Away / I'll Give You A Ring

7" Single • Released in 1982

4:05 • Studio versionA1 • Single edit

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Arrangements, Backing vocals, Bass, Piano, Vocal
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals
Ringo Starr :
Drums
Eric Stewart :
Backing vocals, Guitar
George Martin :
Arrangements, Electric piano, Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Steve Gadd :
Drums
Jon Jacobs :
Assistant mixing engineer, Assistant recording engineer
Mike Stavrou :
Assistant recording engineer
Unknown musician(s) :
Horns

Session Recording:
Feb 16-18, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, Montserrat

Session Overdubs:
Mar 23, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Session Mixing:
December 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Take It Away

12" Single • Released in 1982

4:05 • Studio versionA1 • Single edit

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Arrangements, Backing vocals, Bass, Piano, Vocal
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals
Ringo Starr :
Drums
Eric Stewart :
Backing vocals, Guitar
George Martin :
Arrangements, Electric piano, Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Steve Gadd :
Drums
Jon Jacobs :
Assistant mixing engineer, Assistant recording engineer
Mike Stavrou :
Assistant recording engineer
Unknown musician(s) :
Horns

Session Recording:
Feb 16-18, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, Montserrat

Session Overdubs:
Mar 23, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Session Mixing:
December 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Tug Of War (1993)

Official album • Released in 1993

4:16 • Studio versionA1993 • 1993 remaster

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Arrangements, Backing vocals, Bass, Piano, Vocal
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals
Ringo Starr :
Drums
Eric Stewart :
Backing vocals, Guitar
George Martin :
Arrangements, Electric piano, Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Steve Gadd :
Drums
Jon Jacobs :
Assistant mixing engineer, Assistant recording engineer
Mike Stavrou :
Assistant recording engineer
Unknown musician(s) :
Horns

Session Recording:
Feb 16-18, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, Montserrat

Session Overdubs:
Mar 23, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Session Mixing:
December 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Wingspan Hits And History (US version)

Official album • Released in 2001

4:05 • Studio versionA1.2001 • 2001 remaster

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Arrangements, Backing vocals, Bass, Piano, Vocal
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals
Ringo Starr :
Drums
Eric Stewart :
Backing vocals, Guitar
George Martin :
Arrangements, Electric piano, Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer, Remastering
Steve Gadd :
Drums
Jon Jacobs :
Assistant mixing engineer, Assistant recording engineer
Mike Stavrou :
Assistant recording engineer
Peter Mew :
Remastering
Unknown musician(s) :
Horns

Session Recording:
Feb 16-18, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, Montserrat

Session Overdubs:
Mar 23, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Session Mixing:
December 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Wingspan Hits And History (Japanese version)

Official album • Released in 2001

4:05 • Studio versionA1.2001 • 2001 remaster

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Arrangements, Backing vocals, Bass, Piano, Vocal
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals
Ringo Starr :
Drums
Eric Stewart :
Backing vocals, Guitar
George Martin :
Arrangements, Electric piano, Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer, Remastering
Steve Gadd :
Drums
Jon Jacobs :
Assistant mixing engineer, Assistant recording engineer
Mike Stavrou :
Assistant recording engineer
Peter Mew :
Remastering
Unknown musician(s) :
Horns

Session Recording:
Feb 16-18, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, Montserrat

Session Overdubs:
Mar 23, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Session Mixing:
December 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Wingspan Hits And History

Official album • Released in 2001

4:05 • Studio versionA1.2001 • 2001 remaster

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Arrangements, Backing vocals, Bass, Piano, Vocal
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals
Ringo Starr :
Drums
Eric Stewart :
Backing vocals, Guitar
George Martin :
Arrangements, Electric piano, Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer, Remastering
Steve Gadd :
Drums
Jon Jacobs :
Assistant mixing engineer, Assistant recording engineer
Mike Stavrou :
Assistant recording engineer
Peter Mew :
Remastering
Unknown musician(s) :
Horns

Session Recording:
Feb 16-18, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, Montserrat

Session Overdubs:
Mar 23, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Session Mixing:
December 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Never Stop Doing What You Love

Official album • Released in 2005

4:05 • Studio versionA1 • Single edit

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Arrangements, Backing vocals, Bass, Piano, Vocal
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals
Ringo Starr :
Drums
Eric Stewart :
Backing vocals, Guitar
George Martin :
Arrangements, Electric piano, Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Steve Gadd :
Drums
Jon Jacobs :
Assistant mixing engineer, Assistant recording engineer
Mike Stavrou :
Assistant recording engineer
Unknown musician(s) :
Horns

Session Recording:
Feb 16-18, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, Montserrat

Session Overdubs:
Mar 23, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Session Mixing:
December 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

2015 exclusive downloads

Download • Released in 2015

4:07 • Studio versionA1.2015 • Single edit (2015 remaster)

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Arrangements, Backing vocals, Bass, Piano, Vocal
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals
Ringo Starr :
Drums
Eric Stewart :
Backing vocals, Guitar
George Martin :
Arrangements, Electric piano, Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Steve Gadd :
Drums
Jon Jacobs :
Assistant mixing engineer, Assistant recording engineer
Mike Stavrou :
Assistant recording engineer
Unknown musician(s) :
Horns

Session Recording:
Feb 16-18, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, Montserrat

Session Overdubs:
Mar 23, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Session Mixing:
December 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Tug Of War - Archive Collection

Official album • Released in 2015

4:16 • Studio versionB • 2015 remix

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Arrangements, Backing vocals, Bass, Piano, Remixing, Vocal
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals
Ringo Starr :
Drums
Eric Stewart :
Backing vocals, Guitar
George Martin :
Arrangements, Electric piano, Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Recording engineer
Steve Gadd :
Drums
Jon Jacobs :
Assistant recording engineer
Mike Stavrou :
Assistant recording engineer
Alex Wharton :
Mastering
Steve Orchard :
Remixing
Unknown musician(s) :
Horns

Session Recording:
Feb 16-18, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, Montserrat

Session Overdubs:
Mar 23, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Session Recording:
March 2-30, 2015
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Bootlegs


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol.15

Unofficial album

5:30 • Demo

Session Recording & mixing:
August 1980
Studio :
Rude Studio, Campbeltown, Scotland

Unsurpassed Rudeness

Unofficial album

5:33 • Outtake


Tug Of Peace

Unofficial album

4:03 • Studio versionA1 • Single version

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Arrangements, Backing vocals, Bass, Piano, Vocal
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals
Ringo Starr :
Drums
Eric Stewart :
Backing vocals, Guitar
George Martin :
Arrangements, Electric piano, Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Steve Gadd :
Drums
Jon Jacobs :
Assistant mixing engineer, Assistant recording engineer
Mike Stavrou :
Assistant recording engineer
Unknown musician(s) :
Horns

Session Recording:
Feb 16-18, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, Montserrat

Session Overdubs:
Mar 23, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Session Mixing:
December 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Tug Of Peace

Unofficial album

5:24 • Demo

Session Recording:
August 1980
Studio :
Rude Studio, Campbeltown, Scotland

Tug Of Peace

Unofficial album

4:58 • Outtake • monitor mix


Latest concerts where Take It Away has been played


'Take It Away' promotional video filming

Jun 23, 1982 • United Kingdom • Borehamwood • Elstree Studios

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