The Paul McCartney Project

The Back Seat Of My Car

Written by Paul McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the Ram Official album.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1971
Timeline This song has been written (or started being written) in 1969 (Paul McCartney was 27 years old)

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Song facts

The Back Seat Of My Car” is the last track of 1971 “Ram” album, by Paul & Linda McCartney. From Wikipedia:

[…] The song modulates stylistically between a sweeping piano-and-orchestra ballad similar to McCartney’s “The Long and Winding Road” and upbeat rock sections before ending in a raucous and passionate finale.

McCartney first presented this composition for The Beatles’ consideration during the Get Back rehearsals on 14 January 1969 at Twickenham Film Studios in London, but the album was aborted before anything could be done with the song, which eventually did not make it onto Let It Be either.

According to McCartney, this song and other car-based songs in his late-Beatles and early solo career, such as “Two of Us” and “Helen Wheels,” were inspired by the long road trips he and Linda used to take as the Beatles were breaking up. Most of the song is a piano-based ballad. But it is interspersed with orchestral sections and sections inspired by 50s-style rock ‘n’ roll. Allmusic critic Stewart Mason likens the main tune to those of McCartney’s Beatle songs “Two of Us” and “You Never Give Me Your Money.” Mason compares the effect of the various song sections to the medley from the Beatles Abbey Road and to some of the Beach Boys’ post-Pet Sounds work. […]

John Lennon felt that this song, among others on the album, was directed critically towards him; in particular, he perceived the protagonists who sing “We believe that we can’t be wrong” to be himself and Yoko Ono. Allmusic critic Stewart Mason claims that in the context of the criticism McCartney was receiving in the aftermath of the Beatles breakup, this line sounds more like a “statement of personal intent” than the declaration of love it could be in the context of the song’s lyrics themselves.

In a contemporary review for RAM, Jon Landau of Rolling Stone described “The Back Seat of My Car” as one of only two good songs he enjoyed on the album, the other being “Eat at Home“. Landau further described the song as “the album’s production number“.

Critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic said the song demonstrated the “imaginative and gorgeous” arrangements on Ram and called the song its “sad, soaring finale.” Mason considers it to be the “true highlight” of Ram.

“Back Seat of My Car” is the ultimate teenage song, and even though it was a long time since I was a teenager and had to go to a girl’s dad and explain myself, it’s that kind of meet-the-parents song. It’s a good old driving song. [Sings] “We can make it to Mexico City.” I’ve never driven to Mexico City, but it’s imagination. And obviously “back seat” is snogging, making love.

Paul McCartney, “Paul McCartney On His Not-So-Silly Love Songs”. Billboard.

From mixing engineering Eirik Wangberg:

We did lots of overdubbing, such as brand new bass and guitar tracks. Plus, I edited the orchestral bit at the end of the song and, following Paul’s taste, mix the drums to the fore. Other cool bits were done, such adding more vocals such as the improvisation and ad-libs that we superimposed almost syllable by syllable.

Engineer Eirik Wangberg, interviewed by Claudio Dirani, 2005

In 2005, “The Back Seat Of My Car” received the remix treatment of DJ Hellraiser, and was released on the “Twin Freaks” album.

Last updated on June 6, 2020

Lyrics

Speeding along the highway, honey I want it my way,
But listen to her daddy's song,
Don't stay out too long,
Were just busy hidin', sittin' in the back seat of my car.

Lookin' all around and all about
Lookin' all around and all about
The maze of lights are pretty, we may end up in Mexico City,
But listen to her daddy's song, making love is wrong,
We're just busy ridin', sittin' in the back seat of my car.

For we was only hidin', sitting in the back seat of my car,
And when we've finished drivin' we can say we were late in arrivin',
And listen to her daddy's song,
We believe that we can't be wrong,
Ah we believe that we can't be wrong,
Ah we believe that we can't be wrong.

We can make it to Mexico City, sittin' in the backseat of my car.

Ah we believe that we can't be wrong,
Ah we believe that we can't be wrong,
Ah we believe that we can't be wrong,
No no no,
No we believe that we can't be wrong.

Officially appears on


Ram

Official album • Released in 1971

4:30 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Bass, Electric guitar, Piano, Producer, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals, Producer
Denny Seiwell :
Drums
Hugh McCracken :
Electric guitar
Eirik Wangberg :
Mix engineer
Phil Ramone :
Recording engineer
Marvin Stamm :
Horns
Mel Davis :
Horns
Ray Crisara :
Horns
Snooky Young :
Horns
Ron Carter :
Double bass
David Nadien :
Violin
The New York Philharmonic Orchestra :
Horns, Strings
Jim Guercio :
Recording engineer
Tim Geelan :
Recording engineer
Ted Brosnan :
Assistant recording engineer
Dixon Van Winkle :
Assistant recording engineer
Armin Steiner :
Recording engineer

Session Recording:
Oct 22, 1970
Studio :
CBS Studios, New York City

Session Overdubs:
Jan 11, 1971
Studio :
A&R Studios, New York City

Session Overdubs:
March-April 1971
Studio :
Sunset Sound Recorders Studio, Los Angeles, USA

Session Mixing:
March-April 1971
Studio :
Sunset Sound Recorders Studio, Los Angeles, USA

Credits & recording details courtesy of Luca Perasi • Buy Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013) on Amazon


The Back Seat of My Car / Heart Of The Country

7" Single • Released in 1971

4:30 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Bass, Electric guitar, Piano, Producer, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals, Producer
Denny Seiwell :
Drums
Hugh McCracken :
Electric guitar
Eirik Wangberg :
Mix engineer
Phil Ramone :
Recording engineer
Marvin Stamm :
Horns
Mel Davis :
Horns
Ray Crisara :
Horns
Snooky Young :
Horns
Ron Carter :
Double bass
David Nadien :
Violin
The New York Philharmonic Orchestra :
Horns, Strings
Jim Guercio :
Recording engineer
Tim Geelan :
Recording engineer
Ted Brosnan :
Assistant recording engineer
Dixon Van Winkle :
Assistant recording engineer
Armin Steiner :
Recording engineer

Session Recording:
Oct 22, 1970
Studio :
CBS Studios, New York City

Session Overdubs:
Jan 11, 1971
Studio :
A&R Studios, New York City

Session Overdubs:
March-April 1971
Studio :
Sunset Sound Recorders Studio, Los Angeles, USA

Session Mixing:
March-April 1971
Studio :
Sunset Sound Recorders Studio, Los Angeles, USA

Credits & recording details courtesy of Luca Perasi • Buy Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013) on Amazon


Ram (Mono - promotional)

Official album • Released in 1971

4:30 • Studio versionB • Mono

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Bass, Electric guitar, Piano, Producer, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals, Producer
Denny Seiwell :
Drums
Hugh McCracken :
Electric guitar
Eirik Wangberg :
Mix engineer
Phil Ramone :
Recording engineer
Marvin Stamm :
Horns
Mel Davis :
Horns
Ray Crisara :
Horns
Snooky Young :
Horns
Ron Carter :
Double bass
David Nadien :
Violin
The New York Philharmonic Orchestra :
Horns, Strings
Jim Guercio :
Recording engineer
Tim Geelan :
Recording engineer
Ted Brosnan :
Assistant recording engineer
Dixon Van Winkle :
Assistant recording engineer
Armin Steiner :
Recording engineer

Session Recording:
Oct 22, 1970
Studio :
CBS Studios, New York City

Session Overdubs:
Jan 11, 1971
Studio :
A&R Studios, New York City

Session Overdubs:
March-April 1971
Studio :
Sunset Sound Recorders Studio, Los Angeles, USA

Session Mixing:
March-April 1971
Studio :
Sunset Sound Recorders Studio, Los Angeles, USA

Credits & recording details courtesy of Luca Perasi • Buy Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013) on Amazon


Thrillington

Official album • Released in 1977

4:51 • Studio versionC • Instrumental version

Percy "Thrills" Thrillington :
Producer
Richard Hewson :
Arrangements, Orchestration
Tony Clark :
Mixing, Recording
Vic Flick :
Guitar
Clem Cattini :
Drums
Herbie Flowers :
Bass
Steve Gray :
Piano
Jim Lawless :
Percussion
Alan Parsons :
Second engineer
Unknown musician(s) :
Horns, Recorder, Saxophone, Strings
Carl Dolmetsch :
Recorder
Carl Dolmetsch Family :
Recorders

Session Recording:
Jun 15, 1971
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Overdubs:
Jun 16, 1971
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Overdubs:
Jun 17, 1971
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Jun 18, 1971
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road


Ram (1993)

Official album • Released in 1993

4:30 • Studio versionA1993 • Stereo • 1993 remaster

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Bass, Electric guitar, Piano, Producer, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals, Producer
Denny Seiwell :
Drums
Hugh McCracken :
Electric guitar
Eirik Wangberg :
Mix engineer
Phil Ramone :
Recording engineer
Marvin Stamm :
Horns
Mel Davis :
Horns
Ray Crisara :
Horns
Snooky Young :
Horns
Ron Carter :
Double bass
David Nadien :
Violin
The New York Philharmonic Orchestra :
Horns, Strings
Jim Guercio :
Recording engineer
Tim Geelan :
Recording engineer
Ted Brosnan :
Assistant recording engineer
Dixon Van Winkle :
Assistant recording engineer
Peter Mew :
Remastering
Armin Steiner :
Recording engineer

Session Recording:
Oct 22, 1970
Studio :
CBS Studios, New York City

Session Overdubs:
Jan 11, 1971
Studio :
A&R Studios, New York City

Session Overdubs:
March 1971
Studio :
Sunset Sound Recorders Studio, Los Angeles, USA

Session Mixing:
March-April 1971
Studio :
Sunset Sound Recorders Studio, Los Angeles, USA

Credits & recording details courtesy of Luca Perasi • Buy Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013) on Amazon


RAM (by DCC Compact Classics)

Official album • Released in 1993

4:30 • Studio versionA1993.1 • 1993 remaster by Steve Hoffman

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Bass, Electric guitar, Piano, Producer, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals, Producer
Denny Seiwell :
Drums
Hugh McCracken :
Electric guitar
Eirik Wangberg :
Mix engineer
Phil Ramone :
Recording engineer
Marvin Stamm :
Horns
Mel Davis :
Horns
Ray Crisara :
Horns
Snooky Young :
Horns
Ron Carter :
Double bass
David Nadien :
Violin
The New York Philharmonic Orchestra :
Horns, Strings
Jim Guercio :
Recording engineer
Tim Geelan :
Recording engineer
Ted Brosnan :
Assistant recording engineer
Dixon Van Winkle :
Assistant recording engineer
Armin Steiner :
Recording engineer
Steve Hoffman :
Remastering

Session Recording:
Oct 22, 1970
Studio :
CBS Studios, New York City

Session Overdubs:
Jan 11, 1971
Studio :
A&R Studios, New York City

Session Overdubs:
March-April 1971
Studio :
Sunset Sound Recorders Studio, Los Angeles, USA

Session Mixing:
March-April 1971
Studio :
Sunset Sound Recorders Studio, Los Angeles, USA

Credits & recording details courtesy of Luca Perasi • Buy Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013) on Amazon


Wingspan Hits And History

Official album • Released in 2001

4:30 • Studio versionA2001 • 2001 remaster

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Bass, Electric guitar, Piano, Producer, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals, Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Remastering
Denny Seiwell :
Drums
Hugh McCracken :
Electric guitar
Eirik Wangberg :
Mix engineer
Phil Ramone :
Recording engineer
Marvin Stamm :
Horns
Mel Davis :
Horns
Ray Crisara :
Horns
Snooky Young :
Horns
Ron Carter :
Double bass
David Nadien :
Violin
The New York Philharmonic Orchestra :
Horns, Strings
Jim Guercio :
Recording engineer
Tim Geelan :
Recording engineer
Ted Brosnan :
Assistant recording engineer
Dixon Van Winkle :
Assistant recording engineer
Peter Mew :
Remastering
Armin Steiner :
Recording engineer

Session Recording:
Oct 22, 1970
Studio :
CBS Studios, New York City

Session Overdubs:
Jan 11, 1971
Studio :
A&R Studios, New York City

Session Overdubs:
March-April 1971
Studio :
Sunset Sound Recorders Studio, Los Angeles, USA

Session Mixing:
March-April 1971
Studio :
Sunset Sound Recorders Studio, Los Angeles, USA

Credits & recording details courtesy of Luca Perasi • Buy Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013) on Amazon


Wingspan: Hits & History [CD Sampler]

Official album • Released in 2001

4:29 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Bass, Electric guitar, Piano, Producer, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals, Producer
Denny Seiwell :
Drums
Hugh McCracken :
Electric guitar
Eirik Wangberg :
Mix engineer
Phil Ramone :
Recording engineer
Marvin Stamm :
Horns
Mel Davis :
Horns
Ray Crisara :
Horns
Snooky Young :
Horns
Ron Carter :
Double bass
David Nadien :
Violin
The New York Philharmonic Orchestra :
Horns, Strings
Jim Guercio :
Recording engineer
Tim Geelan :
Recording engineer
Ted Brosnan :
Assistant recording engineer
Dixon Van Winkle :
Assistant recording engineer
Armin Steiner :
Recording engineer

Session Recording:
Oct 22, 1970
Studio :
CBS Studios, New York City

Session Overdubs:
Jan 11, 1971
Studio :
A&R Studios, New York City

Session Overdubs:
March-April 1971
Studio :
Sunset Sound Recorders Studio, Los Angeles, USA

Session Mixing:
March-April 1971
Studio :
Sunset Sound Recorders Studio, Los Angeles, USA

Credits & recording details courtesy of Luca Perasi • Buy Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013) on Amazon


Motor Of Love

Official album • Released in 2005

4:26 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Bass, Electric guitar, Piano, Producer, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals, Producer
Denny Seiwell :
Drums
Hugh McCracken :
Electric guitar
Eirik Wangberg :
Mix engineer
Phil Ramone :
Recording engineer
Marvin Stamm :
Horns
Mel Davis :
Horns
Ray Crisara :
Horns
Snooky Young :
Horns
Ron Carter :
Double bass
David Nadien :
Violin
The New York Philharmonic Orchestra :
Horns, Strings
Jim Guercio :
Recording engineer
Tim Geelan :
Recording engineer
Ted Brosnan :
Assistant recording engineer
Dixon Van Winkle :
Assistant recording engineer
Armin Steiner :
Recording engineer

Session Recording:
Oct 22, 1970
Studio :
CBS Studios, New York City

Session Overdubs:
Jan 11, 1971
Studio :
A&R Studios, New York City

Session Overdubs:
March-April 1971
Studio :
Sunset Sound Recorders Studio, Los Angeles, USA

Session Mixing:
March-April 1971
Studio :
Sunset Sound Recorders Studio, Los Angeles, USA

Credits & recording details courtesy of Luca Perasi • Buy Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013) on Amazon


Ram - Archive Collection

Official album • Released in 2012

4:31 • Studio versionA2012 • Stereo • 2012 remaster

Paul McCartney :
Backing vocals, Bass, Electric guitar, Piano, Producer, Vocals
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals, Producer
Denny Seiwell :
Drums
Hugh McCracken :
Electric guitar
Eirik Wangberg :
Mix engineer
Phil Ramone :
Recording engineer
Marvin Stamm :
Horns
Mel Davis :
Horns
Ray Crisara :
Horns
Snooky Young :
Horns
Ron Carter :
Double bass
David Nadien :
Violin
The New York Philharmonic Orchestra :
Horns, Strings
Jim Guercio :
Recording engineer
Tim Geelan :
Recording engineer
Ted Brosnan :
Assistant recording engineer
Dixon Van Winkle :
Assistant recording engineer
Armin Steiner :
Recording engineer

Session Recording:
Oct 22, 1970
Studio :
CBS Studios, New York City

Session Overdubs:
Jan 11, 1971
Studio :
A&R Studios, New York City

Session Overdubs:
March-April 1971
Studio :
Sunset Sound Recorders Studio, Los Angeles, USA

Session Mixing:
March-April 1971
Studio :
Sunset Sound Recorders Studio, Los Angeles, USA

Credits & recording details courtesy of Luca Perasi • Buy Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013) on Amazon


Bootlegs


A/B Road Complete Get Back Sessions - Jan 14th, 1969 - 1 & 2

Unofficial album • Released in 2004

4:11 • Rehearsal • Jan.14 - D1-23 - The Back Seat Of My Car 14.22

Session Recording:
Jan 14, 1969
Studio :
Twickenham Film Studios, London, UK


A/B Road Complete Get Back Sessions - Jan 14th, 1969 - 1 & 2

Unofficial album • Released in 2004

3:21 • Rehearsal • Jan.14 - D1-24 - The Back Seat Of My Car 14.23

Session Recording:
Jan 14, 1969
Studio :
Twickenham Film Studios, London, UK


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol. 2

Unofficial album • Released in 2002

5:20 • Outtake • Early take - Ram sessions 11/70 - 3/71


Studio Rarities Vol. 1

Unofficial album • Released in 2014

5:22 • Outtake • backing track


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol. 1

Unofficial album

3:02 • Demo • 1/14/69

Recording :
Jan 14, 1969


Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.


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Angel Reyes Martinez 3 years ago

Mexico 2017 Live - Azteca Stadium, Short version


The PaulMcCartney Project 3 years ago

Thank you ! Indeed, Paul has sung a few words after "My Valentine" - "The lazy lights are pretty, we may end up in Mexico City"