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Released in 1979

The Broadcast

Written by Paul McCartney

Last updated on March 25, 2018


Album This song officially appears on the Back To The Egg Official album.

Timeline This song was officially released in 1979

Master album

Related session

This song was recorded during the following studio sessions:

From Classics Rocks! blog:

In The Words and Music of Paul McCartney: The Solo Years, Vincent Benitez writes:  “The Broadcast is the most experimental track in Wings’ entire output.”  David Bowie was reportedly so impressed by the track, which appears on the 1979 album Back to the Egg, that he thought it should be released as the first single.  Technically, the track isn’t a song at all, but a spoken word piece heard over a fragment of melody–and the words aren’t spoken by Paul McCartney or anybody else in the band.

The track was recorded at Lympne Castle in Kent, England, which dates from the 12th century.  The castle was owned by a gentleman named Harold Margary and his wife Deirdre.  Benitez quotes Wings guitarist Laurence Juber:

It’s a bit hazy but the guy that owns the castle where we were recording, both he and his wife had these very plummy kind of voices… I think it was like, “Oh, wouldn’t it be fun to have them read some classic English literature material and use the orchestral background to be just this kind of weird interlude.”  And they were game for it.

McCartney selected books at random from the castle library and recorded the Margarys reading selections.  Harold Margary read from The Sport of Kings by Ian Hay and The Little Man by John Galsworthy, which is what you hear on the final track.  Deirdre Margary read lyrics from a song called “The Poodle and the Pug,” from a 1946 light opera called Big Ben.  “Her reading didn’t make the final version,” reports Ian Peel in The Unknown Paul McCartney, “but a few lines (‘…with tufts of hair stuck here and there which one would like to tug…’) were spliced into Reception,” another track on the album.

Paul McCartney in "Conversations With McCartney", by Paul Du Noyer:

The two people who owned the castle we were recording at [Harold and Deirdre Margary, at Lympne]… We set up a little mobile unit and they used to invite us in for a drink every evening. Me and Linda would sit in their sitting room and they were [gently upper-class accent] ‘very lovely people, very far back’. We got a great relationship with them. Even though we were different generations and classes, we just had a lot in common. And I hit on this idea, I asked them would you select some favourite prose or poetry, just read it for me and I’ll use it in a collage. So that became ‘The Broadcast’.

Lyrics

We've got a chance and we'll take it

We may win or we may lose

We may even have to cut and run for it


Well it won't be the first time I've run

And it won't be the first time I've been caught

It's the game that matters


Brother I'm proud to know you

This is one of the greatest moments

I have ever experienced


I think I sense the situation

When I say that we all esteem it an honour

To breathe the rather inferior atmosphere

Of the station

Here along with our little friend


I guess we shall all go home and treasure

The memory of his face

As the whitest thing in our museum of recollections


And perhaps this good woman will also go home

And wash the face of our little brother here

And inspire the new faith in mankind


Ladies and gentlemen

I wish to present to you a sure enough saint

Only wants a halo to be transfixed

Stand right up

Officially appears on

Bootlegs

See all bootlegs containing “The Broadcast

Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.


Going further

Paul McCartney: Music Is Ideas. The Stories Behind the Songs (Vol. 1) 1970-1989

With 25 albums of pop music, 5 of classical – a total of around 500 songs – released over the course of more than half a century, Paul McCartney's career, on his own and with Wings, boasts an incredible catalogue that's always striving to free itself from the shadow of The Beatles. The stories behind the songs, demos and studio recordings, unreleased tracks, recording dates, musicians, live performances and tours, covers, events: Music Is Ideas Volume 1 traces McCartney's post-Beatles output from 1970 to 1989 in the form of 346 song sheets, filled with details of the recordings and stories behind the sessions. Accompanied by photos, and drawing on interviews and contemporary reviews, this reference book draws the portrait of a musical craftsman who has elevated popular song to an art-form.

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Notice any inaccuracies on this page? Have additional insights or ideas for new content? Or just want to share your thoughts? We value your feedback! Please use the form below to get in touch with us.

Johnny j Rivera • 6 years ago

Isn't Deidre a Female? The narration was done by a male Voice or have I had it wrong all these years...


The PaulMcCartney Project • 6 years ago

Hi Johnny, that's a very good question. Luca Perasi, in "Paul McCartney (recording sessions - 1969-2013)" says: "McCartney added the voice of the castle's owner, Mr. Margary", and credits Diedre Margary for the narration. So I'm as confused as you are ...


The PaulMcCartney Project • 6 years ago

By the way, right spelling seems to be Deirdre - http://www.companydirectorcheck.com/deirdre-margary


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