The Paul McCartney Project

The Pound Is Sinking

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 1977 (Paul McCartney was 35 years old)

Related sessions

This song has been recorded during the following studio sessions


Home recordings

August 1980






Remixing "Tug Of War" album

March 2nd to March 31st, 2015

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Song facts

The Pound Is Sinking” is a song from 1982 album “Tug Of War“. Like “Dress Me Up As A Robber” on the same album, it was written in 1977. Like many other McCartney’s songs, “The Pound Is Sinking“ was assembled from the fragments of two songs, “The Pound Is Sinking” and “Something That Didn’t Happen” officially released in demo form in 2015.

When you are looking through the papers, you always see headlines saying, ‘The Pound Has Moved A Quarter Of An Inch Today’, and ‘The Mark Has Made A Surprising Move Today In The Money Markets’. I see these pictures of all the hundreds of people on the phones saying, ‘Did it go up? Did it go down?’ But I’ve never really been into that. I’m not a big stocks and shares man, just because it all seems so crazy, it’s just a big gamble to me. I think it’s funny how you see how the pound is sinking, no it isn’t, it’s gone up and against the dollar, it’s 2.000003 or whatever. I think it’s funny how everyone gets serious about something that is obviously just going to keep on altering. The song ‘The Pound Is Sinking’ laughs at how everyone gets so serious about it.

Paul McCartney, from Badman, Keith. The Beatles: The Dream Is Over – Off The Record 2 (p. 303).

From an interview with Club Sandwich, 1982:

Andy Mackay – “The Pound is Sinking”, that’s an interesting song, I am curious about this. Obviously there is sort of pleasure in the words and the rhythms and the idea of it all, the sort of irony.

Paul – For me, it’s just the funny thing about the pundits day to day giving us an update so that all the people who’ve got money can gauge it all, like the weather. There is something which sort of amuses me about this constant update of something that is always going to be different, you are never going to be able to put your finger on it, but it just might help, knowing if there is snow on the M6, but generally they make more mistakes than they make correct predictions, it seems to me. You know, the pound is sinking — panic — and then the pound’s all right now, and everyone gets back into it. It’s a funny idea; I like the idea of all the ants doing what the lead ant tells them, you know, the oracle.

Andy – There is someone whose father is a remarkable man. Anyone in particular?

Paul – It’s not about anyone, no. Sometimes I just get little jumbles of words that sound nice and I haven’t even really got a meaning to them, but I know that they’re words, and that they have a meaning so I don’t really attempt to resolve that…

In this, it’s mainly just the ridiculousness, apparent ridiculousness, of the money market — the ups and downs and then and the indexes and stuff — that little bit there that comes in the middle, it’s the funny little conversation: I always imagine it like a sort of film where there is one character doing this pound is sinking bit, and explaining all the rest, and there is this little inter-cut scene with this other little bit about “your father is an extraordinary man, but you haven’t inherited any of his mannerisms.” It’s just a bunch of words, it just kinda says something that people say all the time…

Paul’s handwritten lyrics for The Pound Is Sinking – From the “Tug Of War Archive Collection” @ 2015 MPL Communications Inc

Last updated on May 9, 2020

Lyrics

The pound is sinking
The peso's falling
The lira's reeling
And feeling quite appalling

The mark is holding
The franc is fading
The drachma's very weak
But everyone's still trading

The market's bottom
Has fallen right out
And only the strong are survivors

Well I fear, my dear
That it's eminently clear
That you can't see the trees
For the forest
Your father was an
Extraordinary man
But you don't seem to have inherited
Many of his mannerisms

Oh, any of his mannerisms

The dollar's moving
The rouble's rising
The yen is keeping up
Which hardly seems surprising

The market's bottom
Has fallen right out
And only the stout are survivors

Hear me lover
I can't be held responsible now
For something that didn't happen
I knew you for a minute
Oh, it didn't happen
Only for a minute
Your heart just wasn't in it any more

The pound is sinking
The peso's failing
The lira's reeling,
And feeling quite appalling

Officially appears on


Tug Of War

Official album • Released in 1982

2:55 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Arrangement, Backing vocals, Electric guitar, Synthesizers, Vocal
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals
Denny Laine :
Acoustic guitar
Stanley Clarke :
Bass
Eric Stewart :
Backing vocals
George Martin :
Arrangement, Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Jon Jacobs :
Assistant mixing engineer, Assistant recording engineer
Mike Stavrou :
Assistant recording engineer

Session Recording:
Feb 04, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, Montserrat

Session Recording:
Feb 10, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, Montserrat

Session Overdubs:
Mar 12, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Session Mixing:
Sep 01, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK


A sample from "Tug Of War"

12" Single • Released in 1982

2:49 • Studio version


Tug Of War (1993)

Official album • Released in 1993

2:55 • Studio versionA1993 • 1993 remaster

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Arrangement, Backing vocals, Electric guitar, Synthesizers, Vocal
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals
Denny Laine :
Acoustic guitar
Stanley Clarke :
Bass
Eric Stewart :
Backing vocals
George Martin :
Arrangement, Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Jon Jacobs :
Assistant mixing engineer, Assistant recording engineer
Mike Stavrou :
Assistant recording engineer

Session Recording:
Feb 04, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, Montserrat

Session Recording:
Feb 10, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, Montserrat

Session Overdubs:
Mar 12, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Session Mixing:
Sep 01, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK


Tug Of War - Archive Collection

Official album • Released in 2015

2:55 • Studio versionB • 2015 remix

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Arrangement, Backing vocals, Electric guitar, Remixing, Synthesizers, Vocal
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals
Denny Laine :
Acoustic guitar
Stanley Clarke :
Bass
Eric Stewart :
Backing vocals
George Martin :
Arrangement, Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Recording engineer
Jon Jacobs :
Assistant recording engineer
Mike Stavrou :
Assistant recording engineer
Alex Wharton :
Mastering
Steve Orchard :
Remixing

Session Recording:
Feb 04, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, Montserrat

Session Recording:
Feb 10, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, Montserrat

Session Overdubs:
Mar 12, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Session Mixing:
Mar 02, 2015
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK


Tug Of War - Archive Collection

Official album • Released in 2015

2:31 • DemoC

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


Tug Of War - Archive Collection

Official album • Released in 2015

Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Arrangement, Backing vocals, Electric guitar, Synthesizers, Vocal
Linda McCartney :
Backing vocals
Denny Laine :
Acoustic guitar
Stanley Clarke :
Bass
Eric Stewart :
Backing vocals
George Martin :
Arrangement, Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Jon Jacobs :
Assistant mixing engineer, Assistant recording engineer
Mike Stavrou :
Assistant recording engineer

Session Recording:
Feb 04, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, Montserrat

Session Recording:
Feb 10, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, Montserrat

Session Overdubs:
Mar 12, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Session Mixing:
Sep 01, 1981
Studio :
AIR Studios, London, UK

Bootlegs


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol.10

Unofficial album

2:31 • Studio version


Unsurpassed Rudeness

Unofficial album

2:35 • Outtake


Tug Of Peace

Unofficial album

2:28 • Outtake • Studio demo

Studio :
Rude Studio, Campbeltown, Scotland


Rude Studio Demos

Unofficial album • Released in 1989

2:30 • Demo

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


Tug Of War Demos

Unofficial album • Released in 2004

2:30 • Alternate take

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


Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.


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In Praise of Fabcast, The Best Beatles Podcast Ever | Podcast Review 1 years ago

[…] for the music extends all the way to deep cuts like “The Pound is Sinking,” a song Paul has never played live and in which, Howie and Bard suggest, Paul reaches the apex of his vocal prowess while […]


James Percival 1 years ago

Agree with the comment about Fabcast. I'm working my way through them, and although I don't agree with absolutely everything they say, their enthusiasm is infectious.

My comment: no drummer credited, but sounds like Steve Gadd to me