The Paul McCartney Project

The World Tonight

Written by Paul McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the Flaming Pie Official album.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1997
Sessions This song has been recorded during the following sessions

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Song facts

From Wikipedia:

The World Tonight” is a song by Paul McCartney and is the second track on his 1997 album Flaming Pie. The first, and only, single from Flaming Pie that was released in the US, on 17 April 1997, and in July as the second single from that album in the UK, peaking at #23 in the UK Singles Chart.

In the United States, the song was released as the first and only single from the album in May 1997, peaking at number 64 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 23 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart. […]

From the album liner notes:

The second song from Paul’s initial session (there were four in all) with Jeff Lynne took what had been an acoustic, folk-tinged demo and imbued it with a progressively heavier treatment. ‘The World Tonight’ was written while on vacation in America in 1995 – of the 14 songs on Flaming Pie only the title track, ‘Somedays’ and ‘Great Day’ were composed in England, for the muse tends to strike Paul most often while he’s on holiday.

“The lyrics were just gathering thoughts. Like ‘I go back so far, I’m in front of me’- I don’t know where that came from, but if I’d been writing with John he would have gone ‘OK, leave that one in; we don’t know what it means but we do know what it means’.”

Paul McCartney, in Club Sandwich n°82, Summer 1997:

This one was written on an acoustic guitar when I was on holiday, so it started out folk-y. I don’t “go to work” to write songs, they just come when the mood strikes me and that’s usually when I’m on holiday, perhaps after a sail or a swim, when I’m chilling out and relaxing with a piano or a guitar. My studio manager, Eddie, usually expects me to bring home a couple of cassettes from a holiday.

Mark Lewisohn, in Club Sandwich n°82, Summer 1997:

[…] Linda McCartney encouraged Paul to work his edgier, tougher, lead guitar work into Flaming Pie, an attribute he has tended to fight shy from over the years, but which remains a potent force, inspired by Jimi Hendrix – whom, like a fan, Paul followed, awe-struck, around the London clubs in the American’s startling spring of 1967 – and also by Neil Young. (Again, showing every indication of ardent support, Paul and Linda drove for six hours to see Young’s performance at the Phoenix Festival near Stratford-upon-Avon on 19 July 1996.) For the record, now that it’s done, Linda still believes her husband “could have wound up a couple more solos on this album”. ‘The World Tonight’ was written by Paul while on holiday in America in 1995. Of the 14 songs on Flaming Pie, only the title track, ‘Somedays’ and ‘Great Day’ were composed in England.

Last updated on August 15, 2019

Lyrics

I saw you sitting at the centre of the circle
Everybody, everybody wanted something from you
I saw you sitting there

I saw you swaying to the rhythm of the music
Caught you playing,
caught you praying to the voice inside you
I saw you swaying there

I don't care what you want to be
I go back so far I'm in front of me!
It doesn't matter what they say
They're giving the game away

I can see the world tonight
Look into the future
See it in a different light
I can see the world tonight

I heard you listening to a secret conversation
You were crying,
you were trying not to let them hear you
I heard you listening in

Never mind what they want to do
You've got a right to your point of view!
It doesn't matter what they say
They're giving the game away

I can see the world tonight
Look into the future
See it in a different light
I can see the world tonight

I can see the world tonight

I saw you hiding from a flock of paparazzi
You were hoping,
you were hoping that the ground would swallow you
I saw you hiding there

I don't care what you want to be
I go back so far I'm in front of me!
It doesn't matter what they say
They're giving the game away

I can see the world tonight
Look into the future
See it in a different light
I can see the world tonight

Look into the future
I can see the world tonight
See it in a different light
I can see the world tonight
I can see the world tonight

Officially appears on


Flaming Pie

Official album • Released in 1997

4.03 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitar, Bass guitar, Drums, Electric guitar, Harmony vocal, Lead vocal, Percussion, Piano, Producer
Jeff Lynne:
Acoustic guitar, Electric guitar, Harmony vocal, Keyboard, Producer
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Jon Jacobs:
Engineer
Keith Smith:
Assistant engineer

Session Recording:
November 13th-17th 1995
Studio:
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK


The World Tonight #1

Official album • Released in 1997

4:03 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitar, Bass guitar, Drums, Electric guitar, Harmony vocal, Lead vocal, Percussion, Piano, Producer
Jeff Lynne:
Acoustic guitar, Electric guitar, Harmony vocal, Keyboard, Producer
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Jon Jacobs:
Engineer
Keith Smith:
Assistant engineer

Session Recording:
November 13th-17th 1995
Studio:
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK


The World Tonight #2

EP • Released in 1997

4:03 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitar, Bass guitar, Drums, Electric guitar, Harmony vocal, Lead vocal, Percussion, Piano, Producer
Jeff Lynne:
Acoustic guitar, Electric guitar, Harmony vocal, Keyboard, Producer
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Jon Jacobs:
Engineer
Keith Smith:
Assistant engineer

Session Recording:
November 13th-17th 1995
Studio:
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK


Never Stop Doing What You Love

Official album • Released in 2005

4:07 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitar, Bass guitar, Drums, Electric guitar, Harmony vocal, Lead vocal, Percussion, Piano, Producer
Jeff Lynne:
Acoustic guitar, Electric guitar, Harmony vocal, Keyboard, Producer
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Jon Jacobs:
Engineer
Keith Smith:
Assistant engineer

Session Recording:
November 13th-17th 1995
Studio:
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK


Pure McCartney

Official album • Released in 2016

Studio versionA1 • 2016 remaster

Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitar, Bass guitar, Drums, Electric guitar, Harmony vocal, Lead vocal, Percussion, Piano, Producer
Jeff Lynne:
Acoustic guitar, Electric guitar, Harmony vocal, Keyboard, Producer
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Jon Jacobs:
Engineer
Keith Smith:
Assistant engineer
Alex Wharton:
Remastering

Session Recording:
November 13th-17th 1995
Studio:
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK


Pure McCartney (Deluxe)

Official album • Released in 2016

Studio versionA1 • Released in 2016

Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitar, Bass guitar, Drums, Electric guitar, Harmony vocal, Lead vocal, Percussion, Piano, Producer
Jeff Lynne:
Acoustic guitar, Electric guitar, Harmony vocal, Keyboard, Producer
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Jon Jacobs:
Engineer
Keith Smith:
Assistant engineer
Alex Wharton:
Remastering

Session Recording:
November 13th-17th 1995
Studio:
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Bootlegs


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol.24

Unofficial album

3:09 • Studio version


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol.24

Unofficial album

0:40 • Studio version


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol.29

Unofficial album

3:14 • Studio version


Complete Flaming Pie - Sessions & Beyond (1997-1998)

Unofficial album

4:03 • Alternate take • Rough Mix


Complete Flaming Pie - Sessions & Beyond (1997-1998)

Unofficial album

3:33 • Alternate take • 01 (Center Speaker) Fathers Day Mix


Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.


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Erwin 8 months ago

Do you know why Paul never played this song in concert?? It's great!!


The PaulMcCartney Project 7 months ago

Hi Erwin, unfortunately, I don't know - don't know his process to choose which song to perform live ; there are some gems that have never been played live, and it's a shame !