Twenty Fine Fingers

Album This song officially appears on the Flowers In The Dirt - Archive Collection Official album.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 2017

Related sessions

This song has been recorded during the following studio sessions



Other McCartney / Costello songs released on 2017 Flowers In The Dirt



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Song facts

Twenty Fine Fingers” is one of the three songs (the other ones being “Tommy’s Coming Home” and “I Don’t Want To Confess“) written by McCartney and Costello that haven’t been officially released until 2017, and their appearance on the Flower In The Dirt reissue. The original demo first appeared in 1998 on the bootleg The McCartney – MacManus Collaboration, but was then mistitled as “Twenty-Five Fingers” (the real title was finally revealed in April 2013 when the song was registered in the U.S. Copyright Office).

According to Elvis Costello, in his autobiography “Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink“, “Twenty Fine Fingers” was written on the same day as “Pad, Paws And Claws“:

Paul now called for some more writing sessions, spread over a few days. This would mean having to stay overnight near the studio. I didn’t much venture out into the countryside in those days. When we’d mixed Punch the Clock outside of London, I’d asked a local cabdriver what people did for fun in the nearby village and he’d replied, “Oh, it’s all wife-swapping and witchcraft around here.

I’ d always suspected as much.

But this wasn’t going to be like 1977, when I had to kip on a broken sofa in Clover’s rat-infested rehearsal room. I was sleeping in a nice feather bed in the Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor Suite of a quaint local inn. I don’t know what legend was attached to the name on the door of the room, but it was just big enough for a four-poster bed and an ice bucket.

On my first night there, I walked into the bar for a glass of tonic and bitters. A sightless, slumbering dog, wheezing by the fire, caught the scent of my wretched soul and began barking and snarling at me. It then hauled itself up on all fours with considerable effort.

Don’t worry about him, he wouldn’t hurt a fly,” said the landlord. “He’s as blind as a bat.

At which the Pew-like Alsatian reared up on its hind legs, pinning me against the flocked wallpaper with its fore paws. The grey film of cataracts obscured its eyes, but its slobbering muzzle seemed to be working fine, and the dog seemed determined to locate my neck in order to sink in a fang.

Ah, he’s just playing with you, the silly old sod,” the landlord declared as he balled up a beer-soaked tap cloth and aimed it at the beast.

The next day we wrote “Pads, Paws and Claws” – which took its title from a children’s book about big cats that I’d found in a junk shop, rather than immortalizing my encounter with the hellhound of Rye – then we dashed off a little rock and roll tune called “Twenty Fine Fingers.”

We were now working on two or three songs a day. Whenever Paul and I completed a number, we’d go downstairs to the recording studio on the ground floor and cut a demo with just two guitars or the piano.

They remain the most vivid and uncluttered versions of our songs.

Last updated on January 31, 2020

Lyrics

Twenty fine fingers baby
I love your nails I love your touch
I love to touch you baby
It never fails to kill me
Some say gimme five
But I’ll give you ten
You could make it twenty
But you’re holding out again
Think it over think it over baby
Well think it over think it over baby

I will always love you
That can’t be denied
Love you up until the day
That heaven knows I’ve tried

For the time being I will tell you this
I’d love to love you love to love you
But there’s something missing
Baby listen unconditionally
Put your hand in my hand and surrender to me
Think it over think it over baby
Well think it over think it over baby

Twenty fine fingers feel so divine
Twenty fine fingers wish you were mine
Wish you were mine

Well so our hands met and twenty fingers entwined
I couldn’t help I couldn’t help but see
She didn’t quite believe me
She said listen cause there’s one little thing
Where did you get that lovely wedding ring

Think it over think it over baby
Well think it over think it over baby
Some things are forbidden
Never meant to be
Well that might be all right for you
But not for you and me

Twenty fine fingers feel so divine
Twenty fine fingers wish you were mine
Wish you were mine
Wish you were mine (twenty fine fingers)
Wish you were mine (twenty fine fingers)
Wish you were mine (twenty fine fingers)
Wish you were mine (twenty fine fingers)
Wish you were mine (twenty fine fingers)
Wish you were mine (twenty fine fingers)
Wish you were mine (twenty fine fingers)
Wish you were mine (twenty fine fingers)

Officially appears on


Flowers In The Dirt - Archive Collection

Official album • Released in 2017

2:28 • DemoA • Original Demo

Performed by :
Paul McCartneyElvis Costello
Paul McCartney :
Producer
Eddie Klein :
Recording engineer

Session Recording:
Sep 03, 1987
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK


Flowers In The Dirt - Archive Collection

Official album • Released in 2017

2:46 • DemoB • 1988 Demo

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Backing vocals, Producer, Vocals
Hamish Stuart :
Backing vocals, Electric guitar, Vocals
Chris Whitten :
Drums
Elvis Costello :
Producer, Vocals
Peter Henderson :
Recording engineer
Kevin Armstrong :
Electric guitar, Vocals
Richard Moakes :
Assistant recording engineer

Session Recording:
Jan 26, 1988
Studio :
Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK

Bootlegs


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol.21

Unofficial album

2:27 • Studio version


The McCartney - MacManus Collaboration

Unofficial album • Released in 1998

2:25 • Demo


B-Sides Complete Vol. 6

Unofficial album • Released in 2000

2:26 • Studio version


Collaborators

Unofficial album • Released in 2004

2:28 • Demo • McCartney & Costello demo

Recording :
Spring-Summer '87

Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.

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