The Paul McCartney Project

Waterfalls

Written by Paul McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the McCartney II Official album.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1980
Sessions This song has been recorded during the following sessions

Other singles from "McCartney II"

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Song facts

From Wikipedia:

Waterfalls” is a Paul McCartney ballad from his first solo album after Wings, McCartney II. The song has a stripped-down sound, with McCartney only playing a Fender Rhodes electric piano and a synthesizer and singing. It was released as a single with “Check My Machine” as its B-Side and reached chart position #9 in the UK. In the US, however, it was his first single ever to miss the Billboard Hot 100 chart, only reaching number 106 despite being the follow-up to the number one hit “Coming Up“. In 2013, Rolling Stone Magazine rated it the #25 all-time Paul McCartney post-Beatles song, describing how it contrasted with Wings’ prior single.

When questioned on singles he wished were more successful, McCartney stated, “There’s quite a few, actually. … ‘Waterfalls’, I think is nice.” He also commented that TLC’s single “Waterfalls” carries elements of his song.

Paul McCartney in The Beatles – The Dream is Over: Off The Record 2, by Keith Badman:

The only song that was written before I came to record was Waterfalls… Waterfalls could have been called ‘I Need Love’ but that would have been too ordinary. I just had this waterfalls and lakes idea, from the notices you see in American tourist resorts, and it stuck. Halfway through the album, making it all up as I went along, I got a bit bored. I had finished about eight tracks by then and I thought I would do something different. So I decided to do a song that was already written, a track left over from the last Wings album, and that was my favourite at the time. That’s why it’s included. The original lyrics were just working lyrics, gut lyrics, just spewed out. I thought I’d have to get serious and sensible and change them. Lyrics like that I don’t trust. But in time, I got to like them and I thought I should add electric piano and a distant string synthesizer like a mad Swiss orchestra on a mountaintop. And it worked! A lot of people have rung up about that one and said that it’s their favourite. So when you get such a good feeling, you think that perhaps it should be a single.

From unknown McCartney interview (and reported by The Beatles Bible):

Waterfalls is basically saying don’t go doing a load of dangerous stuff, ’cause I need you. And that’s a kind of more mature thought for me than I would have been able to have done 20 years ago, ’cause I just didn’t realise that it’s not all gonna be here for ever. That’s the kind of thing you realise when you pass 30.

From The Beatles Bible:

[…] Two alternative versions of Waterfall were made for its release. A single edit was sent to radio stations, and the soundtrack to the video featured a longer electric piano introduction, but omitted an instrumental break and two choruses.

The promotional video was filmed in June 1980 and featured Olaf, a polar bear from Chipperfields Circus. Filming took place inside an aircraft hanger and involved more than a ton of polystyrene to give the appearance of snow.

Last updated on November 17, 2016

Lyrics

Don't go jumping waterfalls
Please keep to the lake
People who jump waterfalls
Sometimes can make mistakes

And I need love, yeah I need love
Like a second needs an hour
Like a raindrop needs a shower
Yeah I need love every minute of the day
And it wouldn't be the same
If you ever should decide to go away

And I need love, yeah I need love
Like a castle needs a tower
Like a garden needs a flower
Yeah I need love every minute of the day
And it wouldn't be the same
If you ever should decide to go away

Don't go chasing polar bears
In the great unknown
Some big friendly polar bear
Might want to take you home

And I need love, yeah I need love
Like a second needs an hour
Like a raindrop needs a shower
Yeah I need love every minute of the day
And it wouldn't be the same
If you ever should decide to go away

Don't run after motor cars
Please stay on the side
Someone's glossy motor car
Might take you for a ride

And I need love, yeah I need love
Like a castle needs a tower
Like a garden needs a flower
Yeah I need love, said I need love
Like a raindrop needs a shower
Like a second needs an hour
Every minute of the day
And it wouldn't be the same
If you ever should decide to go away

Don't go jumping waterfalls
Please keep to the lake

Officially appears on


McCartney II

Official album • Released in 1980

4:46 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitar, Electric piano, Engineer, Mixing, Producer, Synthesizers, Vocals
Eddie Klein:
Mixing assistant

Session Recording:
June - July 1979
Studio:
Home Studio, Peasmarsh, Sussex, UK

Session Recording:
June - July 1979
Studio:
Spirit Of Ranachan Studio, Campbeltown, Scotland

Session Mixing:
September 1979
Studio:
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

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


Waterfalls / Check My Machine

7" Single • Released in 1980

Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitar, Electric piano, Engineer, Mixing, Producer, Synthesizers, Vocals
Eddie Klein:
Mixing assistant

Session Recording:
June - July 1979
Studio:
Home Studio, Peasmarsh, Sussex, UK

Session Recording:
June - July 1979
Studio:
Spirit Of Ranachan Studio, Campbeltown, Scotland

Session Mixing:
September 1979
Studio:
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

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


McCartney II (1993)

Official album • Released in 1993

4:46 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitar, Electric piano, Engineer, Mixing, Producer, Synthesizers, Vocals
Eddie Klein:
Mixing assistant

Session Recording:
June - July 1979
Studio:
Home Studio, Peasmarsh, Sussex, UK

Session Recording:
June - July 1979
Studio:
Spirit Of Ranachan Studio, Campbeltown, Scotland

Session Mixing:
September 1979
Studio:
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

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

3:25 • Studio versionA5 • DJ Edit, a shorter edit of the album track, featured on the Wingspan album

Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitar, Electric piano, Engineer, Mixing, Producer, Synthesizers, Vocals
Eddie Klein:
Mixing assistant

Session Recording:
June - July 1979
Studio:
Home Studio, Peasmarsh, Sussex, UK

Session Recording:
June - July 1979
Studio:
Spirit Of Ranachan Studio, Campbeltown, Scotland

Session Mixing:
September 1979
Studio:
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

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

3:22 • Studio versionA5 • DJ Edit, a shorter edit of the album track, featured on the Wingspan album

Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitar, Electric piano, Engineer, Mixing, Producer, Synthesizers, Vocals
Eddie Klein:
Mixing assistant

Session Recording:
June - July 1979
Studio:
Home Studio, Peasmarsh, Sussex, UK

Session Recording:
June - July 1979
Studio:
Spirit Of Ranachan Studio, Campbeltown, Scotland

Session Mixing:
September 1979
Studio:
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

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


McCartney II - Archive Collection

Official album • Released in 2011

4:46 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitar, Electric piano, Engineer, Mixing, Producer, Synthesizers, Vocals
Eddie Klein:
Mixing assistant

Session Recording:
June - July 1979
Studio:
Home Studio, Peasmarsh, Sussex, UK

Session Recording:
June - July 1979
Studio:
Spirit Of Ranachan Studio, Campbeltown, Scotland

Session Mixing:
September 1979
Studio:
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

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


McCartney II - Archive Collection

Official album • Released in 2011

3:23 • Studio versionA5 • DJ Edit, a shorter edit of the album track, featured on the Wingspan album

Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitar, Electric piano, Engineer, Mixing, Producer, Synthesizers, Vocals
Eddie Klein:
Mixing assistant

Session Recording:
June - July 1979
Studio:
Home Studio, Peasmarsh, Sussex, UK

Session Recording:
June - July 1979
Studio:
Spirit Of Ranachan Studio, Campbeltown, Scotland

Session Mixing:
September 1979
Studio:
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

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


Pure McCartney (Deluxe)

Official album • Released in 2016

Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitar, Electric piano, Engineer, Mixing, Producer, Synthesizers, Vocals
Eddie Klein:
Mixing assistant

Session Recording:
June - July 1979
Studio:
Home Studio, Peasmarsh, Sussex, UK

Session Recording:
June - July 1979
Studio:
Spirit Of Ranachan Studio, Campbeltown, Scotland

Session Mixing:
September 1979
Studio:
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

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

Bootlegs


Studio Rarities - Volume 2

Unofficial album • Released in 2016

3:26 • OuttakeA1 • Stereo Promo Edit

Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitar, Electric piano, Engineer, Mixing, Producer, Synthesizers, Vocals
Eddie Klein:
Mixing assistant

Session Recording:
June - July 1979
Studio:
Home Studio, Peasmarsh, Sussex, UK

Session Recording:
June - July 1979
Studio:
Spirit Of Ranachan Studio, Campbeltown, Scotland

Session Mixing:
September 1979
Studio:
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

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


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol.13

Unofficial album

3:46 • Studio versionA2 • Promotional video edit

Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitar, Electric piano, Engineer, Mixing, Producer, Synthesizers, Vocals
Eddie Klein:
Mixing assistant

Session Recording:
June - July 1979
Studio:
Home Studio, Peasmarsh, Sussex, UK

Session Recording:
June - July 1979
Studio:
Spirit Of Ranachan Studio, Campbeltown, Scotland

Session Mixing:
September 1979
Studio:
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

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


The Lost McCartney Album

Unofficial album • Released in 2000

4:38 • Rough mixA4

Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitar, Electric piano, Engineer, Mixing, Producer, Synthesizers, Vocals
Eddie Klein:
Mixing assistant

Session Recording:
June - July 1979
Studio:
Home Studio, Peasmarsh, Sussex, UK

Session Recording:
June - July 1979
Studio:
Spirit Of Ranachan Studio, Campbeltown, Scotland

Session Mixing:
September 1979
Studio:
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

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


UK Singles Collection - Volume 02

Unofficial album • Released in 2007

4:44 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitar, Electric piano, Engineer, Mixing, Producer, Synthesizers, Vocals
Eddie Klein:
Mixing assistant

Session Recording:
June - July 1979
Studio:
Home Studio, Peasmarsh, Sussex, UK

Session Recording:
June - July 1979
Studio:
Spirit Of Ranachan Studio, Campbeltown, Scotland

Session Mixing:
September 1979
Studio:
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

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


Twin Freaks - Ultimate Archive Collection

Unofficial album • Released in 2015

0:38 • Studio version • [introduction]


Videos

Album • McCartney II

Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.


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