The Paul McCartney Project

What It Is

Written by Paul McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the Run Devil Run Official album.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1999

Related sessions

This song has been recorded during the following studio sessions


Original McCartney songs on "Run Devil Run"


Run Devil Run

Officially appears on Run Devil Run


Try Not To Cry

Officially appears on Run Devil Run

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Song facts

What It Is” is one of the three original McCartney songs appearing on “Run Devil Run” (the other two being “Try Not To Cry” and “Run Devil Run“). This is a song Paul wrote and played for Linda in her final years.

From the liner notes of “Run Devil Run“:

“I was playing bluesy riffs on the piano and this song started to come out. Linda was there and I enjoyed it just for that, for the little feedback she gave. So I thought I’ll do that as sort of my little tribute to Linda.”

From an interview with Laura Gross (promotional interview for “Run Devil Run” in 1999):

Laura Gross: But then there’s the three tracks that you wrote. When did you come to that decision that I am gonna add some of my own compositions.

Paul McCartney: Yeah. While I was getting the lyrics and thinking about what songs I was gonna do, I was writing at the same time. So rather than write a ballad, I thought, well, since I’m gonna do a rock ‘n’ roll album, I might as well write a couple of rockers. That might come in handy. We might not have enough stuff. And also I liked doing that. I liked trying to do it. They’re actually very hard to write, rock ‘n’ roll. It’s, it’s, you talk to most songwriters, they say, it’s easier to write a ballad, although they perhaps sometimes seem harder to write. It’s difficult to get things sounding genuine in rock ‘n’ roll. ‘Cause you’re not black, you don’t live in the South, you’re not some poor guy on a terrace with an old blues guitar, you know, you, so, that’s the difficulty, you know. You’re not experiencing all this stuff that it came from, you know. But, you know, I love it so much that I can, I can try in my own way to recreate those of when I was a kid, and my admiration for these blues, rock ‘n’ people, you know. So I think it all started with one of the songs called What It Is, that I was just starting on piano. I was just writing a song anyway, with half an idea that I might be doing this rock ‘n’ roll album in the back of my mind. And I actually wrote that when Lin was still alive. So it was a nice song to sing to her. You are what it is. So that had kind of, you know, sentimental attachments to me on that. That’s really the only story about that song. I wrote it for her.

Last updated on September 20, 2016

Lyrics

You are what it is that makes the world go around for me
You are what I need, you make me feel good about myself

You see, I love you so much, I can never do without your touch, I'm like a busy honeybee
I'm always hungry for it, how could anyone ignore it, surely everybody will agree

That you are what it is that makes the cloud roll around the sky
Oh yeah, you got what it takes, you make me proud to be who I am

That you are what it is that makes the world go around for me
You make the world go around for me
Yeah, you make the world go around, world go around, world go around for me, you're what it is

Officially appears on


Run Devil Run

Official album • Released in 1999

2:23 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Bass guitar, Electric guitar, Producer, Vocal
Geoff Emerick :
Recording engineer
Mick Green :
Electric guitar
David Gilmour :
Electric guitar
Ian Paice :
Drums
Pete Wingfield :
Piano
Chris Thomas :
Producer
Paul Hicks :
Recording engineer

Session Recording:
Mar 04, 1999
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Bootlegs


Run Devil Run - Ultimate Archive Collection

Unofficial album • Released in 2015

2:23 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney :
Bass guitar, Electric guitar, Producer, Vocal
Geoff Emerick :
Recording engineer
Mick Green :
Electric guitar
David Gilmour :
Electric guitar
Ian Paice :
Drums
Pete Wingfield :
Piano
Chris Thomas :
Producer
Paul Hicks :
Recording engineer

Session Recording:
Mar 04, 1999
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Live performances

“What It Is” has been played in 1 concerts.

Latest concerts where has been played


Live At The Cavern

Dec 14, 1999 • United Kingdom • Liverpool • The Cavern Club


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