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to play around and experiment, maybe even waste a song, we might as well do it with that one. So I brought it in and we started to kick it around. We soon started to get a rhythm track in the computer that changed the song's direction a bit and made it more exciting. Then I said "OK, let me go in and put a little heavy guitar on it". So we really started enjoying it: we put a bit of machine bass on, which started to make it more funky, then percussion, then I sang on it and it really started to come together as a track. By the end of the day we'd pretty much finished it, with just a few little harmonies and a solo from Robbie still to come.
After I got home that night I happened to be speaking to one of my daughters on the phone and she asked what I'd done that day, and when I said 'Off The Ground' she said "That's a great album title!" and it made me think of it in that way for the first time. So it became the title of the album.
How did you write 'C'mon People'?
I was on holiday in Jamaica. I love the people there, it's very laid back and I feel very musical when I'm there, so I always try to get a piano or something in case I want to write. Often, in the afternoons, I sit around and see if I fancy writing a song, and one day I just started chugging on this little riff and 'C'mon People' came out. I think of it as very Sixties, a bit Beatley; I used to resist any Beatles influences in my writing, thinking that I'd done that bit in my career and that maybe I should now do something completely different, but that means denying some stuff that might be very good. I mean, I've got a reasonable claim to the Beatles' style, so there's probably nobody out there who's going to bother if I or George or Ringo do stuff in the Beatles' style. So that's the way I left 'C'mon People' - I finished it up and it became, I think, a very optimistic song. It's the same idea: that if enough people get together and tell the politicians how we want this world to progress - and I think it is beginning to happen, by the way -we can make a difference.
And you worked with George Martin on this song?
That's right. We'd recorded the track of 'C'mon People' and were quite pleased with it. It came quite naturally. Our engineer, Bob Kraushaar, was ill, he had the flu, so Julian Mendelsohn - who used to be an engineer - did both jobs that night. We thought we'd fix it when Bob got back but, as so often happens in these situations, we got a good take. Then we thought we'd like to have an arrangement done on it. It was one of the only songs on the album that felt like it could take an orchestra. The rest of them, felt right with just the band, but this one felt like it needed to go a touch bigger, to make it a bit more of an anthem. So I called George Martin and he was very sweet. He said, "Are you sure you want to use me?", because he's almost trying to retire now, and I said "Of course I want to use you! It would be brilliant. We'll work the same way we always did - sit down together and decide what to do, then you'll write and conduct it."
So we did just that, and held the session at Abbey Road. He got up on the rostrum and conducted like a young man, he put all his spirit into it. And it was lovely - halfway through the session he just leaned over to me and said "Super song, Paul". That is praise indeed. Later, Wix noticed that on the score George had written '"C'mon People', arranged by Paul McCartney and George Martin, 30 June 1962", which he'd then crossed out and changed to "1992". It was like a Freudian slip - he went right back. I think he did a great job and really enhanced the track.
What about 'Looking For Changes'?
When Linda and I met we discovered that we'd both been nature lovers as kids, and still were. Then we became vegetarians, which makes you even more aware of animals and their rights, and makes you want to explain to other people how you feel about seeing animals being carted off to the slaughterhouse. Protest songs are quite hard to do. Love songs come easier, at least to someone like me, but in this case I'd been looking through magazines like The Animal's Voice and Animal Agenda, pretty heavy magazines that show some of the experim entation that goes on in the name of cosmetics, and started to write the song after I saw a picture of a cat with a machine implanted in its head. They just took off the top of its skull and plugged in a machine to find some data. I'm not sure what they were expecting to find inside a cat's head. So I started to write the song and came up with the line "I saw a cat -with a machine in his brain" and just made it up from there - how the bloke who fed him didn't feel any pain so I'd like to see him take out the machine and stick it in his own brain. You know, if you need the information so badly, do it to yourself.
The rest came quite easily. I had another couple of verses about rabbits and then used a bit of poetic licence about monkeys being taught to smoke. They normally use beagles for smoking experiments but it doesn't matter -it's still some poor defenceless animal with no rights in the world. Then I got the hook looking for changes, which sort of sums it up in my mind. It really is my feeling that we are all here on this little ball in the universe, humans are the dominant species and we tend to despise everything else. I think it's "change or die" time for this planet.
I don't usually use swear words in a song because it can sometimes seem a bit gratuitous, like you're just trying to shock, but then again I don't normally go for songs about animal exper-