Paul McCartney produces Mary Hopkin’s Goodbye

Paul McCartney produced a session for Mary Hopkin on this day at Morgan Studios in London.

Two songs were worked on: ‘Goodbye’, the follow-up single to Hopkin’s debut ‘Those Were The Days’, and the b-side ‘Sparrow’.

Although credited to Lennon-McCartney, ‘Goodbye’ was written by McCartney. He had recorded a solo demo at his home, 7 Cavendish Road, London, in February 1969, which was released in 2019 on the Abbey Road 50th anniversary deluxe box set.

I didn’t have in mind any more Russian folk songs so I just wrote one for her. I thought it fit the bill. It wasn’t as successful as the first one but it did all right. My main memory of it is from years later, going on a boat trip from the north of Scotland to the Orkney Islands. The skipper of the boat was called George, and he told me it was his favourite song. And if you think of it from a sailor’s point of view, it’s very much a leaving-the-port song. He had the strangest Scottish accent, almost sort of Norwegian, as the Orkneyans do. He was quite proud of the fact that that was his favourite song.
Paul McCartney
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles

Hopkin’s recording raised the key from C to E.

He did demo ‘Goodbye’ for me, which he wrote and then produced. And when we recorded it we played the guitar part together, plus Paul added a thigh slap all through the song and played ukulele.
Mary Hopkin
Record Collector, 1988

Cover of Mary Hopkin's single Goodbye (French release)

On ‘Goodbye’ Hopkin sang and performed acoustic guitar, while McCartney played bass guitar, an acoustic guitar introduction and solo, thigh-slapping percussion, ukulele and drums. Backing vocals, horns and strings, arranged by Richard Hewson, were also added.

The b-side, ‘Sparrow’, was written by Benny Gallagher and Graham Lyle, a songwriting duo signed to Apple Publishing who found fame as Gallagher And Lyle in the 1970s. Hopkin sang and played guitar, McCartney added maracas, a session musician played upright bass, and Hewson arranged a choir part.

Although I’m flattered that Paul wrote ‘Goodbye’ especially for me, it was, I believe, a step in the wrong direction for me. I’m so grateful that he chose ‘Those Were The Days’ as my first single. I think ‘Those Were The Days’, being originally a Ukrainian folk song, has a timeless quality, but ‘Goodbye’ is set firmly in the sixties pop era.
Mary Hopkin
Goldmine magazine, 2007

The session was filmed by Apple’s Tony Bramwell for a promotional clip. In the footage, Hopkin is seen miming to the song inside the studio, and there are shots of her and McCartney in the control room listening to a playback.

This was the first of two sessions for the songs; the second was on the following day, 2 March 1969. Morgan Studios was situated at 169-171 High Road in Willesden Green, London.

Last updated: 3 August 2021
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Paul McCartney produces Mary Hopkin's Goodbye
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