‘All Day’ is a song by Kanye West co-written by Paul McCartney, released in early 2015.
The song was partly based on ‘When The Wind Is Blowing’, written by McCartney in hospital after Linda McCartney had given birth to their daughter Mary in 1969. The song is sometimes known as ‘Two Fingers’.
Paul and Linda McCartney’s first child, Mary, came into the world at London’s Avenue Clinic in the summer of 1969. It was a great time, and one her parents wanted to savour. “Nowadays they chuck you out of hospital after a couple of days,” says Sir Paul McCartney in that familiar singsong voice. “Back then, they kept mums and babies in for a week.”
Life was good. “I’d just been given an acetate of Abbey Road, which sounded great,” he recalls. “We had a glorious new baby and a week staying in this clinic where the chips were to die for.”
However, even a newborn baby and a plate of fantastic chips couldn’t completely distract the songwriter. A print of Picasso’s The Old Guitarist hung in Linda’s room. After three days of looking at the picture, McCartney had to find out what chord that old guitarist was “playing”.
Perched on a sofa next to Q, McCartney strums the same chord on his acoustic guitar, and then whistles a melody.
What McCartney could never have imagined was that 46 years later that melody would turn up on hip-hop superstar Kanye West’s recent track, ‘All Day’, a song notorious for his liberal use of what Sir Paul calls “the ‘n’ word” and a combative and heavily bleeped performance at the Brit Awards.
“My 40-year-old whistling riff came back to me on Kanye’s song as this big industrial noise,” marvels McCartney, miming hands on a keyboard. “Duh-Duh-Der-der-der-der…”
In addition to West and McCartney, ‘All Day’ features rappers Theophilus London and Allan Kingdom.
The song attracted some criticism for West’s use of the ‘n’ word 45 times.
I think he mentions the ‘n’ word about 40 times. It’s controversial, I know, especially with the climate in modern-day America.
It really shocked Nancy, because she’d been to school with a lot of black kids and been immersed in that experience.
Whether you like what Kanye does or you don’t, he’s an artist and it’s his prerogative. His school of thought is that he’s reclaimed the ‘n’ word, he’s re-appropriated it.”
Q magazine, May 2015
Kanye West announced the release of ‘All Day’ in July 2014. It was premiered on streaming services and the iTunes Store on 3 March 2015.
Although considered for inclusion on West’s scrapped project So Help Me God and seventh released album The Life Of Pablo, it was left as a standalone release.
‘All Day’ debuted at number 15 on the US Billboard Hot 100, becoming West’s second top 20 single. It debuted at the top of the Rap Digital Songs chart, West’s first single to do so.
In the UK the single peaked at 18 on the official singles chart. That and ‘FourFiveSeconds’ were West’s only top 20 hits in the UK in 2015.