‘Arrow Through Me’ is the seventh track on Wings’s final album Back To The Egg.
There are some songs that I just hadn’t heard literally since I recorded them. One was called ‘Arrow Through Me’. That is a kind of funky little thing. Interesting harmonies, interesting brass riff. As I say, something I recorded and then not listened to again.
I started to write songs for Wings from 1971 onwards, when we got started, and I tried to keep them away from The Beatles’ style. There were avenues I could go down that I wouldn’t have gone down with The Beatles, like bringing in the influence of reggae, which Linda and I got into in Jamaica. I fancied doing something crazy, and Wings allowed me a little bit more freedom. So, this is a love song in which Cupid’s arrow is referenced, but it’s a malevolent arrow. It’s possible I’d seen an illustration of Cupid and thought, ‘Cupid fires a bow, but I’ll switch it. It won’t be love; it will be the opposite.’
The character in the song has been wounded. He’s been cheated on. And it could’ve been a great relationship, could’ve been fantastic. As things stand, you couldn’t ‘have found a more down hero’, because there was nobody more down than me at that moment. So, get it together and bring your love.
I have always had a soft spot for this song. There’s a nice horn riff in it, and it’s funky. Sometimes you write to get a sort of feeling rather than a perfectly ‘correct’ lyric. Sometimes the lyric can be secondary to the feeling. This one has as much, or more, to do with the feel of the song, the groove.
The Lyrics: 1956 To The Present
The backing track for ‘Arrow Through Me’ was recorded on 10 July 1977 at McCartney’s Spirit of Ranachan Studio in Campbeltown, Scotland.
Overdubs were added from October to December at Abbey Road Studios in London.
The song’s arrangement is unusual: it has no guitars or bass, and contains two drum parts, one recorded at half speed. The keyboards and synth backing is augmented by saxophones and trombone.
Wings’ drummer Steve Holley also played a Flexatone, a percussion instrument shaken to make two beaters hit a flexible metal plate.
There are occasions in the recording process where tracks can be laid down with just a few players. ‘Arrow Through Me’ is based on only a Fender Rhodes electric piano, and two drum tracks from Steve, one recorded with tape slowed down to half its normal speed and then played back normally. Some time later, we were overdubbing the horn section at Abbey Road in Studio 3 when Paul Simon stopped by and remarked on the great bass sound. He was shocked to learn that it was Paul’s left hand keyboard part. I’ve always enjoyed the understated harmonic sophistication of this tune and revisited it for my One Wing album.
Guitar With Wings
‘Arrow Through Me’ was released in the USA as the second single from Back To The Egg, with ‘Old Siam, Sir’ on the b-side. It peaked at number 29 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
The song was included on the 2016 compilation Pure McCartney.