‘Biker Like An Icon’ was the fourth single released from Off The Ground, Paul McCartney’s ninth solo studio album.

Linda was talking about cameras, and she said, I like a Leica, which became I like a Nikon. I started messing with that and it became a biker who had a girl who loved him like an icon – ‘Biker Like An Icon’. I like confusing titles. I remember when John and me would always look at the new titles in the American charts and get intrigued by things like ‘Quarter To Three’ by US Bonds — what could that be about? It was very important to us to get a title that had that buzz. Think of our titles after, I dunno, ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’‘Hard Day’s Night’, ‘Strawberry Fields‘, ‘Penny Lane’, ‘Fixing A Hole’.
Paul McCartney
New World Tour programme

‘Biker Like An Icon’ was recorded at McCartney’s Hog Hill Mill studio.

‘Biker Like An Icon’ is a first take and there are a couple of others too… It’s such a simple little song that you can ruin it if you go over it 50 times. Everyone understood how it went, and Robbie must have had some idea what he was going to do on slide guitar because he just delivered a solo – I didn’t tell him when to do it, he just felt it.

This, I think, is the secret of the album. With Flowers In The Dirt I experimented with computers, and working with producers who take a long time over everything. There are some interesting aspects to working like that but not enough to excite me. That’s what happened with something like ‘Biker’ – we just did it and got lucky. And the more you listen to the album the more you get to feel that we were enjoying ourselves.

Paul McCartney
Club Sandwich, Spring 1993

It was completed in a single take on 25 November 1991, during the first recording session for Off The Ground.

‘Biker Like An Icon’ was the first thing we recorded after Paul first played us the songs. All we were doing was getting sounds. We took about 15 minutes to learn the shape of it, then we just did it.
Robbie McIntosh
New World Tour programme

‘Biker Like An Icon’ was released as a single on 8 November 1993. The 7″ vinyl and first CD single both had the extra track ‘Things We Said Today’, recorded live for MTV Unplugged.

There were two other CD singles. Both contained ‘Biker Like An Icon’ plus a live version from the Paul Is Live album. The second CD added ‘Midnight Special’, recorded for Unplugged.

There was also a promotional EP which contained ‘Biker Like An Icon’, ‘Things We Said Today’, ‘Mean Woman Blues’, and ‘Midnight Special’. The third track was a live performance of an old Elvis Presley song, which opened McCartney’s MTV Unplugged set.

A music video for ‘Biker Like An Icon’ was directed by Richard Heslop. It featured Tamzin Haughton and Mike Leigh on a road trip from Los Angeles to Las Vegas in 1993.

McCartney performed the song throughout his New World Tour in 1993. A recording from Folsom Field in Boulder, Colorado, on 26 May can be heard on Paul Is Live.

Previous song: ‘I Owe It All To You’
Next song: ‘Peace In The Neighbourhood’
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