‘Blue Sway’ is an outtake from Paul McCartney’s 1980 album McCartney II.

Some of the tracks, there’s one in particular, ‘Secret Friend’, and another one, ‘Blue Sway’, that go on for like 10 minutes. I just got into it. Now, that’s all very well when you’re doing your first take. But then you’ve got to put a cow-bell on it and I would sit there in real time and put a cow-bell on for 10 minutes, occasionally glancing at my watch, and I’ve got five more to go: dink-dink, dinka dink-dink… Your thoughts come swimming in: ‘Are you kidding me? You’re really gonna stand here and do this? Why don’t you just do the cowbell on that bit? No, I’ll mix it out later,’ which of course you never do. “Right! Now we’ll do maracas!” Ch-ch-ch-ch, looking at the watch again.
Paul McCartney
McCartney II Archive Collection, 2011

McCartney recorded ‘Blue Sway’ in the summer of 1979. In September 1986 it was revived, and producer Richard Niles added a string arrangement for the planned Cold Cuts outtakes release. McCartney also re-recorded his vocals, and Dick Morrissey added a saxophone part.

Cold Cuts was abandoned by McCartney, and ‘Blue Sway’ remained unreleased until it appeared on the 2011 expanded reissue of McCartney II. It contained both the 4:35 version with Richard Niles Orchestration, and a 10:15 version that combined the song with ‘All You Horse Riders’.

A video for ‘Blue Sway’, directed by surf filmmaker Jack McCoy, was released on YouTube on 7 June 2011, to coincide with the McCartney II reissue.

Jack McCoy has been capturing the surfing vision in a truly unique way. Using a high powered underwater jet ski, the filmmaker found that he was able to travel behind a wave, creating underwater images that have never been seen before.

Over the past couple of years, McCoy set out to capture footage for his surf film, A Deeper Shade of Blue. During the editing process, McCoy put one of his surfing sequences to a song off McCartney’s The Fireman album. A mutual friend, Chris Thomas, saw the footage while visiting McCoy in Australia, and when he returned to the UK he gave McCartney a copy of the sequence.

‘Paul was pretty stoked with what I’d created. He immediately thought my images might be suitable to go with his unreleased song ‘Blue Sway’.’ said McCoy.

McCoy spent the next six weeks creating the music video, while also working full days on making A Deeper Shade of Blue. McCoy compiled and edited footage that he filmed off Tahiti’s Teahupoo reef to create what became the ‘Blue Sway’ video.

‘When I saw Jack McCoy’s underwater surfing footage put to the soundtrack of ‘Blue Sway’ I was blown away,’ said McCartney.


The ‘Blue Sway’ video won the Best Music Video award at the NYC BE FILM Short Festival in May 2011.

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