I was on holiday in Jamaica. I love the people there, it’s very laid back and I feel very musical when I’m there, so I always try to get a piano or something in case I want to write. Often, in the afternoons, I sit around and see if I fancy writing a song, and one day I just started chugging on this little riff and ‘C’Mon People’ came out. I think of it as very Sixties, a bit Beatley; I used to resist any Beatles influences in my writing, thinking that I’d done that bit in my career and that maybe I should now do something completely different, but that means denying some stuff that might be very good. I mean, I’ve got a reasonable claim to the Beatles’ style, so there’s probably nobody out there who’s going to bother if I or George or Ringo do stuff in the Beatles’ style. So that’s the way I left ‘C’Mon People’ – I finished it up and it became, I think, a very optimistic song. It’s the same idea: that if enough people get together and tell the politicians how we want this world to progress – and I think it is beginning to happen, by the way – we can make a difference.
Club Sandwich, Spring 1993
The orchestral overdub was conducted by George Martin at Abbey Road’s Studio One.
We’d recorded the track of ‘C’Mon People’ and were quite pleased with it. It came quite naturally. Our engineer, Bob Kraushaar, was ill, he had the flu, so Julian Mendelsohn – who used to be an engineer – did both jobs that night. We thought we’d fix it when Bob got back but, as so often happens in these situations, we got a good take. Then we thought we’d like to have an arrangement done on it. It was one of the only songs on the album that felt like it could take an orchestra. The rest of them, felt right with just the band, but this one felt like it needed to go a touch bigger, to make it a bit more of an anthem. So I called George Martin and he was very sweet. He said, ‘Are you sure you want to use me?’, because he’s almost trying to retire now, and I said ‘Of course I want to use you! It would be brilliant. We’ll work the same way we always did – sit down together and decide what to do, then you’ll write and conduct it.’
So we did just that, and held the session at Abbey Road. He got up on the rostrum and conducted like a young man, he put all his spirit into it. And it was lovely – halfway through the session he just leaned over to me and said ‘Super song, Paul’. That is praise indeed. Later, Wix noticed that on the score George had written ”C’Mon People’, arranged by Paul McCartney and George Martin, 30 June 1962‘, which he’d then crossed out and changed to ‘1992’. It was like a Freudian slip – he went right back. I think he did a great job and really enhanced the track.
Club Sandwich, Spring 1993
On 22 February 1993 ‘C’Mon People’ was released as the second single from Off The Ground. The 7″ vinyl edition had ‘I Can’t Imagine’ on the b-side.
There were also two compact disc singles. The first had ‘C’Mon People’, ‘I Can’t Imagine’, ‘Keep Coming Back To Love’, and ‘Down To The River’, while the second had ‘C’Mon People’, ‘Deliverance’, and ‘Deliverance’ (Dub Mix).
The single was not a commercial success, although it did reach number 15 in the Netherlands. In the UK and Germany it peaked at 41.
A video for the single was directed by Kevin Godley. It was shot from 16-18 December 1992 at Bray Film Studios, plus five days of effects shooting in January 1993. It depicted McCartney performing the song on a grand piano while workmen dismantled and reconstructed it around him.
A featurette, The Making Of C’Mon People, documented the creation of the promo.
McCartney performed ‘C’Mon People’ throughout his New World Tour in 1993. A recording from the Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, on 31 May can be heard on Paul Is Live.