‘Confidante’ is the seventh track on Egypt Station, Paul McCartney’s 17th solo studio album.

With the song ‘Confidante’ I happened to be at home and I was looking in the corner where, propped up, was my old Martin guitar that I normally just have there, so if I feel like playing the guitar I’ll take it down and play it or try and write a song or whatever you do.

And I thought to myself: I haven’t had time lately to play guitar. And it reminded me that, when we first got guitars years and years ago, it would be like a friend. It would be like a confidante: you’d go off into the corner, and you’d write a little song, and you’d sort of almost tell your troubles to your guitar.

It’s a love song to the guitar. How the guitar was my confidante, and I told you every secret thing and, in fact, unlike my other so-called friends, you stood beside me while I fought.

And so it became a symbol of the guitar as a mate, as a friend, as a confidante.

Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney's handwritten lyrics for Confidante

One line in the song was inspired by the teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, with whom The Beatles studied Transcendental Meditation in 1967 and 1968.

‘Serpents turn to bits of string’. This is a reference to something that happened when we were meditating with the Maharishi in Rishikesh back in 1968. Every evening, people would meet and talk, and the Maharishi would field questions, and one thing in particular stuck in my mind. People always used to say, ‘Just meditate. Don’t worry; it’s all cool.’ And there was this guy who said, ‘Maharishi, I’m from New York and I have to tell you, I’m scared of snakes.’ The poor guy had a phobia about them. He said, ‘I was meditating, and I saw this snake come towards me in the meditation. I was really scared, but I remembered what you said: just look at it and meditate. And it turned into a little piece of string.’ I always thought that was a great image, and I remembered it.

His main acoustic is his Martin D28 which he’s had for about 30 years. He’s used that for everything, recording, live. We’ve got a couple, we’ve just got a new-ish one and he’s got an older one, a ’64 D28 that lives at home with him.

He wrote a song on his last album called ‘Confidante’, and that was written about that guitar. But we got this one new about 28-29 years ago. Throughout Wings he was using Ovations because back then they wanted a pickup for live and Ovation was the only way to go then.

They’ve kind of been bettered by other things since then. So when we got the Martin all those years back we developed some ways with little Crown contact mics, it’s now progressed to a pickup but when we’re in the studio we just mic it up.

Keith Smith, McCartney’s studio technical manager

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