‘Travelling Light’ is the final song on Electric Arguments, Paul McCartney’s third album as The Fireman.

I would just come in every morning and have a groove cooking, like a cup of coffee. And then Youth and I would talk about it a little bit, or we’d talk about something else, we’d talk about, say, Andy Warhol, just to get us in the mood. And then I’d sort of wander around and say, ‘How about a bit of guitar, a bit of bass, a bit of drums,’ so you’d have a backing track.

And then, inevitably, came the words-ideas-talking-literate thing. It was fascinating to try. And one of the things I liked about it, aside from the pure excitement, was realizing that I’d been writing songs for so long that if I was going to improvise, I probably, instinctively, was going to put a slight amount of form on it. And Youth is very good, I trust him, and he’d say, ‘Yeah, that’s it,’ and so I knew we’d found a chorus and then we could mold around that. And suddenly I’d have a page full of lyrics, stealing three words from a poem by Lawrence Ferlinghetti and then dipping into some poetry anthology that was lying about — Youth’s a groovy guy and he’s always got a few books in his rucksack, and I’ve got a few knocking around — just finding an image like ‘white sails’ and using it as an inspirational thing…

What I was looking for was not to steal an idea as much as to find beautiful words. I remember just seeing the words “silent lovers” – to me, that’s a couple of kids in love, you can make a movie about that — and I thought, ‘That’s good, I can sing about that.’ So I pulled that onto my pad at the mike and then went delving into another book — so as not to be plagiarizing someone else’s poem – and then came upon ‘angels smiling,’ which is kind of nice… they’re not frowned upon, there’s something beautiful going down, and then the final phrase: ‘Don’t stop running’ — which is my advice to you, kids. Just let it flow. Groove on. I don’t mean running away from something. Keep on going! And these three phrases were the basis of the song ‘Don’t Stop Running’.

Paul McCartney
Rolling Stone, 22 January 2009

Previous song: ‘Universal Here, Everlasting Now’
Next song: ‘Road Trip’
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