‘Footprints’ is the fourth track on Paul McCartney’s sixth solo album Press To Play.

The song was written on a snowy day. It came from an image of a magpie looking for food out in the snow. Eric and I changed the magpie to an old man, although the magpie came back for the third verse. The old man is out there looking for yule logs or something, like the character in ‘Good King Wenceslas’. He’s lonely. Does he live on his own? What do we know about him? The song goes into what his story might have been, the heartaches there might have been, the girl he might have left behind, the paths he didn’t take, the moves he didn’t make, etcetera.
Paul McCartney
Sound On Sound, October 1986

It was written by McCartney and Eric Stewart, upon the latter’s arrival at Hog Hill Mill studio one winter’s day.

He usually comes up with the most brilliant ideas just right off the top of head. I remember a time, it was snowing here in winter, and we were supposed to be writing together so I said, ‘I’m going to try and make it down there’. The snow was three feet deep and I got down to his place and the sun was shining outside and was gorgeous and I walked to this little studio at the back of his house and I walked through this little door and I said to Paul, ‘It’s beautiful outside, Paul look at this beautiful…’, and he sang ‘It’s beautiful outside’. That was the basis of the song ‘Footprints’ and we started writing it. His brain worked in that way which really got my brain working as well when I was doing my solo stuff, so a great debt is owed to Paul by a lot of people but especially by me.
Eric Stewart
Alliance Resource Entertainment, October 2017

‘Footprints’ was one of the final songs to be recorded for Press To Play, although overdub sessions took place afterwards.

Paul McCartney’s mixing notes for Footprints

Previous song: ‘Talk More Talk’
Next song: ‘Only Love Remains’
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