Written by: McCartney
Recorded: June-July 1979
Producer: Paul McCartney
Released: 16 May 1980 (UK), 26 May 1980 (US)
Paul McCartney: keyboards, drums, handclaps
Based on a synthesiser melody which suggested the music of the Far East, ‘Frozen Jap’ was an instrumental recording written and recorded in the summer of 1979.
‘Frozen Jap’ was the second piece to be recorded during sessions for the McCartney II album. It was issued with its original working title, although McCartney toyed with more poetic alternatives.
It was recorded in the summer of 1979 and originally I was working around on synths, again, experimenting and I suddenly got something which sounded very Oriental. When the track was finished, it seemed so Oriental to me and I thought, ‘I’d better get a really lyrical title.’ I tried to think of a suitable title and things came to mind, like ‘Crystalline Icicles Overhang The Little Cabin By The Ice-Capped Mount Fuji’ or ‘Snow Scene In The Orient’, but all the titles sounded clumsy.
So that I wouldn’t forget, I scribbled down a working title of ‘Frozen Jap’, you know, frozen being the ice bit for the snow scene idea, and Jap meaning Oriental and somewhere over in that part of the world. And the title stuck. I found that the ‘Crystalline Fuji’ bit just didn’t work.
It was recorded some months prior to McCartney’s arrest and imprisonment in Japan for cannabis possession. However, it was released afterwards and the title was taken by many as a comment on his incarceration.
Now, I’m sure people will think it was recorded after that incident in Japan. We decided to change the title to ‘Frozen Japanese’ for the album release in Japan, since we didn’t want to offend anyone over there. But when the Japanese were told of the album’s track listing, they went spare. They thought it was connected with the fact that I had been busted there. They regard it as an incredible slur.