Released: 21 May 1971 (UK), 17 May 1971 (US)
The opening song on side two of Paul and Linda McCartney’s 1971 album Ram, Heart Of The Country was written about their simple life on their Scottish farm away from the bustle of city life.
McCartney had written about finding solace in the country before, most notably in 1968’s ‘Mother Nature’s Son’.
Much of Ram was written about his new-found love of living with Linda in their bucolic idyll. McCartney bought High Peak Farm in Kintyre, Scotland in June 1965, and towards The Beatles’ later years it became a place for him to retreat from the pressures of fame and business.
Two 16mm promotional films for Ram songs – Heart Of The Country and ‘3 Legs’ – were made in support of Ram. They were produced by McCartney and edited by Ray Benson, who had previously worked on The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour film.
Both clips contained mute footage, shot on the McCartneys’ farm and on a beach just a few days before the promos were screened on the BBC’s Top Of The Pops on 24 June 1971.
Heart Of The Country was the b-side of the UK-only single ‘The Back Seat Of My Car’. However, it was not a commercial success, peaking at number 39 in the charts.
Heart Of The Country was one of two Ram songs included in Blackbird Singing, McCartney’s 2001 collection of lyrics and poetry. It featured in the section headed Playing At Home. The other Ram song in the book was ‘Monkberry Moon Delight’.
In the studio
The song was first recorded first with David Spinozza on guitar, but he was replaced during the Ram sessions with Hugh McCracken, who appears on the released version.
Heart Of The Country predominantly features acoustic instruments. The guitar sound was achieved by retuning all the strings down a tone.
Reflecting the subject of the song, the music for Heart Of The Country was in a light country style. McCartney notably deployed some scat-style vocals during the jazzy bridge, following the lead guitar line.