Paul McCartney recorded a version of ‘Lonesome Town’ for his 1999 album Run Devil Run.
‘Lonesome Town’ was written by Baker Knight and popularised by Ricky Nelson, whose 1958 recording reached number seven on the US Billboard Hot 100.
It’s got to be a bit sad, ‘Lonesome Town’, because of my kind of circumstances now, you know. When I first heard it, it was just a nice ballad, you know. It was just a ballad for lonesome people, you know. And that was OK. Ricky Nelson did it. So I always liked the song and I always thought, one of these days I might do that. Might get, try to get round to doing that.
Actually it’s funny. What happened was, I got into the studio fully intending to do it like Ricky Nelson. But then I thought, you know, his version is so good. And if I do ‘There’s a place where lovers go’, which is how he did it, I thought, well, it’s just gonna be a complete remake. In certain cases I don’t mind a remake. But in this one, I thought, no. So I thought, what I’ll do is I’ll take it higher… So I thought, well, I use that. Everything was going great.
I said, anyone know this one? Couple of guys, yeah, couple of guys, no. So I said, here’s how it goes. But it all worked out. And we got to the middle, ’cause I was taking it so high, I was going, ‘And they call it lonesome town.’ And then it goes, ‘Take me down to…’ Ridiculous. It was like Micky Mouse or something… I didn’t know which way to go. I said, ‘I’m going to spoil the mood.’ So then, in two seconds flat, it was like, ah, I know. Dave, will you sing the tune ‘Take me down to lonesome’? And I’ll stay above it. I’ll sing a harmony above it.
So it’s good, you know. And that’s exactly how we used to work with The Beatles. An idea would come up. Someone would go, that’s good.
Run Devil Run Best Buy bonus interview disc
McCartney recorded ‘Lonesome Town’ at Abbey Road Studios on 3 March 1999, along with ‘Honey Hush’ and ‘Run Devil Run’.