The song was an amalgamation of two demos titled ‘Loveliest Thing’ and ‘Without Permission’.
The producer was Phil Ramone, and the musicians included Liberty DeVitto and David Lebolt of Billy Joel’s band.
Paul sent a tape ahead of time, or a lead sheet, because he was delayed to the session and the musicians had time to learn the song before he got there. When he arrived, they played ‘Loveliest Thing’. They did one take, which was great, and Paul said something like, ‘Well I guess we might as well do another take.’ He played the piano and sang live with the band. The second day he overdubbed vocals.
Paul McCartney: Music Is Ideas (1970-1989), Luca Perasi
‘Figure Of Eight’ was released as a single on 13 November 1989.
There were also two CD singles. The first had ‘Figure Of Eight’ (12″ mix), a re-recording of ‘The Long And Winding Road’, and ‘Loveliest Thing’.
The single was not a commercial success. It peaked at number 42 in the official UK singles chart, and 92 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
A limited edition of the Flowers In The Dirt album was released in Japan in March 1990. It contained a bonus disc which began with an environmental message by McCartney, followed by the re-recording of ‘The Long And Winding Road’, ‘Loveliest Thing’, ‘Rough Ride’, ‘Ou Est Le Soleil?’ (7″ Mix), ‘Mama’s Little Girl’, ‘Same Time Next Year’, ‘Party Party’, and ‘PS Love Me Do’ – a studio reworking of two of The Beatles’ earliest songs.