The third song on Paul McCartney’s second solo album was a blues-style recording which became one of its more traditional-sounding cuts.
The bass guitar and drum tracks for ‘On The Way’ were recorded in June 1979, but were left until the following month. McCartney was inspired to return to the song after watching a four-part UK television series on the blues, The Devil’s Music, hosted by musician Alexis Korner.
I put down a drum track and some bass and that was that and it sat around for a month or so. The day before going back to it, I had seen Alexis Korner on a TV programme about the blues, and I thought, ‘Oh, I’ve got to do something like that because it’s the kind of music I like.’ So that’s how that one came about.
McCartney added guitar and vocals to the backing track, but made no effort to correct the various bass guitar errors. The McCartney II album was conceived as an exercise in spontaneity, revealing the musician warts and all.