‘Ou Est Le Soleil?’ is the final song on the cassette and compact disc editions of Paul McCartney’s eighth solo album Flowers In The Dirt.

A very wacky thing where we decided to make something up. Trevor said ‘Have you got anything for one of the verses?’ I said ‘Well I’ve got this really silly idea…’, which is like just some French words that say ‘Ou est le soleil? Dans la tête. Travaillez.’ Those are the complete lyrics. So we’ve got this silly French dance track now, which I love!
Paul McCartney
Club Sandwich, Summer 1989

‘Ou Est Le Soleil?’ was co-produced with Trevor Horn and Steve Lipson. It was recorded on 23 June 1988 at McCartney’s Hog Hill Mill studio.

The night before, he said ‘well why don’t we come in tomorrow morning and just see what happens.’ We came in the next day and he goes ‘anyone got any ideas?’ I went ‘yes, I have’. I hit play on my computer and, forgetting the vocal and backwards guitar, that came out from beginning to end. Which is why Trevor says what he said. And then Paul put seven words in French on one note on the top and said he had written the song, which actually, [as] he said it is lyrics and melody, you can’t really argue. I had a discussion with him about it and you know what… it worked out fine. I think I got an arrangement credit or something, and we did some deal. Whatever. But it is fine, he didn’t want to give me a writing credit and I think that is his prerogative. It would have been nice, but it is his prerogative. And it doesn’t make me think any less of the man.

We didn’t spend that much time on it. I had it. It was all there. We overdubbed a few things. I think he might have played drums on it. He got Hamish [Stuart] to play guitar and we might have developed one bit.

Steve Lipson
SuperDeluxeEdition, March 2017

The song was reportedly included as a bonus track on Flowers In The Dirt after McCartney’s children expressed their love for it.

I thought we’d done pretty well, very short bursts and everything was good but if I’m honest, by I think by the time it got to ‘Ou Est Le Soleil’ I’d been sucked into it a bit. I always see part of it was his personality, he was such good fun to work with him and he was so full of beans. But it sort of developed from a jam I think. I think Steve had a little bit of writing on it. Not officially, but I think he did.
Trevor Horn
SuperDeluxeEdition, March 2017

‘Ou Est Le Soleil?’ was released as a 12″ single in the USA on 25 July 1989. It contained the 7:02 Shep Pettibone Remix on one side, while the other had the 4:27 Tub Dub Mix and the 4:25 Instrumental Mix.

The song was also the b-side of the ‘Figure Of Eight’ single, which was released on 13 November 1989. The various formats also included the Pettibone and Tub Dub mixes.

A video, directed by David Lodge, was also made for ‘Ou Est Le Soleil’. It featured a sideways scrolling platform video game, plus shots of McCartney and his band, dancing African tribespeople, and nightclub scenes.

You know I had a reasonable idea of how good, how much value a track had, and something like ‘Ou Est Le Soleil?’ I’d forget about it. The problem with this one was always that it wasn’t a proper song. Really, it’s like a little piece of entertainment.
Trevor Horn
SuperDeluxeEdition, March 2017

Paul McCartney never performed ‘Ou Est Le Soleil?’ live in concert.

Previous song: ‘Motor Of Love’
Next album: Liverpool Oratorio
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