‘Put It There’ was a single released from Paul McCartney’s eighth solo album Flowers In The Dirt.

‘Put it there’ is an expression my dad Jim often used. He was loaded with colourful expressions, as so many Liverpool people still are today. He loved to play with words, juggle them in his head, and he had loads of little sayings that were sometimes nonsensical, sometimes functional, but always rather lyrical. When he was shaking your hand he would say, ‘Put it there if it weighs a ton.’

‘Put It There’ was written by McCartney in late 1987 while on holiday in Zermatt, Switzerland.

We were on this skiing holiday in Zermatt. In the evening after you’ve been skiing all day, you take those big heavy boots off and sit on the balcony with a drink, cooling out. I’d get my guitar and just sit out the balcony. It was a very simple song
Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney World Tour programme

The song was lightly produced, with few overdubs aside from an orchestral arrangement by George Martin. McCartney added knee-slapping percussion, seated on a stool at his Hog Hill Mill studio.

‘Put it there if it weighs a ton.’ I’m not sure I thought of it at the time, even though this was well after The Beatles disbanded, but I can’t help connecting the oppressiveness associated with that phrase to the oppressiveness that coincided with the end of The Beatles. Not that The Beatles are over exactly…

I wonder whether I wanted to direct this song towards John – whether it’s not, in its own way, a peace offering to a man who died way too early. ‘If there’s a fight, I’d like to fix it/I hate to see things go so wrong’. But then I’m an eternal optimist: ‘The darkest night and all its mixed emotions/Is getting lighter, sing along’. The ending of ‘Put It There’ is particularly upbeat: ‘As long as you and I are here, put it there’. A little wordplay at the end.

Paul McCartney's handwritten lyrics for Put It There

The release

‘Put It There’ was issued as a single on 5 February 1990, which peaked at 32 on the UK singles chart.

The 7″ vinyl and cassette editions contained ‘Mama’s Little Girl’, a 1972 Wings recording brought up to date with overdubs in 1986.

There were also 12″ and CD singles, both of which included the additional track ‘Same Time Next Year’, another Wings song from 1978. The 12″ single was also released as limited edition containing an art print of McCartney’s cover illustration.

A live version, recorded on 28 September 1989 in Gothenburg, Sweden, was included on the 1990 live album Tripping The Live Fantastic. The recording was also the b-side of two live releases: the UK 1990 single ‘All My Trials’, and the following year’s US release of ‘The Long And Winding Road’.

Previous song: ‘We Got Married’
Next song: ‘Figure Of Eight’
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