‘Sally G’ was the b-side of ‘Junior’s Farm’, a standalone single released by Paul McCartney & Wings in 1974.

It was written after McCartney went drinking at Skull’s Rainbow Rool in Nashville’s Printer’s Alley district, where he saw Diane Gaffney performing. Inspired, he wrote it in a back room of the club; it was initially titled ‘Diane’.

‘Sally G was recorded at Sound Shop Studios in Nashville, from 6pm to midnight on 9 July 1974. Wings were augmented by Lloyd Green on pedal steel and dobro, and violinists Bob Wills and Johnny Gimble.

When I’m in a place, it’s not uncommon for me to want to write about where I am. Elton John did ‘Philadelphia Freedom;, you know. You see a lot of that, someone will turn up and write a song the next day. Being in Nashville, I wanted to use a couple of local guys. I never worked with a Nashville steel guitar player, and I had to have a bit of material I could bring in and ask them to do. This bloke named Buddy took us out to Printer’s Alley, which is a little club district. There were a few people just playing country music, and we imagined a bit more than we had seen for ‘Sally G’.

A lot of people do that. I saw the documentary on David Hockney last night in which he saw a Macy’s ad, which to him seemed a perfect room. So he took the room and just painted a nude boy on it. He made one of his pictures out of it.

I didn’t see anyone named Sally G when I was in Printer’s Alley, nor did I see anyone who ran her eyes over me when she was singing ‘A Tangled Mind’. That was my imagination, adding something to it, the reality of it.

Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney In His Own Words, Paul Gambaccini

The release

‘Junior’s Farm’ was released as a single on 25 October 1974 in the UK, and 4 November in the USA. ‘Sally G’ was on the b-side.

It reached number three on the US Billboard Hot 100, and four on the Cash Box Top 100. In the UK it peaked at number 16.

‘Sally G’ received promotion in its own right, and charted at number 51 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles, and 11 on Canada’s RPM Country Tracks chart.

Some people think, blimey, they’re just trying to get two records out of one. But I think that if it’s a song that people would like to know and sing, and it gets played only by the people who buy the record, then I like to see if we can give it an extra plug.

So that’s what we were thinking. We weren’t thinking it would be a hit again, we just wanted to expose the song. You get things like, twenty years later someone says ‘That’s the brilliant b-side of Joni Mitchell,’ but people don’t know it! If it had been exposed, it might have been a great big hit or a thing that lived in everyone’s minds.

Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney In His Own Words, Paul Gambaccini

The single was also a top 10 hit in Canada, New Zealand, Norway, and South Africa.

‘Sally G’ first appeared on an album as a bonus track on the 1993 CD reissue of Wings At The Speed Of Sound.

‘Junior’s Farm’ and ‘Sally G’ were both included on the 2014 reissue of Wings’ Venus And Mars.

Published: |