The song was commissioned by producer Walter Mirisch to be the main theme of the romantic comedy Same Time, Next Year. McCartney demoed it in June 1977 after viewing an early version.
I wanted a song for the film so I reached Paul through his attorney and asked if he would be interested. The word came back that he would. We sent a rough cut of the picture to him in London, and he recorded a song.
I Thought We Were Making Music, Not History
‘Same Time Next Year’ was the first Wings recording to feature guitarist Laurence Juber and drummer Steve Holley. It was recorded at RAK Studios in London on 5 May 1978, and completed the following day with an orchestral overdub session at Abbey Road.
Unlike our work on the Wings At The Speed Of Sound tracks where I was given a free hand, on this occasion Paul handed me his draft of a string arrangement – all written out with the names of each note to be played (because he didn’t write or read musical notation) and said, ‘Now you go and make it better!’
For the orchestral overdub we had 69 strings, plus a quartet of clarinets, a quartet of recorders and a cimbalom. I may have suggested the clarinets and recorders; I’m fairly certain the cimbalom was Paul’s idea. The player was John Leach, who is a composer as well as a player of the zither, the cimbalom and other ethnic instruments. He was and still is the only such player I know of in England.
Paul McCartney: Music Is Ideas (1970-1989), Luca Perasi
Ultimately the song was not used in the film. Its director Robert Mulligan thought the song gave away key plot points.
McCartney remixed ‘Same Time Next Year’ in January 1981 for the abandoned Cold Cuts rarities and outtakes project. It was remixed again by Bill Prince in 1987, and finally released on 5 February 1990 as the b-side of ‘Put It There’.
‘Same Time Next Year’ appeared on the 12″ and CD editions. The single peaked at 32 on the UK singles chart.