The final song on side one of Paul and Linda McCartney’s 1971 album Ram was an up-tempo rocker with nonsense lyrics.

There are so many artists that influence anything I do. ‘Three Legs’ would have been influenced by blues artists, and ‘Smile Away’ would have been influenced by people like Jerry Lee Lewis. The vocals are always influenced by someone, that’s just the way it is.
Paul McCartney

The words of ‘Smile Away’ have been interpreted by some as a commentary on the other Beatles and Allen Klein. And while it is tempting to dismiss the song as meaningless nonsense, there could indeed be a degree of autobiography in the words.

I was walking down the street the other day
Who did I meet?
I met a friend of mine and he did say
Man I can smell your feet a mile away

Smile away, smile away, smile away
Yeah smile away
Smile away, smile away, smile away
Yeah smile away

‘Smile Away’

Paul McCartney was known to be depressed following the break-up of The Beatles, and found solace in music and the love of Linda. The chorus – a repetition of the title – was McCartney with his head held high, finding positivity in spite of the insults of his various friends.

Musically, ‘Smile Away’ harked back to the rock ‘n’ roll years of the late 1950s and early 60s, featuring a swing beat, overdriven guitars and harmony vocals. Ram was intended to be a step away from the underproduced homemade sound of 1970’s McCartney, yet ‘Smile Away’ was a live-sounding ensemble performance, a step away from the intricate production elsewhere on the album.

In some European countries and in Japan the Ram song ‘Eat At Home’ was issued as a single, with ‘Smile Away’ as its b-side. The introduction was slightly edited to remove the crossfade from ‘Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey’.

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