Ram album artwork – Paul and Linda McCartneyWritten by: McCartney
Recorded: October 1970 – April 1971
Producer: Paul and Linda McCartney

Released: 21 May 1971 (UK), 17 May 1971 (US)

Paul McCartney: vocals, keyboards, bass guitar
Linda McCartney: backing vocals
David Spinozza/Hugh McCracken: guitar
Denny Seiwell: drums

Available on:
Ram
Thrillington

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

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

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.

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 breath a mile away

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.

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 teeth a mile away

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’.