‘So Bad’ is the fifth song on Paul McCartney’s fourth solo album Pipes Of Peace.

It was a little melody I had and I started writing words. They seemed to be very simple and very corny but they seemed to fit. There was no way I could make them more grammatical – ‘Girl I love you so bad-ly’ – it had to be ‘Girl I love you so bad’.

I started singing it at home with the kids and Linda, and ‘Girl I love you so bad’ was fine for everyone except James, who would have been about four and a half, and I felt I was leaving him out. So just for him I sang ‘Boy I love you so bad’ and he would go all shy and it was lovely. Then I worked it into the song as ‘And she said Boy I love you so bad.’

It’s just a very simple love song which is overtly sentimental. Sometimes you have to write that way because you love it. You can relate to it when you’ve been through the mill and you’ve got a nice partner. Maybe it means more than it does to a lad of eighteen.

Paul McCartney
Give My Regards To Broad Street book, 1984

In the studio

‘So Bad’ was recorded at AIR Studios in London on 16 September. Ringo Starr guested on drums.

The Give My Regards To Broad Street soundtrack album contains a remake of ‘So Bad’. It features the same line-up of musicians apart from Chris Spedding on electric guitar.

The remake was initially only on compact disc and cassette editions of Give My Regards To Broad Street.

In 2001 Lindsay Pagano recorded a version of ‘So Bad’ at Henson Studios in Los Angeles, where McCartney was also recording Driving Rain. McCartney introduced himself and asked to hear her recordings, and ended up contributing backing vocals to ‘So Bad’.

I played him some, and he was dancing all around the studio. Everyone was freaking out that it was Paul McCartney, and I would be like, ‘Oh, I just saw Paul. Whatever.’ He just became a regular person. He asked how the album was doing one day, and I said, ‘Well, I’m just looking for a really simple acoustic song for the end of the album, just to end it.’ And he said, ‘Well, I wrote this song called ‘So Bad’, which I think would go really good with your voice.’ I laid down a rough track, and when I came back to work on it again, I hear this vocal in the back, and it’s Paul’s vocal. He was singing on it as kind of a surprise. So it became a duet.
Lindsay Pagano

The release

On 5 December 1983 ‘Pipes Of Peace’ was released in the UK as the second single from the album, following the Michael Jackson duet ‘Say Say Say’.

The single, with ‘So Bad’ on the b-side, topped the charts for two weeks from 8 January 1984. It remains McCartney’s only solo UK number one single.

In the USA the two sides were flipped, so ‘Pipes Of Peace’ was on the b-side. ‘So Bad’ peaked at number 23 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Previous song: ‘Keep Under Cover’
Next song: ‘The Man’
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