‘Somebody Who Cares’ is the third song on Tug Of War, Paul McCartney’s third solo album.

The song was written in Montserrat on 8 February 1981, the day before it was recorded.

I wrote it out one Sunday afternoon. In Montserrat we used to take weekends off just to kinda have some holiday as well as recording, and this Sunday afternoon I was anticipating Steve Gadd’s arrival, and Steven and Stanley Clarke were coming in, and I liked the idea of writing something for them coming, you know, so it would be fresh for everyone.
Paul McCartney
Club Sandwich, 1982

Interviewed in 1982, McCartney denied that he wrote most of Tug Of War with John Lennon in mind, with the exceptions of the title track, ‘Here Today’, and ‘Somebody Who Cares’.

No. But halfway through it, John was killed. I can’t believe it to this day, I can’t even say those words… But ‘Here Today’ is the only song specifically about that. Obviously, ‘Tug of War’ ties in… And so does ‘Somebody Who Cares’. I remember being aware of John’s death while writing it.
Paul McCartney
Club Sandwich, 1982

‘Somebody Who Cares’ was completed in July 1981 at AIR Studios in London. The overdubs included percussion and pan flute, the latter played by Adrian Brett.

I played the album to my kids and out of all the hooks on this record, my four-year-old boy, James, sings ‘Somebody Who Cares’ and I don’t know why he chose that hook from the whole album. He’s a baby and he now knows ‘Somebody Who Cares’ and so he goes around humming it… We decided we wanted the distinctive Spanish guitar sound on the session. I had written it the day before, out in Montserrat. We used to have the weekends off, because I like to do that, otherwise you just work yourself into the ground. I like a break and then you come back so fresh. On this Sunday afternoon, I sat outside and just got my guitar and went off into a corner. I knew that Steve Gadd and Stanley Clarke were coming in the next day and we were going to do a session. So instead of just doing one of the songs that I had written, I thought that it would be really nice if I wrote something fresh and I’d play it fresh to them and we’ll all be up to the same time on the thing. So I wrote ‘Somebody Who Cares’, took it to the session but I still didn’t have a middle. So I said, ‘Hang on a couple of minutes, I’ve got a bit of a song, it’s gonna be good. Give me about an hour. Go and have a cup of tea.’ So I sat around for an hour, got the middle bit, which I was happy about and went back into the studio. Stanley started ad-libbing a bit on his bass, and I started off on my acoustic.
Paul McCartney
The Beatles – The Dream Is Over: Off The Record 2, Keith Badman

Paul McCartney’s handwritten lyrics for Somebody Who Cares

Previous song: ‘Take It Away’
Next song: ‘What’s That You’re Doing?’
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