Well, there were a couple of songs that we ended up recording which Ringo asked me to write at a certain period. I was writing some songs for Ringo and ‘Take It Away’ was in amongst those songs. I thought it would suit me better the way it went into the chorus and stuff; I didn’t think it was very Ringo…
I mean, the chorus I think, was Ringo, the other bits… but that’s how that comes to be that kind of track I think, I was right in that sort of direction with Ringo in mind actually.
Club Sandwich, 1982
In August 1980 McCartney made a series of recordings at his Sussex home studio. They were intended for an album to be produced by George Martin, and included the following songs: ‘Ballroom Dancing’, ‘Take It Away’, ‘Keep Under Cover’, ‘Average Person’, ‘Dress Me Up As A Robber’, ‘The Pound Is Sinking’, ‘Sweetest Little Show’, ‘Ebony And Ivory’, ‘Hear Me Lover’, ‘Wanderlust’, ‘The Unbelievable Experience’, ‘We All Stand Together’, ‘Boil Crisis’, ‘Give Us A Chord Roy’, ‘Seems Like Old Times’, and ‘Stop, You Don’t Know Where She Came From’. In October it was among a number of songs rehearsed by Wings at Pugin’s Hall.
The backing track for ‘Take It Away’ was recorded on 16 February 1981, at George Martin’s AIR Studios in Montserrat.
Ringo Starr arrived in Montserrat on 15 February, bringing his wife Barbara Bach and his Ludwig drum kit. He played alongside fellow drummer Gadd for several days, but ‘Take It Away’ was the only song released.
On 23 March, at AIR in London, backing vocals were added by Paul and Linda McCartney and Eric Stewart. The final additions were two trumpets and five saxophones, taped on 30 June and performed by unknown session musicians.
‘Take It Away’ was released as the album’s second single. The 7″ was issued on 21 June 1982, with the non-album track ‘I’ll Give You A Ring’ on the b-side.
The single version fades out earlier than the album cut, reducing the running time from 4:13 to 3:59.
A 12″ single was also issued on 5 July, which featured the additional song ‘Dress Me Up As A Robber’. In Japan the 12″ was on yellow vinyl.
The video for ‘Take It Away’ featured Ringo Starr and George Martin, as well as actor John Hurt.
‘Take It Away’ was included on the 2001 compilation Wingspan: Hits And History.