‘The End Of The End’ is the penultimate song on Paul McCartney’s 14th solo album Memory Almost Full.

The song finds McCartney dealing with the subject of death, and how he might be remembered.

I’d read something somebody had written about dying and I thought, ‘That’s brave.’ It seemed courageous to deal with the subject rather than just shy away from it. So I fancied looking at it as a subject myself. I like the Irish approach of a wake, where it’s celebratory. I remember once an Irish woman wished me well by saying, ‘I wish you a good death’, and I said, ‘Say what?’ I thought about it later and actually it’s a great thing to wish someone. I thought, ‘Well, what would I like?’ Jokes, a wake, music, rather than everyone sitting around looking glum, saying, ‘He was a great guy’ – though they can do a bit of that, too. So that led into the verse, ‘On the day that I die I’d like jokes to be told and stories of old to be rolled out like carpets.’ I have played it to my family and they find it very moving because, you know, it’s Dad. It’s a strange combination, because you’re talking about a serious subject. But I’m dealing with it lightly.
Paul McCartney

I think this new album is honest. What I’m trying to say is that I didn’t mean to be dishonest in any of the others, it’s just that, I dunno, maybe it’s just come out this way this time. I suppose writing a song about death – there’s a song called ‘The End Of The End’, which is just about ‘On the day that I die I’d like jokes to be told’ – well, that’s pretty honest. It just happened that the subjects I chose were like that. Whereas in other times I might be choosing a subject like, um, ‘When I’m Sixty-Four’ or something, which is much more tongue in cheek.
Paul McCartney
Clash magazine, July 2007

‘The End Of The End’ was recorded at Abbey Road Studios in February 2004. McCartney used what is known as the “Mrs Mills” upright piano.

He did quite a few takes, and he was wearing headphones, when he suddenly realized, ‘Oh, wait, I don’t need to wear headphones,’ because he was singing and playing live. So he took them off, and then it had a different sort of feel to it.
David Kahne, producer
Mix Online, 12 May 2008

Previous song: ‘House Of Wax’
Next song: ‘Nod Your Head’
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