‘The Pound Is Sinking’ is the seventh song on Tug Of War, Paul McCartney’s third solo album.

When you are looking through the papers, you always see headlines saying, ‘The Pound Has Moved A Quarter Of An Inch Today’, and ‘The Mark Has Made A Surprising Move Today In The Money Markets’. I see these pictures of all the hundreds of people on the phones saying, ‘Did it go up? Did it go down?’ But I’ve never really been into that. I’m not a big stocks and shares man, just because it all seems so crazy, it’s just a big gamble to me. I think it’s funny how you see how the pound is sinking, no it isn’t, it’s gone up and against the dollar, it’s 2.000003 or whatever. I think it’s funny how everyone gets serious about something that is obviously just going to keep on altering. The song ‘The Pound Is Sinking’ laughs at how everyone gets so serious about it.
Paul McCartney
The Beatles – The Dream Is Over: Off The Record 2, Keith Badman

McCartney wrote the song from two fragments known as ‘The Pound Is Sinking’ and ‘Something That Didn’t Happen’. The songs were recorded at AIR Studios on Montserrat on3 and 4 February 1981. George Martin combined the two pieces, probably at the 1:48 mark, during a 10 February overdub session.

For me, it’s just the funny thing about the pundits day to day giving us an update so that all the people who’ve got money can gauge it all, like the weather. There is something which sort of amuses me about this constant update of something that is always going to be different, you are never going to be able to put your finger on it, but it just might help, knowing if there is snow on the M6, but generally they make more mistakes than they make correct predictions, it seems to me. You know, the pound is sinking — panic — and then the pound’s all right now, and everyone gets back into it. It’s a funny idea; I like the idea of all the ants doing what the lead ant tells them, you know, the oracle…

Sometimes I just get little jumbles of words that sound nice and I haven’t even really got a meaning to them, but I know that they’re words, and that they have a meaning so I don’t really attempt to resolve that…

In this, it’s mainly just the ridiculousness, apparent ridiculousness, of the money market — the ups and downs and then and the indexes and stuff — that little bit there that comes in the middle, it’s the funny little conversation: I always imagine it like a sort of film where there is one character doing this pound is sinking bit, and explaining all the rest, and there is this little inter-cut scene with this other little bit about ‘your father is an extraordinary man, but you haven’t inherited any of his mannerisms.’ It’s just a bunch of words, it just kinda says something that people say all the time…

Paul McCartney
Club Sandwich, 1982

Paul McCartney’s handwritten lyrics for The Pound Is Sinking

Previous song: ‘Ballroom Dancing’
Next song: ‘Wanderlust’
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