The song was written in Jamaica in early 1995, while McCartney was in a nostalgic mood.
I was remembering the Sixties, sitting around late at night, dossing, smoking pipes, drinking wine… jawing, talking about the cosmic solution. It was what we were all doing… all that ‘What about…wow!’ It’s that time in your life when you got a chance for all that.
Flaming Pie liner notes
The song represents for me good memories of the Sixties, of dossing around late at night, chatting, smoking, drinking wine, hanging out, jawing through the night. I think it works as an opening track – it creeps you into the album and sets it up nicely. I played Bill Black’s stand-up bass on the recording; it’s the wrong way around for me, being left-handed, but I have a go – and I can just about play ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ on it as well.
Club Sandwich, Summer 1997
‘The Song We Were Singing’ was recorded in a week in November 1995, with McCartney and co-producer Jeff Lynne playing guitars.
Did that one, had fun, just enjoyed working, pretty much on the same basis that I worked with Steve [Miller], virtually just me and him doing it all. Now it was me and Jeff just doing it all. He’d play guitar with me and I played bass and drums, and then he’d sing harmony with me — it’s good having somebody like that who’s a guitarist-singer, if you think about it, because it’s John, really, isn’t it? Or George. So it’s something I’m very comfortable with. And we just built the album that way.
Flaming Pie Archive Collection
The song was included on the 2016 compilation Pure McCartney, along with seven other songs from Flaming Pie: ‘The Song We Were Singing’, ‘The World Tonight’, ‘Calico Skies’, ‘Flaming Pie’, ‘Souvenir’, ‘Little Willow’, ‘Beautiful Night’, and ‘Great Day’.
Paul McCartney never performed ‘The Song We Were Singing’ live.