‘This One’ was the second single released from Paul McCartney’s eighth solo album Flowers In The Dirt.

That’s completely silly wordplay. My dad was very into words and crosswords and things, and so was I at school. And then becoming a songwriter I was interested in wordplay. So when I heard someone say, ‘This one,’ I thought it could also be ‘this swan.’ I liked this image of a swan, like in Hindu art – Krishna and the swan gliding over water lilies. I was attracted to that image, so that’s what it became, using the two meanings of the word. And then the video by Tim Pope turned out that way, too.
Paul McCartney
People, 24 March 2017

The song is basically a love song – did I ever say I love you? And if I didn’t it’s because I was waiting for a better moment… ‘There could never be a better moment than this one…’, and the words ‘this one’ kept coming back to me as ‘this swan’, and I got off on that.

The image was like one of those Hare Krishna posters that I used to see a lot in India, this little blue god, Krishna, who’s riding on this swan floating over this beautifully clear pond with lovely pink lilies on it. It’s a very spiritual, tranquil picture, and although I don’t subscribe to any particular religion, I draw on the nice moments from a lot of them.

Paul McCartney
Club Sandwich, Summer 1989

In the studio

Paul McCartney recorded a demo of ‘This One’ in February 1987. It featured vocals, piano, and drum machine.

The final version was recorded at Paul McCartney’s Hog Hill Mill studio on 18 May 1988. It was engineered by Geoff Emerick, with whom McCartney had worked since the 1960s.

Guesting on the track were harmonica player Judd Lander, formerly of Liverpool band The Hideaways, and assistant engineer Lance Phillips, who played wine glasses with McCartney on the final track.

This song had a very long intro, with sort of strange noises. McCartney wanted to put in some wine glasses, so we tuned them by putting the right amount of water in each glass. The problem was that he wanted three notes and it’s just not possible to play three wine glasses at the same time! So he asked for someone from the control room to come in to help him… I was standing near to McCartney playing one wine glass, as he was playing the other two!
Lance Phillips
Paul McCartney: Music Is Ideas (1970-1989), Luca Perasi

The release

‘This One’ was released as a single on 17 July 1989, the second to be taken from Flowers In The Dirt.

The single reached number 8 in Austria, and 18 in the UK. In the US it fared less well, peaking at number 94 on the Billboard Hot 100.

As with the album’s other singles, ‘This One’ came in an array of formats, all but one of which led with the album version of the song. The 7″ vinyl and cassette had ‘The First Stone’ on the b-side.

A second limited edition 7″ was issued in the UK, and had a re-recording of ‘The Long And Winding Road’ on the b-side. That song was also released on one of the ‘Figure Of Eight’ CD singles.

There were three 12″ vinyl singles. The first had the additional tracks ‘The First Stone’, ‘I Wanna Cry’, and a cover of ‘I’m In Love Again’. The latter two tracks were recorded during the Choba B CCCP sessions.

The second 12″ contained ‘The First Stone’ and ‘Good Sign’. Both songs had been recorded in the summer of 1988.

The third 12″ contained four tracks: ‘This One’ (Club Lovejoys Mix), ‘The First Stone’, ‘I Wanna Cry’, and ‘I’m In Love Again’. The CD single had the same tracks except ‘This One’ was the album mix.

Promotional videos

Two videos for ‘This One’ were made. The first was directed by Tim Pope, and contained various references to India as well as scenes of Paul and Linda McCartney meditating.

The second was directed by Dean Chamberlain and featured the members of McCartney’s band in scenes inspired by the paintings of René Magritte.

Live performances

‘This One’ was performed throughout Paul McCartney’s 1989–1990 World Tour.

A recording from Detroit’s Palace of Auburn Hills on 1 February 1990 appeared on the live album Tripping The Live Fantastic.

Previous song: ‘Figure Of Eight’
Next song: ‘Don’t Be Careless Love’
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