‘Venus And Mars (Reprise)’ opens the second half of Wings’ fourth album.

When we had a party in the States to celebrate having finished the album, someone came up to us and said ‘Hello, Venus. Hello, Mars.’ I thought, ‘Oh, no.’ When I write songs, I’m not necessarily talking about me, although psychoanalysts would say ‘Yes, you are, mate.’ But as far as I’m concerned, I’m not.

The song ‘Venus And Mars’ is about an imaginary friend who’s got a girl friend who’s into astrology, the kind of person who asks you what your sign is before they say hello. That’s it, ‘a good friend of mine studies the stars.’ In fact, in the first verse, it’s ‘a good friend of mine follows the stars’, so it could be ambiguous, a groupie or an astrologer.

I didn’t even know they were our neighbouring planets. I just thought of naming any two planets. What were the first that came to mind? I thought, Jupiter, no, that doesn’t it… Saturn… no… Venus and Mars… that’s great, I’ll just put those in. Later, it turns out they’ve just done an eclipse, Venus and Mars have lined themselves up for the first time in something like a thousand years. I didn’t know they were the gods of love and war, either, and I wasn’t thinking about the Botticelli picture someone [George Melly] asked about.

Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney In His Own Words, Paul Gambaccini

Running to 2:05, the reprise is almost a minute longer than the song ‘Venus And Mars’. The track segues into ‘Spirits Of Ancient Egypt’.

Interestingly, the reprise was recorded prior to the better-known ‘Venus And Mars’. The backing track was taped on 22 January 1975 at Allen Toussaint’s Sea-Saint Recording Studio in New Orleans, with overdubs added on 6 February. More overdubs followed on 10 March at Sunset Sound Studios in in Los Angeles, and 17 March at Wally Heider Studios, also in LA.

I’ve been reading a bit of science fiction, things like Foundation by Asimov. I love the scope of it, the vision of it, because you can write anything. The second time ‘Venus and Mars’ comes around, it says ‘Sitting in the hall of the Great Cathedral/Waiting for the transport to come.’ That’s like in science fiction books, waiting for the space shuttle. ‘Starship 21ZNA9,’ that’s the kind of thing you’ll find in Asimov. I like that, sitting in the Cathedral, really waiting for the saucer to come down, to take him off to Venus and Mars or whatever.
Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney In His Own Words, Paul Gambaccini

Paul McCartney's handwritten lyrics for Medicine Jar and Venus And Mars (Reprise)

Previous song: ‘Letting Go’
Next song: ‘Spirits Of Ancient Egypt’
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