‘We Got Married’ is the fifth song on Paul McCartney’s eighth solo album Flowers In The Dirt.

Although released in 1989, the song dated from 1984 and was the oldest on the album. David Foster produced three McCartney songs that year at Hog Hill Mill – the others were the unreleased ‘Lindiana’ and the ‘Young Boy’ b-side ‘I Love This House’ – with David Gilmour on electric guitar and Dave Mattacks on drums.

McCartney looked back even further for inspiration. ‘We Got Married’ harked back not only to McCartney’s 1969 wedding, but also to the Liverpool days when John Lennon was courting Cynthia Powell.

Linda and I got married in Marylebone Town Hall in March 1969. I suppose I could have written something like ‘in the hall with the judge, we signed papers’, and just used very literal memories and simple descriptions. But I wrote this song many years after our wedding, and I started to think more universally, imagining every man and every woman getting married. It’s really the story of any marriage, not necessarily mine – though a lot of it could be mine.

‘Going fast/Coming soon/We made love in the afternoon/Found a flat/After that/We got married’. That does sound like a shotgun wedding. John was the first in our group to get married, and it was indeed a shotgun wedding. In those days it was more embarrassing than it is now. Nowadays, people don’t even bother getting married; there’s no particular reason why they should. But John found a flat in London, and he got married to his first wife, Cynthia. I’m pretty sure I was channelling them a bit here too.

‘We Got Married’ was completed at AIR Studios in London on 1 December 1988. The overdubs were Guy Barker’s trumpet solo, plus additional vocals, guitar, and percussion.

It’s part of the magic about writing songs that things just fall into your lap. I didn’t think hard about this song, but it came, and when it falls out sweetly like that you feel very lucky, very blessed. You often hear composers say, ‘It just came to me.’ It’s not my way to sit down to analyse it, but you do learn how to allow cadences and rhythms to come to you. I think ‘We Got Married’ is one, then, that – as they say – ‘just came to me’, and one always feels very lucky when that happens. You think, ‘Yeah, I’m gonna enjoy singing that.’

Paul McCartney's handwritten lyrics for We Got Married

‘We Got Married’ was considered for single release, and a promotional video was made, but it was shelved.

It was, however, performed during the Paul McCartney World Tour in 1989-90. A recording from Wembley Arena on 16 January 1990 was included on that year’s Tripping The Live Fantastic.

A great song, ‘We Got Married’, for many it was the standout track on Flowers In The Dirt. But it wasn’t a single. It nearly was, but not quite. Capitol considered issuing it in the United States in 1990, when the World Tour was heading back to America for its first venture around the stadiums. Because of this, the label pressed up some promotional CD singles featuring an edited version of the album cut and MPL put together a promotional video. But then minds were changed and something else happened instead.

So the video for ‘We Got Married’ is another of rarities in the McCartney archive: well worth looking at but scarcely seen – hence a prime contender for another look-see in this column.

Directed by Aubrey Powell, produced for Propaganda Films by Steve Swartz and edited by Todd Chestnut (that must be an American name), the ‘We Got Married’ film prominently features in concert and on-stage footage. These terms do have different meanings, incidentally, for, while in the USA, Paul and Band took time out to perform more or less an entire show before a minimal audience, not as an advertised tour date but expressly so that close-ups and other camera angles could be shot for insertion into concert films. Knowing that nothing can irritate an audience as much as cameramen clambering all over the stage, obstructing the view and distracting the concentration, Paul realised it would be a good idea if the director get all of his fancy shots done in a private “mock up” show instead.

Like other films of the same era and ilk, ‘We Got Married’ also shows some off-stage moments: long limousines in the falling rain, fans wielding flowers, flocking to the concert venues and waiting on line outside the arenas, photographers jostling for the best pictures, and, highly appropriately, momentary monochromatic glimpses (from the deservedly popular pre-show film) of Paul and Linda on their wedding day – the silver anniversary of which, it would be remiss of us not to note, was celebrated this year, 1994.

Club Sandwich #70, Summer 1994

Previous song: ‘Distractions’
Next song: ‘Put It There’
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