Run Devil Run album artwork – Paul McCartneyWritten by: McCartney
Recorded: 4 March 1999
Producer: Paul McCartney, Chris Thomas

Released: 4 October 1999 (UK), 5 October 1999 (US)

Available on:
Run Devil Run

Personnel

Paul McCartney: vocals, piano, bass guitar
David Gilmour: guitar, vocals
Mick Green: guitar
Geraint Watkins: piano
Dave Mattacks: drums

‘What It Is’ is one of three original Paul McCartney compositions on his 11th solo album Run Devil Run. The others were the title track and ‘Try Not To Cry’.

There isn’t much of a story to that one. But the nice thing about it was that I was just writing it with half an idea in the back of my mind that I might do this rock and roll album and I wrote it while Linda was still alive. So it was a nice song to sing to her ‘You, you’re what it is’. So it has a kind of sentimental attachment for me, I wrote it for her.
Paul McCartney
Run Devil Run Best Buy bonus interview disc

‘What It Is’ was recorded on 4 March 1999 at Abbey Road Studios. Also completed during the session was the album’s closing song, ‘Party’.

I was playing bluesy riffs on the piano and this song started to come out. Linda was there and I enjoyed it just for that, for the little feedback she gave. So I thought I’ll do that as sort of my little tribute to Linda.
Paul McCartney
Run Devil Run liner notes