‘You Gave Me The Answer’ is the fourth song on Wings’ fourth studio album Venus And Mars.

The song harked back to the pre-rock ‘n’ roll big band era, similarly to the Beatles songs ‘Honey Pie’ and ‘Your Mother Should Know’.

I know it’s sort of a rock-and-roll album but there’s other things I like that aren’t necessarily rock-and-roll. On this LP I thought I’d like to get some of that in, so ‘You Gave Me The Answer’ is real fruity, imagining tie and tails, my impression of the Fred Astaire era.

When I started to listen to music, the kind of music was Fred Astaire and the Billy Cotton Band Show, Cole Porter’s type of lyrics. I like the Astaire films they show now on television. I think, wow, great, boy, can they dance! Boy, can they arrange tunes. They were only doing what we’re doing now, but some of the time they were much better at it! Think of the choreographing of some of the big numbers, you just won’t see that these days. We all know it’s the money they had, but the class is still there for someone like myself to look back on and say ‘That’s a great idea.’

I remember I was up in Liverpool once, just mucking around with this type of thing. If you play guitar, you like to do impressions. And I was singing an old tune and my Auntie Millie said to me, ‘You know, that’s just like Jack Buchanan!’ He was one of my favourites, old Jack. I used to like all those blokes.

I thought, great, she doesn’t think it’s a con, it’s just a different style of singing, and she likes It. And I must admit, I do, it’s very romantic. A fruity approach, but I’m not against all that.

Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney In His Own Words, Paul Gambaccini

Wings performed ‘You Gave Me The Answer’ during their Wings Over The World Tour in 1975-6. During some shows McCartney dedicated the song to Fred Astaire or Gene Autry.

A live recording from the Forum in Los Angeles on 23 June 1976 can be heard on the album Wings Over America.

In the studio

Wings recorded ‘You Gave Me The Answer’ at Allen Toussaint’s Sea Saint Studios in New Orleans. The basic track was recorded on 24 January 1975.

McCartney’s vocals were treated with a filter to remove the low-end frequencies, a trick he had previously deployed on ‘Honey Pie’ and ‘Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey’.

The woodwind and brass octet was overdubbed at Wally Heider Studios in Los Angeles on 6 March.

The release

Venus And Mars was released in the US on 27 May 1975, and three days later in the UK.

‘Letting Go’ was issued as the album’s second single in September 1975, with ‘You Gave Me The Answer’ on the b-side. It was not a commercial success, peaking at 41 on the UK singles chart, and 39 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The single was included in the 2022 collection The 7″ Singles Box, where it was presented with its German artwork.

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Next song: ‘Magneto And Titanium Man’
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