‘Goodbye’ was a song written by Paul McCartney for singer Mary Hopkin, as the follow-up to her chart-topping debut single ‘Those Were The Days’. It was credited to Lennon-McCartney.

I didn’t have in mind any more Russian folk songs so I just wrote one for her. I thought it fit the bill. It wasn’t as successful as the first one but it did all right. My main memory of it is from years later, going on a boat trip from the north of Scotland to the Orkney Islands. The skipper of the boat was called George, and he told me it was his favourite song. And if you think of it from a sailor’s point of view, it’s very much a leaving-the-port song. He had the strangest Scottish accent, almost sort of Norwegian, as the Orkneyans do. He was quite proud of the fact that that was his favourite song.
Paul McCartney
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles

‘Goodbye’ was written in February 1969 at 7 Cavendish Avenue, McCartney’s home in north London. The demo recording was cut to an acetate disc at Apple’s headquarters, 3 Savile Row, London, to allow Hopkin and arranger Richard Hewson to work on their parts.

Hopkin’s recording raised the key from C to E. McCartney produced the single at Morgan Studios over two sessions on 1 and 2 March 1969. The sessions were filmed by Tony Bramwell for an Apple promotional clip.

He did demo ‘Goodbye’ for me, which he wrote and then produced. And when we recorded it we played the guitar part together, plus Paul added a thigh slap all through the song and played ukulele.
Mary Hopkin
Record Collector, 1988

The single’s b-side, ‘Sparrow’, was written by Benny Gallagher and Graham Lyle, songwriters signed to Apple Publishing. Hopkin’s recording was also made on 2 March, with her singing and playing guitar, McCartney on maracas, and a session musician on upright bass.

‘Goodbye’ was released as a single in the United Kingdom on 28 March 1969. It spent three weeks at number two on the UK charts, for two of which The Beatles’ ‘Get Back’ was at number one.

In the US, the single was issued on 7 April, and reached number 13 on the singles chart. It topped the charts in Ireland and the Netherlands.

After ‘Goodbye’, Mary and I didn’t work together again. She wanted to do a more folky album [Earth Song/Ocean Song], and I felt that if she wanted to do that I wasn’t really interested in producing it. I don’t think it was a very good idea in the end.
Paul McCartney
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles

Paul McCartney’s demo of ‘Goodbye’ was released in 2019 on the Abbey Road 50th anniversary super deluxe box set.

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