Anthology 3 album artworkWritten by: McCartney
Recorded: May 1968

Released: 28 October 1996

Paul McCartney: vocals, acoustic guitar

Available on:
Anthology 3

Paul McCartney recorded a demo of Junk at George Harrison's house in Esher, Surrey, towards the end of May 1968. The Beatles recorded demos of at least 26 songs, many of which subsequently appeared on the White Album.

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Junk was one of many songs written by The Beatles in Rishikesh, India, where they studied meditation under Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

The Kinfauns demos - named after Harrison's bungalow - were widely bootlegged from the 1970s. Unofficial copies of the Junk recording last 2'38", and feature a guitar introduction and harmony vocals unavailable elsewhere. When the recording surfaced in 1996 on Anthology 3, it lasted just 2'25".

The song was never recorded in the studio for the White Album, perhaps due to McCartney's prolific songwriting upon his return from India. A very rough version, lasting just 16 seconds and sung in mock French, was busked on 9 January 1969 during the Get Back sessions in Twickenham Film Studios.

Junk did eventually surface in 1970, on McCartney's self-titled debut solo album. Lasting just 1'57", it was a four-track home recording, made in late 1969 or early 1970, with McCartney playing all instruments. It was later transferred to eight-track at Morgan Studios, London, where further overdubs were added.

An instrumental version with additional Mellotron string effects, titled Singalong Junk, also featured on the McCartney album.

22 responses on “Junk

  1. Elsewhere Man

    A gorgeous little melody. I’m partial, though, to “Singalong Junk,” the instrumental only version with Mellotron from Paul’s first solo album.

  2. BeatleMark

    Yeah, I am hip with your jive. I prefer the singalong version. I can play this song on my guitar. Learned it from some dude on Youtube. Played it during a live gig, all these girls gathered ’round. Ah, it was nice! “Oh, he’s playing the song from “Jerry McGuire”! They would exclaim.

  3. Bill

    I think the article transposes the running times, Anthology 3 is 2’25” not 2’38”. For those who enjoy it, Macca also plays Junk on his Unplugged CD.

  4. Mean_Mr_Mustard

    Achingly beautiful melody, crap lyrics. …And the world became painfully aware that Lennon’s contribution to McCartney’s lyrics was much greater than previously thought. If only…

    1. Revolt1983

      Maybe the reason why its called junk. I am also at awe why Paul would just leave this beautiful melody to waste. Lyrics is really the strength of John though. Music, Paul’s

  5. Tony

    Does Macca do the guitar and vocals for this recording or were George or John involved? I’m assuming its Paul considering it was only a demo and considering the state of the band as this was recorded.

  6. Reverend Gherkin

    I think the lyrics are just about a junk shop/yard.

    “Buy buy”, says the sign in the shop window,
    “Why why?” Says the junk in the yard

    And then a pleasing list of junk items found in said yard.

  7. Ahhh Girl

    I think this song is about unrestrained consumerism/materialism and it’s aftermath of regret and emptiness. People buy too much stuff in materialistic fits, and although the objects may bring short-term joy, they quickly become clutter strewn all over the place. People succumb to marketing and pretty store displays (buy, buy says the sign in the shop window), and then quickly wonder why (why, why says the junk in the yard) they just had to have those items.

  8. OldFartBassPlayer Walt

    I agree with Outatime about the sweetness of the lyrics,
    kind of a sad, nostalgic song.

    Stuff from the past being left behind, forgotten…o

  9. montion

    I like this song. The lyrics are immature, but I’m sure the group would have come up with better ones had they completed the song. Like the 2014 Canadian Olympic team could have won gold twice with two different rosters, The Beatles in this era could have put up two double white albums, both of them grade a winners.

    1. MaccaFan1965

      I agree, montion. George Martin encouraged McCartney to write great lyrics that would live up to the beautiful melody of “Yesterday” and he delivered. I believe that if the lyrics to “Junk” were of that high quality this song would be a classic in the same vein, covered by many. Still a beautiful tune – I prefer “Singalong Junk.”

  10. Bik

    While probably not the intended interpretation of the song, I’ve always thought it to be about a man who is heartbroken. Among the junk are bicycles for two showing that his world was built around his lover and much of it has turned to junk. The broken heart’s jubilee us a reference to not having a lover. The buy and why part us him crying out in loneliness. Take me and my junk, essentially. The why is the response or his musing on what he did wrong.

  11. JD

    Perhaps George was taught the counter melody / harmonies here, but it sounds like he’s is coming up with them on the spot. If so, Macca must’ve liked the ideas, because he kept them for the final version.

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