"Mull of Kintyre" is a song written by Paul McCartney and Denny Laine and performed by Wings. The song was written in tribute to the picturesque Kintyre peninsula in Scotland, where McCartney has owned High Park Farm since 1966, and its headland, the Mull of Kintyre. The song was Wings' biggest hit in Britain where it became the 1977 Christmas number one, and was the first single to sell over two million copies nationwide.
- 2 Reception
- 3 Live performances
- 4 In popular culture
- 5 Cover versions
- 6 Personnel
- 7 Chart positions
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
The lyrics of the first verse, also used as the repeating chorus, are an ode to the area's natural beauty and sense of home:
- Mull of Kintyre
Oh mist rolling in from the sea, My desire Is always to be here Oh Mull of Kintyre
McCartney explained how the song came into being:
|“||I certainly loved Scotland enough, so I came up with a song about where we were living; an area called Mull of Kintyre. It was a love song really, about how I enjoyed being there and imagining I was travelling away and wanting to get back there.||”|
"Mull of Kintyre" was recorded in August 1977 in London, during a break in recording the London Town album caused by Linda McCartney's advanced pregnancy, which led to the departure of Jimmy McCulloch and Joe English from Wings. Bagpipes from Kintyre's local Campbeltown Pipe Band were included as a prominent part of the recording. The recording happened on August 9, 1977, with Paul's vocals and acoustic guitar taped outdoors. "Mull of Kintyre" and "Girls' School" (a rocker that had been previously recorded for London Town) were released as a double A-sided single on 11 November 1977, independently of the album. It was included on the Wings compilation Wings Greatest in 1978, and the UK/Canada version of McCartney's 1987 compilation album, All the Best!.
The song's broad appeal was maximised by its pre-Christmas release and it became a Christmas number one single in the UK, spending nine weeks at the top of the charts. It also became a massive international hit, dominating the charts in Australia and many other countries over the holiday period. It went on to become the first single to sell over two million copies in the UK and becoming the UK's best-selling single of all-time (eclipsing The Beatles' own "She Loves You") until overtaken by Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas?" in 1984 (which also featured McCartney on the B-Side). The song remains the UK's best-selling completely non-charity single. (Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" has sold more in its two releases, but the profits of the 1991 release went to charity.)
The millionth copy of the disc sold in the UK included a special certificate. It was sold to David Ackroyd, who was presented with a gold disc of the single by Laine.
Despite its international appeal, the song was not a major hit in North America, where the flipside "Girls' School" received more airplay and reached #33 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #34 on the Canadian RPM charts. "Mull of Kintyre" was not a pop hit at all in the US, but did manage to reach #45 on the Easy Listening chart.
Meanwhile, in Canada, "Girls' School"/"Mull of Kintyre" was initially tracked as a double A-side, and reached #44 on the pop charts before "Mull of Kintyre" was dropped from the chart listings as of January 21, 1978. "Girls' School" continued its chart climb for a few more weeks, reaching #34 in Canada. After the single fell out of the top 40, it was once again tracked as a double A-side (with "Mull of Kintyre" getting first billing) for one week in April, but did it not better its previous #44 chart peak. "Mull of Kintyre" alone (without "Girls' School") did reach #30 on Canada's Adult Contemporary chart.
McCartney has played "Mull of Kintyre" only occasionally in concert since Wings' 1979 British tour. Performances include 23 June 1990 in Glasgow, Scotland. He played it in Australia and New Zealand and also Canada in 1993, 2005, 2010 and 2012. He began playing the song again in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. On 11 July 2009, at a concert at the Halifax Common, he played the song accompanied by the78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel) Pipe Band. He played the song at the O2 Arena in London on 22 December 2009, accompanied by the 18-piece Balmoral Highlanders Pipe Band.
The following year, on 20 June 2010 McCartney performed "Mull of Kintyre" at Hampden Park in Glasgow accompanied by the Pipes and Drums of Loretto School. He played the song at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, on the 8 and 9 August 2010 with the Paris Port Dover Pipe Band. On 20 December 2011, Loretto School played with him again in the final concert of his On The Run tour at the Echo Arena in Liverpool. On 25 November 2012 performed "Mull of Kintyre" at the On The Run Tour in Vancouver, British Columbia with the Delta Police Pipe Band, and in Edmonton, Alberta with the Edmonton Police Service Pipes and Drums on 28-29 November. On 7 July 2013, McCartney performed "Mull of Kintyre" on his "Out There" tour to a sell-out crowd at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa,Canada accompanied by the Ottawa Police Service Pipe Band.
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The song was adopted soon after release by fans of several popular football clubs in the United Kingdom and is still played before and sung during games, most notably since the 1970s by fans of Nottingham Forest F.C.; the song's lyrics were adapted for the now firmly established crowd favourite at The City Ground. The adapted lyrics read:
- "City Ground , oh mist rolling in from the Trent, my desire, is always to be here oh City Ground."
Laine sang the song at the Birmingham Heart Beat Charity Concert 1986. The song was parodied as "Mull of Timperley" by comedian Frank Sidebottom. The song was released for download for the Xbox 360karaoke game Lips on 19 November 2010 and includes the music video.
Cheyenne Kimball covered the song on the album "Let Us In" Nashville – A Tribute to Linda McCartney, consisting of country-themed covers of Sir Paul McCartney songs by various artists, released on 21 November 2011, a benefit album for The Women and Cancer Fund.
Charlie Gracie and the group Clutch Cargo covered the song as a benefit single in 2012 to help raise funds for the Philadelphia Police and Fire, Pipes & Drums Band. Their version of the single also featured the R&B vocal group, The Orlons on backing vocals.
- Paul McCartney – lead vocal, acoustic bass guitar, acoustic guitar
- Linda McCartney – backing vocal, percussion
- Denny Laine – backing vocal, acoustic and electric guitars
- Campbeltown Pipe Band – bagpipes
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