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Jet

by

Paul McCartney & Wings



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

"Jet" was the name of a black Labrador that Paul McCartney and his wife Linda owned, and the dog provided the title for the song. The McCartney's owned a variety of animals, and at the time their brood included a Golden Lab named Poppy, a Dalmatian named Lucky, and the old Sheepdog Martha (from the Beatles song "Martha My Dear"). "Jet" was chosen not because he was Paul's favorite, but because the name makes a very stadium-ready title, perfect for throwing your fist in the air when it's performed in an arena. The song is really about freedom; McCartney did something similar when he used an amusement park ride as the title for a song about madness in "Helter Skelter."

Paul's wife Linda gave some clues to the thought process behind "Jet" when she said in 1976: "He wanted that one to be totally mad. Paul's had a lot of practice in the studio. He's done some very trippy things. Every now and then he remembers how much he loves it."
Tony Visconti, who did a lot of production work for David Bowie and Thin Lizzy, did the orchestration on this song, giving the song a lot of energy and drive.
It's possible to read a deep meaning into the lyrics, "I thought the Major was a lady suffragette," but David Bowie's song Suffragette City was released the previous year, and it's likely the word "suffragette," which is a term for a woman fighting for the right to vote, was floating around in McCartney's mind.
Linda McCartney was an official member of the band, and she was often maligned in the press as being dead weight. Her contributions on stage were rarely pronounced, which was probably the way the audio engineers mixing the shows liked it, but on live performances of this song you can kind of hear her playing the Mellotron if you listen carefully.
The Australian Rock band Jet got their name from this song. McCartney and The Beatles were a big influence on them. (thanks, Bert - Pueblo, NM)
This was released as a single with "Mamunia" as the B-side, but 3 weeks later "Let Me Roll It" replaced it.
Paul McCartney & Wings
More Paul McCartney & Wings songs
More songs with methods of transportation in the title
More songs that musical performers are named after
More songs about being free

Comments (49):

This song makes me want to go back in time and kick Paul McCartney in the shins. The only song of his that I loathe more than this one is that miserable plinky-plonky Christmas song he does. Gahhh.
- Gladys, Chicago, IL
Paul never had a horse OR a dog named Jet (Those are the two different stories); it's actually about his seemingly stand-off-ish son James...
- Valentine, x, MO
Mick Jagger once commented that he intentionally buried his vocals in the mix so that people would have to buy the records to hear it closely enough to figure out the lyrics to his songs. You couldn't just download them off the internet back then. Likewise I can imagine Paul sitting with a pen and paper working out the lyrics to this piece thinking, "Let's see 'em figure out what THIS means!"
- Marq, Vancouver, WA
Reviewers have reported that the subject of the song is McCartney's Labrador Retriever dog named "Jet". However, in a 2010 interview on the UK television channel ITV1 for the program Wings: Band on the Run (to promote the November 2010 CD/DVD re-release of the album) McCartney explained that Jet was the name of a pony he had owned, although many of the lyrics bore little relation to the subject. http://www.youbloom.com/ybsc/entry/2655/
- Terry, Algonquin, IL
I saw Paul perform this not too long ago on SNL. He's older now, but he could still perform this song.
- Christopher, Marlboro, NJ
This is a great song. I think it's my favorite song that Paul did with Wings. I love Live and Let Die, Maybe I'm Amazed, and Band on the Run. But this is by far my favorite from Wings. I turned this on this past weekend at a party and everyone got so psyched up. I always think of this song when I fly. Every summer I fly Jet Blue and this song always comes into my head at the airport.
- Christopher, Marlboro, NJ
What a powerhouse of a rocker.I think Paul when he wanted to could rock with the best of them.His rock songs are exciting and melodic.Jet soars high as a straight forward rock song Paul really rips into the ending with his rough sounding vocals.Great rock song.
- George, Belleville, NJ
Oops, I should have watched the video before pontificating. He does sing "place" rather than "face." My bad.

Speaking of bad, that's one bad mullet Sir Paul has sprouted in that video.
- MrCleaveland, Cleveland,
I believe the correct lyric is "I thought the only lonely FACE is on the moon" rather than "the only lonely PLACE . . ."

I could be wrong. But I don't think so.
- MrCleaveland, Cleveland,
"Jet" is acually about a horse that Paul and Linda had in the early 70's
- Barry, Austin, TX
The song is (loosely) about the modernization of the African continent, and its relation to Mater Earth.
- mack, albany, NY
Whoever thought this song is about John Lennon is wrong. The Beatles never used the name Jet at any time in their career or before they became famous. My opinion was always that this song is about Linda, because her father was not very happy about her intention of marrying Paul. He wouldn't have written another song commenting about John/Yoko's marriage because he had already recorded "The Ballad of John and Yoko" with John when John asked him to record it with him at Abbey Road. I agree that Paul also stopped caring about whether his song lyrics made sense or not.
- roberta, Washington, DC
yeah, I also think this is a reference to Bowie...listen to the synth zooming on the background of both "Jet" and "Suffragette City"...funny, they both produce "A" note (just different octaves), but their tone is the same!

p.s. great song!
- Valentin, Beijing, China
I'd never thought about the "meaning" of this song one way or another but the Beatle/Bowie angle is really cool and interesting. I'm going to go listen to it with fresh ears.
I thoght the major was a lady Suffragette - well of course! "Major Tom"!

As far as the song being *about* anything or anyone,well, an artist isn't necessarily going to completely, word for word literal. Can't you imagine a new puppy getting yelled at a lot ("Jet! Stop it" Jet! put that down" etc) ? That "Jet!" could easily have become the germ of a song. So the song is filled out and has bits and pieces of other things, references, imagery, poetic license and so on. Eventually the song is something new, telling it's own story.
(heck - there could even be a tip o' the hat to Elton John; Bennie and the Jets".
- hilary, New York, NY
Often, Paul's song lyrics make no sense. John Lennon pointed that out. Paul writes the tune first and if he doesn't have a complete lyric to go with it, he'll throw in good-sounding lines that fit (or "scan") they melody. Jet is the perfect example. Paul had a great rock melody and just used good sounding lines and words that didn't have to, as a whole, make sense.
- Ken, Louisville, KY
Si from London, Are you numb??! Why would you EVER come on this page and write that you would like to SLAP Paul McCartney. Paul can write about anything he fancies and every song he makes is amazing.It doesn't matter if the song is about a human or an animal, the song itself is phenomenal and I would like to see you come up with something better. I think that Jet is about a lot of things, the lyrics are very odd, and that's what makes the song. Paul has always had a love for animals and who cares if it's about his dog or not. It's music. Listen to some of John's strange lyrics.
- Britt, Boston, MA
I heard - maybe true, maybe not - that Paul was sitting there writing a song to his dog. He figured that the dog couldn't understand English, so it didn't matter what the words were. He just strung together some words that sounded interesting together.
- Tim, Harrisburg, PA
I have no idea what half of the words in this song mean, but it's amazing. Also,just because it's inspired by the dog doesn't mean it was ABOUT the dog.
- K, nowhere, ON
I got to see Paul at Fedex Field with my dad and uncle. It waz way way fun=)
- Claire, Miller's, MD
This song is amazingy energetic and happy! I think it is probably about the puppy, which is hilarious and so much like Paul, considering how "Martha My Dear" was about his Sheepdog. He's just in love with his pets!
- helbs, liverpool, Austria
very confusing lyrics but great song performed live real punch and energy.one of wings best numbers
- mal, dudley, United Kingdom
I think it's about the Suffragette Movement wanting the vote - but then any bird who wants to chain herself to my railings and suffer a JET movement gets my vote!
- leonard, Jetland, Armenia
Uh, folks, all that interpretation is very interesting, but in this song, Jet is obviously a woman.
- MrCleaveland, Cleveland,
"JET woooooohoooooowooooohoooooo" love this song, its all happy and warm and stuff, makes me wanna do a spritley jig:)
- nady, adelaide, Australia
I agree Paul might have been doing a bit of a shout out to Bowie, but to say that's all that line is is denying the obvious. The songs talks about the father (Major) objecting to the girls decision to marry, a lady Suffragette would be someone who supports woman's right to vote i.e. make decisions. Hence, i thought the major was a lady suffragette : I thought the major supported woman's right to decide. So why is he denying hers?
- Ad, Brantford, ON
Jeremy, I like your interpretation, though I think the words don't matter much, it's the feel of the song that does.
- Adam, Portland, OR
Jet Jet
- David, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Writers write what they know. Verily, therefore, I say unto thee: this song is about John, Jon, hair and philios love. And hate. And with a smidge Lucy of course, which always helped the Beatles write a great song.
- johnee, GrandioseIsland, NE
Jet is an aircraft, capable of high altitude and sub-supersonic speed. I flew one over Turkey in 1971, mapping the mountains of Ararat in search of a wooden artifact. This song maps the event.
John Henry Begay, Kirtland
- John, Kirtland, NM
heres my break down of the song. It mostly refers to john lennon and david bowie (who were close friends). "jet" is what hes calling john lennon by. (the beatles used to use the name Jet before they became famous). "I Can Almost Remember Their Funny Faces That Time You Told Me That You Were Going To Be Marrying Soon." that is talking about john lennons marriage to yoko ono. "the only lonely place was on the moon" is saying how paul thought john always seemed sadder and more lonely deep down when he was with yoko (yoko completed changed him). "Jet! Was Your Father As Bold As A Sergeant Major?" that line is refering to johns father who was a merchant marine. "I Thought The Major
Was A Lady" paul thought david bowie looked like a woman. "Suffragette." refering to bowies song "suffragette city". "mater" is the british way of saying "mother". Pauls asking "do i always want john to love me?" then he ends that part by just saying "much later" (this is when they werent even on speaking terms). and finally "the wind in your hair of 1000 laces" is refering to john growing his hair out. "climb on the back and well go for a ride in the sky" is a quick but still there Lucy in the sky reference...thats what ive put together.
- jeremy, michigan, MI
I thought this song has excellent lyrics, in that they don't have some specific petty meaning, they can mean what you want them to mean. If you're looking for some deep message in a Paul McCartney song you're barking up the wrong tree anyways. (And please, please, no backward messages you claim to hear either!) The song has a nice pseudo-glam groove, there's a bass synthesiser (probably an arp 2600) running behind everything.
- Liquid Len, Ottawa, Canada
I think this is a beautiful and sexy song. I thought it was about a girl that he was in love with and that she had a strict father (who would not let her marry him because of his age) The lyrics "How come he told you that you were hardly old enough yet" is what made me think this. I thought at the end of the song they climb on the back of his horse and ride of in the sunset.
- Danae, Bakersfield, CA
A great track. Paul was always known for his sweet ballads, but he could bang out some heavy rock songs when the mood struck him.
- michael, Kearny, NJ
In a rather delayed response, which Bowie admitted to in a Cream interview some years later, he offered Paul 1983's "Let's Dance," after he finally figured out what "Jet" was about. Asking Paul to 'put on his red shoes & dance the blues' was Bowie's way of suggesting that the songwriter go back to his skiffle roots. But skiffle didn't rhyme with shoes (his first draft being: 'don't sniffle, let's hear more skiffle, let's dance.'
- Basil, Skylark Sound City, MT
It´s one of his best of the Wings period and its a song about his little rabbit.
- Asef, Silkeborg, Denmark
This song references David Bowie. Bowie had just made it as a star and McCartney thought he looked like a women. Hence the line " I thought the Major, was a little lady. "Major Tom". Right after that he says Suffragette, referring to "Suffragette City".
- Tommy, Flanders, NJ
like the song hate the band not the beatles or wings i hate the band jet
- elie, the u.k, England
Hmmm...great song, I always thought that Jet referred to John Lennon (the remarks about the looks on the faces of the press/fans when he announce his upcoming marriage to Yoko)McCartney's love/hate relationship with Lennon after the breakup of The Beatles, references to Lennon's father who was in the merchant marine, I think (was he bold as a sergeant major)...and maybe an oblique reference to Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (go for a ride in the sky). Whatever. This song can get you pumped.
- Rick, Clare, MI
Yeah, I thought it was one of his horses. WHO CARES if it's about or inspired by his horse or dog?! Personally, I think it's awesome that Paul loves animals. I do too.
- Sylvia, London, England
I thought Jet was one of Paul's horses?
- Kristina, small town, NE
Jet was the name the Beatles sometimes went by in their early Hamburg, Germany gigs before they made it big.
- Mick, Las Vegas, NV
Si in London, England, no it doesn't make me wanna slap Paul McCartney. I like this song alot, and if orgins of songs bother you you must hate The Beatles...like "Day Tripper"
- Tim, Dalton, MA
If anyone doubts smoking dope will turn your brain to mush, in the long run, compare the lyrics of "Yesterday" or "Eleanor Rigby" to this idiotic piece of crap!
- Frank, Westminster, SC
Jet is also the street name for Ketamine, Whoa!
- crzy_ray, Las Vegas, NV
The lyrics aren't necessarily about the dog- it just says that it was inspired by the dog. And why should that make you feel slightly nauseous?
Why should you mind where he gets his inspiration when it's a fantastic song?
- Bex, Leeds, England
I don't see how the lyrics can apply to a dog, no matter how obsessed he might have been with the little pooch. I mean, really. "I thought you was a lady suffaragette?" Who mistakes their pet dog for a women's voting rights' activist from the turn of the century? And, softie or not, I don't see someone getting down on the floor, snuggling their lab and saying, "Want fido to always love me, yes I do, there's a good dog, yes, always love me." Any citations or anything to back up the puppy claim?
- NickC, Ft. Wayne, IN
Yeah Paul was a real softie, like the opposite of John. That's what made them such a great team :-).
- Kelly, Burbank, CA
Was it really inspired by his Labrador puppy? Bloody hell, I feel slightly nauseous now. Doesn't it just make you want to slap him?
- Si, London, England
The new rock band "Jet" named themselves after this song because the whole band liked it.
- John, West Covina, CA
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