On My Way to Work

Songfacts®:

  • This elegant ballad finds McCartney recalling his time working as a driver's mate for Speedy Prompt Delivery in Liverpool. He told The Observer: "That's all remembrances from Liverpool. The bus, top deck, me going to work… The specific work I was thinking of was my first job, as a second man on a lorry. The second man helps the driver unload when you get to the destination; the driver is the first man. He was very nice, my first man, because I was always knackered, and he would let me sleep. I would help load up the lorry, then get in and just sleep until we got half an hour from the destination, when he'd wake me up: 'Oi, look lively!'"

    "So, that was one of my jobs," he added. "I was also a coil winder in a factory. But there was always the bus involved to get there, you know; nobody had a car. Big green buses, always the upper deck, for a ciggie, getting to work, clocking on…"
  • This song was produced by Giles Martin, who worked on the Beatles's Cirque du Soleil show in Vegas. His father is legendary Beatles knob-turner George Martin. Martin jnr told NME: "My dad came in when we were doing the strings for 'On My Way To Work,' just to say hi, which was weird. You feel like a bit of an idiot, going 'I shouldn't be here – you should."
  • McCartney took the song title from a book by the artist Damien Hirst that he saw in an art catalogue. When Paul saw it, he thought, "What would that mean to me?"
  • McCartney pulled other memories for the song of Liverpool buses where he lived as a kid in Western Avenue, Speke. He recalled to Mojo magazine: "It's a big dual carriageway and that was the end of the bus route from Pier Head. We would rifle through the bins on the bus before they were cleaned looking for ciggy packets, as we collected them like American kids collected baseball cards. And it became like in the song, a symbol of life, people come and go, smoking cigarettes."

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