Take It Away

Album: Tug Of War (1982)
Charted: 15 10
Play Video


  • This upbeat song is Paul McCartney's most successful as a solo artist in the early '80s.
  • The video had a lot of production value for the time. It looks like it's about the discovery of McCartney's group Wings, although they had broken up by then.
  • Linda McCartney sang backup vocals (and is prominent in the video) and Ringo Starr played drums. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Mike - Santa Barbara, CA, for all above

Comments: 21

  • Odysseus from NationwideI want to say that I remember this song being (lip-synched not played) on "Bandstand" and I remember the camera focusing on Dick Clark (with a piece of paper rolled up in his hand) as the lyrics "some important impresario, has a message for the band" played. Am I imagining this or does anyone else remember this in this way?
  • AnonymousAn excellent bass line to boot!
  • Jennifer from Tampa@Oscar Molina, pienso que dixon, "iniciar la musica"
  • Oscar Molina C. from LimaHello, I do not speak English, if not Spanish. I really like the song but I do not know what the chorus "Take it away" means, I do not know what exactly it means in my language. Would someone help me? Thank you
  • Seventhmist from 7th HeavenI always thought it odd that Ringo was just one of TWO drummers in this song, at least according to the liner notes. Steve Gadd is also credited.
  • Michael Fox from Rochester NyKieran, Technically it's correct. Ebony & Ivory was a duet, so technically not a "SOLO" single and Coming Up's hit version was the live version which is credited to Paul McCartney & Wings as it's from their concert in Glasgow from 1979. Say Say Say and The Girl Is Mine, which charted higher are also duets and a few others, while they hit higher, weren't on the charts as long (No More Lonely Nights & Spies Like Us). So yes, technically this is his biggest "SOLO" hit.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn July 4th 1982, "Take It Away" by Paul McCartney entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #55; and on August 15th it peaked at #10 (for 5 weeks) and spent 16 weeks on the Top 100...
    It was his fourth record since 1973 that peaked at #10 on the Top 100; started with "Hi, Hi, Hi" (for 1 week, with Wings), "Helen Wheels" (for 1 week, with Wings), "Maybe I'm Amazed" (for 1 week, with Wings), and finally this one as a solo artist...
    Sir Paul celebrated his 72nd birthday sixteen days ago on June 18th, 2014.
  • Kieran from Melville, NyThis is also not McCartneys most successful solo song of the early 80's as mentioned above. His solo song "Coming Up" from McCartney II(1980) went to number 1 on Hot 100 in early 1980. So "Coming Up" charted higher then "Take it Away" (reached #10) and was released before it. Also "Ebony and Ivory" the first single released from Pauls Tug of War (1982) before "Take it Away" (Tug of War) reached number 1 on Hot 100. It was written solely by McCartney, but was a duet with Stevie Wonder. But it was on Pauls solo album Tug of War. So their are two songs that charted higher then "Take it Away" and were released before it. So "Take it Away" is in no way the most successful solo song of Pauls from the early 80's. Please try and post truthful comments or facts and check your sources. Is there anyway to update the facts above? This charted at #10 and was his third highest charting song of early 80's after "Coming Up" and "Ebony and Ivory" (both number 1's on Hot 100).
  • Kieran from Melville, NyGeorge Martin also plays piano on the song. He didn't just "play" the keyboard player in the music video. Great song though, love the reggae intro (definitely a Linda influence she loved reggae). The vocal harmonies arrangement are very Beatlesque. Paul is also playing his legendary Hofner violin bass in the music video. Yes the video is based on The Beatles early performing career. The video actually follow the lyrics exactly even showing flowers for the line flowers in a jar. The Beatles used to practice in McCartneys front living room. So video opens up with them playing in a living room that resembles Pauls old house. Then it shows them recording and the producer not looking interested or paying attention. Then it shows Kurt Hurt driving and hearing the song followed by them performing and Hurt attending. It closes with Hurt having Linda sign most likely a contract in secret but Paul sees it. Paul then spills hurts drink while toasting/cheersing. I believe that Hurt is suppose to represent sleazy mana g ers my guess would be a pun on Allen Klein. Or possibly Epstein because he did make a lot of money off The Beatles based off bad contracts in their early days.
  • Esskayess from Dallas, TxFunny that this was the 2nd hit song in 1982 to have the phrase "sole survivor" it in, that also being the title of the Asia song that came out a few months earlier.
  • Joe from Grants Pass, OrEric Stewart ( 10 cc ) on guitar and vocals here - ( production value also ) kinda obvious !!
  • Alfred from Calexico,, CaGreat song- I always felt that he was talking about the beatles in this song- the character played by john Hurt, seemed to be alluding to brian Epstein,and how he used to go to the Cavern club int the early days to watch the Beatles play. awb Calexico,ca.
  • Aimee from Plant City, FlExcellent song from truly one of the most iconic people in my lifetime!
  • Jesse from Madison, WiDon't forget the song also featured the inimitable Steve Gadd playing the "alternate" drum parts. Ringo played the more straight-ahead beats during the choruses. A great album by Paul.
  • Joe from Grants Pass, OrEric Stewart (of 10cc ) is also featured.
  • George from Belleville, NjThis song is proof that Paul still had great songwriting ability after all those years of writing classics.This is another winner,a very catchy melodic pop song.A pleasurable listening experience.
  • Chris from Port Hawkesbury, NsThis was the last truly great song I heard from Paul, it has a touch of his old style and quality.
  • Steve from Ny, Ny...listen closely...Paul takes a deep breath before he begins singing the opening line "Take it Away, wanna hear you play till the lights go down"...
  • Erik from Bloomfield Hills, MiA very overlooked and underrated song by McCartney.
  • Mark from London, EnglandThe video featuers the actor John Hurt.
  • Ken from Louisville, KyThis song is about musicians always doing their best, because "you never know who may be lisenting to you." In the "band" in the music video, the keyboard player was played by George Martin, who produced the song and album.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Dexys (Kevin Rowland and Jim Paterson)

Dexys (Kevin Rowland and Jim Paterson)Songwriter Interviews

"Come On Eileen" was a colossal '80s hit, but the band - far more appreciated in their native UK than stateside - released just three albums before their split. Now, Dexys is back.

Who's Johnny, And Why Does He Show Up In So Many Songs

Who's Johnny, And Why Does He Show Up In So Many SongsSong Writing

For songwriters, Johnny represents the American man. He has been angry, cool, magic, a rebel and, of course, marching home.

Laura Nyro

Laura NyroSongwriting Legends

Laura Nyro talks about her complex, emotionally rich songwriting and how she supports women's culture through her art.

Little Richard

Little RichardFact or Fiction

Was Long Tall Sally a cross-dresser? Did he really set his piano on fire? See if you know the real stories about one of rock's greatest innovators.

P.F. Sloan

P.F. SloanSongwriter Interviews

P.F. was a teenager writing hits and playing on tracks for Jan & Dean when he wrote a #1 hit that got him blackballed.

Mike Scott of The Waterboys - "Fisherman's Blues"

Mike Scott of The Waterboys - "Fisherman's Blues"They're Playing My Song

Armed with a childhood spent devouring books, Mike Scott's heart was stolen by the punk rock scene of 1977. Not surprisingly, he would go on to become the most literate of rockers.