Winter Bird / When Winter Comes

Album: McCartney III (2020)
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Songfacts®:

  • This is the closing track of McCartney III, the last of a trilogy of eponymous solo albums recorded by Paul McCartney. Like 1970's McCartney and 1980's McCartney II, the ex-Beatle played all the instruments and assumed the role of producer.

    McCartney laid down the album in his home studio on his Sussex farm during the COVID-19 lockdown. This was the song that sparked the record's creation.
  • McCartney originally recorded "When Winter Comes" back in 1992 with producer George Martin. While locked down, he decided to resurrect the tune and have an animated short film made to accompany it. Macca expanded the original track, wrote "Winter Bird" for the film's opening credits, then came up with the other new songs that led to McCartney III.
  • "When Winter Comes" extolls the virtues of simple domesticity. McCartney described the song's theme to NME as "kind of an idealistic thing, a hippy existence on a farm, planting trees, mending fences and living the good life, which is something I like."
  • Though McCartney wrote the song in the early '90s, he told The Sun it reminded him of the time 20 years earlier when he when he and his late wife Linda escaped to Scotland from the turmoil of The Beatles split. There, they lived a simple existence on the Mull of Kintyre, where McCartney had owned High Park Farm since 1966.

    "We ran away basically," he explained. "I was a young parent and we were just starting to bring up our family. The idea of fixing a fence or digging a ditch or planting a tree was nice to me. It was romantic and practical. When Winter Comes is harking back to that and it's something I still love. I love getting my hands dirty."
  • Children's artist Geoff Dunbar directed the pastoral animated video, which shows a rural farmer and his family getting ready for the winter. Dunbar also worked with McCartney on the animated children's film Rupert and the Frog Song.

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