Two Magpies

Album: Electric Arguments (2008)

Songfacts®:

  • This is the latest Paul McCartney song whose title mentions a bird - the magpie is a bird found mostly in European countries, which is similar to crows and jays. Other winged creature Macca titles include "Blackbird" for the Beatles' White Album, "Bluebird" for Wings' 1973 LP Band on the Run and "Jenny Wren" for the former Beatle's 2005 solo set Chaos and Creation in the Backyard. McCartney told The Sun November 28, 2008: "I've always liked birds. It's a theme of mine. I think they're symbolic of freedom, of flying away. As a kid, I was a keen ornithologist and had a little pocket book, the Observer's Book Of Birds. I lived on the outskirts of Liverpool and could walk just a mile to be in quite deep countryside."
  • At the end of the song, a little girl says, "I want to play piano." That's McCartney's daughter, Beatrice, who was in the recording studio at the time. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jk - Elmwood Park, IL
  • The tabloid press have been quick to look for references in the album's lyrics to Sir Paul's former wife Heather Mills. For instance it has been claimed that this simple acoustic song's title is a reference to Ms. Mills and her sister Fiona, trying to squeeze hundreds of millions of pounds out of the former Beatle in the divorce case. In an article in the Daily Mail it was claimed that McCartney named the song as a dig at the sisters as magpies are known for their love of shiny trinkets and jewelry, which they take for their nests. An alternative interpretation of the song's name is based on the fact that Heather and Fiona grew up in Newcastle, in the North East of England. The city's football club is nicknamed The Magpies because of the black and white football strip their players wear.
  • This song includes the expression "one for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four for a boy." McCartney told The Sun that the only thing he's superstitious about is magpies. He explained: "Living in the country, I see a lot of them. You see one and you spit or salute. I happen to spit. I love it when you see two for joy. I don't shoot or catch them like a lot of people. They're not supposed to be good for other songbirds and a lot of keen gardeners don't like them, but I do. I've got lots. To me, it's double joy or triple joy. I'm very inspired on a spring morning if I see a crowd of eight."

Comments: 1

  • Arthur Danhiez from BelgiumDoes anybody know if the lyrics are related to Pellinor's lament in TH White's the queen of air and darkness (the witch in the forest) ? it somewhat shares some lyrics. i'm reading it in french but this is the translation in english : I saw seven magpies, one for sorrow, two for joy, three for a wedding, four for a boy.
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