Paul McCartney wrote this with Denny Laine, his bandmate in Wings. The song is a tribute to the Kintyre Peninsula in Scotland where Paul and his wife Linda had a farm. The Mull is the area at the tip of the peninsula, known for its beautiful scenery and tranquil atmosphere. After a difficult breakup with The Beatles, McCartney went there to avoid a nervous breakdown.
This was barely noticed in the US, but in Britain it was the best-selling single of the '70s, selling in excess of 2 million copies, which was more than any Beatles record. The US single was actually a bigger hit for its B-side, "Girls' School", than for this song. It peaked at #33 early in 1978.
The UK sales figures are astonishing: when the Official Charts company compiled a list in 2012 of the top-selling singles of all time, "Mull Of Kintyre/Girls' School" was #4, just below "Bohemian Rhapsody."
In an amazing coincidence, the biggest hit singles of the 1970s in the UK and US - this song and Debby Boone's "You Light Up My Life," respectively - had virtually simultaneous chart runs. Even their reigns at #1 in their respective countries overlapped for 2 weeks in December 1977.
Suggestion credit: Joshua - La Crosse, WI, for above 2
In the UK, this is the biggest hit featuring bagpipes, which give the song a Scottish feel. They were played by the Campbeltown Pipe Band of Campbeltown, Scotland.
Monte from Prescott, Arizona UsaBeing Celtic on bot' sides o' me family, I dearly love dis wonderfully simple, haunting tune. Da words 'tis alsa very movin'. T'ank ya, Sir Paul!!
Don from Sevierville, TnI have heard that when Paul performs in the USA, he won't perform this song since it wasn't popular here. I think it's all the more reason he should perform it here, to get his fans familiar with the song. But maybe it is my bias. I'm American, but I was living in Germany when this song came out.
Maggie from St Paul, MnFirst heard/saw this song on a Celtic Thunder special on PBS. Loved it instantly! Never realized that it was Sir Paul's song! Very Cool!!!
Stephen from Melbourne, AustraliaThere is a verse missing from the lyrics page for this song. It reads as follows. Smiles in the sunshine and tears in the rain Still take me back where my memories remain Flickering embers grow higher and higher as they carry me back to the mull of kintyre
Richard from Mechanicville, NyI never knew this was a McCartney song. I first heard it on a Public Radio station by a different singer. I was so captivated by it but could never seem to find it. I thought the name was Mull of Gintah. Needless to say google was useless. Recently, I came across the real name and author. I was quite surprised because I was under the impression that it was a Scottish folk tune. I'm born and bred in America but ancestry goes back to England, Ireland, and Scottland. I have to laugh at those who don't like the song. You see it's in the blood, If you don't have it, you can't get it. If you do, the sound of bagpipes grabs your throat and squeezes til tears stream down your cheeks. If it's not bred into you, you'll never get it. Thank You, Paul McCartney for touching the hearts of those with a love of the land that so many, lacking heart, want to pave over.
Stella from London, United KingdomI first heard this song on a radio in Leeds as I was leaving to travel to Glasgow by train to see my family. Whenever I hear the song I have mental images of the journey by train along the tracks running through from Motherwell up through south east Glasgow into Glasgow Central railway station and memories of the train pulling into Glasgow Central station and arriving in Glasgow. Home. Happy memories.
Chris from San Francisco, CaOnce again Paul has written an instant classic that has already become a timeless anthem. It almost sounds like one of these anonymous medieval songs that carry on through the centuries. Paul's the best. And John and Paul are the best.
Lonnie from North Liberty, Inbought wings greatest around '79 or so. didn't particully care for this song (probably because I was young & it was the only song on the lp I wasn't familiar with). 30 years later I personally think it's a masterpeice!
Scott from Kings Park, NyI don't get it either....if you compare it to Yesterday, there is no comparison! This song sounds like his recent stuff....just "OK" but not classic McCartney-Lennon stuff.
Ken from Louisville, KyThis was the ear of disco. Paul later said that he wanted to write and perform the most NON disco-ish song he could. He thought disco was flooding the market and there would be an audience for something completely different.
Jason from Denver, CoI recently purchsed the CD called "Wingspan".When I heard this song, it reminded me of my trip to Scotland and to the Scotish highlands. If ANYONE should get this opportunity, I highly recommend it.
Thomas from Forth, AustraliaLove it, my mum sang me to sleep with it when I was a baby. Thomas, Forth, Tasmania
Raul from Lima, PeruWith all my respect, I think that Paul has much better songs, I really can't understand why this song was such a hit (I don't mean it is a bad song, but I don't find it so extraordinary) I bought the single in the 70's for "Girls school"
Helen from Boston, MaI love this song it actually makes me cry when I hear it as I had two wonderful parents who were born and bread in Scotland and anytime I hear a song like this it reminds me of them. They were the salt of the earth and I am not the only one who thinks that. Hooray for Paul McCartney to record this song it shows me where his heart is and the love he has for the wonderful people who reside there. Alba go bragh!!!!!!!
Dave from Lacrosse, WiI really love this song. It smacks of Celtic folk music. Its much different than most of the Wings' stuff.
Carol from Kamuela, HiMy husband gave this song to my family to use when we were seeing my Father off. You see he passed away early in December and we are of Scottish blood. This was the perfect song to sing him back to our ancestors. The Thomson/Frasier Clan thank you Mylo
Andrea from Scotland Now Mobile , AlI'm from Scotland and loved it. I spent 3 years in a town not far from the Mull of Kintyre growing up. This song still gives me chills. Great job!
Daniel from Perth, AustraliaThe Bagpipes are so mad goosebumps are in order
Jay from Syracuse, NyIf you've ever tried to write a song, you marvel at the compositional brilliance of this work. Anyone who thinks McCartney's just a freak genius who pours out whatever's in his head should listen to this to appreciate that he knows what he's doing. Listen to the carefully, unexpectedly extended phrases, the unbelievably tactful rhyming, the sheer, deliberate mastery of the folk ballad form. Richard Rodgers, Jerome Kern, Gershwin--you name them--could not do better with a similar "assignment." The fact that McCartney believes his own writing in this case (not always the case with the facile Macca), makes this very moving and memorable work.
Jim from New Castle, PaIn my opinion, this is Paul McCartney's best post-Beatles work. How can you listen to it and not get goose bumps? Maybe it's just my Scottish blood, but I could listen to this song all day, every day.
Dave from Cardiff, WalesThis song is not "horrible", it is "simplistic" and "heartfelt", and despite the fact that it was met with disdain by critics at the time, it has defied that disdain to become one of the biggest-sellers in history - over 2 million copies, so they must have done something right. You either love it, or you hate it...
Eric from Port St Lucie, FlI saw a video of this song when I was very young and watching them on the cliff of the property,with the bagpipe band playing on the beach and 100s of people joining in as a singalong in the latter part of the song gave me goose bumps. I have never forgotten the song and own the Wings Greatest Hits CD. I love every song on that CD; but Mull of Kintyre is still my favorite on it. GREAT JOB PAUL !!! You are my hero.
Danny from Upstate, NyYou have to like the genre to like the song.
James from Ronkonkoma, NyReally wonderful song. The only song I like that actually has a bagpipe solo. From the responses, I guess you either love this song or hate it.
Jason from Dorset, EnglandThis is a Horrible Song , He Has Done a Hell Of a Lot of better songs than this .
Paul from Arlington, TxThis is the 4th top selling UK single of all time.
John from Boston, MaThis song is awful? I never been to Britian, even though I am part British, and this song is amazing. The lyrics are poet-like, the music was great, just a great song.
Pete from Aberdeen, ScotlandTo be pedantic about it , the Mull of Kintyre is a peninsula rather than an island , altho' it can be referred to as a 'mainland island' as in:
The Kintyre peninsula , Scotland's only "mainland island" , was made famous by the Paul McCartney song Mull of Kintyre.
I'm Scottish/British , never owned a copy and never wanted to , even altho' my boyhood friend and band mate Johnny Thomson , played drums thereon(Rock 'n' Roll , it ain't - Rock 'n' Roll is American in origin and something which we Brits eagerly and lovingly embraced.....like a drowning man clutching a log.....now if only you could get rid of the current incumbent in the White House , things could get back to normal). Thanks for all these rock 'n' roll memories , brothers and sisters!
Ken from Louisville, KyPaul McCartney was afraid that the single wouldn't sell in the U.S. beacuse of the nature of it - it's a Scottish folk song. So he put a raunchy, near-pornographic song called "Girls School" on the B-side, in hopes of getting some U.S. sales.
Pete from Nowra, Australiathought he was singing about Mulligans Tyres
Jordan from Ontario, Canadayou must have to be British to get this song-- its absolutely horrible
Shell from Riverdale, GaAn acquaintance of mine who is a London native said that when this song came out it was so popular that you were very nearly considered un-British if you didn't have a copy of it.
Ted from Loveland, Co9 weeks at #1 - 17 weeks on chart
Si from London, EnglandAnd one of the most awful singles of all time.
Tom from Trowbridge, EnglandThis was #1 for 9 weeks in the UK and is the 4th top selling UK single of all time.