Once Upon a Long Ago

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
"Once Upon a Long Ago"
Single by Paul McCartney
from the album All the Best!
B-side "Back On My Feet"
Released 16 November 1987 (7" single, CD single)
23 November 1987 (12" single)
Format 7", 12", CD,
Recorded March 1987
Genre Rock
Length 4:08
Label MPL Communications
Parlophone Records
Writer(s) Paul McCartney
Producer(s) Phil Ramone
Paul McCartney singles chronology
"Only Love Remains"
"Once Upon a Long Ago"
"My Brave Face"

"Once Upon a Long Ago" is a Paul McCartney song, released as his fortieth single on 16 November 1987, as part of his compilation All the Best!, released two weeks before the single. The track was produced by Phil Ramone and mixed by George Martin, and features violin by Nigel Kennedy.[1]

It was reported in a 2011 biography[which?] that the origin of this song is with the film The Princess Bride. McCartney was approached by Director Rob Reiner to compose a couple of songs and the incidental music for the film. Reiner rejected as "too sentimental" the two songs Paul submitted: "Once Upon a Long Ago" and "Beautiful Night" and contracted with Mark Knopfler to complete the soundtrack.


The track was recorded at Hog Hill Studio on March 11 and 12, 1987 with overdubs added in Abbey Road in December. During this session, a full orchestra was overdubbed as well as instrumental contributions by Stan Sulzmann (sax), Nigel Kennedy (violin), and Adrian Brett (flute).[2]

Release and charts[edit]

The song was released in four versions. The 7" single features the album version from All the Best!, two different 12" singles feature long and extended versions respectively, and the CD single (McCartney's first) uses the 7"/album version and a b-side from each the two 12" singles, as well as "Back on My Feet", a b-side for all four iterations. "Back on My Feet" was also the first released song from the songwriting collaboration between McCartney and Elvis Costello. Both 12" and CD singles also featured songs from yet to be released McCartney's cover album Choba B CCCP.

"Once Upon a Long Ago" reached number ten in the United Kingdom Singles Chart,[3] McCartney's last Top 10 in his homeland until the release of FourFiveSeconds in 2015. The single was not released in the United States nor included on the US version of All the Best!, although it did appear on the longer UK/Canada version. The song has remained unavailable on any US released album, although it is a bonus track on the 1993 UK remastered version of Press to Play - the 1993 remastered Paul McCartney Collection has never been released in the US.

Track listings[edit]

7" single (R 6170)
  1. "Once Upon a Long Ago" - 4:12
  2. "Back on My Feet" - 4:20
12" single, version one (12R 6170)
  1. "Once Upon a Long Ago" (Long Version) - 4:34
  2. "Back on My Feet" - 4:21
  3. "Midnight Special" - 3:56
  4. "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" - 2:51
12" single, version two (12RX 6170)
  1. "Once Upon a Long Ago" (Extended Version) - 6:06
  2. "Back on My Feet" - 4:21
  3. "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" - 3:15
  4. "Kansas City" - 4:00
CD single (CDR 6170)
  1. "Once Upon a Long Ago" - 4:12
  2. "Back on My Feet" - 4:21
  3. "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" - 2:51
  4. "Kansas City" - 4:00


  1. ^ "Once Upon a Long Ago". JPGR. 2000. Retrieved 2013-09-25. 
  2. ^ Luca Perasi, Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013), L.I.L.Y. Publishing, 2013, ISBN 978-88-909122-1-4, pp.265-267.
  3. ^ "Official Charts: Paul McCartney". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 2011-10-13.