Call Me Back Again

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"Call Me Back Again"
Song by Wings
from the album Venus and Mars
Published McCartney Music Ltd./ATV Music Ltd.
Released 27 May 1975
Recorded 3 February 1975
Genre Blues rock
Length 4:58
Label Capitol Records
Songwriter(s) Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney
Producer(s) Paul McCartney
Venus and Mars track listing
13 tracks
Side one
  1. "Venus and Mars"
  2. "Rock Show"
  3. "Love in Song"
  4. "You Gave Me the Answer"
  5. "Magneto and Titanium Man"
  6. "Letting Go"
Side two
  1. "Venus and Mars (Reprise)"
  2. "Spirits of Ancient Egypt"
  3. "Medicine Jar"
  4. "Call Me Back Again"
  5. "Listen to What the Man Said"
  6. "Treat Her Gently/Lonely Old People"
  7. "Crossroads Theme"

"Call Me Back Again" is a song credited to Paul and Linda McCartney and performed by Wings. It was originally released on the album Venus and Mars.[1] It was performed throughout their world tours in Australia and America and a live version was included on the album Wings Over America.[1] It was also included on the compilation album Wingspan: Hits and History.[1] The song was also included on the theatrical version of the film Rockshow, documenting the Wings 1976 tour, but was excluded from the laserdisc version of the film.[2]

The song was also used as McCartney's entry on the iTunes exclusive 4-track Beatles EP 4: John Paul George Ringo, released in 2014.

Writing and lyrics[edit]

McCartney primarily wrote the song at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, California in 1974 and completed the song in New Orleans, Louisiana, where most of the recording sessions for Venus and Mars, including those for "Call Me Back Again," took place.[3][4] Although the song does not reference the city of New Orleans, it is one of the few songs on Venus and Mars to betray the influence of the city.[4] The song is a bluesy New Orleans-style soul ballad.[3][4][5] Paul Nelson of Rolling Stone Magazine described it as being "well-sung" and "urban-blues-and-Sixties-soul-influenced."[6] The lyrics tell of the singer's grief that his girlfriend no longer returns his phone calls.[1] Although the phone calls from his girlfriend used to bring him joy, now that she stopped returning his calls he pleads for her to call him back again.[3] Allmusic critic Donald A. Guarisco compares the lyrics to lyrics in classic singles by such soul singers as Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding.[1]


"Call Me Back Again" is in the key of F major and in 12/8 time.[3] The structure is relatively simple, alternating the verse and the refrain, with an intro and an outro at the beginning and end.[3] The melody incorporates gospel music elements.[1] The song incorporates a prominent horn part arranged by Tony Dorsey.[1][5] Other instrumentation includes what Guarisco describes as "searing guitar riffs and pulsating piano lines."[1]

McCartney's vocal performance has received considerable praise from critics. John Blaney describes his singing as "a killer vocal that underlines a recording to relish," which "has a depth of emotion rarely equaled and reveals what a supreme vocalist he is."[4] Guarisco described his singing as "a wild-eyed wail of a vocal that is a perfect blend of soulful grit and rock energy."[1] Vincent Benitez particularly praised the vocal performance in the outro, stating that "McCartney shines as a bluesy vocal soloist, ad-libbing as the music fades out."[3] In the book The Rough Guide to the Beatles, Chris Ingham noted a similarity between McCartney's vocal in "Call Me Back Again" and that in The Beatles' song "Oh! Darling," although he considered "Call Me Back Again" to be "an inert sludge rocker."[7] Author Tim Riley also remarked on the similarity between "Call Me Back Again" and "Oh! Darling."[8] Robert Rodriguez, calling the song "a piano-based soul shouter" took the "Oh! Darling" analogy further, stating that it "fully achieved what the Fabs' 'Oh! Darling' only hinted at, with a full-throated vocal unheard since the coda of 'Hey, Jude' seven years before."[9] McCartney himself stated "I ended up just sort of ad-libbing a bit, stretching out a bit. I like that myself. I had a chance to sing."[4]

Although the lyrics seem straightforward, music professor Vincent Benitez has postulated a possible alternative interpretation. Benitez notes that in the documentary Wingspan-An Intimate Portrait, intersperses a live performance of "Call Me Back Again" with McCartney's explanation of a short poem he had written at the time about his feelings about the possibility of a Beatles reunion:[3]

The Beatles split up in '69,
and since then they've been doing fine

Benitez takes this as evidence that the lyrics of "Call Me Back Again" may have included a message that the Beatles were not interested in reuniting.[3] In particular, he notes that this may be the case if the "you" in the chorus "But I ain't never no no no no no never heard you calling me" refers to a reunion.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Guarisco, D.A. "Call Me Back Again". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-10-22. 
  2. ^ Madiger, C.; Easter, M. (2000). Eight Arms to Hold You. 44.1 Productions. p. 228. ISBN 0-615-11724-4. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Benitez, V.P. (2010). The Words and Music of Paul McCartney: The Solo Years. Praeger. pp. 67–68. ISBN 978-0-313-34969-0. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Blaney, J. (2007). Lennon and McCartney: together alone: a critical discography of their solo work. Jawbone Press. p. 110. ISBN 978-1-906002-02-2. 
  5. ^ a b Madiger, C.; Easter, M. (2000). Eight Arms to Hold You. 44.1 Productions. p. 205. ISBN 0-615-11724-4. 
  6. ^ Nelson, P. (May 3, 2001). "Venus and Mars". Rolling Stone Magazine. Retrieved 2011-10-22. 
  7. ^ Ingham, C. (2009). The Rough Guide to the Beatles (3rd ed.). Penguin. p. 117. ISBN 978-1-4053-8445-2. 
  8. ^ Riley, T. (2002). Tell me why: a Beatles commentary. Da Capo Press. pp. 354, 359. ISBN 978-0-306-81120-3. 
  9. ^ Rodriguez, R. (2010). Fab Four FAQ 2.0: The Beatles' Solo Years 1970–1980. Hal Leonard. p. 166. ISBN 978-0-87930-968-8.