Give Ireland Back to the Irish

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"Give Ireland Back to the Irish"
Wings - Give Ireland Back to the Irish.jpg
Single by Wings
B-side "Give Ireland Back to the Irish (Version)"
Released 25 February 1972 (UK)
28 February 1972 (US)
Format 7" single
Recorded 1 February 1972, at Island Studios, London, mixed at Apple Studios, London
Genre Rock
Length 3:42
Label Apple
Songwriter(s) Paul and Linda McCartney
Producer(s) Paul and Linda McCartney
Wings singles chronology
"Eat at Home"
"Give Ireland Back to the Irish"
"Mary Had a Little Lamb"
"Eat at Home"
"Give Ireland Back to the Irish"
"Mary Had a Little Lamb"

"Give Ireland Back to the Irish" is a song written by Paul and Linda McCartney in response to the events of Bloody Sunday in Northern Ireland on 30 January 1972.[1] Recorded on 1 February 1972 at Abbey Road, in London,[1] it was released as Wings' debut single on 25 February 1972 in the UK, and a few days later in the US.[2] It was the first recorded song by the band to include Irish guitarist Henry McCullough. A rehearsal of the band playing the song was filmed.[1]


The track was recorded at Abbey Road Studios, with engineer Tony Clark. Wings then moved to Apple Studios, where the song was mixed and possibly completed.[3]


It was completely banned from media exposure in the United Kingdom, being banned by the BBC, Radio Luxembourg and the Independent Television Authority. On the BBC Radio 1 chart show Pick of the Pops, Alan Freeman had to refer to it as "a record by the group Wings".[4]

"From our point of view," said Paul McCartney, "it was the first time people questioned what we were doing in Ireland. It was so shocking. I wrote 'Give Ireland Back to the Irish', we recorded it and I was promptly 'phoned by the Chairman of EMI, Sir Joseph Lockwood, explaining that they wouldn't release it. He thought it was too inflammatory. I told him that I felt strongly about it and they had to release it. He said, 'Well it'll be banned', and of course it was. I knew 'Give Ireland Back to the Irish' wasn't an easy route, but it just seemed to me to be the time. All of us in Wings felt the same about it. But Henry McCullough's brother who lived in Northern Ireland was beaten up because of it. The thugs found out that Henry was in Wings."[5]


The song reached number 1 in the singles charts not only in the Republic of Ireland but also in Spain, and despite the air-play ban still climbed to number 16 in the UK Singles Chart,[6] and number 21 in the US Billboard Hot 100.[7]

The B-side of the single, "Give Ireland Back to the Irish (version)", is an instrumental version of the song. The A-side was reissued as a bonus track on the 1993 remastered CD of Wings' Wild Life album. It is believed to be Apple's only single to feature a vocal version on one side and an instrumental version on the other.[citation needed]



  1. ^ a b c Perasi, Luca, ed. (2013). Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013). Milan: L.I.L.Y. Publishing. ISBN 978-88-909122-1-4. 
  2. ^ Miles, Barry; Badman, Keith, eds. (2001). The Beatles Diary After the Break-Up: 1970-2001 (reprint ed.). London: Music Sales Group. ISBN 9780711983076. 
  3. ^ Luca Perasi, Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013), L.I.L.Y. Publishing, 2013, pp.75-77, ISBN 978-88-909122-1-4
  4. ^ "The seven ages of Paul McCartney", BBC, 17 June 2006.
  5. ^ Lewisohn, Mark. Wingspan. Little Brown, 2002. ISBN 0-316-86032-8
  6. ^ "Official Charts: Paul McCartney". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 13 October 2011. 
  7. ^ "Paul McCartney singles". allmusic. Retrieved 12 August 2010.