Cover of the song's sheet music
|Song by Paul McCartney|
|from the album McCartney|
|Published||Northern Songs Ltd.|
|Released||17 April 1970|
|Studio||Morgan Studios, London|
2:36 ("Singalong Junk")
|McCartney track listing|
"Junk" is a song written by the English musician Paul McCartney and released on his debut studio album McCartney (1970). He wrote the song in 1968 with the Beatles while the group were studying Transcendental Meditation in India. After the band's return from India, he recorded the song as a demo at Kinfauns, George Harrison's home, before sessions for The Beatles (also known as "the White Album") took place. It was ultimately denied inclusion on The Beatles (1968) or on Abbey Road (1969). After the group's break-up, McCartney recorded the song for inclusion on McCartney. The lyrics describe various items in a junkyard. A slightly longer, instrumental version of the song, titled "Singalong Junk", also appears on the album.
McCartney wrote "Junk", along with another McCartney track "Teddy Boy", during the Beatles' visit to India in 1968. The song was one of several the Beatles demoed at George Harrison's Kinfauns home before the recording of The Beatles in May 1968. The Esher demo was eventually released on Anthology 3 in 1996 and on the 50th anniversary of the "White Album" in 2018. While the song was considered for The Beatles (also known as the "White Album"), it was not included; neither did it find a place on Abbey Road. McCartney eventually recorded the song, along with "Teddy Boy", in February 1970 for his debut solo album McCartney. The song's working title was "Jubilee", and it is also known as "Junk in the Yard". Take one appeared on the McCartney album as "Singalong Junk", whereas take two was issued as "Junk".
"Junk" was included on an EP (along with "Another Day", "Oh Woman, Oh Why" and "Valentine Day") released only in Mexico. The song has been dropped from his live setlist, but was included on the compilations Wingspan: Hits and History (2001) and Pure McCartney (2016).
The lyrics of "Junk" have McCartney describe numerous contents of a junkyard, including parachutes, army boots, and sleeping bags for two. The song's chorus: "Buy, buy, says the sign in the shop window/why, why, says the junk in the yard" illustrate what it's like for these items. Beside the exclusion of vocals, "Singalong Junk" features mellotron strings and the melody is played on a piano. That version also features more prominent drums. "Singalong Junk" is said to have been the original instrumental backing over which McCartney planned to sing, but he opted for a simpler arrangement for the vocal version instead.
Since release, "Junk" has received positive reviews from music critics, with many considering it a highlight of its parent album. In a review for McCartney on initial release, Langdon Winner of Rolling Stone complimented the album's use of simplicity, saying that it "works very well." Winner praised "Junk" and "Teddy Boy", describing both as "low pressure compositions with gentle, poignant lessons to convey" that are "very tasteful and fun to listen to."
Donald A. Guarisco of AllMusic considers "Junk" of the "finest moments" on McCartney, describing it as "a melancholy charmer of a ballad that has become a cult favorite with McCartney fans." Guarisco further praises McCartney's vocal performance, writing that it "captures [the song's] wistful mood nicely." In a retrospective review for McCartney, Record Collector has highlighted "Junk", along with "Every Night" and "Maybe I'm Amazed", as songs that "still sound absolutely effortless and demonstrate the man's natural genius with a melody". Joe Tangari of Pitchfork similarly evaluated both "Junk" and "Singalong Junk", with "Maybe I'm Amazed", as the "peaks" of McCartney.
- Paul McCartney – lead vocals, acoustic guitar, bass guitar, xylophone, drums
- Linda McCartney – backing vocals
- "Singalong Junk"
- The song called "Junk" on McCartney's 1991 album Unplugged (The Official Bootleg) is played without vocals, thereby making it "Singalong Junk", but it is not listed as such on the album.
- McCartney first performed "Junk" live, in the Ghost Suite at the Royal Albert Hall, on 3 November 2006.
- Sandie Shaw recorded a version of the song which appeared as a bonus track on the 2004 re-issue of her 1969 album Reviewing the Situation.
- John Denver covered the song on his 1971 album Poems, Prayers & Promises.
- Chet Atkins recorded an instrumental version that appears on the 1971 album Pickin' My Way.
- Cilla Black covered the song on her 1971 album Images which was produced by George Martin.
- Anne Sofie von Otter and Elvis Costello covered the song, as part of a medley with "Broken Bicycles" by Tom Waits, on their 2001 album For the Stars.
- After leaving The Inbreds, vocalist Mike O'Neill released a cover version of the song via his website in 2003. His version was never officially released on any of his solo albums.
- Jazz vocalist Sara Gazarek covered the song on her second album, Return to You, in 2007.
- Jeff Lynne of Electric Light Orchestra covered the song on the 2014 covers album The Art of McCartney.
- Jazz pianist Brad Mehldau covered the song on his 2015 collection album 10 Years Solo Live.
- "Singalong Junk" was included in the soundtrack of the movie Hanging Up (2000).
- An instrumental version was included in the French film My Wife Is an Actress (2001).
- "Singalong Junk" was also included in the Jerry Maguire soundtrack.
- It also appears in the opening episode of Season 3 of Parenthood.
- "Paul McCartney: Junk | The Beatles Bible". beatlesbible.com. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
- Sulpy & Schweighardt 1997, pp. 155, 237–38.
- Winn 2009, p. 373.
- "The Beatles (White Album) – The Tracklisting". thebeatles.com. Archived from the original on 29 October 2018. Retrieved 18 December 2018.
- Madinger & Easter 2000, p. 154.
- "Song – Paul McCartney". paulmccartney.com. Archived from the original on 3 December 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Wingspan: Hits and History – Paul McCartney". AllMusic. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Pure McCartney – Paul McCartney". AllMusic. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
- Guarisco, Donald A. ""Junk" – Paul McCartney". AllMusic. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
- Madinger & Easter 2000, p. 156.
- Winner, Langdon (14 May 1970). "McCartney". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 15 December 2018. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
- "Paul McCartney: McCartney". Record Collector. July 2011. p. 95.
The likes of 'Every Night,' 'Junk,' and 'Maybe I'm Amazed' still sound absolutely effortless and demonstrate the man's natural genius with a melody.
- Tangari, Joe (15 June 2011). "Paul McCartney: McCartney / McCartney II Album Review". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on 19 September 2018. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
- "Sandie Shaw – Reviewing The Situation". Discogs. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
- "Poems, Prayers & Promises – John Denver". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
- "Pickin' My Way - Chet Atkins". Discogs. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
- "Cilla Black – Images". Discogs. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
- "For the Stars (Anne Sofie von Otter Meets Elvis Costello) – Anne Sofie von Otter | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
- "Return to You – Sara Gazarek". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
- "The Art of McCartney – Various Artists". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
- "10 Years Solo Live – Brad Mehldau". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
- Madinger, Chip; Easter, Mark (2000). Eight Arms to Hold You: The Solo Beatles Compendium. Chesterfield, MO: 44.1 Productions. ISBN 0-615-11724-4.
- Sulpy, Doug; Schweighardt, Ray (1997). Get Back: The Unauthorized Chronicle of The Beatles' Let It Be Disaster. New York, NY: St. Martin's Griffin. ISBN 0-312-19981-3.
- Winn, John C. (2009). That Magic Feeling: The Beatles' Recorded Legacy, Volume Two, 1966–1970. New York, NY: Three Rivers Press. ISBN 978-0-307-45239-9.