Mary Had a Little Lamb (Wings song)

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"Mary Had a Little Lamb"
Mary Had a Little Lamb by Wings front cover.jpg
Picture sleeve
Single by Wings
B-side "Little Woman Love"
Released 12 May 1972
Format 7-inch single
Recorded March 1972
Genre Children's music
Length 3:30
Label Apple
Songwriter(s) Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney
Producer(s) Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney
Wings singles chronology
"Give Ireland Back to the Irish"
"Mary Had a Little Lamb"
"Hi, Hi, Hi"
"Give Ireland Back to the Irish"
"Mary Had a Little Lamb"
"Hi, Hi, Hi"

"Mary Had a Little Lamb" is Wings' version of the traditional nursery rhyme.


At the time, some observers such as Roy Carr and Tony Tyler of New Musical Express presumed the song was recorded by McCartney in response to the BBC ban of his previous single, the political "Give Ireland Back to the Irish",[1] but McCartney has denied this, saying that it was a sincere effort to write a song for children.[2] In fact, the song was written before "Give Ireland Back to the Irish", as a demo of the song can be heard during an interview recorded for radio station WRKO in December 1971.[3]

Charts and reception[edit]

The song was virulently attacked by rock critics at the time, although a few critics thought it to be deliberately ironic.[4] It reached the top 10 in the UK, peaking at number nine.[5] However, many US radio stations chose instead to play the pop/rock B-side, "Little Woman Love". Apple Records in the US even revised the picture sleeve for the single to credit both sides by name (see reverse cover), but the single still failed to rise above number 28 in the US.[6]

The song was released as a single on 12 May 1972 in the UK,[7] moved back from its original planned date of the 5th.[8] The US release occurred on 29 May.[8] On 25 May, the band mimed a performance of the song for BBC TV's Top of the Pops TV show.[8] Over a week later, on 6 June, the band mimed yet again to the song. The song was included as a bonus track on the remastered version of Wild Life released in 1993.


  1. ^ Carr, Roy; Tyler, Tony. The Beatles: An Illustrated Record (1975) p. 100
  2. ^ Garbarini, Vic (1980). The McCartney Interview [interview LP], Columbia Records.
  3. ^ Luca Perasi, Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013), L.I.L.Y. Publishing, 2013, ISBN 978-88-909122-1-4, p.79.
  4. ^ Dempsey, J.M. "McCartney at 60: a body of work celebrating home and hearth", Popular Music & Society, February 2004.
  5. ^ "Official Charts: Paul McCartney". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 2011-10-13. 
  6. ^ "Paul McCartney Charts and Awards". allmusic. Retrieved 2011-10-13. 
  7. ^ Castleman, Harry; Podrazik, Walter J. (1977). All Together Now – The First Complete Beatles Discography 1961–1975 (Second ed.). New York: Ballantine Books. p. 113. ISBN 0-345-25680-8. 
  8. ^ a b c Miles, Barry; Badman, Keith, eds. (2001). The Beatles Diary After the Break-Up: 1970-2001 (reprint ed.). London: Music Sales Group. ISBN 9780711983076.