Mull of Kintyre (song)

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"Mull of Kintyre"
Single by Wings
A-side"Girls' School"
Released11 November 1977
Recorded9 August 1977
StudioSpirit of Ranachan, Campbeltown
Producer(s)Paul McCartney
Wings singles chronology
"Seaside Woman"
"Mull of Kintyre" / "Girls' School"
"With a Little Luck"
Music video
”Mull of Kintyre” on YouTube

"Mull of Kintyre" is a song by the British-American rock band Wings. It was written by Paul McCartney and Denny Laine in tribute to the Kintyre peninsula in Argyll and Bute in the south-west of Scotland and its headland, the Mull of Kintyre, where McCartney has owned High Park Farm since 1966.

The single was Wings' biggest hit in Britain and is one of the best selling singles of all time in the United Kingdom, where it became the 1977 Christmas number one and was the first single to sell over two million copies nationwide.[1][2][3]


The song dates as far back as at least 1974, appearing on the extended home demo recording known amongst bootleggers as "The Piano Tape". Written on piano originally, at that early stage the lyric only had the completed chorus and a few bits of the lyrics that eventually made the finished version.[4]

The lyrics of the first verse, also used as the repeating chorus, are an ode to the area's natural beauty and sense of home:

Mull of Kintyre
Oh mist rolling in from the sea,
My desire
Is always to be here
Oh Mull of Kintyre

McCartney explained how the song came into being:

I certainly loved Scotland enough, so I came up with a song about where we were living: an area called Mull of Kintyre. It was a love song really, about how I enjoyed being there and imagining I was travelling away and wanting to get back there.[5]

"Mull of Kintyre" was recorded on 9 August 1977 at Spirit of Ranachan Studio at High Park Farm in Scotland, during a break in recording the London Town album caused by Linda McCartney's advanced pregnancy. The song featured Great Highland bagpipes played by the Campbeltown Pipe Band from nearby Campbeltown. Paul's vocals and acoustic guitar were recorded outdoors.[6] "Mull of Kintyre" and "Girls' School" (which had been previously recorded for London Town) were released as a double A-sided single on 11 November 1977, independently of the album. It was included on the Wings compilation Wings Greatest in 1978,[7] the UK/Canada version of McCartney's 1987 compilation album All the Best!,[8] the 2001 compilation Wingspan: Hits and History and the 2016 compilation Pure McCartney.

Music video[edit]

The official music video was directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg and filmed at Saddell Bay on the eastern side of the Kintyre peninsula about seven miles (11 km) from High Park Farm and two months after recording the song. Paul, Linda and Denny perform the song as they overlook the bay and walk down to the beach where the Campbeltown Pipe Band are marching and playing. It culminates in a bonfire singalong with extras from Campbeltown.[9]

The official video was shown on the nine regular editions of Top of the Pops when the song was number one. For the 1977 Christmas Special, the band were booked for the Mike Yarwood Show, and so the video shown was recorded on an indoor set, including trees, mist and the Campbeltown Pipe Band walking through the shot.[10]


The song's broad appeal was maximised by its pre-Christmas release, and it became a Christmas number one single in the UK, spending nine weeks at the top of the charts. It also became an international hit, charting high in Australia and many other countries over the holiday period.[11] It went on to become the first single to sell over two million copies in the UK and became the UK's best-selling single of all-time (eclipsing the Beatles' own "She Loves You") until overtaken by Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas?" in 1984 (which also featured McCartney on the B-side).[12] The song remains the UK's best-selling completely non-charity single, having sold 2.09 million copies.[13] (Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" has sold more in its two releases, but the profits of the 1991 release were donated to charity.)[2]

The millionth copy of the disc sold in the UK included a special certificate. It was sold to David Ackroyd, who was presented with a gold disc of the single by co-writer Denny Laine.[14]

Despite its international appeal, the song was not a major hit in North America, where the flipside "Girls' School" received more airplay and reached #33 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #34 on the Canadian RPM charts. "Mull of Kintyre" was not a pop hit at all in the US, but did manage to reach #45 on the Easy Listening chart.[15][16]

Meanwhile, in Canada, "Girls' School"/"Mull of Kintyre" was initially tracked as a double A-side, and reached #44 on the pop charts before "Mull of Kintyre" was dropped from the chart listings as of 21 January 1978. "Girls' School" continued its chart climb for a few more weeks, reaching #34 in Canada. After the single fell out of the top 40, it was once again tracked as a double A-side (with "Mull of Kintyre" getting first billing) for one week in April, but it did not better its previous #44 chart peak. "Mull of Kintyre" alone (without "Girls' School") did reach #30 on Canada's Adult Contemporary chart.[17][18]

Record World called it "a lovely Scottish waltz with bagpipes."[19]

The song also found popularity in the UK as a terrace chant. Notably, a version with altered lyrics has been sung by fans of English football side Nottingham Forest since their 1978 title victory, and today is sung by supporters at the start of every home match.[20] In 2015, McCartney said that he would be willing to perform the song live at the City Ground if Forest were promoted.[21]

Live performances[edit]

McCartney has played "Mull of Kintyre" only occasionally in concert since the Wings' 1979 British tour, and has never played it in the United States, Asia, or South America. Performances include 23 June 1990 in Glasgow, Scotland. He played it in Australia and New Zealand and also Canada in 1993, 2002, 2005, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2017. He began playing the song again in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. On 11 July 2009, at a concert at the Halifax Common, he played the song accompanied by the 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel) Pipe Band. He played the song at the O2 Arena in London on 22 December 2009, accompanied by the 18-piece Balmoral Highlanders Pipe Band.

The following year, on 20 June 2010 McCartney performed "Mull of Kintyre" at Hampden Park in Glasgow accompanied by the Pipes and Drums of Loretto School. He played the song at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, on 8 and 9 August 2010 with the Paris Port Dover Pipe Band.[22] On 20 December 2011, Loretto School played with him again in the final concert of his On The Run tour at the Echo Arena in Liverpool. On 25 November 2012, McCartney performed "Mull of Kintyre" at the On The Run Tour in Vancouver, British Columbia with the Delta Police Pipe Band, and in Edmonton, Alberta with the Edmonton Police Service Pipes and Drums on 28–29 November. On 7 July 2013, McCartney performed "Mull of Kintyre" on his "Out There" tour to a sell-out crowd at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, Canada accompanied by the Ottawa Police Service Pipe Band.[23]

On 19 and 20 April 2016, McCartney performed "Mull of Kintyre" during the One on One tour in the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, again, with the Delta Police Pipe Band. As part of that same tour, on 2 December 2017 he played the song in Perth, Western Australia with the Western Australian Police Force Pipe Band, in Melbourne, Victoria 5–6 December 2017 with the Scotch College pipe band, in Brisbane Queensland on 9 December 2017 with the Brisbane Combined Pipe Band, in Sydney on 11 and 12 December with the Governor Macquarie Memorial Pipe Band and in Auckland New Zealand on 16 December 2017 with the Auckland and Districts Pipe Band.[24]

The refrain of the song was also played at the funeral of Linda McCartney in June 1998.[25]

Cover versions[edit]

Glen Campbell covered the song on his 1981 album Glen Campbell Live and in 1982 on Old Home Town. In concert Campbell would play the bagpipes himself.[citation needed]

Co-writer Denny Laine re-recorded "Mull of Kintyre" for his 1996 album Wings at the Sound of Denny Laine.[26]

Irish singing group and stage show Celtic Thunder performed the song in their first concert DVD "Celtic Thunder: The Show." The DVD and companion CD "Act Two" were released in 2008.[27][28]

Cheyenne Kimball covered the song on the album "Let Us In" Nashville – A Tribute to Linda McCartney, consisting of country-themed covers of Paul McCartney songs by various artists, released in 2011, a benefit album for the Women and Cancer Fund.[29]

Charlie Gracie and the group Clutch Cargo covered the song as a benefit single in 2012 to help raise funds for the Philadelphia Police and Fire, Pipes & Drums Band. Their version of the single also featured the R&B vocal group the Orlons on backing vocals.[citation needed] Henry McMaster, Governor of South Carolina sang the song at a high school graduation in Florence, South Carolina.[30]


  • Paul McCartney – lead vocal, acoustic bass guitar, acoustic guitar
  • Linda McCartney – backing vocal, percussion
  • Denny Laine – backing vocal, acoustic and electric guitars
  • Campbeltown Pipe Band – bagpipes and drums



Certifications for "Mull of Kintyre"
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[63] Gold 50,000^
France 300,000[64]
Germany (BVMI)[65] Gold 500,000^
Ireland (IRMA)[66] 2× Platinum 65,000[67]
United Kingdom (BPI)[68] 2× Platinum 2,080,000[13]

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Paul McCartney Biography". NME. Retrieved 23 December 2009.
  2. ^ a b "UK Top 10 Best Selling Singles". UK Charts. Retrieved 23 December 2009.
  3. ^ "Official Charts: Paul McCartney". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
  4. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Paul McCartney: The Piano Tape (Home Recordings 1974)". YouTube.
  5. ^ Wingspan. p. 129.
  6. ^ Luca Perasi, Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969–2013), L.I.L.Y. Publishing, 2013, ISBN 978-88-909122-1-4, p. 163.
  7. ^ "Wings Greatest". JPGR. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  8. ^ "Paul McCartney - All The Best CD Cover". Cover Dude. Archived from the original on 7 June 2014. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  9. ^ "Making Mull Of Kintyre: Paul McCartney takes us to High Park Farm 40 years on" The Big Issue, 18 December 2018.
  10. ^ "Top of the Pops – 1977 Christmas Special". 12 December 2020.
  11. ^ "Wings Top of Two Cities". The Canberra Times. 8 December 1977. Retrieved 25 May 2019.
  12. ^ McCartney: Songwriter ISBN 0-491-03325-7 p. 121
  13. ^ a b Myers, Justin (5 December 2018). "Official Top 20 biggest selling Christmas songs revealed". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  14. ^ "Mull of Kintyre" article,; retrieved 28 June 2007.
  15. ^ "Billboard Hot 100". Billboard Magazine. 14 January 1978. p. 96. Retrieved 27 September 2012.
  16. ^ "Billboard Top 50 Easy Listening". Billboard Magazine. 4 February 1978. p. 34. Retrieved 27 September 2012.
  17. ^ "RPM 100 Singles". Library and Archives Canada. 28 January 1978. Archived from the original on 3 June 2013. Retrieved 27 September 2012.
  18. ^ "RPM Adult Oriented Playlist". Library and Archives Canada. 18 March 1978. Archived from the original on 3 June 2013. Retrieved 27 September 2012.
  19. ^ "Hits of the Week" (PDF). Record World. 19 November 1977. p. 1. Retrieved 16 February 2023.
  20. ^ "Why do Nottingham Forest fans sing 'Mull of Kintyre'?". Nottingham Post. 9 September 2019. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  21. ^ Collinson, Dawn (6 January 2015). "Paul McCartney could sing Mull of Kintyre at Nottingham Forest if promoted". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 21 March 2022.
  22. ^ "Paris-Port Dover Pipe Band plays in concert with Paul McCartney at ACC". Paris Star. Paris, Ontario. 10 August 2010. Archived from the original on 11 September 2012. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  23. ^ "Paul McCartney makes Ottawa concert debut". CBC. 8 July 2013. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  24. ^ "Paul McCartney performs 'Mull of Kintyre' with Auckland's Pipe Band". 18 December 2017. Retrieved 3 April 2022.
  25. ^ "Linda McCartney Service Reunites 3 Beatles". The New York Times. Reuters. 9 June 1998. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 9 January 2020.
  26. ^ "Performs the Hits of Wings". Allmusic. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
  27. ^ Wete, Brad (1 October 2013). "Justin Timberlake's 'The 20/20 Experience' & 12 More Two-Album/One-Year Releases". Billboard. Retrieved 4 June 2020.
  28. ^ "Celtic Thunder - Act Two". Discogs. 2008.
  29. ^ ""Let Us In" Nashville – A Tribute To Linda McCartney Now Available - Country Music Tattle Tale". Archived from the original on 22 April 2012. Retrieved 5 December 2011.
  30. ^ "Gov. Henry McMaster plays guitar, sings at high school graduation". 1 June 2020. Retrieved 10 August 2022.
  31. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 341. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  32. ^ "Wings – Mull of Kintyre" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 18 October 2023.
  33. ^ "Wings – Mull of Kintyre" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 18 October 2023.
  34. ^ "Wings – Mull of Kintyre" (in French). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 18 October 2023.
  35. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 5481a." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 18 October 2023.
  36. ^ "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 5481a." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 18 October 2023.
  37. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Mull of Kintyre". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 18 October 2023.
  38. ^ "Paul McCartney Japanese Singles Chart listings". Original Confidence. Archived from the original on 23 March 2012. Retrieved 16 July 2008.
  39. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 52, 1977" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 18 October 2023.
  40. ^ "Wings – Mull of Kintyre" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 18 October 2023.
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  44. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
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  50. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 429. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
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  53. ^ Hunter, Nigel; Scaping, Peter, eds. (1978). "Top 100 Singles in 1977". BPI Year Book 1978 (3rd ed.). London, England: The British Phonographic Industry Ltd. ISBN 0-906154-01-4.
  54. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 430. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  55. ^ "Jahreshitparade Singles 1978" (in German). Retrieved 18 October 2023.
  56. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1978" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Retrieved 18 October 2023.
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  59. ^ "End of Year Charts 1978". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
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  61. ^ "Schweizer Jahreshitparade 1978" (in German). Retrieved 18 October 2023.
  62. ^ "Top 100 Singles–Jahrescharts 1979" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 18 October 2023.
  63. ^ "Australia buys Wigs" (PDF). Cash Box. 31 December 1977. p. 122. Retrieved 25 November 2021 – via World Radio History.
  64. ^ Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique (SNEP). Fabrice Ferment (ed.). TOP – 1978 (in French). 40 ans de tubes : 1960–2000 : les meilleures ventes de 45 tours & CD singles. OCLC 469523661. Archived from the original on 11 January 2021. Retrieved 19 December 2023 – via
  65. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Wings; 'Mull Of Kintyre')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 14 January 2021.
  66. ^ " – "Mull of Kintyre" Irish Double Platinum Award – Memorabilia ID 9362190". Archived from the original on 29 September 2015. Retrieved 14 January 2021.
  67. ^ "EMI enters 1981 with a new fighting spirit" (PDF). Music Week. 23 January 1981. p. I-4 (page 30). Retrieved 19 December 2023.
  68. ^ "British single certifications – Wings – Mull Of Kintyre". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 14 January 2021.

External links[edit]