Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five

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For the song by Bowling for Soup, see 1985 (song). For other songs, see 1985 (disambiguation).
"Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five"
Single by Paul McCartney and Wings
from the album Band on the Run
A-side "Band on the Run"
Released 28 June 1974
Format 7" single
Recorded September 1973
Genre Rock
Length 5:29
Label Apple Records
Writer(s) Paul and Linda McCartney
Producer(s) Paul McCartney
Wings chronology
"Band on the Run"
"Walking in the Park with Eloise"
(as The Country Hams)
Band on the Run track listing

"Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five" (sometimes written as "1985") is a song by Paul McCartney and Wings. It has been featured on the 2001 documentary DVD Wingspan and Paul McCartney & Wings' 1974 TV special One Hand Clapping.

Lyrics and music[edit]

Paul McCartney, the writer of "Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five", has said that the song originated with just the first line.

"With a lot of songs I do, the first line is it. It's all in the first line, and then you have to go on and write the second line. With 'Eleanor Rigby' I had 'picks up the rice in the church where the wedding has been.' that was the one big line that started me off on it. With this one it was 'No one ever left alive in nineteen hundred and eighty-five. That's all I had of that song for months. No one ever left alive in nineteen hundred and eighty... six?' It wouldn't have worked!"

— Paul McCartney, Paul McCartney In His Own Words[1]

This tune is the climactic track from the album Band on the Run. It continues the album's theme of escape by describing the singer achieving artistic freedom through love.[2] Author Andrew Grant Jackson calls the lyrics "gibberish" and mere placeholders for the excitement and "cinematic purpose" of the music."[3]

The song has a grandiose ending with a full orchestra and the band. Other instrumentation includes mellotron, organ and horns.[3] On the album Band on the Run, it ends the album with an excerpt of the opening song.[3] This song is featured on several episodes of Trigger Happy TV. In its early life, it was simply titled "Piano Thing".


Live performances[edit]

McCartney performed the song live for the first time ever during his 2010–11 Up and Coming Tour. He played the song live again during his 2011–12 On the Run Tour, his 2013–15 Out There Tour, his 2016 One on One tour and at 12-12-12: The Concert for Sandy Relief.[4]


  1. ^ Gambaccini, Paul. Paul McCartney: In His Own Words. 
  2. ^ Benitez, V. (2010). "The Words and Music of Paul McCartney". Praeger. p. 59. ISBN 978-0-313-34969-0. 
  3. ^ a b c Jackson, A.G. (2012). Still the Greatest: The Essential Solo Beatles Songs. Scarecrow Press. p. 122. ISBN 9780810882225. 
  4. ^ Shriver, J. & Deutsch, L. (12 December 2012). "Springsteen, Kanye, Stones, McCartney rock Sandy relief". USA Today. Retrieved 13 December 2012.