Run Devil Run (Paul McCartney song)

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"Run Devil Run"
Promotional single by Paul McCartney
from the album Run Devil Run
Released4 October 1999 (UK)
5 October 1999 (US)
RecordedMarch – May 1999
Abbey Road Studios, London
GenreRock and roll
Songwriter(s)Paul McCartney

"Run Devil Run" is a 1999 original Paul McCartney composition written in a Chuck Berry style as the title track of his 1999 covers album Run Devil Run. It is one of three original songs on the 15-song album, along with "Try Not to Cry", and "What It Is", and was also released as a promotional 7" vinyl single.[1][2][3]

Title and lyrics[edit]

The title originated from the name of a brand of bath salts or Run Devil Run oil a folk remedy to ward off evildoers which McCartney had picked up at Miller's Rexall Drugs, a hoodoo store in Atlanta.[4] The mock up of a shop with the name "Run Devil Run" on the album cover is of Miller's Rexall Drugs, with the name altered to fit the title song. In the album press release interview prior to release of the album the interviewer asked McCartney about the genesis of the title track.[5] McCartney answered as follows:

I was in Atlanta with my son and he wanted to visit the funky side of town. So we went down there and were just wandering around the block and we came across this sort of voodoo shop selling cures for everything. I was looking in the shop window and I saw this bottle of bath salts called Ran Devil Run. I thought that was a good title for a song. So when I was on holiday after that I started thinking of words for it and it came quite easily - 'Run Devil Run, the angels having fun, making, winners out of sinners, better leave before he's done, and when he gets through he'll be coming after you, so listen to what I'm telling you, run Devil run.'

After continuing to describe the process of the lyrics, written while sailing, McCartney said that he himself was planning to use the Run Devil Run bath salts:

Yeah, I'm getting the bath salts and I'll be taking a bath with them. Not that I have got many demons to get rid of but there may be one or two lurking and this stuff is definitely going to do the trick.


  1. ^ Sounes 2010, p. 496 "He also returned to his roots, recording a new rock 'n' roll album, Run Devil Run, with guitarist mates Dave Gilmour and Mick Green. ... most of them obscure, with a couple of newly written tracks including the title song, 'Run Devil Run', inspired by a voodoo remedy Paul had picked up in Atlanta to ward off evildoers, thieves and liars. To promote the CD, and help mark the end of the millennium, Paul decided to perform these rockers at the Cavern."
  2. ^ Benitez 2010, p. 154 "With the exceptions of the album's title track, Try Not to Cry, and What It Is, songs composed by McCartney, Run Devil Run consisted primarily of covers McCartney did with the Beatles before they became famous."
  3. ^ Carlin 2009, p. 312 "Paul released the sessions a few months later under the title Run Devil Run, and you don't have to listen long to hear the voice of a man only just brushing past the hellhound that had been tailing him through the last few years."
  4. ^ Jackson 2012, p. 240 "He got the album title Run Devil Run from a brand of bath salts used to ward off evil he saw being sold at an herbal medicine shop on 87 Broad Street in Atlanta."
  5. ^ "Paul McCartney: The "Run Devil Run" interview". Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  • Benitez, Vincent P. (2010). The Words and Music of Paul McCartney: The Solo Years. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Praeger. ISBN 978-0-313-34969-0.
  • Carlin, Peter Ames (2010). Paul McCartney: A Life. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 9781416562238.
  • Jackson, Andrew Grant (2012). Still the Greatest: The Essential Songs of the Beatles' Solo Careers (illustrated ed.). Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 9780810882232.
  • Sounes, Howard (2010). Fab: An Intimate Life of Paul McCartney. [S.l.]: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-00-723706-7.