Coming Up (song)

Coming Up (song)
"Coming Up"
Single by Paul McCartney
from the album McCartney II
B-side "Coming Up" (Live at Glasgow)
"Lunchbox/Odd Sox"
(both with Wings)
Released 11 April 1980
Format 7"
Genre Funk rock
Label Parlophone/EMI (UK)
Columbia (US)
Writer(s) Paul McCartney
Producer Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney singles chronology
"Wonderful Christmastime"
"Coming Up"
Paul McCartney & Wings singles chronology
"Getting Closer"
"Coming Up"
"My Carnival"
Alternative cover
B-side cover crediting "Paul McCartney & Wings"

"Coming Up" was the opening track from Paul McCartney's McCartney II album, written by McCartney and released in 1980. Like the rest of the album, the song had a minimalist synthesized feel to it. It featured lead vocals from McCartney distorted by using vari-speed, and he played all the instruments and shared harmonies with his wife Linda McCartney. It appears again in 1987 on All the Best!, a McCartney compilation album.

John Lennon had liked the song, crediting it for driving him out of retirement to resume recording.[1]


Live Wings version

A live version of the song was recorded in Glasgow, Scotland on 17 December 1979 by Wings during their tour of the UK. This version had a much fuller sound and was included as one of the two songs on the B-side of the single; the other B-side was also a Wings song, "Lunchbox/Odd Sox", that dated back to the Venus and Mars sessions. Both B-sides were credited to Paul McCartney & Wings (see the alternative cover), the first time this credit had been used for a Wings record since "Junior's Farm."

In the US and Canada, radio stations bypassed the McCartney solo A-side and played the live Wings B-side.[2] To help sales of McCartney II, a special single-sided 7" 33⅓ rpm promotional white-label copy of the Wings version was included with the album in North America.

The live Wings version has since appeared on various McCartney best-of compilations. For example, on the McCartney and Wings greatest hits album Wingspan, the live Wings version is included on the US/Canada releases, while the McCartney solo studio version is included on the UK release.

A different live Wings recording of "Coming Up" appears on the album version of the Concerts for the People of Kampuchea, with an additional verse that was edited out of the Glasgow release.


"Coming Up" is also well known for its video. It is an early example of electronic trickery, with Paul McCartney playing ten roles and Linda McCartney playing two. The "band" (identified as "The Plastic Macs" on the drum kit—a nod to Lennon's "Plastic Ono Band") features Paul and Linda's imitations of various rock musician stereotypes, as well as a few identifiable musicians. In his audio commentary on the 2007 video collection The McCartney Years, McCartney identified the two characters that were impersonations of specific artists: Hank Marvin (guitarist from The Shadows), Ron Mael of Sparks (keyboards), and a 'Beatlemania-Era' version of himself. While others such as author Fred Bronson have suggested that there are other identifiable impersonations in the video, such as Andy MacKay, Frank Zappa and Neil Young,[2] McCartney said the other roles were simply comic relief.[3]

The video made its world premiere on Saturday Night Live on 17 May 1980.[4]

Chart performance

"Coming Up" became a number one U.S. Billboard Hot 100 hit in June 1980 and peaked at number 64 on the Billboard Disco Top 100 chart.[5] The single reached number two in the UK.[6]

"Coming Up" is the only Paul McCartney song to hit the top of the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart that was credited to McCartney as a solo artist. All other Billboard number-one singles involving McCartney after The Beatles are officially credited to either Paul & Linda McCartney ("Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey"), Paul McCartney & Wings ("My Love," "Band on the Run"), Wings ("Listen to What the Man Said", "Silly Love Songs," "With a Little Luck"), Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder ("Ebony and Ivory") and Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson ("Say, Say, Say"). That oddity makes McCartney the ex-Beatle to top the charts both the most (in conjunction with Wings and others) and the least (by himself) after the band's breakup. Ringo Starr and John Lennon each registered two U.S. pop number-one hits, while George Harrison had three, all of which were credited to each of them alone.[citation needed] Although, in Joel Whitburn's The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, the version listed at #1 is the live version by Paul McCartney and Wings, as most radio station picked up on and played the live side of the single.

The single was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America for sales of over one million copies.[7]

Chart (1980) Peak
UK Singles Chart 2
US Billboard Hot 100 1
Canada RPM 100 Singles 1


Preceded by
"Funkytown" by Lipps Inc
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
28 June 1980 – 12 July 1980
Succeeded by
"It's Still Rock and Roll to Me" by Billy Joel
Preceded by
"Cars" by Gary Numan
Canadian "RPM" Singles Chart number-one single
5 July 1980
Succeeded by
"Funkytown" by Lipps Inc

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