The Paul McCartney Song He Based on an Old Phrase His Dad Would Say

Paul McCartney considers his family and upbringing as one of the main influences behind his music. Growing up in Liverpool in a working-class home gave McCartney plenty of intriguing perspectives he likes to put into his music. He also learned lots of slang and phrases that he included in his lyrics. One title for a Paul McCartney song came from a phrase he picked up from his dad.

Paul McCartney said ‘Put it There’ was an old phrase from his dad
Paul McCartney’s dad was an important figure in his life. He provided for his family and looked after them after his mother died when he was just 14. McCartney also gained a passion for music from his father, as he would often play piano. His dad’s influence is often heard in his music, especially in one song called “Put it There”.

“Put it There” is a track from McCartney’s 1989 album, Flowers in the Dirt. In an interview with People, the “Band on the Run” singer said the title was based on his dad’s expression, “Put it there if it weighs a ton.”

“That’s an expression my dad used to say,” McCartney explained. “He was an old-fashioned Liverpool guy with a very good sense of humor, and he was always coming out with weird phrases. It was as if he thought it was a bit boring to talk in normal phrases, so he’d always say, ‘Put it there if it weighs a ton!’ And you’d go, ‘Oh … he means shake hands.’ I grew up with that and all sorts of other expressions—some that don’t lend themselves to songs. But I thought that one would be nice about a father and his young boy because it reminded me of my dad.”

Sir Paul learned other expressions from his dad, but not every phrase was appropriate for a song. “Some of his expressions you really wouldn’t want to use!” he added. “Sometimes, me and my brother would ask questions: ‘Why? Why is that? What’s the reason for that?’ And he’d go, ‘Because there’s no hairs on a seagull’s chest.’ Which is true, but not a satisfactory answer!”

‘Put it There’ was also inspired by Buddy Holly

Paul McCartney’s dad wasn’t the only inspiration for “Put It There” as he borrowed a technique from Buddy Holly. Holly was a significant influence on The Beatles. The fab four appreciated his music but also loved that he wrote, sang, and played his own material. It became a model The Beatles followed themselves.

For “Put It There,” McCartney borrowed a move from Holly’s song “Everyday”. The track features clapping in the background that was utilized by drummer Jerry Allison slapping his knees. McCartney liked that trick and wanted to replicate the sound on “Put It There”.

“There’s a little hand-slappy thing. That’s something we first heard on Buddy Holly’s record, a great old favorite of ours when we were growing up,” Sir Macca shared. “He does a record called ‘Everyday’. It’s a cute little song, a great little song, and there’s this tapping on it [demonstrates]. The story was that it was him tapping on his jeans. And if you ever do that and want to get that effect, don’t wear sweatpants or regular trousers. Jeans are what you need, they’ve got the right tone. That’s just a hint for you and your readers should you ever be called on to a thigh-slapping session.”

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