Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five

"Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five" (sometimes written as "1985") is a song by the British–American rock band Paul McCartney and Wings, released as the final track on their 1973 album Band on the Run.[1] It has been featured on the 2001 documentary DVD Wingspan and Paul McCartney and Wings' 1974 TV special One Hand Clapping. A 2016 remix of the song was nominated for a Grammy Award.[2]

"Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five"
Paul McCartney - Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five.jpg
Single by Paul McCartney and Wings
from the album Band on the Run
A-side"Band on the Run"
Released28 June 1974
Format7" single
RecordedSeptember 1973
StudioEMI Studios, Lagos, Nigeria
Producer(s)Paul McCartney
Wings singles chronology
"Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five"
"Walking in the Park with Eloise"
Band on the Run track listing

Lyrics and musicEdit

Paul McCartney 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[3]

The 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.[4] Author Andrew Grant Jackson calls the lyrics "gibberish" and mere placeholders for the excitement and "cinematic purpose" of the music."[5]

The song has a grandiose ending with a full orchestra and the band. Other instrumentation includes mellotron, organ and horns.[5] The album version ends with an excerpt of the opening song's chorus.[1][5] This song is featured on several episodes of Trigger Happy TV. In its early life, it was simply titled "Piano Thing".


Personnel per The Beatles Bible.[1]

Live performancesEdit

"Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five" was never performed live by Wings.[1] 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 2016–2017 One on One Tour, his 2018-19 Freshen Up tour and at 12-12-12: The Concert for Sandy Relief.[6]

Cover versionsEdit

The Golden Dogs included a cover version on their 2006 album Big Eye Little Eye.

In 2016, German producer Timo Maas and Canadian DJ James Teej released a remix of the track with McCartney's approval. Their version received a Grammy nomination for Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards.[2][7]


Download single
  1. "Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five" (Radio Edit) – 2:46
  2. "Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five" – 6:01
  3. "Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five" (Club Mix) – 5:07
Remix download single
  1. "Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five" (Kerri Chandler Kaoz 623 Again Vocal Mix) – 7:25
  2. "Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five" (Paul Woodford Rework) – 10:03
  3. "Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five" (Tim Green Remix) – 8:49


  1. ^ a b c d "Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five". The Beatles Bible. 23 October 2010. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Here Is the Complete List of Nominees for the 2017 Grammys". Billboard. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  3. ^ Gambaccini, Paul. Paul McCartney: In His Own Words.
  4. ^ Benitez, Vincent Perez, 1955- (2010). The words and music of Paul McCartney : the solo years. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Praeger. p. 59. ISBN 9780313349706. OCLC 647914724.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ a b c Jackson, A.G. (2012). Still the Greatest: The Essential Solo Beatles Songs. Scarecrow Press. p. 122. ISBN 9780810882225.
  6. ^ Shriver, J. & Deutsch, L. (12 December 2012). "Springsteen, Kanye, Stones, McCartney rock Sandy relief". USA Today. Retrieved 13 December 2012.
  7. ^ "Grammys 2017: Complete list of winners and nominees". Los Angeles Times. 12 February 2017. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 18 July 2017.

External linksEdit