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Paul McCartney’s “Temporary Secretary”

On 15 September 1980, Sir Paul McCartney released “Temporary Secretary” as a single. It was the third single released from McCartney II, his first solo record after his stadium-rocking run with Wings. McCartney II was truly a solo record, in that Paul played all instruments, and was more experimental than the pop rock he was making with Wings.

“Temporary Secretary” is a great example of Paul’s fascination with synthesizers and electronic music at that time. The main synth groove bleeps and bloops like a cheesy ’60s sci-fi movie, punctuated by the occasional acoustic guitar hit. The sexual subtext of the lyric is more quirky than salacious, and I love his enunciation of “reg-u-laar.” The whole thing is very frantic and insistent. I can totally see Paul bouncing off the walls, trying to keep shit straight in his office.

I’d never seen Paul live when I checked out the Detroit stop on his Out There Tour in October 2015. I was shocked when he played “Secretary” early in the set, after opening with some classic Beatles material. Turns out he’d never played it live until 2015. Here he is giving it a go in Philadelphia. “Here’s one of those middle-period songs. It’s a bit electronic…”

She can be a belly dancer
I don’t need a true romancer
She can be a diplomat
But I don’t need a girl like that
She can be a neurosurgeon
If she’s doing nothing urgent
What I need’s a temporary, temporary secretary

I’ve gotta admit, “Secretary” has become one of my favorite Paul solo tunes.

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