“Coming Up” is a song written and performed by Paul McCartney. It is the opening track on his second solo album McCartney II, released in 1980. Like the rest of the album, the song had a minimalist synthesized feel to it. It featured vocals sped up by using vari-speed tape machine. McCartney played all the instruments and shared harmonies with his wifeLinda McCartney.
In Rolling Stone McCartney said the song started out with just a drum track “and just built on it bit by bit”. He said he did not have any idea of what the song was going to end up like. He added guitars, then bass, then increased the backing track. He then wondered what he was going to do for the vocals. It was here he used the vari-speed machine plus vocals through an echo machine.
John Lennon liked the song, crediting it for driving him out of retirement to resume recording
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.
Columbia Records wanted to put the live version on McCartney II but McCartney resisted the change, wanting to keep it a solo album. Instead, a one-sided 7” white-label promotional copy of the Wings version was included with the album in North America.
“Coming Up (Live at Glasgow)” has since appeared on the US versions of All the Best! and Wingspan, while the solo studio version is included on the UK releases.
A different live Wings recording of “Coming Up” appears on the album Concerts for the People of Kampuchea, with an additional verse that was edited out of the Glasgow version.