Burning The Ground: DjPaulT's 80's and 90's Remixes

80's and 90's 12 Inch Mixes

Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder – Ebony And Ivory (UK 12″)

Posted by DjPaulT on March 16th, 2012


“Ebony and Ivory” is a 1982 number-one single by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder. It was released on March 29 of that year. The song is featured on McCartney’s album Tug of War. The song reached number one on both the UK and the U.S. charts.

At the simplest level, the song is about the ebony (black) and ivory (white) keys on a piano, but also deals with integration and racial harmony on a deeper level. The title was inspired by McCartney hearing Spike Milligan say “black notes, white notes, and you need to play the two to make harmony, folks!”. The figure is much older. It was popularised by James Aggrey in the 1920s, inspiring the title of the pan-African journal The Keys, but was in use from at least the 1840s.

Written by McCartney alone, the song was performed live in the studio by both McCartney and Wonder, though due to conflicting work schedules, both recorded their parts for the song’s music video separately (as explained by McCartney in his commentary for The McCartney Years 3-DVD boxed set).

“Ebony and Ivory” spent seven weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and was the fourth-biggest hit of 1982. For McCartney, the song’s run atop the chart was the longest of any of his post-Beatles works, and second longest career-wise (behind “Hey Jude” with The Beatles); for Wonder, it was his longest-running chart-topper. It marked the first time that any single released by any member of the Beatles hit the Billboard R&B chart.

In 2008, the song was ranked at #59 on Billboard’s Greatest Songs of all time.


Following the song’s huge chart success, it was derided as “saccharine” and was later named as the tenth worst song of all time by Blender magazine. On October 2007, it was named the worst duet in history by BBC 6 Music listeners. (In September 2010, Matthew Wilkening of AOL Radio ranked the song at #9 on the list of the 100 Worst Songs Ever, stating that the song was “one much better by Joe Piscopo and Eddie Murphy [in Saturday Night Live]. Everybody: ‘You are blind as a bat and I have sight…'”) However, the song’s title was picked up by a journalist reporting on two stroke victims — one black, one white — who played a duo, one hand each.

This song has been parodied in many U.S. television shows, such as The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Father Ted, Everybody Hates Chris, Arrested Development and Saturday Night Live, as well as movies such as Undercover Brother and Guess Who. The phrase, “Keyboard, Oh Lord! Why Don’t We?” was used for the title of the third album by Norwegian stoner rock band Thulsa Doom. The song and video were parodied in a commercial for the 2008 season of the USA Network show Psych.

“Ebony and Ivory” was banned for a while in South Africa during the Apartheid era.

Ebony And Ivory 3:42
Vocals [Additional] – Stevie Wonder

Rainclouds 3:08
Ebony And Ivory (Solo Vocal) 3:42
Vocals [Solo] – Paul McCartney

Vinyl: Near Mint
Sleeve: Near Mint


Year Single Chart Position
1982 Ebony And Ivory U.S. Billboard Hot 100 #1
1982 Ebony And Ivory U.S. Billboard US Hot Adult Contemporary Chart #1
1982 Ebony And Ivory U.S. Billboard Hot Black Singles #8
1982 Ebony And Ivory U.S. Billboard Hot Mainstream rock Tracks #34


Label: Parlophone – 12R 6054
Format: Vinyl, 12″, 45 RPM
Country: UK
Released: 1982
Genre: Rock
Style: Pop Rock
Credits: Producer – George Martin
Written-By – McCartney*

A-Side: From The Album “Tug Of War”
Stevie Wonder courtesy of Motown Records Inc.

Find The 12″ On DISCOGS

Turntable: Pro-Ject Debut III
Cartridge: Ortofon Super
Stylus: Ortofon OM Stylus 30
Bellari VP130 Tube Phono Preamp
Soundcard: ESI Juli@
VPI HW 16.5 Record Cleaning Machine
Brother MFC-6490CW Professional Series Scanner

Adobe Audition 3.0 (Recording)
Adobe Photoshop CS5
Playlist Creator

All vinyl rips are recorded @ 32bit/float
Downsampled to 24bit/96kHz and16bit /44kHz using iZotope RX Advanced 2
FLAC (Level Eight)
MP3 (320kbps)
Artwork scanned at 600dpi

PW: burningtheground

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17 Responses to “Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder – Ebony And Ivory (UK 12″)”

  1. Shark Says:

    It is one of the sappiest songs ever written, but it evokes strong memories of the summer of ’82 for sure. We drove to the 1982 World’s Fair in Knoxville, TN, that summer, and we must’ve heard that song 500 times on the radio during that journey…


    DjPaulT Reply:

    Shark thank you for sharing your memories with us 🙂


  2. Spring Says:

    wow! Thanks a lot Paul. I never heard about this song before. Have a chance to listen to it now!


    DjPaulT Reply:

    You’re welcome Spring!


  3. cdmaniac Says:

    Love it! I still have the 7″ w/pic sleeve,LOL!


    DjPaulT Reply:

    Glad you like it Cdmaniac hav a great weekend 🙂


  4. ric Says:

    Good to see you back in AKTSHUN, Paul! Hope you’re feeling better?

    Often the superstar duets don’t live up to the sum of their parts…so many examples we can give, and this is certainly one of the prime examples. Irony is, if you listen to Paul’s solo version, you’d may think that we need the duet version! LOL!

    Ultimately, like Shark, this is more nostalgia than anything else for me. Only four single spent 6 weeks or more during 1982. (Ebony & Ivory and I Love Rock N Roll spent 7 weeks each; while Eye Of The Tiger and Centerfold spent six each.) The other #1’s of the year didn’t spend more than 4 weeks atop. This goes to show the dominance of these four songs that year.

    Masterpiece or not, Ebony & Ivory will take you back to that certain time in 1982!
    Have a restful weekend!


    DjPaulT Reply:

    Thanks Ric. I am felling a bit better. I actually really enjoy this song makes me feel warm inside lol.


  5. Brett Says:

    Thank you for this one. As I’ve always wanted the Paul McCartney solo version.


    DjPaulT Reply:

    You’re welcome Brett!!


  6. bodyalive Says:

    I didnt know that a 12” version of this song has been released! I never heard the Mc cartney solo version before , Thanx 🙂


    DjPaulT Reply:

    You’re welcome Bodyalive!


  7. Gilbert Gonzales Says:

    Thank you Paul! This was very popular in the Philippines. I remember singing to this a lot when i was in grade school. Brought back lots of really good memories.


  8. Conner Says:

    Kewl Thanks so much. Hope you have shaken that flu!


  9. Piffard Says:


    Not only it was released as solo [you can find it in certain unofficials Paul’s “Best of”,but they even made a video out of it [it shows a convict who listen to the song through a walkman and start “dancing” on it while listening to.Paul never shows up on that]. 🙂


  10. Alfie Says:

    I can sing this song word for word, but in my head I always get this one mixed up with McCartney and Jackson Say Say Say. Thanks for upping!


  11. Stephen Says:

    thanks from France 😉


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