Paul McCartney Once Cleared Up a Controversy About the Lyrics of ‘Live and Let Die’

Fans have been debating about the lyrics of Wings’ “Live and Let Die” for years. Different listeners hear the lyrics of the song differently. During an interview, Paul McCartney said he wasn’t sure what the lyrics of “Live and Let Die” were before he definitively pinned them down.

Paul McCartney in front of a bookshelf
Paul McCartney of Wings | Michael Putland/Getty Images

The lyrics of ‘Live and Let Die’ that fans couldn’t agree on

“Live and Let Die” is a song with a major legacy. The title track of the Roger Moore film of the same name, “Live and Let Die” was the first rock song to serve as a James Bond theme. It remains one of the most famous theme songs for a James Bond film. It’s also one of Wings’ most famous songs from the 1970s.

Despite its ubiquity, one aspect of “Live and Let Die” remains mysterious. Some websites say the song includes the lyric “if this ever changin’ world/In which we’re livin’/Makes you give in and cry/Say ‘live and let die.'” Other sites say the lyric is “in which we live in” rather than “In which we’re living.”

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Paul McCartney revealed what the lyrics of ‘Live and Let Die’ were

During an interview with The Washington Post, Paul himself gave different answers about which lyric he wrote. “It’s kind of ambivalent, isn’t it?” he said. “I think it’s ‘in which we’re living.'” Paul started singing the song to himself. “‘In this ever-changing world …’ It’s funny. There’s too many ‘ins.’ I’m not sure.”

Paul mulled over the controversy. “I’d have to have actually look,” he said. “I don’t think about the lyric when I sing it. I think it’s ‘in which we’re living.’ ‘In which we’re living.'”

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Paul felt one of the possible lyrics was “cuter” than the other. “Or it could be ‘in which we live in,'” he said. “And that’s kind of, sort of, wronger but cuter. That’s kind of interesting. ‘In which we live in.’ In which we live in! I think it’s ‘In which we’re living.'”

The way the public reacted to ‘Live and Let Die’

“Live and Let Die” reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for 14 weeks. “Live and Let Die” was a hit in the United Kingdom as well. According to The Official Charts Company, “Live and Let Die” reached No. 9 in the U.K., staying on the chart for 14 weeks.

What Paul McCartney said about Guns N’ Roses’ cover

“Live and Let Die”‘s legacy extended beyond its chart run. Guns N’ Roses covered “Live and Let Die.” During an interview with The New York Times, Paul said his childrens’ schoolmates heard the song and believed the Guns N’ Roses version was the original version. Paul’s kids tried to convince them otherwise. 

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Ultimately, Paul was happy Guns N’ Roses covered “Live and Let Die.” “I was happy they did it,” he said. “I thought it was a nice little nod. I’m glad to hear our pyro is bigger and better.”

“Live and Let Die” has a legacy regardless of what its lyrics are.