The ‘Schoolboy Prank’ Paul McCartney Hid in One of His Songs

Paul McCartney hasn’t been hugely provocative in recent years. However, that doesn’t mean he can’t make edgy music when he wants to. One of his more recent songs has lyrics that are a little risque by the standards of his recent work.

But Paul is still Paul. He has a famously good —  and often cheeky — sense of humor. Paul worked in some provocative lyrics into one of his recent songs — without actually saying them.

Paul McCartney in a leather jacket
Paul McCartney | David Harris/Keystone/Getty Images

The original idea behind one of Paul McCartney’s most famous recent songs

One of the most famous songs from Paul’s album Egypt Station is called “Fuh You.” That title might look like a typo but it’s not. “Fuh You” might remind people of a much dirtier phrase and that’s exactly what Paul intended.

According to NME, it all started with the original version of the song, which included the line “I just want to for you.” Ryan Tedder, the producer of the song and the lead singer of OneRepublic, misheard the lyric as “I just want to f*ck you.” Tedder told Paul he shouldn’t sing a line that vulgar. Paul had a mischievous idea.

“Fuh You” by Paul McCartney

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According to NME, Paul said “This song was coming to a close and we were just getting a bit hysterical in the studio, as you do when you’re locked away for long hours, and I said, ‘Well, I’ll just say, ‘I just wanna shag you.‘ And we had a laugh. And I said, ‘No, I’ll tell you what we can do is, I can make it questionable as to what it is I’m singing.’” In the end, Paul and Tedder went with the line “I just wanna fuh you” which people could either hear as “I just wanna f*ck you” or “I just wanna for you.” Paul referred to the final lyrics as a “schoolboy prank.”

How Ryan Tedder, Paul McCartney, and fans reacted to ‘Fuh You’

Tedder enjoyed that studio session more than any other session he ever had. That’s incredible because, according to O, The Oprah Magazine, Tedder has worked with stars like Beyoncé, Adele, Taylor Swift, and Ellie Goulding. Tedder recalled Paul told him stories behind various Beatles songs. Tedder noted Paul had the energy of a much younger man.

Ryan Tedder holding a guitar
Ryan Tedder | Trae Patton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

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Paul actually sees parallels between the lyrics of “Fuh You” and his work with the Fab Four. “We did a lot [of similar pranks] in the Beatles. And it brings some joy to your tawdry little life. If you listen to it, I don’t actually say ‘f*ck,’ because I don’t particularly want to say ‘I just want to f*ck you’ – I’ve got, like, eight grandchildren.”

The lyric certainly got people’s attention. Some people thought “Fuh You” was clever while others didn’t like Paul’s decision to use a nonexistent word. Because it was provocative, “Fuh You” garnered more publicity than many of Paul’s more recent songs. Even all these years after the Beatles disbanded, Paul still knows how to raise eyebrows.

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