Paul McCartney – Picasso’s Last Words (Drink to Me)

The Spanish artist Pablo Picasso died at the age of 91 on April 8, 1973. News of his passing reached Paul McCartney, when he was in Jamaica.

Paul and Linda were in Jamaica on vacation. They were staying at the same hotel as Dustin Hoffman, who was there filming the movie Papillon with Steve McQueen. The trio had dinner together one evening. Hoffman asked Paul, “How do you write songs?” Paul told him they just come out.  Hoffman went on to ask if Paul could write about anything and Paul said yes.

While having dinner there with Paul McCartney, Dustin Hoffman told the story of the death of Pablo Picasso and his famous last words, “Drink to me, drink to my health. You know I can’t drink anymore.” Picasso then went to bed and died in his sleep.

Paul had a guitar with him and immediately played an impromptu chord progression while singing the quote. Thus, “Picasso’s Last Words” was born, later recorded and added to the album Band On The Run in 1973. Hoffman later said said of Paul writing the song in front of him, the experience was “right under childbirth in terms of great events of my life.”

When Paul started to sing it Dustin got excited and said: After a moment he started singing it. Hoffman jumped up, shouting, “Look, he’s doing it! Go*damn it! Holy sh–!”

Paul agreed to do “Picasso’s Last Words” at Ginger Baker’s studio. Baker and some additional people from the studio filled some cans with gravel and shook them for percussion.

From Songfacts

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) was one of the most inventive and prolific talents in 20th-century art. In his life he created over 20,000 artistic works, including his famous painting, Guernica, a commentary on the bombing of civilians in the Spanish Civil War. Picasso died in Mougins, France, while he and his wife Jacqueline were entertaining friends for dinner. His final words were “Drink to me, drink to my health, you know I can’t drink any more.” Sadly, Picasso’s passing left a legacy of bitterness and confusion as the artist died without leaving a will and his family ended up fighting amongst themselves for control of his billion dollar estate.

Picasso’s Last Words (Drink to Me)

A grand old painter died last night
His paintings on the wall
Before he went, he bade us well
And said goodnight to us all

Drink to me, drink to my health
You know I can’t drink any more
Drink to me, drink to my health
You know I can’t drink any more

Three o’clock in the morning
I’m getting ready for bed
It came without a warning
But I’ll be waiting for you baby
I’ll be waiting for you there

So drink to me drink to my health
You know I can’t drink any more
Drink to me drink to my health
You know I can’t drink any more

Jet, ooo, ooo, ooo
Jet, ooo, ooo, ooo
Jet, ooo, ooo, ooo
Jet, ooo, ooo, ooo

Drink to me, drink to my health
You know I can’t drink any more
Drink to me, drink to my health
You know I can’t drink any more

I’ll be waiting for your baby, yeah yeh

Drink to me, drink to my health
You know I can’t drink any more
Drink to me, drink to my health
You know I can’t drink any more

Drink to me, drink to my health
You know I, hey ho, ho hey ho
Ho hey ho, ho hey ho
Ho hey ho, ho hey ho
Ho hey ho, ho hey ho
Ho hey ho, ho hey ho

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

30 thoughts on “Paul McCartney – Picasso’s Last Words (Drink to Me)”

    1. Ringo’s and Georges best albums are easy to pick. Lennon’s and McCartney’s not as easy…for me I would probably go with Band on the Run and Plastic Ono Band. But that is only how I feel today.
      Ram…funny how it was roasted by the press when it came out and now it’s a classic.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Looking back on that time it was kind of strange that way– for a period of time reality became somewhat off kilter. I think Paul’s reputation as a songwriter- has bounced back to where it should be. They were both great- but neither were better than they were when they were in that little hillbilly outfit named The Beatles.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I agree and I do think they worked better together…to keep each other in check…I think that was a big thing also.

        Yea maybe that Beatles thing will catch on with the masses one day.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. great backstory! Pretty good song even if it sort of seems like a song for Picasso should be more odd or abstract… it’s sort of odd to even think of Picasso as being of our lifetime. to me, you think those renowned painters, the Renoirs and Van goghs and Matisses, and you think of them all being so very long ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is what I replied before…I would have thought he died long long ago….not in our lifetime.
      Yea you are right…an abstract song would have fit his style more…it is more of a bar sing along…but good.

      Like

    1. That is true…we couldn’t just hang out with McCartney for a night. What made the story good to me is how excited Hoffman got over the song. A big star in his own right… It meant as much to him as it would have me.

      Liked by 2 people

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