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