"Ebony and Ivory" is a 1982 number-one single by Paul McCartney, performed with Stevie Wonder. It was released on March 29 of that year. 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 song is featured on McCartney's album Tug of War as well as several of Wonder's greatest hits albums. The song reached number one in the UK charts in 1982.
Although 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 Sir Paul 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.
Here is the video most of us were/are familiar with:
But, who knew there was an alternate version of both the video and the song? Not I. This is Stevie Wonder-less, and makes me question whether or not Stevie Wonder's inclusion was an afterthought. The concept behind this video is daft -- it seems a bit bizarre to have video for a song about people being "the same wherever you go" and learning "to give each other what we need to survive" set in a male prison, but maybe it's just me: