While having dinner together in 1973, Dustin Hoffman inspired Paul McCartney to write “Picasso’s Last Words (Drink To Me)”. Hoffman had asked McCartney how he came up with ideas for writing songs. Paul replied that he didn’t know, “You just sort do it, kind of pick them out of the air”. Dustin asked him if he could “write one now.” Paul agreed to try. So, Hoffman grabbed his copy of Time magazine that had an article about the recent death of artist Pablo Picasso. He told Paul the story about Picasso’s death and his famous last words, “Drink to me, drink to my health. You know I can’t drink anymore.” McCartney had a guitar with him and immediately began composing the song on the spot, much to Dustin’s amazement.
Later, Paul McCartney recorded “Picasso’s Last Words (Drink To Me)” for inclusion on the Band On The Run album, released in late 1973.
Below, listen to an audio clip of Paul McCartney and Dustin Hoffman talking about the song’s birth. Also, there’s a couple of brief snippets of the song mixed in.
Click the Play button to listen: