The thing about Paul McCartney that I appreciate is that, these days, he’s still trying. Oh sure, he’s doing legacy stuff such as reissues of some of his old albums, including recently, Ram. But he’s showing up on the TV show 30 Rock and touring in Latin America, even reimagining old songs. He keeps putting out new music at a reasonable pace, even if that last album had a bunch of old songs; the less familiar I was with a song, the more I liked it. He has played for his queen and will perform at the London Olympics opening ceremonies.

Here’s my Top 12 Macca songs, with links, at least this week. I could have picked a dozen more. I’ve stayed away from live songs, and rerecordings of Beatles songs.

12. Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five – the last song on the extraordinary Band on the Run album.

11. Let Me Roll It – another song from Band on the Run. I especially like the guitar line, and the somewhat disconnected vocal.

10. My Valentine – a sweet song for his bride Nancy from the mostly cover album Kisses on the Bottom. Apparently, Natalie Portman and Johnny Depp used incorrect sign language in the promo.

9. Oo You – from that first McCartney solo album. Love the quality of the vocal, and the fact that it’s all Paul.

8. Jenny Wren from the 2005 album Chaos and Creation in the Backyard. It does remind me of the Beatles song Blackbird a bit, but it is lovely. Here’s a shorter version.

7. Every Night – again, from the first album.

6. Here Today – from Tug of War. When I first heard this song about John Lennon, I thought it was too cloying. Moreover, I thought Lennon would think so too. But after seeing Macca perform it in a live concert (on TV), I changed my mind.

5. Band On The Run. The title cut, of course.

4. What’s That You’re Doing? The OTHER Stevie Wonder collaboration from the Tug of War album. By this point, Stevie was doing MOR stuff such as I Called to Say I Love You, so I was happy that he and Paul got a bit funky. And I’m always a sucker for a Beatles reprise.

3. My Brave Face – from the Flowers in the Dirt album. As I recall reading, Elvis Costello gave Macca permission to play Beatle Paul bass lines.

2. Jet – from Band on the Run. Again.

1. Maybe I’m Amazed – from McCartney. I remember hearing that Paul was going to be on The Ed Sullivan Show, and then being sorely disappointed that his “appearance” was actually this video. The strength of the song, though, won me over.

I have about half of Paul’s solo output, but I ended up gravitating to two or three albums for these cuts.
***
Apparently, Macca saved Mark Ronson from drowning, when Ronson was a kid.

A live webcam trained on the crosswalk on Abbey Road in London where a certain Beatles cover photo was shot.

11 Responses to “Paul McCartney is 70: 12 songs”

  • steve says:

    Hard to believe he’s 70. Doesn’t look it at all.

  • While I was a Beatles fan, I never totally took to McCartney’s career after they split. Having said that, I did see Wings live back in 1973 and enjoyed the Venus and Mars album, particularly Magneto and Titanium Man.

  • Johnny B says:

    Nice list, Rog. “Jenny Wren” is one of only two songs I like on that whole album…

    By the way, that’s MARK Ronson, the producer/DJ/musician, not Mick.

  • Roger says:

    Thanks, JB- fixed.

  • Lisa says:

    Paul was my favorite Beatle when the group was in it’s prime.

  • Reader Wil says:

    We still have a lot of records of the Beatles, and I like them, even if I am not really familiar with pop music. I can say that I prefer them to the Stones.
    Good post Roger!

  • I will never forgive “Sir” Paul for changing all the Lennon/McCartney songs to “McCartney/Lennon.” That was hardly “noble” (whatever that means.) It was a very small-spirited thing to do. It was the sort of chicken-poop thing done by someone who knows, no matter now many honors he receives and how much money he collects, on an essential artistic level he could never by himself match the quality of the work he did with his long dead partner. Nor as a soloist could he match his dead partner’s solo work. Not even close.

    In short, I see McCartney as a puffed up hollow man. But he sure has a lot of money and he’s 70 years old, so I guess he wins.

  • Roger says:

    Well, to be fair, the early UK albums I have DID list them as McCartney-Lennon. But I agree that Sir Paul’s fussing seemed terribly small.

  • Of course, Paul McCartney is a legend and his contribution to modern music has been phenomenal. In addition he seems like a genuinely good guy. However, his voice is no longer what it was. He’s straining to hit the notes of familiar songs and in my book it’s night time that he wound down and retired from the performance scene just as coal miners, hospital nurses, factory operatives and other ordinary workers have to retire when their energies and faculties are clearly in decline.

  • Actually Roger, I didn’t know that about the credits to their songs. So perhaps from McCartney’s point of view he was simply putting things back to the way they were.

    …Nah, it was still a chicken poop thing to do.

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