Paul McCartney, star of that new iTunes commercial for “Dance Tonight”, turns 65 today, so I’ve been thinking for a couple years, ever since I saw Johnny B. do it, that I should come up with a list of my favorite post-Beatles McCartney songs. This is a little trickier than to make a list of, say, my favorite Beatles songs, for there are huge gaps in my 1980s and 1990s collection. I’ve never owned, and don’t really know, Pipes of Peace, Press to Play, or Broad Street. That said:
1. MAYBE I’M AMAZED from McCartney. I heard Paul was going to be on Ed Sullivan. I was disappointed that it was just a video, but not in the song.
2. MY BRAVE FACE from Flowers in the Dirt. I recall that it was Elvis Costello who encouraged Macca to play the bass like Beatle Paul.
3. JET from Band on the Run. A rollicking good time. Love the bridge.
4. WHAT’S THAT YOU’RE DOIN’ from Tug of War. Admittedly, more for Stevie Wonder, whose output in the early 1980s was, let’s say, less interesting to me – “I Just Called to Say I Love You”, anyone? – but also pointed out Paul’s funky side that I loved in “Got To Get You Into My Life” and “Lady Madonna”. BTW, that OTHER McCartney/Wonder song is also on that album, but not on this list.
5. HI,HI,HI, a 1972 single. Goofy song that I loved in part because so many people got bent out of shape over it (“high, high, high”).
6. FLAMING PIE from Flaming Pie. Describing a piece of John Lennon’s early 1960s witticisms.
7. OO YOU from McCartney. Sparse but rocking tune. Love the vocal.
8. LOOKING FOR CHANGES from Off the Ground. This is his rant about saving the animals from testing. I like that:
“I Saw A Cat With A Machine In His Brain
The Man Who Fed Him Said He Didn’t Feel Any Pain
I’d Like To See That Man Take Out That Machine And Stick It In His Own Brain
You Know What I Mean”
9. BAND ON THE RUN from Band on the Run. Anthemic.
10. WE GOT MARRIED from Flowers in the Dirt. In a minor key, it’s a wonderful juxtaposition between the optimism of the lyric and the moodiness of the melody.
If I were to pick my next ten, there would be several from that first album, a few singles, and maybe JENNY WREN from Chaos and Creation.
I should also note that Roger Ebert also turns 65 today. He has long been my favorite movie critic, not because his name is Roger (though that doesn’t hurt), and not because I always agree with him, but because he’s so aware and honest with his personal biases that I usually know that I’ll like a movie he disliked and vice versa. He’s been having some medical issues over the past couple years, but appears to be on the mend.