After writing about John Lennon, it was obvious that I should talk about his songwriting partner in The Beatles, Paul McCartney. Paul is the one most successful songwriters of all time, with a career that has lasted for decades. He did achieve the most successful solo career among the other Beatles, but he was focused on doing just that and to his credit he did it. He is a talented musician, there is just no denying it, he can play many instruments, sometimes even playing every instrument in his albums. I love his music, even though I am more of a John Lennon fan, Paul is still one of my favorites and I do recognize that he has written some amazing music.
As I did when I wrote about Lennon, going into The Beatles period is something I already did and I would prefer to focus more on his solo work. But it is obvious that Paul wrote some of his best songs in that period. Yesterday is one of the most covered songs of all time and one amazing song, simple but beautiful. Hey Jude, Let it be, The long and winding road among many others are some of Paul’s contributions to The Beatles. Paul as a solo artist to me was successful but inconsistent, his work to me was more of songs instead of albums because I found hard liking many songs on each album.
He was the one who most fought to keep the band together, something that Lennon acknowledged in a 1970 interview. But, ironically, it was Paul who officially in April 1970 announced to the world that he was quitting The Beatles. This was a hard period for Paul when Linda tried to encourage him to move forward, I think that is where the song Maybe amazed was inspired. His first solo album was titled McCartney, an appropriate name for the album since aside from a few Linda vocals, Paul is the only musician on the album. it is a great album, though it lacked maybe a sense of being a serious album, still, it was well received and I love that album. Every night is a nice acoustic ballad, but the best song on the album is Maybe I’m amazed. His next album was Ram, the songs for this album had a lot of songs co-written with Linda and it felt more like a homemade album for fun, I liked a few songs on it like Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey, Too many people and Sitting on the backseat of my car.
What came next is Paul trying to form a new band, with Linda and Denny Laine as the only constant members. The first album they released as Wings was the album Wings Wildlife, it was poorly received and, in all honesty, it was not a great album, the one song I really like from that album was the song Some people never know. Their second album was an improvement, in 1973 they released Red Rose Speedway that included the number one hit My love. The album had some good songs on it, still not a perfect album but it showed that Paul was heading toward the right direction.
The third album was interesting, the drummer and second guitarist quitted Wings leaving Paul, Linda and, Denny to record the next album. The album they recorded became what is today still considered one of McCartney’s best albums. Band on the Run is Paul’s first complete great album. The whole album is well produced, recorded and the songs are great. The title track became a number one hit and the album has a lot of songs he still performs today like Jet, Let me roll it and 1985.
The next period for Paul and Wings was one of success and not much success. With the next album Venus and Mars they continued having success as the album sold well. In this time, they embarked on a successful return for Paul to world touring with the Wings over the world tour. The tour included a few Beatles songs, but contrary to his concerts today, his solo work was heavily featured in the tour. Next came Wings and the Speed of sound that was a success due to huge hit Silly love songs. The next Wings albums were not as successful and it would mark the end of Wings. London town had good songs on it but is not a great album. The best song of that period was not included and was a huge hit in Europe, and for me one of McCartney’s best songs, the song is Mull of Kintyre. Their final album was Back to the Egg, it failed commercially, although I consider it a good album.
Once again and for the rest of his career, he would be a solo artist. He released McCartney II on 1980. I think it was more of an experimental album for Paul using synthesizers and electronic sounds. Me personally I like a few songs but yet again if I look at it as an album, not as good as he could make one. Now that changed for me with his next album, Tug of War. For that album, he reunites with Beatles producer George Martin and Ringo Starr on drums. Denny Lain also plays on the album and he sings a couple of songs with Stevie Wonder and one with Carl Perkins. This album was very well received and it proved that McCartney could still make a good album. Sadly, the album was produced during the month when John Lennon was murdered and this had a huge impact on Paul. The song Here today is a loving tribute to Lennon, very moving and personal.
After that he released Pipes of peace, that album included the hit Say, Say Say a duet with Michael Jackson. I liked the album it has good songs on it, I think it almost felt like a second part to Tug of War. He then had another hit with the song No more lonely nights from the album and film Give my regards to Broad Street.
Another great album that he released was Flowers in the dirt. That album has beautiful music in it and the band members sounded great. The album had songs that were co-written with Elvis Costello like the song My Brave Face. Here he began touring again and this time he included a lot of Beatles songs on the tour, a trend that would only increase as he kept touring. Just like Pipes of peace, Off the ground followed Flowers in the dirt and feels like it was recorded together. That album is a good one, I like it even though it is not mentioned much.
In my opinion, one of his best albums is Flaming Pie, released in 1997 while he was working on The Beatles Anthology he decided to record an album like The Beatles used to. It had so many good songs on it, they were simple but they had good lyrics and good melodies. Jeff Lynne co-produced the album with George Martin producing and scoring the song Somedays. Sadly, after this album, Linda McCartney passed away and Paul would not release an album of music, not classical work, until 2001.
In the recent years, he continued to release good albums, in fact, some of them better than many released earlier in his solo career. For me, albums like Chaos and Creation in the backyard and New are both great albums. He last album Egypt Station for me it was a typical album that had good songs but not as an album not that good.
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