I have been in the mood to hear Paul McCartney for a few days and today I started to listen to his music and thought that I could share what I think are his best albums. I remember when I first became a Beatles fan once I got all their albums I started to buy the solo albums of each Beatle. So, this post is maybe for those new Beatles fans looking for a guide as to where to start in terms of their solo albums. I want to give you my opinion on that beginning with Paul McCartney.
Paul, I think has the most solo albums, of course sadly John only had 10 years as a solo artist and George died in 2001. Paul and Ringo have continued to stay active in making albums. Paul has gone through periods of great albums and others where he struggles to deliver, but every album has classic songs. Here we go, I will try to limit the list but I won’t make promises.
- McCartney – 1970
The first solo record he released. It is a strange album, it contains a lot of instrumental songs and some acoustic and simple songs, but that makes it special. It is an intimate record. For me, the best songs on the album are Every Night, Junk and Maybe I’m amazed.
- Band on the Run – 1973
This is the album where I believe Paul had a clear frame idea for an album and he was out to prove something and he did. This is after his two solo albums and he decided to start a new band. Wings were formed and they released Wings Wildlife and Red Rose Speedway, two albums that I like but not as a whole album. Band on the run is Paul at his best from start to finish.
- Wings Over America – 1976
This is an essential live album, Paul has released a lot of live albums but this is one of my favorites because it does not rely so heavily on The Beatles. He sang songs from his days with the band but he sang more songs of his solo work, I always liked the balance. Today he sings so much of The Beatles songs and I guess most fans that what they want to hear. Me I just don’t think any other people do justice to how The Beatles themselves played the songs, I always felt Paul could include more of his solo work while singing Beatles classics, but I may be alone at that. This album contains a beautiful version of Blackbird.
- Tug of War 1982
After a couple of not so great albums with Wings (London Town, Back to the Egg) Paul released his first solo album since Ram, called McCartney II. It was a weird album for me, very experimental, it had good moments in it, but for me, his true comeback as a solo artist again came with the great album Tug of War. Produced by George Martin and Paul together for the first time since Abbey Road, it was a success. The album has good songs in it, for me only two songs I did not like. Included here is the beautiful tribute to John Lennon with the song Here today.
- Flowers in the Dirt 1989
This is a great album and it was followed with a great tour that produced the live album Tripping the live fantastic. Working with Elvis Costello in a few songs, this is a great album by Paul with a band he used for several albums.
- Flaming Pie – 1997
Inspired by The Beatles Anthology project, Paul recorded this album with producer Jeff Lynne and it is one of his best albums.
- Memory Almost Full – 2007
For Paul to be releasing successful albums after a career that began in 1963, it is amazing. This album I just gave it a listen today and rediscovered it in a way, I focused on two songs from this album and ignored the rest and today I heard it completely and it has many good songs.
- New – 2013
Egyptic Station was the last album he released and it was a big success, but still, for me, the best album from Paul in recent years was this album. The music is great, the lyrics some of his best.
I tried to cover his whole career as to say his best albums from different eras. But the albums from 1970 to 1980 contain many of his best hits, I just tried to focus on albums that had the best overall songs. A good way to start for any new fan is to buy the Pure McCartney collection it is a 4 cd set that covers everything until the album New.