To celebrate Paul McCartney’s 70th birthday I’ve selected 10 of my favorite McCartney songs. 5 with The Beatles and 5 post Beatles. I wouldn’t call these my favorite songs by Paul (I’m too indecisive these days to even try to pick out favorites) they’re just some great songs that are worth a listen (er… buy The Beatles in Stereo Box Set if you don’t have it.)
Five Great McCartney Songs with The Beatles
“For No One” – Revolver.
I’ve always loved this sometimes overlooked gem from Revolver and my appreciation for it has only grown with time. Really you can’t go wrong with any of Paul’s tracks for Revolver, he was at the top of his game in 1966. He also wrote “Eleanor Rigby,” “Got to Get You Into My Life,” “Good Day Sunshine,” “Yellow Submarine” (for Ringo to sing), and “Here, There, and Everywhere” for this brilliant album.
“I’ll Follow the Sun” – Beatles For Sale.
Beatles For Sale isn’t as good as A Hard Day’s Night or Help! (which came out before & after it) and I think because of that it gets a bit more of a shaft than it deserves. No it’s not one of their greatest albums but it does have some really nice songs on it including this one. I actually quite like most of the originals on this album, what brings it down for me are the not so great covers.
“Helter Skelter” – The White Album.
The most obvious example that Paul was more than just the balladeer of The Beatles (a misconception that is still common.) There’s a lot of things that kick my ass about this recording but I think my favorite thing might just be the backing vocals; I love the mix of the “ahhhhs” with the heavy guitars. Continue reading “Ten Great Paul McCartney Songs for Paul’s 70th Birthday” »
This was recorded at Studio 2 (where The Beatles recorded most of their stuff) in Abbey Road on July 28, 2005. I’ve seen it before but just came across it again on the YouTube and I don’t think I’ve seen/heard such a high quality version before. It’s a pretty nice one for Paul McCartney fans:
Right off the start here, let me give my opinion. I Like It! But that’s largely because I like this kind of music coupled with my irrational desire to like everything that Macca puts out there.
The album itself? It sounds good. It’s not over produced, not too too shiny. Even the orchestrated stuff sounds intimate and personal. Macca himself? He’s going to be 70 this year and it does sound like a happy 70 year old singing songs that he’s loved since he was a kid.
It’s basically another covers album with two new McCartney songs. It’s a collection of standards he grew up with as a kid, so presumably it’s not a rock and roll album. Diana Krall and her band, Eric Clapton and Stevie Wonder appear on his album of old American songs he grew up with, in most cases, hearing them for the first time being played on the piano at home by his father.
Ringo of course did the same thing back in 1970 for his solo debut Sentimental Journey. Lots of people didn’t like it very much, but they can suck it! I liked it. I just hope Paul’s album doesn’t sound like all those trendy standards albums that have been coming out in the last few years like Rod Stewart’s. That’s merely my opinion.
I just watched the Who Is Harry Nilsson? documentary on Netflix instant view (it’s also available on Amazon.com) and I really quite enjoyed it. I wasn’t too familiar with Nilsson other than knowing that he was a good friend of John Lennon’s and and that they got in a lot of trouble together in the mid ’70s during Lennon’s “Lost Weekend.”
I also knew of the song “Everybody’s Talkin” but wasn’t aware that he wasn’t the songwriter on that one.
Through watching this documentary I came to find out he was associated with quite a few other songs that I am familiar with. Most obviously he wrote “One” (the band Three Dog Night had a big hit with it), and “Coconut.” He also sang the version of “Without You” I’m was most familiar with (he had a #1 hit with a cover of it in 1971.)
But it was all of the material that I wasn’t familiar with that I found most interesting. I plan on getting a few of his albums (the Greatest Hits CD at least) to check out his songs more closely as I found them to be quite intriguing from what I heard in the documentary.
Even if you aren’t totally into his music (and it’s definitely quirky enough that it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea) I think you may enjoy the documentary as it’s very well done and Nilsson had a very interesting life. It’s definitely worth an instant view if you have Netflix!
I also noticed that there was a photograph in the movie (towards the end) of Harry Nilsson, Paul McCartney, and John Lennon all hanging out together post Beatles. As a bit of Beatles freak I’m amazed I’d never seen this photo before as I don’t know of any other photo of John and Paul together after The Beatles break-up so it’s kind of a neat shot. The picture must have been from around ’73 or ’74. After a little bit of time on Google I was able to it online and am including here:
Today I came across this really great Paul McCartney interview with Howard Stern in 2001 (not sure of the exact date, but it’s after 9/11) and I enjoyed it so much that I thought I should share it here.
I’m one of those Beatles freaks who has seen and read everything about The Beatles so usually McCartney’s interviews are kind of boring because he just says the same things I’ve heard a thousand times before, but Stern really does an excellent job in this interview with asking interesting questions and getting a bit deeper into the guy. I feel like I know Paul better after hearing this interview.
You can hear it here (it’s split up into parts, and it’s just audio.)
It’s nice when your musical heroes dig your political heroes and luckily and as a liberal I get to experience this quite often because artistic types tend to be political liberals due to the empathy that comes naturally with being an artist.
And of course empathy usually leads to liberal political views because it allows one to see beyond their own immediate short sighted interests. A great example is that one would only be for off shore drilling if their only concern was lower gas prices right now, with no thought to the potential environmental damage.
I recently came across the following quote from Norman Smith (who was The Beatles recording engineer from Please Please Me through Rubber Soul)
I don’t want to take anything away from anyone, but production of the Beatles was very simple, because it was ready-made. Paul was a very great influence in terms of the production, especially in terms of George Harrison’s guitar solos and Ringo’s drumming. The truth of the matter is that, to the best of my memory, Paul had a great hand in practically all of the songs that we did, and Ringo would generally ask him what he should do. After all, Paul was no mean drummer himself, and he did play drums on a couple of things. It was almost like we had one producer in the control room and another producer down in the studio. There is no doubt at all that Paul was the main musical force. He was also that in terms of production as well. A lot of the time George Martin didn’t really have to do the things he did because Paul McCartney was around and could have done them equally well… most of the ideas came from Paul.
I find this perspective (coming as it does from someone who knew what he was talking about from personal experience) very interesting and it definitely fits in with my belief that Paul is not given the credit he deserves in relation to John Lennon. Don’t get me wrong, I love Lennon and I think the John vs. Paul argument is a bit silly because I think they were both essential in the creation of The Beatles music but I really do think that Paul doesn’t get enough credit (and conversely John probably gets a bit too much) for what made The Beatles recordings so great. Continue reading “Paul McCartney: “Musical Director” of The Beatles” »
One of my favorite things about Last.FM is that you can pretty much put in any adjective (“tag”) into the radio search bar and it’ll randomly play songs that users have tagged with that word. The more often people have tagged a song, the more likely it is that it’ll be played on that radio station.
The “Holiday Spirit” has hit me and I’m listening to music tagged as “Christmas.” These are the songs that came up on the radio and my impression of them:
1. Chris Rea – “Driving Home For Christmas”
I’ve never heard this song before, although it looks like it’s actually very popular (it was played over 13K times last week.) I must say it’s absolutely terrible. Light rock drivel.