Monday, June 18, 2012

70 Years of Paul McCartney

It's Paul McCartney's 70th birthday today, and since I've got nothing to do all day, I figured I'd sit down and come up with a mix CD of my favorite Paul McCartney songs. If someone asked me why I liked Paul McCartney, solo artist, well, this is the CD I'd give them, anyway. So my criteria here is really only that they have to be Paul solo songs (with two exceptions, which I'll explain) and that they had to fit on a single disc. Here's my McCartney mix. (Note: I'm not linking to YouTube videos this time, if only because it was hard to find any that would actually play instead of stalling out. Some played just fine, others...)

1. "Another Day"
If there's one thing that makes it hard to make a Paul McCartney mix (especially a personally definitive one), it's that he doesn't have a lot of great openers. Most of his songs sound like the middle of a longer song, which is fine if you're making Abbey Road, I guess, but gave me a hell of a time here. I decided to go with this one, which was also Paul's first solo single.

2. "Band on the Run"
3. "Live and Let Die"
These have to be on there somewhere, and since they're rockers (ish?) I decided to front load them so it doesn't slow down right away.

4. "The Back Seat of My Car"
5. "Too Many People"
Slowing down a little, but with the genuinely emotive stuff. Paul's best creative period as a solo artist was, for my ears, about 1969 to 1971, so there's a lot of early stuff all over this playlist.

6. "Say Say Say" (with Michael Jackson)
Paul's 80s period, though, is represented mainly with cheese (defined often as "genuine attempts at emotion in a style people don't think is cool"), and I had to stick this one on here. When I was 6, this kind of stuff is where I knew McCartney from. (I also chose this over "Ebony & Ivory," which I'm just not much of a fan of, Eddie Murphy and Joe Piscopo notwithstanding.)

7. "Heart of the Country"
One of the bounciest of Paul McCartney's bouncy songs.

8. "Let Me Roll It"
His "Lennon-style" song, as it were.

9. "Bluebird"
Very pretty song, though not quite as pretty as "Blackbird." This one's actually on my iPod right now... I think it's the only McCartney song that currently is.

10. "Pipes of Peace"
Another one of those cheesy 80s songs, but I've always dug this. It fits on here for me.

11. "The Long and Winding Road" (Let It Be...Naked version)
And now, the promised explanation. Like I said, I think 1969 is when Paul McCartney began his solo career. If you listen to the last couple of Beatles albums, they really are--as Rolling Stone pointed out in the infamous negative review of The Beatles--four guys doing their own music but playing together. They were all thinking like solo artists. Not that it was to the detriment of the music, but the four members of the band were no longer really playing as a band. I think of "Get Back" as the last real Beatles single; this and "Let It Be" sound like they'd be right at home on McCartney, Paul's first solo album, which makes sense because they were both recorded around the same time. I think a McCartney collection is remiss if it doesn't take both of those songs into consideration, and I think they belong here. Also, check out how confident McCartney is on both tracks; he's really left it behind and started grasping the possibilities of what he can do on his own, and he's not afraid to do it. Too bad it only lasted a couple of years. There's just no excuse for that awful first Wings album...

12. "Singalong Junk"
A very pretty McCartney instrumental, sort of a tag for the previous track, and a bridge before...

13. "Dance Tonight"
Bounce, bounce, bounce... I don't feel bad that there are only three songs from the 80s on here and then nothing until 2007.

14. "Listen to What the Man Said"
15. "Coming Up"
16. "Silly Love Songs"
Keeping the pace moving along, and then leading into a silly love song.

17. "No More Lonely Nights"
Such a cheesy, soft rock, adult contemporary radio hit, but I love this stupid thing.

18. "My Love"
19. "Jet"
20. "Ever Present Past"
This one goes great with Ringo Starr's "Fading In and Fading Out" by the way. I wish John Lennon and George Harrison had lived long enough to write from the same perspective.

21. "Let It Be"
22. "Maybe I'm Amazed"
Don't these songs sort of sound like two halves of the same whole? I've always looked at them that way, and I think they're the two best songs McCartney's ever written.

23. "The Lovely Linda"
A little tag to fade out with (it's only 42 seconds long) and then that's it.

Well, it may not be your Paul, but it's mine. Just a little diversion for the day.


Roger Owen Green said...

Must say that I did consider for my list 1, 5, 13, and 17, and did include 2, 8, 19, and 22.

Immodium said...

Another great post. You've been a massive inspiration to me in this whole blogging thing, and even when I don't agree I certainly appreciate the effort. Kudos, sir. Oh, and you're dead-on about the pool.

SamuraiFrog said...

Roger: Your list did have "My Brave Face," which was very nearly on mine. My wife gave me that sigh and look that it didn't have "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" on it. Yeesh.

Immodium: Thanks for the kind words!

Roger Owen Green said...

Oh, I should have noticed this before - Junk is not an instrumental. But Singalong Junk is. Is that the song you mean?

SamuraiFrog said...

Ah, drat! Yes. Thanks for catching that. I always think "Singalong Junk" is the one with lyrics because it has "Singalong" in the title.