Thursday, August 02, 2007

Number 583 - Paul McCartney


Number 583

Paul McCartney

"Silly Love Songs"

(1976)
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................Genre: Pop...............
art by MsBizarre
Paul McCartney killed the Beatles. Oh frag off, of course he didn't and nor did Yoko Ono. Let me state on behalf of the Beatles, it was them that put the end to themselves. Look, they had just as much critical acclaim apart as they did together and you would have to say as single performers they had equally as big hits as they did when they were the concubine's as a singular insect.
Example: John Lennon with "Imagine" / Paul McCartney with "Mull of Kintrye" / George Harrison with "My Sweet Lord" / Ringo Starr with Photograph stacks up against any Beatles with the likes of "Julia" / "Long & Winding Road" / Across the Universe / Octopuses Garden.
Out of all the former Beatles, Paul McCartney by far had the most successful solo career, maintaining a constant presence in the British and American charts during the '70s and '80s. In America alone, he had nine number one singles and seven number one albums during the first 12 years of his solo career. Although he sold records, McCartney never attained much critical respect, especially when compared to his former partner John Lennon. Then again, he pursued a different path than Lennon, deciding early on that he wanted to be in a rock band. Little more than a year after the Beatles' breakup, McCartney had formed Wings with his wife, Linda, and the group remained active for the next ten years, racking up a string of hit albums, singles, and tours in the meantime. By the late '70s, many critics were taking potshots at McCartney's effortlessly melodic songcraft, but that didn't stop the public from buying his records. His sales didn't slow considerably until the late '80s, and he retaliated with his first full-scale tour since the '70s, which was a considerable success. During the '90s, McCartney recorded less frequently, concentrating on projects like his first classical recording, a techno album, and the Beatles' Anthology.
art by Snarktastic
Like Lennon and George Harrison, Paul McCartney began exploring creative avenues outside the Beatles during the late '60s, but where his bandmates released their own experimental records, McCartney confined himself to writing and production for other artists, with the exception of his 1966 soundtrack to The Family Way. Following his marriage to Linda Eastman on March 12, 1969, McCartney began working at his home studio on his first solo album. He released the record, McCartney, in April 1970, two weeks before the Beatles' Let It Be was scheduled to hit the stores. Prior to the album's release, he announced that the Beatles were breaking up, which was against the wishes of the other members. As a result, the tensions between him and the other three members, particularly Harrison and Lennon, increased and he earned the ill will of many critics. Nevertheless, McCartney became a hit, spending three weeks at the top of the American charts. Early in 1971, he returned with "Another Day," which became his first hit single as a solo artist. It was followed several months later by Ram, another homemade collection, this time featuring the contributions of his wife, Linda.
Following the success of Band on the Run, McCartney formed a new version of Wings with guitarist Jimmy McCulloch and drummer Geoff Britton. The new lineup was showcased on the 1974 British single "Junior's Farm" and the 1975 hit album Venus and Mars. At the Speed of Sound followed in 1976, and it was the first Wings record to feature songwriting contributions by the other bandmembers. Nevertheless, the album became a monster success on the basis of two McCartney songs, "Silly Love Songs" and "Let 'Em In." Wings supported the album with their first international tour, which broke many attendance records and was captured on the live triple album Wings Over America (1976). After the tour was completed, Wings rested a bit during 1977, as McCartney released an instrumental version of Ram under the name Thrillington and produced Denny Laine's solo album Holly Days. Later that year, Wings released "Mull of Kintyre," which became the biggest-selling British single of all time, selling over two million copies. Wings followed "Mull of Kintyre" with London Town in 1978, which became another platinum record. After its release, McCulloch left the band to join the re-formed Small Faces and Wings released Back to the Egg in 1979. Though the record went platinum, it failed to produce any big hits. Early in 1980, McCartney was arrested for marijuana possession at the beginning of a Japanese tour; he was imprisoned for ten days and then released, without any charges being pressed.
art by colourscrash
Wings embarked on a British tour in the spring of 1980 before McCartney recorded McCartney II, which was a one-man band effort like his solo debut. The following year, Denny Laine left Wings because McCartney didn't want to tour in the wake of John Lennon's assassination; in doing so, he effectively broke up Wings. McCartney entered the studio later that year with Beatles producer George Martin to make Tug of War. Released in the spring of 1982, Tug of War received the best reviews of any McCartney record since Band on the Run and spawned the number one single "Ebony and Ivory," a duet with Stevie Wonder that became McCartney's biggest American hit. In 1983, McCartney sang on "The Girl Is Mine," the first single from Michael Jackson's blockbuster album Thriller. In return, Jackson dueted with McCartney on "Say Say Say," the first single from Paul's 1983 album Pipes of Peace and the last number one single of his career. The relationship between Jackson and McCartney soured considerably when Jackson bought the publishing rights to the Beatles songs from underneath McCartney in 1985. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide
For the Beatles see Numbers #947, #894, #587, #489
For John Lennon see Number 639, #492
For George Harrison see Number 806
For Ringo Starr see Number 901
For Small Faces see Number 706
For Stevie Wonder see Number 657, #419
For Michael Jackson see Number 621, #580, #383
What does Rolling Stone think about Paul McCartney?
In his post-Beatles albums, Paul McCartney has proven himself a clever miniaturist whose records resemble collages built around simple musical fragments, each of which is painstakingly produced. While some have dismissed McCartney's music as insufferably cute, uninspired trivia, all of his albums contain at least some worthwhile music.
The solo John Lennon explored (often brilliantly) the sociopolitical potential of late Sixties rock mythology, cultivating a cult of personality to become the most critically popular ex-Beatle. Paul McCartney became the most commercially successful of the four lads by developing into a bravura producer/arranger (especially of singles) as well as a genteel pop archivist devoted to fusing his contribution to the Beatles legacy with mainstream pop. For latter-day McCartney, the megaphone, the brass band and the seedy English music hall tradition are parts of the same musical equation as rock & roll: pop and pop only.
If "Silly Love Songs" is acceptably didactic, the album's closing number, "Warm and Beautiful," pushes the point too far. The opening chords suggest a parody of Lennon's infinitely superior "Imagine" and the ultrasimple melody and lyrics suggest a parody of Lennon's "Love," serving up, with apparent sincerity, the stalest pop ballad clichés ever to emerge from an English music hall. Perhaps McCartney is trying to remind us that these tiresome clichés might well outlast the pop music many critics call art. Or perhaps it is an attempt to transcend cliché by being the biggest cliché. Or perhaps "Warm and Beautiful" is simply one of the worst songs Paul McCartney has ever written.
While there is much to admire on At the Speed of Sound, it is contained in the production more than the material. Ultimately, this album lacks the melodic sparkle of Venus and Mars, which in its turn lacked the energy, passion and structural breadth and unity of Band on the Run, Wings' finest album. No one rocker on Speed matches the spirit of "Jet" or "Band on the Run" from Band, while no ballad even begins to approach the majesty of "My Love," from Red Rose Speedway. As a whole, At the Speed of Sound seems like a mysterious, somewhat defensive oddity by a great pop producer who used to be a great pop writer. Like all McCartney and Wings records, At the Speed of Sound is spectacularly well arranged and recorded, with McCartney continuing to demonstrate his special affinity for using brass in surprising and witty ways. The playing is laboratory perfect. McCartney, like almost no one else, seems able to play the studio as an instrument. Though it's a wonderful gift, I hope it doesn't distract him from songwriting more than it already has. For the best McCartney songs will most certainly outlast all the studios in which they were recorded. (RS 213)
Rolling Stone Top 500 Songs ranked this song at Number (we are amazed) and the Album ranked at Number (but a band on the run?)
This song has a crowbarred rating of 72.6 out of 108 pts

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