A while back, Jake asked via Twitter why it was that Paul McCartney hadn’t made an album as good (and weird) as 1971’s Ram, which prompted a forum question for a list of the exceptions. If you’re not familiar with Macca’s first two solo albums, McCartney and Ram, you need to go buy them now. They will surprise you. They are raw, which is a description not often associtaed with Sir Paul’s solo output, but believe me they are.
Skipping the obvious “Greatest Hits” fodder, since you already know that stuff, these are the 21 post-Ram songs you likely don’t know…but should.
1. Wings – “Give Ireland Back to the Irish” – 1972 single, (Wild Life bonus track)
Not to be outdone by his more politically outspoken former songwriting partner, Macca gets into world politics and the Irish Troubles. Cool guitars, screams and handclaps!
2. Wings – “Get on the Right Thing” – Red Rose Speedway, 1973
Similar to the Ram outtake “Oh Woman, Oh Why?” Some great screaming and it’s an interesting song. This song was originally written during the Ram sessions, in fact.
3. Wings – “Picasso’s Last Words (Drink to Me)” – Band on the Run, 1973
A perfect drinking song with a mug swinging sing-along chorus.
4. Wings – “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five” – Band on the Run, 1973
This is a weird song that I absolutely love. Crazy piano line throughout and that Macca bass! Semi-disco but not quite.
5. Wings – “Venus & Mars/Rock Show” – Venus & Mars, 1975
Great 12-string intro for one of those classic 70s Rock Star story songs that then leads into a screaming rave-up.
6. Wings – “Girls School” – London Town, 1978
Sounds kinda like an early Cheap Trick song with some cool layered slide guitars and the then 35 year old Macca singing about school girls.
7. Wings – “Famous Groupies” – London Town, 1978
Another great Rock Star story song, this one affecting a bit of a George Harrison-cum-munchkin vocal.
8. Wings – “Arrow Through Me” – Back to the Egg, 1979
Awesome Macca melody. The production of this song hews a little too close to Yacht Rock, but the songs is kinda tight.
9. Wings – “So Glad to See You Here” – Back to the Egg, 1979
Another good screamer.
10. Paul McCartney – “Tug of War” – Tug of War, 1982
Okay, this gets a little over the top but some great harmonies and lovely orchestration.
11. Paul McCartney – “Take It Away” – Tug of War, 1982
I have distinct memories of this on the radio and MTV and it made me think Macca would be around forever.
12. Paul McCartney – “Here Today” – Tug of War, 1982
A touching note to John Lennon…I think.
13. Paul McCartney – “Get It” – Tug of War, 1982
A duet with rock and roll legend Carl Perkins. It’s pretty sweet.
14. Paul McCartney – “So Bad” – Pipes of Peace, 1983
See “My Love.”
15. Paul McCartney – “You Want Her Too” – Flowers in the Dirt, 1989
Co-writing and duet with Elvis Costello, who provides the right amount of snark and snarl to Macca’s sweetness.
16. Paul McCartney – “Put it There” – Flowers in the Dirt, 1989
A pretty little acoustic number of advice from father to son.
17. Paul McCartney – “The Song We Were Singing” – Flaming Pie, 1997
The best thing Macca had done since Band on the Run.
18. Paul McCartney – “Fine Line” – Chaos and Creation in the Backyard, 2005
A simple rocker from the album produced by Nigel Godrich, which was probably the right sort of personality to keep a mega star like Macca in check.
19. Paul McCartney – “From a Lover to a Friend” – Driving Rain, 2001
Nice jangly Macca ballad with killer bass parts here and there and nice vocals. The only song I like from this album.
20. Paul McCartney – “Jenny Wren” – Chaos and Creation in the Backyard, 2005
Beautiful finger picking a la “Blackbird.” This is another example of classic Macca melody. Really a lovely song.
21. Paul McCartney – “English Tea” – Chaos and Creation in the Backyard, 2005
“Very twee / very me…” Cheeky!
Many of these songs have recently been yanked from iTunes as it was announced last month that McCartney’s entire solo catalog will be reissued by Concord Music Group beginning in August. The reissues start with McCartney’s mega seller Band on the Run, which will include a special collector’s multi-disc edition with remastered audio, enhanced packaging and rare bonus content.