21 Best Post-Ram Paul McCartney Songs

Crazy Paul McCartneyA 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.

Paul McCartney - Take It Away

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!

Paul McCartney: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki

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.

25 thoughts on “21 Best Post-Ram Paul McCartney Songs”

  1. Fantastic list, though nothing from Wild Life? It’s got some serious dust among the diamonds, but “Some People Never Know” and the title track are stellar.

  2. Nothing from McCartney’s (The Fireman’s) Electric Arguments? I’d put a couple of songs from that CD on this list: Traveling Light, Sun is Shining, Dance Till We’re High, and Light from Your Lighthouse (that last one has a great mix of Paul singing at the lowest and highest ends of his voice).

    Good list, though. I hope he does a deluxe Ram reissue soon. I just love that record.

  3. I love “You Gave Me the Answer” off Venus/Mars. I think it’s the best of Paul’s “music hall” numbers. Of course, it’s probably been 15 years since I’ve actually listened to it…

  4. As an avowed Macca fan–who doesn’t partake of the Kool-Aid, btw–this list has got me thinking…no.s 5, 12, 18, 20 are all aces in my book. I’m also pretty partial to Wild Life‘s “Tomorrow”; “Let Me Roll It”, his ode to weed, from Band on the Run; “Call Me Back Me Again” (although his vocals are a bit iffy on that tune) from Venus and Mars; “Getting Closer” from Back to the Egg; and the shoulda-been-a-hit, “This One” from Flowers in the Dirt.

    I’m with Dee re: Electric Arguments; some tasty tunes on that one. (I particularly dig “Not Too Much Just Out of Sight”, probably his heaviest rocker since “Helter Skelter”.)

  5. Good info on The Firemen tracks. I am not familiar with those works but will be checking them out now!

    As a side note: I am contemplating another mix of all Paul’s most rocking solo output. Some of those mentioned in this post and some additions. Give me your suggestions. No ballads. The more screaming the better.

  6. “Flying To My Home”, which was the b-side to “My Brave Face”

    “Letting Go” from Venus & Mars

    the version of “We Got Married” live at Knebworth ’90 is pretty damn killer; the studio version is a bit sterile by comparison. Both have Gilmour on guitar.

    and even though it contains practically no originals, Run Devil Run is an awesome album.

  7. You can’t say “no greatest hits fodder” and have “Take It Away.”

    Not giving any love to his great disco/funk side – “Temporary Secretary” off II or the massively great Stevie duet “What’s That You’re Doing?” off Tug of War – is sad.

    Also: I remember “Pipes of Peace” being pretty great at the time. Has it not aged well?

  8. I was first exposed to “So Bad” via Give My Regards to Broad Street, which I remember liking, but I haven’t actually heard it in over 20 years since some scoundrel borrowed my tape and never returned it.

    I actually heard Broad Street before Revolver, too, so those 1984 versions were the first I’d heard of “Good Day Sunshine,” “Here, There and Everywhere,” and “For No One.” Which seems…odd. But who knows? It’s been 20+ years since I’ve heard them.

  9. Re: “Take It Away”

    While it was indeed released as a single and reached #10 on the Billboard Hot 100, the song was not included on All the Best. And while it was included on Wingspan, it was on the “History” disc, not the “Hits” disc. I think it counts.

  10. Or we going sailing this weekend, Derek?

    This list is pretty weak. Not one, but two tracks from what many consider Macca’s worst albums ever, London Town and Back To The Egg. We also used to call Pipes Of Peace “Pipes Of Poop” back in the day because it sucked so much shit.

  11. Gives us what you got, Totale!

    My rockin’ playlist is int he works and has a title: Macca’s No Pussy

  12. Come on! “Say Say Say” is awesome. My musical tastes might’ve taken a wildly different direction had Paul not collaborated with Mike again after Thriller, no shit.

  13. One suggestion for the Macca Shrieking List: At first I didn’t like his song, Nothing Too Much Just Out of Sight, that leads off Electric Arguments. It’s Old Man Macca taking out all of his anger on his ex-wife and there’s not much melody to be found in it. But damn, if it doesn’t grow on you. Or maybe I just like the idea of Mr. Optimist ranting about “the last thing to do was to try to betray me.” Feels honest and cathartic.

  14. You do know that’s he’s been doing Venus and Mars/Rock Show and 1985 live lately, right? People seem to be loving them.

    I agree about You Gave Me the Answer. Definitely his best old-timey number. And just a wonderful song that I love.

    I have many many favorites that are not on the list. Too many to even go into.

    For the rocking collection you have got to include Rinse the Raindrops from Driving Rain. Not only is all of it great, but I think it has the single best scream ever recorded. By anybody. At least from what I’ve heard. Anyway, it’s fantastic.

  15. I’m still voting for “Helen Wheels”. I guess there’s a reason it’s on the greatest hits records. Slightly more obscure but still not exactly underground is “Figure of Eight”, which is also pretty swell.

  16. I love 1985 so much I don’t even consider it an “obscure” track anymore, I just assume that surely other people than me must realise how good it is.

    Great call on “So Glad to See You Here” – much superior to the other “superband” track on the same album, Rockestra Theme. That whole Back to the Egg album is underrated: Old Siam, Sir is also good and I even like Spin It On.

    Press to Play is a pretty horrible album but I always thought “Only Love Remains” had a lovely hook (although the chorus is a bit weak).

    I’m with JR re: Wild Life – the title track is really cool. I remember seeing grainy live footage of that song when I was a kid and thinking “what is this? I need to get this!”

    The live version of We Got Married has a lot more power and drama than the studio version, for sure. Awesome guitar.

  17. This thread only serves to show me what little attention I’ve paid to McCartney’s solo career. I know the hits, and that’s it. I had a friend play me “Run Devil Run” and loved it, but I’m looking at the CD shelf and there is not a single entry from McCartney or Wings. Sad. Must fix that.

  18. Start with Ram. If you can find the 1993 “Paul McCartney Collection” version of the CD, get it for sure. The mastering sounds way, way, way better than the original CD release and adds “Another Day” and “Oh Woman, Oh Why” as bonus tracks.

    Or take a chance and wait for the upcoming Concord reissue. But if recent Paul history is any indication, it will not sound as good as the 1993 version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Gmex_4hreQ

  19. I’m a big fan of Venus & Mars; I think that’s as good a point of entry to solo Macca as any. Flowers In The Dirt is a very good album as well; again, go for the Paul McCartney Collection version of that one, too. That version of the CD includes the indispensible b-side I mention above, “Flying To My Home”.

  20. I think the whole Macca catalog is great, all his albums made after 1989, after “flowers in the dirt” are the best.

    I don’t understand why he is not much better credited and why he doesnt play these songs live.I can’t listen to other artists, he ‘s complete

    Cheers

  21. Great rockers:

    “Soily” and “Beware my Love” from “Wings over America”

    “About You” from Driving Rain

    “Off the Ground” and “Get out of my Way” from Off the Ground

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