Macca gets a bad rap. Old two thumbs up has always been derided as the slightly less visionary of the pair, the goofy yang to Lennon’s mystical yin, a legend for sure but someone who ought to have been pickled in aspic sometime in the early ’80s. Why did Lennon peace out while Sir Paul remained to marry one-legged ladies and perform at soirees for her majesty etc, and that sort of thing.
Well, I for one am glad he’s still here, cringeworthy banter and all, to run through the hits. Here’s ten tracks that stand up to ‘Instant Karma’ and more than make up for the frog chorus (with apologies to ‘Mull Of Kintyre and anything off ‘Kisses On The Arse’).
10 ‘Ain’t That A Shame’
Lennon covered this Fats Domino tune several years before, but it’s PM’s bluesy take – packed full of trademark whoops and howls – that really shapes the standard into something vital.
Initially released as a B-side to his debut solo single ‘Another Day’ in 1971, it’s a slow bluesy rocker that may not have broken boundaires but probably busted a few vintage stereos.
8 ‘Temporary Secretary’
All Music’s usually solid take on things falters when they come to appraise Sir Paul’s third studio solo album (McCartney II). They dismissed the futuristic synth stylings of this bizarre outing as “confused”, while Soulwax saw sense and added it to one of their magpie mash-ups.
Imagine The Mall in 2012, or Pilton a few more years back, without this track. Fireworks were made for the chorus. Best Bond song after that Chris Cornell track (just kidding).
6 ‘Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsy’
Certainly the most tender tribute to Buster Merryfield’s Fools And Horses character we’ve ever heard. Nah, the song is actually about Macca’s own uncle (although it was used in the TV show). A blissful harmony and sound effect-packed tribute showcasing his songwriting at its most honed.
Because the big ones shouldn’t be exempt from top tens. Because we can’t blame him for the aussie rockers he inspired. And because of this.
Forget ‘Ebony And Ivory’, this trumpet-packed pondering treat was the real highlight of his fourth album ‘Tug Of War’. Back together with George Martin for the first time in ages and it shows.
3 ‘Let Me Roll It’
An underappreciated classic that called time on side one of ‘Band On The Run’ and served as the B-side to ‘Jet’, ‘Let Me Roll It’ is commonly believed (but denied by its creator) to be a pastiche of Lennon’s latter style. Piss-take or no, it’s still a compelling stomp that’s been covered by everyone from Brendan Benson to Richie Sambora.
Another track that Lennon thought was aimed at him and Yoko, this was suggested – and rejected – for the ‘Let It Be’ sessions. In the end, it served as a lush and powerful finale to McCartney’s oft-overlooked 1971 album ‘Ram’.
Just press play.
What would be on your own Macca top ten? Since we included Wings and Linda-assisted tunes you can too. ‘My Love’? ‘Band On The Run’? Let us know…