50 - 1 Paul McCartney

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Zuma

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I'm back with my 50 - 1 of Paul McCartney. This man needs no introduction except to say I suspect the next biggest question besides will he ever return to Australia would be which song from his long successful solo career will land at number 1?


50 - Press - Press To Play - 1986

Press is the very catchy, very 80's single peaking at #21 on the US charts in 1986 from the relatively mixed and at times odd Press To Play album which found Macca in experimental mode with synths and other now dated 80's sounds with assist from Producer Hugh Padgham. McCartney co-wrote 6 songs with 10cc's Eric Stewart and there were guest spots from the likes of Pete Townshend and Carlos Alomar.

The slick and up-tempo song Press was accompanied by a video of a thumbs aloft smiling and playful Macca riding the London underground trains surprising and mixing it with the locals. The lyrics are far from his best yet McCartney gives a winning vocal performance along with a ripping guitar solo from Carlos Alamor to make it by far my favourite track from the album.

Around 1986 this song and album were said to be McCartney's nadir, his career in decline and lost in the 80's but it did crack #6 in the UK which looking back was a fair effort give the uneven nature of this album which is at times interesting and mainly recommend for completists though do check out this song!





 

Zuma

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49 - House of Wax - Memory Almost Full - 2007

A perhaps not so well known song House of Wax is the closer from Paul's first solo album after cutting ties with EMI/Capitol. The song is uncharacteristically dark and heavy power piano ballad and features a couple of wild McCartney guitar solos. The lyrics are interesting sounding like an apocalyptic scene and the vocals demonstrating his evergreen vocal prowess into his mid 60's.

Album track


and Live
 

Zuma

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48 - Waterfalls - McCartney II - 1980

By late 1979 Wings were effectively over as a recording entity and just as he did back in 1970 Macca began experimenting and recording some music on his own, this time with some primitive electronic sounds of the day which foreshadowed what was to come in the music industry in the 80's. One of the more successful songs from this batch was the keyboard ballad "Waterfalls" sung so sweetly by Macca yet tinged with a foreboding warning. The song was the second single from the album and was a Top 10 hit in the UK accompanied by a video featuring a lone McCartney wondering around on his own a clear statement that Wings were no more and another phase of his career was just beginning. Interesting to note that it in the US this was his first single to miss the Billboard Hot 100 chart. TLC did use some elements on their more known 90's song of the same title.

 

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Zuma

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47 - New - New - 2013

After all these years Paul has not lost his ability of turning out a sprightly catchy pop song and the title track of his most recent studio album "New" is no exception managing to maintain a fresh and timeless sound. New whilst not the best tune from its album in my opinion was very well received throughout the tour and TV performances at the time and featured in the animated film Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. If you haven't yet listened to this song and its album I highly recommend it especially as McCartney teams up with several younger producers with whom McCartney achieves a sound that keeps his new music contemporary for not only his old fans but anyone who appreciates their music.



 

Zuma

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46 - Dear Boy - Ram - 1971

In 1971 Paul and Linda recorded what is probably my favourite McCartney album Ram. Whilst it had been described as whimsical and lightweight by some it probably best demonstrates Macca's gift of melody, some great harmonies and studio arrangements and has alot of Buddy Holly and Beach Boys influences. At 2 minutes 15 Dear Boy has a great vocal melody, a beautiful harmony arrangement, is obscure as hell and worth highlighting with its album Ram well worth a listen if you hadn't discovered it yet. There will be more from this album during my count down.

 
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Zuma

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45 - Calico Skies - Flaming Pie - 1997

A beautiful acoustic composition and one of the best songs he wrote in the 90's later released on the ripping Flaming Pie album. Later this song was given its rightful place in McCartney's live set.





 

Zuma

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44 - Dear Friend - Wild Life - 1971

Wings first album Wild Life was universally panned yet features some beautiful songs including this one believed to be written with John Lennon in mind. In my mind it is one of his best early solo career piano compositions.

 
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Zuma

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43 - Beware My Love - Wings At The Speed of Sound - 1976

A Thumping arena rocker Macca practically screams his lungs out on this one of Wings hardest rockers best performed live especially on the epic Wings over America tour which has been recently released on Blueray and DVD called "Rockshow". Featuring Macca's thudding Rickenbaker bass line, the guitar work from the late Jimmy McCullough and even the late John Bonham did a take on drums which was released on a recent re-issue of the album. The album version features a beautiful acoustic intro with harmony vocals from members of Wings. Often overlooked rocker.

Live


Studio
 

Zuma

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42 - Flaming Pie - Flaming Pie - 1997

No doubt inspired by the resurgent Beatlemania surrounding the making of the anthologies during the mid 90's Macca turned out this peppy little pop rocker based on a vision that a young John Lennon had as a young man which inspired the name "The Beatles" McCartney brings in some playful, nonsensical and mad lyrics and rollicking piano to the title track of what was also a brilliant resurgence in his solo career with the album being a commercial and critical hit in 1997. Flaming Pie became a live favourite in McCartney's concerts and works much better live.



 

Zuma

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41 - Getting Closer - Back to the Egg - 1979

Getting Closer is one of the better tracks from the interesting mix of genres and styles that were found on the final McCartney and Wings album "Back to the Egg" It is a straight up rocker with a raw rocking McCartney vocal which elevates what otherwise is an ordinary rocker into something more engaging and tuneful. Like on most of his bigger singles with Wings the lyrics were not on the par with his best work but his talent in musicianship and vocal ability turns this song into a real winner. "Say you don't love me, my salamander" Say what?

 

Zuma

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40 - Junior's Farm - Single - 1974

Paul followed up the massive success of Band on the Run album with a rocking single Junior's Farm and began a successful formula of catchy rockers that explode into big sounding finishes. Junior's Farm is very much in the vein of good mate Steve Miller who was riding high around this time with his best work. As evident in the first video Wings had found their feet and were ready to take of with Macca around the world shortly after this single was released. Nice harmonies and a killer Macca scream as the song climaxes. Take me back.



and many years later
 

worbod

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Another enjoyable 50 to 1 thread. I don't want to pre-empt anything, although I'm sure you have already constructed your 50 to 1 list, but I'm curious to see whether Mary Had a Little Lamb gets a mention.
 

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Zuma

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Another enjoyable 50 to 1 thread. I don't want to pre-empt anything, although I'm sure you have already constructed your 50 to 1 list, but I'm curious to see whether Mary Had a Little Lamb gets a mention.

he he you never know. Chances are it will be in the same category as We All Stand Together :D
 

worbod

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he he you never know. Chances are it will be in the same category as We All Stand Together :D

I'm not saying "Mary" is my favourite McCartney song, but I reckon if it doesn't appear by the time the top 20 begins, it won't be in this list.
 

Zuma

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39 - That Was Me - Memory Almost Full - 2007

The bass driven swagger of That Was Me would have bee a smash radio and chart hit if Paul was a much younger and hip artist. Working with younger producers Macca achieves a booming modern/retro sounds and hooks aplenty for all to hear and staggering for a man who was aged 65 at the time to write, sing and growl about his past with so much exuberance. Like the big hits of his commercial hey day this one all these years later is just as solid and will be hard to get out of your head. Give it a blast.



 

Zuma

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38 - This One - Flowers In The Dirt - 1989

A romantic and optimistic pop song from his late 80's "comeback" album Flowers in the Dirt that I have always liked. It does sound very Crowded House and was warmly received on his world tour and as a top 20 single in the UK. Paul's vocals are great on this track.

 

Zuma

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37- Jenny Wren - Chaos and Creation in the Backyard - 2005

Jenny Wren has been described as sort of a grand daughter of Blackbird and Mother Nature's Son in both style and nature with just McCartney's vocal, a sparse Bach like finger picked acoustic and for the first time in Western Music an Armenian woodwind instrument called the duduk! The song was released as a single and even charted at #22 in the UK as the albums second single if I remember correctly. McCartney's aged voice gives the song a sense of distiction and wisdom. Take a listen to this beautiful song.

 

Zuma

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36 - Wanderlust - Tug of War - 1982

A largely underrated piano ballad and one of Paul's finest compositions of the early 80's believed to be written about his pot bust in Japan a few years earlier. Paul also had a yacht called "Wanderlust". With George Martin in the seat as producer providing a nice brass accompaniment McCartney delivers a great melody and vocal and one of the best tunes from the strong Tug of War album. A couple years later in 1984 Paul also re-recorded this song for his Give My Regards to Broadstreet film and soundtrack with old pal Ringo. George Martin deemed this song as Paul's finest vocal moment.

 

Zuma

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35 - Let 'Em In - Wings at the Speed of Sound - 1976

AN interesting song structurally for what was a huge hit in both the US and UK Let 'Em In features an impressive array of non rock instruments such as the vibraphone intro mimicking a door bell, a trombone solo, a marching band drum and other wind instruments and name checks members of Paul's family and other famous characters such as the Everly brothers. Paul's simple yet thudding bass line drives the song as well as some elegant piano and Wings offer some nicely timed back up harmonies. This song is fantastic live with Denny Laine playing a marching drum and has often been a popular rotational choice in Maccas live sets over the years.

Studio Version


Live in 1976


And a very apt song choice at his Red Square Show a few years back



 

Zuma

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34 - Lonely Road - Driving Rain - 2001

Following on from his first musical project of singing his heart out on obscure rock covers and originals (Run Devil Run) in the wake of the sad passing of 1st wife and soulmate Linda McCartney "Lonely Road" is an emotionally scorching rocker with some impressive fuzz tone guitar and a nice opening bassline where Paul let's it all out. This ain't no pop song, this is Paul's life experience and its convincing as hell with Macca letting rip with a relentless Little Richard rasp to end one emotionally fueled album opener. That album if you are unfamiliar is "Driving Rain" which has 5-6 songs that sit aside his finest work solo.

 

Zuma

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33 - Heart of the Country - Ram - 1971

Winding the clock back some 30 years we find Paul's down home country farm in Scotland ditty the pleasant and melodic ear candy of Heart of the Country. Paul's voice was so pure and melodic during this time and the song finds him continuing the back to basics stripped down approach used to effect on his self titled release a year earlier and a marked contrast with some of the more experiential production numbers found on the RAM album.

 

Zuma

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32 - Take It Away - Tug of War - 1982

Teaming up with the great George Martin Paul released perhaps his most accomplished solo album since Band on The Run and the song "Take It Away" is one smooth and catchy production and was a nice Top 10 hit for Macca in the states. This song is inspiration for young musicians to keep making noise and one day if you are any good you will get noticed. "you never know who may be listening to ya" There are several clever lines in the song and the musicianship is all class especially the harmonies provided by Linda and Denny although after the days of Wings also old pal Ringo on drums. There is a great video for this song below.

 

Zuma

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31 - Beautiful Night - Flaming Pie - 1997

Paul's big piano ballad from Flaming Pie almost a follow up of No More Lonely Nights that was a moderate hit in the UK and featured beautiful visionary lyrics almost fairy tale like. Most notably the song kicks into gear with Ringo jumping on the drums and doing a vocal duet with Paul to close out the song as it explodes into a celebration that would make anyone feel pure joy.

 

Zuma

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30 - Letting Go - Venus & Mars - 1975

This sexy song is one of my faves from the Wings days featuring a seductive electric guitar from Jimmy McCullough, emotive vocal and thudding bass from Macca that sounded just great live. Letting Go was resurrected recently in Paul's live set.

in its day


and 40 years later :eek:
 

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