Saturday, April 10, 2010

It was 40 Years Ago Today

And so it began.

John Lennon wanted to announce in 1969 that the Beatles had broken up. But Paul McCartney knew they were in the middle of negotiating a lucrative distribution deal for Apple Records (and would get much less money if people thought there would never be another new Beatles album) and talked Lennon out of it.

McCartney himself casually announced the breakup exactly 40 years ago today.

As a way of plugging his first solo album.

In the middle of an interview he conducted with himself.

As if to prove he didn't need anyone else, McCartney played every instrument on that first album himself. (Unfortunately, he also wrote every song himself... even though he didn't have an album's worth of good songs.)


Holly A Hughes said...

Treading on very shaky ground here. Didn't have an album's worth of good songs? I beg to differ. "Ooh You"? "Momma Miss America"? "Kreen (Akore)"? This fangirl spent way too many hours listening to this LP (by candlelight, on a fold-up stereo in her dorm room) for those songs to be anything but classics.

Well, at any rate, the whole record is worth it just for "Junk" and "Teddy Boy." And the photo of shaggy Paul with the baby tucked inside his coat.

Alex said...


As dangerous as it is to argue with a fangirl...

I'd agree with you about "Junk" and "Teddy Boy" (and even "Maybe I'm Amazed"). I'd even make a case that "Ram" was as amazing and wonderful as "Wild Life" was terrible.

But... "Hot as Sun/Glasses"? "Valentine Day"? And what made him think the instrumental version of "Junk" should be anything more than a B-side?

Holly A Hughes said...

I will admit I'm a little prejudiced. (And I was being a tiny bit facetious). I'll admit, McCartney has never been rigorous about editing his track lists. He seems compelled to put out an album a year, whether or not he's got a full set of quality stuff. Even when Lennon stopped being a collaborator, he was invaluable to McCartney just as an editor. No one else has ever performed that vital role for Paul, and we just have to live with the consequences.

I love Ram too, and I suspect it was a better album. Oddly enough, though, when I re-listened to Wild Life not so long ago, I was surprised by how good it was. Free-form and rambling, yes, but not all that different from any jam band extemporizing. Trouble is, Macca was known for his pop ditties and the public didn't like him breaking that mold.

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

And BOTH of you are way too dangerous for ME to argue with -- so i won't. :-)

But Paul's first album -- and Ram, and Band on the Run -- all had some fine music, which reminds me of a fairly serious debate I had a decade ago or more about one of Dylan's Grateful Dead collaborations, a song called Silvio. It appeared on Down in the Groove, which album was shall we say fairly rough, but I was stubborn about insisting that Silvio itself was a very good song by any fair measure. And it plain baffled me why no one at the time seemed to want to admit it. And then one friend retorted, "maybe, by some standards, sure, you could say it's a good song -- but it's Dylan and I expect so much more."

I think if Paul hadn't been an ex-Beatle the critical response to his better solo work might well have been warmer. But he was an ex-Beatle and so (for the first couple of solo years anyway) we had such very high expectations ...