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Top 20: Wings and solo Paul McCartney

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With the release of Pure McCartney today, SDE picks its own top 20 Wings and solo McCartney recordings. One track per album (except Driving Rain, which hasn’t got a good track on it). Check out our selections below with many rare videos and audio for each song…

Maybe I’m Amazed

Paul’s love letter to his new bride Linda was featured on his first solo album McCartney and became  an instant classic, with the Faces and Sandie Shaw recording versions in 1971.

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Heart Of The Country

1971’s RAM offers an abundance of delights but Heart of the Country is a melodic gem and embodies the rustic, homely delights Paul sings about. The 2013 updated version, which was a ‘soundtrack’ to a Linda McCartney Foods advert, is best forgotten.

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Wild Life

The fact that the rather amateurish Wild Life (1972) album, followed the sophisticated and musically complex RAM is hard to believe. There’s no denying it has its moments, particularly the conciliatory Dear Friend, but the album feels lazy with simplistic arrangements often in dire need of editing. That said, our highlight is the title track, which has a very interesting, yearning tone and unlike virtually anything else Paul produced in the 1970s. As a ‘protest’ song (of sorts), it’s certainly much better than Give Ireland Back To The Irish.

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Single Pigeon

Your task? Write a little ditty about a Pigeon that is charming and strangely moving. No? Luckily, Macca got their first as this slight but memorable tune from Red Rose Speedway (1973) confirms.

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Jet

Sometimes the BIG hit single just does the job. Jet from 1973’s Band on the Run is undeniably such a song. Tony Visconti arranged the horns on this track (although remained uncredited until Band on the Run was reissued in 1999). Here’s a rare version of Jet as performed by Paul and makeshift band on BBC TV’s Wogan, from 1987.

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Letting Go

The public for some reason hated Letting Go which was a single from Venus and Mars (1975). It wasn’t even a top 40 hit in the UK, and peaked at number 39 Stateside which is poor considering that they’d just had a number one with Listen To What The Man Said. Here’s Paul performing on the Wings Over America tour.

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The Note You Never Wrote

Beautiful, haunting song from the ‘democratic’ Wings at the Speed of Sound album (1976), where everyone (even Linda) had a ‘go’ at singing a song. This is written by Paul with vocals by Denny Laine. Laine’s own Time To Hide is another highlight from the same album.

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Name and Address

This London Town (1978) album track was supposedly written for Elvis (can you tell?) but plans scuppered when The King died. Paul plays lead guitar on this fun track.

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Winter Rose / Love Awake

From 1979’s Back to the Egg (A-Side was ‘sunny side up, B-side ‘over easy’), Winter Rose / Love Awake is a rather underrated balled combo. Although critics would claim these medleys indicate that Paul can’t finish a song, he does do them well and in fact this follows another pairing on the album After The Ball / Million Miles, that’s similarly good.

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Coming Up

The best thing Paul has done outside The Beatles. A brilliant pop song –  all the more incredible when you consider Paul composed and recorded everything by himself for 1980’s McCartney II. This live version became the ‘hit’ side in America after the record company didn’t like the processed vocals on the studio cut. Lennon said “I thought that Coming Up was greatI liked that freak version he made is his barn, better than that live Glasgow version. I thought the record company had a nerve changing it round on him.

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Take It Away

The second single from 1982’s ‘return to form’ Tug Of War has aged far better than Ebony and Ivory. Great production and decent video. One of the many excellent songs in his canon that Macca has never played live.

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Pipes of Peace

It was January 1984 and Paul was still having number one singles. Say Say Say had gone to the top in America, and now the title track from Pipes of Peace did the same in the UK. It would be his last as a solo artist and is another that he hasn’t played in concert.

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No More Lonely Nights

A classic McCartney single pulled from the soundtrack to his ill-advised film Give My Regards To Broadstreet. Largely recorded live, this features David Gilmour on guitar and Anne Dudley on keyboards. Guess what? He’s never played this live either!

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Footprints

After three albums with George Martin, Paul got Hugh Padgham in to work on Press to Play (1986). Ironically, ditching his old mucker and going for ‘modern’ sounding production to stay relevant gave Paul two singles that stalled outside the top 20 and even a non-charting single in Pretty Little Head. It all felt a little forced. This is a highlight though and like many songs on the album Footprints was co-written with Eric Stewart from 10cc.

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My Brave Face

Paul was working with Elvis Costello in the late 1980s and their first (and only) A-side for Macca (Back on My Feet was a B-side in ’87) was the lead single off 1989’s Flowers in the Dirt. Although Paul was back with a strong single, it only peaked at number 18 in the UK.

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Mistress and Maid

Another McCartney/McManus composition is the highlight from 1993’s patchy Off The Ground. Macca’s only selection for Pure McCartney from Off The Ground is Winedark Open Sea, which is an odd choice.

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Young Boy

Despite eight (count ’em) songs being pulled from 1997’s Flaming Pie for the 4CD version of Pure McCartney, first single Young Boy isn’t one of them! Hard to understand why, it’s a great song and his last single (solely credited to Paul McCartney) to get into the ‘teens’ in the UK top 20 singles chart.

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This Never Happened Before

Paul’s Chaos and Creation in the Backyard from 2005 was a significant return to form after the frankly awful Driving Rain from 2001.  There are many highs, but this album closer is brilliant and was used in the 2006 film The Lake House which is what this video is about!

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Only Mama Knows

Why this wasn’t a single, a-hem, ‘Only Mama Knows’, but Paul certainly liked this Wingsy album track from 2007’s Memory Almost Full and played it regularly, including this fine performance on Jools Holland’s BBC TV show Later….

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Alligator

One in the eye for Queenie Eye because Alligator is by a long shot the best song from 2013’s improbably excellent New. Credit must go to Mark Ronson, who made such a good job of recording and producing this (is there anything he can’t do?). Call me crazy, but this has an almost RAM-like quality to the guitars and composition.

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Disagree with these selections? Let us know what you think – Leave a comment.

Pure McCartney is out today.

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track_listing

Pure_McCartney_4_CD_Packshot

Pure McCartney / 4CD Deluxe Edition (67 tracks)

CD 1

1 Maybe I’m Amazed (Remastered 2011)
by Paul McCartney

2 Heart Of The Country (Remastered 2012)
by Linda McCartney and Paul McCartney

3 Jet (Remastered 2010)
by Paul McCartney And Wings

4 Warm And Beautiful (Remastered 2014)
by Wings

5 Listen To What The Man Said (Remastered 2014)
by Wings

6 Dear Boy (Remastered 2012)
by Linda McCartney and Paul McCartney

7 Silly Love Songs (Remastered 2014)
by Wings

8 The Song We Were Singing (Remastered 2016)
by Paul McCartney

9 Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsey (Medley / Remastered 2012)
by Linda McCartney and Paul McCartney

10 Early Days
by Paul McCartney

11 Big Barn Bed (Remastered 2016)
by Paul McCartney And Wings

12 Another Day (Remastered 2012)
by Linda McCartney and Paul McCartney

13 Flaming Pie (Remastered 2016)
by Paul McCartney

14 Jenny Wren
by Paul McCartney

15 Too Many People (Remastered 2012)
by Linda McCartney and Paul McCartney

16 Let Me Roll It (Remastered 2010)
by Paul McCartney And Wings

17 New
by Paul McCartney

CD2

18 Live And Let Die (Remastered 2016)
by Paul McCartney And Wings

19 English Tea
by Paul McCartney

20 Mull Of Kintyre (Remastered 2016)
by Wings

21 Save Us
by Paul McCartney

22 My Love (Remastered 2016)
by Wings

23 Bip Bop (Remastered 2016)
by Wings

24 Let ‘Em In (Remastered 2014)
by Wings

25 Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five (Remastered 2010)
by Paul McCartney And Wings

26 Calico Skies (Remastered 2016)
by Paul McCartney

27 Hi, Hi, Hi (Remastered 2016)
by Wings

28 Waterfalls (Remastered 2011)
by Paul McCartney

29 Band On The Run (Remastered 2010)
by Paul McCartney And Wings

30 Appreciate
by Paul McCartney

31 Sing The Changes
by The Fireman

32 Arrow Through Me (Remastered 2016)
by Wings

33 Every Night (Remastered 2011)
by Paul McCartney

34 Junior’s Farm (Remastered 2014)
by Wings

35 Mrs Vandebilt (Remastered 2010)
by Paul McCartney And Wings

CD 3

36 Say Say Say (Radio Edit / 2015 Remix)
by Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney

37 My Valentine
by Paul McCartney

38 Pipes Of Peace (Remastered 2015)
by Paul McCartney

39 The World Tonight (Remastered 2016)
by Paul McCartney

40 Souvenir (Remastered 2016)
by Paul McCartney

41 Dance Tonight
by Paul McCartney

42 Ebony And Ivory (Remixed 2015)
by Paul McCartney

43 Fine Line
by Paul McCartney

44 Here Today (Remixed 2015)
by Paul McCartney

45 Press (Remastered 2016)
by Paul McCartney

46 Wanderlust (Remixed 2015)
by Paul McCartney

47 Winedark Open Sea (Remastered 2016)
by Paul McCartney

48 Beautiful Night (Remastered 2016)
by Paul McCartney

49 Girlfriend (Remastered 2016)
by Wings

50 Queenie Eye
by Paul McCartney

51 We All Stand Together (Remastered 2016)
by Paul McCartney

CD 4

52 Coming Up (Remastered 2011)
by Paul McCartney

53 Too Much Rain
by Paul McCartney

54 Good Times Coming / Feel The Sun (Medley / Remastered 2016)
by Paul McCartney

55 Goodnight Tonight (Remastered 2016)
by Wings

56 Baby’s Request (Remastered 2016)
by Wings

57 With A Little Luck (DJ Edit / Remastered 2016)
by Wings

58 Little Willow (Remastered 2016)
by Paul McCartney

59 Only Mama Knows
by Paul McCartney

60 Don’t Let It Bring You Down (Remastered 2016)
by Wings

61 The Back Seat Of My Car (Remastered 2012)
by Linda McCartney and Paul McCartney

62 No More Lonely Nights (7″ Single Version / Remastered 2016)
by Paul McCartney

63 Great Day (Remastered 2016)
by Paul McCartney

64 Venus And Mars / Rock Show (Medley / Remastered 2016)
by Wings

65 Temporary Secretary (Remastered 2011)
by Paul McCartney

66 Hope For The Future
by Paul McCartney

67 Junk (Remastered 2011)
by Paul McCartney

Pure_McCartney_Pack_Shot

Pure McCartney / 2CD Edition (39 tracks)

CD 1

  • 1. Maybe I’m Amazed (McCartney)
  • 2. Heart of the Country (Ram)
  • 3. Jet (Band on the Run)
  • 4. Warm and Beautiful (Wings at the Speed of Sound)
  • 5. Listen to What The Man Said (Venus and Mars)
  • 6. Dear Boy (Ram)
  • 7. Silly Love Songs (Wings at the Speed of Sound)
  • 8. The Song We Were Singing (Flaming Pie)
  • 9. Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey (Ram)
  • 10. Another Day (non-album single)
  • 11. Sing The Changes (The Fireman – Electric Arguments)
  • 12. Jenny Wren (Chaos and Creation in the Back Yard)
  • 13. Save Us (New)
  • 14. Mrs Vandebilt (Band on the Run)
  • 15. Mull of Kintyre (non album single)
  • 16. Let ‘Em In (Wings at the Speed of Sound)
  • 17. Let Me Roll It (Band on the Run)
  • 18. Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five (Band on the Run)
  • 19. Ebony and Ivory (Tug of War)

CD2 (20 tracks)

  • 20. Band on the Run (Band on the Run)
  • 21. Arrow Through Me (Back To The Egg)
  • 22. My Love (Red Rose Speedway)
  • 23. Live and Let Die (non-album single)
  • 24. Too Much Rain (Chaos and Creation in the Back Yard)
  • 25. Goodnight Tonight (non-album single)
  • 26. Say Say Say (2015 remix) (Pipes of Peace)
  • 27. My Valentine (Kisses on the Bottom)
  • 28. The World Tonight (Flaming Pie)
  • 29. Pipes of Peace (Pipes of Peace)
  • 40. Dance Tonight (Memory Almost Full)
  • 31. Here Today (Tug of War)
  • 32. Wanderlust (Tug of War)
  • 33. Great Day (Flaming Pie)
  • 34. Coming Up (McCartney II)
  • 35. No More Lonely Nights (Give My Regards to Broad Street)
  • 36. Only Mama Knows (Memory Almost Full)
  • 37. With A Little Luck (London Town)
  • 38. Hope For The Future (non-album single)
  • 39. Junk (McCartney)

Pure_McCartney_Pack_Shot

VINYL:

A1:
1. Maybe I’m Amazed
2. Heart Of The Country
3. Jet
4. Warm And Beautiful
5. Listen To What The Man Said
6. Dear Boy

A2:
1. Silly Love Songs
2. The Song We Were Singing
3. Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsey
4. Another Day
5. New

B1:
1. Mull of Kintyre
2. Sing The Changes
3. Jenny Wren
4. Mrs Vandebilt
5. Save Us

B2:
1. Let ‘Em In
2. Let Me Roll It
3. Ebony and Ivory
4. Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five

C1:
1. Band on the Run
2. Arrow Through Me
3. My Love
4. Live and Let Die
5. Too Much Rain

C2:
1. Say Say Say [2015 Remix]
2. My Valentine
3. Goodnight Tonight
4. The World Tonight
5. Pipes of Peace

D1:
1. Dance Tonight
2. Here Today
3. Wanderlust
4. Great Day
5. Coming Up
6. No More Lonvely Nights

D2:
1. Too Many People
2. Only Mama Knows
3. With a Little Luck
4. Hope For The Future
5.  Junk

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