If you know what “RAM ON” means, then you are a fan of Macca – Paul McCartney. And if you know anything about me, you know that I am a HUGE fan! Of course you know The Beatles, the most influential and talented music group of our time…
There are any number of books that capture their story – including their own multiple-disc Anthology, which shows amazing footage of them throughout their career, along with candid reflections and of course music, music, music!
When The Beatles broke up, the music world was in shock, and over the years, the true story of what happened has slowly come out. I will get to that in a moment…
But first, a new remastered re-release of Paul McCartney’s second solo album is out, and it’s a love affair and a neglected masterpiece.
In 1970, Paul and Linda McCartney fled London amid the breakup of The Beatles. Paul released “McCartney”, his first solo album – which included the now classic songs “Maybe I’m Amazed”, “Every Night” and “Teddy Boy.”
The style and tone of the album was markedly “unplugged”, with beautiful instrumentals like “Junk” as well as more experimental songs like “Kreen- Akore.” Macca and the love of his life, Linda, escaped from London and the harsh British spotlight, fleeing to their farm in Scotland.
In 1971, Macca followed up with “Ram” – an album credited to Paul McCartney and Linda McCartney, the only album credited to the pair. The cover has the iconic picture of Paul holding a Ram on his farm.
Paul and Linda recorded this on their farm, away from the spotlight, set against the backdrop of the legal action taking place in Britain’s High Court regarding the dissolution of The Beatles partnership, following their break-up – again, more on that fascinating story to come.
Paul wrote and sang with Linda, composing the songs on his farm at Mull Of Kintyre in Scotland. Naturally, the musical press wanted to know more, especially since Paul was vilified as the Beatle who caused the break-up…
When “Ram” was released, Critics HATED the album. Many made fun of Linda’s musical contributions. Mostly, they were mad at Paul for causing the breakup of The Beatles.
Of course, he was Paul McCartney, so the album was a big hit. At the time, two hit singles were released from “Ram:” the number 1 hit “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey”, which is still a Macca classic, as well as the beautiful ballad “The Back Seat Of My Car.”
Here is a promotional video that Paul just released to promote the mega-deluxe reissue of the album…he talks about getting away with Linda.
The “RAM” BOX!
This year, Paul released a gorgeous new version of “Ram.” This re-release is fantastic, including a CD full of out-takes and extra songs – such as the classic “Another Day” and the hard rocker “Oh Woman Oh Why”, and the mega-box includes the legendary “Thrillington” album as well!
Paul’s love of classical music is evident here, and what an amazing story: after he recorded “Ram”, he recorded the entire “Ram” album again, but as an instrumental album with an full Orchestra…and then he released it independently – without ever saying it was his, and over the years legend grew up around it…and now you can hear it as well – it’s fascinating!
Oh, back to “Ram” – how how did The Beatles react to the CD?
John Lennon Strikes Back!
According to Beatles Biographer Peter Brown, they reacted POORLY. John Lennon believed that a number of songs on Ram contained jibes aimed at him, particularly “Too Many People” and “Dear Boy”. Brown also described the picture of two beetles copulating on the back cover as symbolic of how Paul McCartney felt the other Beatles were treating him. Note the image on the lower right of the album…
George Harrison and Ringo Starr also thought the song “3 Legs” was an attack on them and Lennon (“Three Legs” being McCartney’s nickname for his former band-mates).
McCartney later claimed that only two lines in “Too Many People” were directed at Lennon. “In one song, I wrote, ‘Too many people preaching practices,’ I think is the line. I mean, that was a little dig at John and Yoko. There wasn’t anything else on “Ram” that was about them. Oh, there was ‘You took your lucky break and broke it in two.'”
“You took your lucky break and broke it in two.”
Well, no wonder John was pissed! And John took a very nasty revenge on Paul for the song…Lennon’s response was the scathing song “How Do You Sleep?” from his Imagine album, clearly directed at McCartney. Oh, and this might have been a giveaway as well: remember the McCartney image with a Ram?
Well, Lennon took a VERY similar picture…
Early editions of Lennon’s “Imagine” album included a postcard of Lennon pulling the ears of a pig in a parody of Ram’s cover photograph of McCartney holding a ram by the horns.
Going to go “obsessed fan” on you for a second…on the reprise of “Ram On” on side two of the album, the short song snippet ends with a quick phrase “who’s that coming round the corner, who’s that coming round the bend…” which is the first line of the Wings album “Red Rose Speedway”, which wouldn’t come out for two more years…
“Red Rose Speedway” included one of Macca’s biggest hits ever: “My Love.” Written of course about Linda…
Even though it pissed off John Lennon, my favorite song on “RAM” is the opener “Too Many People” – full of interesting musical progressions and an un-traditional song format – which signaled that Paul was going to experiment more in his career. Here is “Too Many People” performed live in 2008, tied to “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window” from Abbey Road. Interestingly, Paul says on this live clip that the song is for Wings fans, but Wings didn’t form until a year after “Too Many People” was recorded…
If you want to be amazed at Paul’s musical career, just put in one of his live CD’s like “Like From New York City” and hear hit after hit after hit…he is really a phenomenal talent…but aside from that one live “Too Many People” performance, he never includes songs from “Ram” – but it is a neglected masterpiece that is now available for discovery….and if you want to get a better idea of what he was going through at the time he recorded it, have I got a story for you!
Fair to say that the image above is one of the most iconic pictures in music history – The Beatles crossing Abbey Road, outside the studio where they recorded their final album. Yes, “Let It Be” was released last, but “Abbey Road” was the swansong for the greatest music group of all time. What happened when they broke up will break your heart – and their bank!
You Never Give Me Your Money: The Beatles After the Breakup – by Peter Doggett – published in 2010
The music world stopped – in shock and dismay – in 1970 when Paul McCartney announced that he was through with the Beatles. His statement not only marked the end of the band’s remarkable career, but also seemed to signal the demise of an era of unprecedented optimism in social history.
THE BATTLE FOR THE BEATLES!
Though the Beatles’ breakup was widely viewed as a cultural tragedy, one of the most fascinating phases of their story was just about to begin.
“You Never Give Me Your Money” tells the behind-the-scenes story of the personal rivalries and legal feuds that have dominated the Beatles’ lives since 1969. Journalist Peter Doggett charts the Shakespearean battles between Lennon and McCartney, the conflict in George Harrison’s life between spirituality and fame, and the struggle with alcoholism that threatened to take Richard Starkey’s life. In vivid detail, Doggett also describes the wild mismanagement of the Beatles’ fortune staked largely in Apple Corps.
See the lads in the picture above? This was The Beatles in simpler times – they were, without a doubt, one of the biggest influences in society in the 60’s – like when they stormed America and the stage of the Ed Sullivan show in 1964.
“Beatlemania” was about music, a celebration of new frontiers being conquered, and iconic music being created. “She Loves You Yeah Yeah Yeah!” At one point they had the top 5 singles in the country – at the same time! It was an era when anything was possible – and for 6 years they created the greatest music ever made….
AND IN THE END…
…by the end, it was all about depositions and lawyers. Paul was blamed at the time, but as you will find out when you read this book, he was actually the one who had tried to save The Beatles…that’s one thing that makes this book so fascinating.
“You Never Give Me Your Money” is an absorbing story of the Beatles’ creative and financial empire, set up to safeguard their interests but destined to control their lives.
From chart success to courtroom battles, this meticulously researched work tells the story of how money, power and envy caused a fatal rift in the world’s greatest band – and how they all suffered as a result….this is a fantastic book!