Kick Up Your Heels For Paul McCartney!
Time to kick off your shoes and celebrate a neglected gem of an album – Paul McCartney’s “Off The Ground!”
McCartney’s Forgotten “Off The Ground!”
Hardcore Paul McCartney fans know and love all of his music – but for the more casual fan, there are some Macca albums that flew under the radar, especially in the 90’s…
Paul McCartney & Wings were one of the biggest musical acts of the 70’s…in the 80’s Paul went solo again, with big hits like “Tug Of War” and “Pipes Of Peace”…
By the end of the decade, however, McCartney’s POP musical output slowed a bit…while “Flowers In The Dirt” was successful in 1989, Macca spent time working on the classical music of “Liverpool Oratorio”, so McCartney’s ninth solo album, “Off The Ground” wasn’t released until 1993.
“Off The Ground” was his first studio album of the 90’s, but several years had passed, and musical tastes were now going toward grunge…McCartney, however, continued to write songs that were were pure Macca…which may have resulted in an album that didn’t resonate at the time.
Celebrating The Forgotten “Off The Ground!”
The album gets off to a joyous start with the title track, a celebratory pop song that has great harmonies and energy. Here’s the music video, with Linda!
“Looking For Changes!”
“I saw a cat with a machine in his brain
The man who fed him said he didn’t feel any pain
I’d like to see that man take out that machine
And stick it in his own brain, you know what I mean”
McCartney takes on the issue of medical experiments on animals in a driving rocker – here is a great video:
“Hope Of Deliverance!”
In the 90’s, Paul had been away for a few years, and some of McCartney’s strongest work slipped under the radar…this song should have been big hit for him…but it barely charted. Here is the music video, with Linda and the whole band:
“Mistress and Maid” came next on the album, from McCartney’s songwriting collaboration with Elvis Costello, but unlike “Flowers in the Dirt”, Costello did not appear on “Off the Ground.” “I Owe It All To You” followed, a mid-tempo ballad with a nice harmony…
“Biker Like An Icon”
This is one of the album’s more polarizing songs – I have seen fans mention songs left off the album they felt were stronger than this one, but Paul clearly liked it because here is the great music video he made to support it:
“Peace In The Neighborhood”
This is one of my favorites from the album: such a positive, joyous song with a gorgeous melody – here is a great live performance from 1993 that I found on youtube:
“Golden Earth Girl” is one of Macca’s most beautiful ballads, and “The Lovers That Never Were” is a slightly angry shout about a love affair that never was…it was the second song on the album co-written with Elvis Costello – perhaps that is why there is a bit of a caustic edge to it…”Get Out Of My Way” is next, a fast-paced rocker with good energy.
“Winedark Open Sea”
This is one of Macca’s most beautiful ballads, an album track that is allowed to flow like a fine wine…while there isn’t a music video for this beautiful song, I did find an alternate take that was posted by a fan – a funky and fast version by Paul…very interesting!
McCartney ends the album with a call to action:
“So c’mon people let the world begin
We’ve got a future and it’s charging in
We’ll make the best of all we have and more
We’ll do what never has been done before”
The message is clear – we have to get our act together, but the song ends on an upbeat, hopeful note…here is the terrific music video, in black and white until the incredible explosion of color at 4:22!
Macca’s “Cosmically Conscious” Outtakes!
At the end of “C’mon People”, Paul adds a sliver of “Cosmically Conscious” – but a longer version is just one of many tracks that have shown up on extended versions of the album and as B-sides around the world!
Some additional songs including “Big Boys Bickering”, “Style Style” and “Kicked Around No More” were released later, showing that McCartney had a treasure trove of great songs…
Here is a live version of “Cosmically Conscious”…
So there you have it – album full of great songs, energy and passion…so what went wrong?
“Off The Ground” never took off, peaking at a low #17 on the US charts, and didn’t have a single hit song!
Personally, I think the album lacked one killer hit, and McCartney had taken a few years off, and grunge came in to take over music…leaving the album to fade away quickly.
While “Off The Ground” wasn’t a massive hit, McCartney came back again – delivering one of his greatest albums ever, “Flaming Pie”.
“Flaming Pie” was named by John Lennon, and Ringo played on it…it was a triumphant return for McCartney. Read about this Macca Masterpiece by clicking on my story here:
And one of Paul’s best Wings albums was also laid an egg:
Here is my look at this neglected album – read about the forgotten “Back To The Egg” by clicking here:
Leave a comment to let me know what you think of “Off The Ground!”