Paul McCartney’s Simple Classic “McCartney!” Paul’s Solo Masterpiece Rises From The Ashes Of The Beatles!

Paul McCartney solo music

“I loved that record because it was so simple. And there was so much to see and to hear. It was just Paul. There was no adornment at all … There was no attempt made to compete with the things he had already done. And so out he stepped from the shadow of the Beatles.”

With those words, Neil Young captures perfectly the simplicity and brilliance of Paul McCartney’s debut solo album, “McCartney”…

McCartney solo album 1970

Time To Celebrate A Classic!

I wanted to look at the “completely solo” debut album from Paul McCartney. It was widely derided at the time of its release, as Paul was blamed for the breakup of The Beatles – and fans were hurting and angry – as a result, Paul was under fire from all sides!

Paul McCartney another-day

The Album’s First Single – That Wasn’t!

The story of Paul’s solo career begins with this classic song “Another Day”, which was the first single of McCartney’s solo career – but “Another Day” was actually written and previewed during the Beatles’ Let It Be sessions in 1969, and officially recorded for Paul’s SECOND album!

Here’s a great music video with lots of footage of Paul and Linda:

Paul & Linda McCartney

There are so many books that cover the breakup of The Beatles, and McCartney’s decision to release solo music, including a single that wasn’t even on McCartney’s first solo album!

paul_mccartney_solo_1970

The Majesty of “McCartney!”

“McCartney” was Paul’s debut solo album, released by Apple in April 1970 – recorded by Macca during a period of depression and confusion, following John Lennon’s private announcement in September 1969 that he was leaving the Beatles!

Beatles Abbey Road pictures

The Breakup Of The Beatles!

The band was also in the process of releasing “Let It Be” at the same time as “McCartney.” So the press and public were stunned when a press release came out from McCartney in the form of a self-interview that included promotional copies of “McCartney”. This shocking announcement led to a formal acknowledgement of the group’s break-up in April 1970. The band was no more…

Paul & Linda McCartney

The Recording Of “McCartney”:

Apart from wife Linda’s vocal contributions, McCartney performed the entire album by himself, playing every instrument. The songs felt like a series of sketches that were composed by McCartney, a back-to-basics style that had been the original concept for the Let It Be album…

Paul McCartney plays tuba

Here is how wikipedia describes this time in Paul’s life: “Following John Lennon’s announcement in a band meeting on 20 September 1969 that he wanted a “divorce” from the Beatles,Paul McCartney withdrew to his farm in Campbeltown, Scotland. Author Robert Rodriguez describes his frame of mind as: “brokenhearted, shocked, and dispirited at the loss of the only job he had ever known”.

Paul and Linda McCartney

McCartney’s period in seclusion with his family coincided with widespread rumours in America that he had died – an escalation of the three-year-old “Paul Is Dead” conspiracy theory. The rumour was broken only by journalists from BBC Radio and Life magazine tracking him down at his farm, High Park.

Paul McCartney solo recording

How Paul Felt At The Time!

Here is how Paul describes this time in his life:


“I nearly had a breakdown. I suppose the hurt of it all, and the disappointment, and the sorrow of losing this great band, these great friends … I was going crazy.”

McCartney album back cover Stella McCartney

“McCartney” Track By Track!

Here’s a look at the album:

It begins with the :43 seconds of “The Lovely Linda” – which prepares listeners for an album full of short fragments – short stories in a way…this performance of “The Lovely Linda” was only intended as a test of the new equipment, it was included as the opening track, complete with the sound of McCartney giggling at the end of the recording!

Paul McCartney solo album

“That Would Be Something” and “Valentine Day” are next, the latter one of three selections on “McCartney” that Paul says he “ad-libbed on the spot”, leading to one of the most beautiful songs Paul has ever written:

Linda McCartney photos

“Every Night”

This McCartney classic continues to be played widely today, a gorgeous song that feels light and carefree – fascinating when you consider Paul’s mood at the time.

Here is a live version from “MTV Unplugged” in 1992:

“Hot as Sun/Glasses”, “Junk” and “Man We Was Lonely” finish up the first side of the record, with “Junk” being a beautifully ballad…

Paul McCartney solo photos Linda McCartney

“Oo You” is the first song on side two of the album.

This song reminds me of “I Got A Feeling”, with Paul offering up a blues riff and a great bit of guitar playing…

“Momma Miss America” is next, followed by another song originally written as a Beatles song, “Teddy Boy” – here is the original version that was finally released as part of The Beatles Anthology project:

“Singalong Junk” follows, basically “Junk” without vocals, which allows you to appreciate what a beautifully written tune it is….and then comes the album’s classic song:

“Maybe I’m Amazed!”

The album’s masterpiece is “Maybe I’m Amazed”, as pure a McCartney classic as he ever wrote – and one of many love songs written directly to Linda.

Here is a terrific live performance of the song, performed during the 1976 Wings tour:

“Kreen-Akrore” finishes up the album…

The Beatles React!

Fans were angry at the time, thinking that Paul had caused the breakup of The Beatles.

McCartney’s former bandmates also voiced their disappointment with the album. Shortly after its release, Harrison described “Maybe I’m Amazed” and “That Would Be Something” as “great”, but the rest, he said, “just don’t do much for me”.

john-lennon-feud

“Rubbish!”

In a December 1970 interview with Rolling Stone editor Jann Wenner, Lennon dismissed McCartney as “rubbish” and expressed a belief that his primal therapy-inspired album John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band would “probably scare [McCartney] into doing something decent”!

paul_mccartney_solo_1970

Time has, of course, been very kind to “McCartney”.

In 1999, Neil Young inducted McCartney into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and praised McCartney, saying:

“I loved that record because it was so simple. And there was so much to see and to hear. It was just Paul. There was no adornment at all … There was no attempt made to compete with the things he had already done. And so out he stepped from the shadow of the Beatles.”

Paul McCartney solo album

Paul continues to play many of the songs in concert, and much of the shorter, more experimental music on the album inspired his project like Twin Freaks and The Fireman.

McCartney Archive Collection

McCartney’s terrific “Archive” series came out with a bunch of great bonus material to go along with a remastered version of the album:

Disc 2 – Bonus tracks – All previously unreleased

“Suicide” (Out-take) – 2:48
“Maybe I’m Amazed” (From One Hand Clapping, 1974) – 4:53
“Every Night” (Live at Glasgow, 1979) – 4:30
“Hot as Sun” (Live at Glasgow, 1979) – 2:27
“Maybe I’m Amazed” (Live at Glasgow, 17 December 1979) – 5:11
“Don’t Cry Baby” (Out-take) – 3:07
“Women Kind” (Demo) (Mono) – 2:09

Disc 3 – DVD
“The Album Story”
“The Beach”
“Maybe I’m Amazed” (Music video)
“Suicide” (From One Hand Clapping, 1974)
“Every Night” (Live at the Concert for the People of Kampuchea, 1979)
“Hot as Sun” (Live at the Concert for the People of Kampuchea, 1979)
“Junk” (MTV Unplugged, 1991)
“That Would Be Something” (MTV Unplugged, 1991)

McCartney would waste no time getting back into the studio to release another masterpiece:

Paul McCartney RAM

“Ram” was also derided upon release, but stands as one of his greatest solo albums…here is a look at this recording of the album, and his bitter feud with John Lennon:

https://johnrieber.com/2012/08/20/macca-ram-on-paul-mccartneys-masterpiece-john-lennons-fury-a-beatles-c-c-c-catfight/

Of course, The Beatles never reformed, and this movie showed the last time they ever played together:

Let-It-Be-1970

Here is a look at the amazing documentary film “Let It Be”, including the infamous “rooftop” live performance by the band…

https://johnrieber.com/2013/04/06/let-it-be-the-beatles-lost-documentary-londons-live-beatles-rooftop-concert/

And if you just can’t get over the breakup of The Beatles, I’ve got something for you!

Still_the_Greatest_ Beatles book

Here is a book that imagines the group never broke up, and shows what their solo music would have looked like as Beatles albums!

Click my story here:

https://johnrieber.com/2013/03/03/exclusive-the-lost-beatles-album-the-fab-fours-solo-songs-remixed/

Let me know what you love about “McCartney!”

McCartney album back cover Stella McCartney



Categories: 70's Cinema, 70's Music, Art, Awards, Books / Media, British Cinema, Classic Rock, documentary films, Great Films, London, Memoirs, Movies, Music, Talent/Celebrities, The Beatles, Uncategorized

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7 replies

  1. I love “McCartney”. First, that Paul had the genius to play all the instruments. And second, that it was Paul unadorned — no frills — just Paul at home jammin’. No strings, no horns, just guitars, bass, drums, and keys. It is a very honest album. John’s posthumous “Milk and Honey” is similar. Raw. And on “McCartney”, Paul gave us some beautiful classics: “Maybe I’m Amazed”, “Junk”, and “Every Night”. I even liked the instrumentals. I loved the album when it came out and used to listen to it every night going to sleep. With the start of “Lovely Linda”, I knew I was in for 40 minutes, or so, of a glimpse into a genius’s life. Still love “McCartney” today.

  2. The Let It Be movie did not show the last time The Beatles played together. Let It Be was recorded/filmed in January 1969. Abbey Road was the last Beatle album recorded, during the spring/summer of 1969. The last recording session attended by all four Beatles was at the end of summer’s Abbey Road sessions in 1969.

  3. I like “McCartney” for that this was not intended to be a proper album but an exercise really for Paul to make music while apart from the Beatles. I do love the simplistic aspect of it as far as instrumentation is concerned. However some of the songs should have been fleshed out or thrown out such as “valentines Day”, and “Oo You” both of which could have been great song with more time and care. This is an issue Paul has had throughout his post Beatles career. It is interesting that during this distressing time in his life that he would write and record such wonderful songs such as “Maybe I’m Amazed”, “Man we were lonely” and “Every Night”.

Trackbacks

  1. “Band On The Run!” Paul McCartney’s Triumph Over Adversity! Classic “Chaos & Creation!” – johnrieber
  2. My Paul McCartney “Electric Argument!” Was The Fireman Actually “McCartney III?” Macca’s Heather Mills Dis Myth! – johnrieber

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