Best known for being a member of the most internationally popular and successful band of all time, The Beatles, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Paul McCartney has also had a diverse and highly successful solo career. Music Lovers presents some of the maverick musician's best releases, all available in the Kingston Library collection.
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Paul McCartney. [Photography]. Retrieved from Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest. http://quest.eb.com/search/139_1907549/1/139_1907549/cite
Band on the Run
Paul McCartney and Wings
Recorded mostly in Lagos, Nigeria, ‘Band on the Run’ is considered by some fans and critics to be McCartney's finest post-Beatles album. Along with the popular single “Jet” and the hit title track, the album boasts several lesser-known but equally classic cuts such as “Let Me Roll It,” “Bluebird” and “Helen Wheels,” making this arguably the most focused album by Paul McCartney and Wings.
This album was Paul's first solo effort, recorded in 1970 as The Beatles were breaking up. Recorded in his basic home studio, McCartney plays all the instruments himself, creating sweet, sparse arrangements for a set of simple, melodic songs and instrumentals. “Maybe I'm Amazed” is the album's best known song, and it wouldn't sound out of place on a late Beatles album. The rest of the tracks are more modest, but equally enjoyable for fans of The Beatles.
A decade after his first, self-titled solo effort, Paul returned to his home studio to make another quirky lo-fi album, once again playing all the instruments himself. In contrast to the melodic, largely acoustic songs on ‘McCartney,’ however, the songs on ‘McCartney II’ are more experimental and feature plenty of noisy guitars, primitive drum machines and strange synthesizers. The best known tracks are the hit singles “Coming Up” and “Waterfalls,” but every song on McCartney's most experimental album is well worth checking out.
Venus and Mars
The fourth album by Paul’s post-Beatles band Wings, ‘Venus and Mars’ is a fine follow-up to the critically acclaimed ‘Band on the Run.’ Best known for the huge hit single, “Listen to What the Man Said,” this album features plenty of the quirky melodic pop and upbeat rock that McCartney is known for.
Wings at the Speed of Sound
Wings’ fifth album was an attempt at presenting more of a group effort, with song-writing credits and lead vocals shared among the five members of the band. The best moments are McCartney's, particularly on the hits “Let ‘Em In” and “Silly Love Songs.” The tracks spotlighting other members of the band vary in quality, but include some fun moments such as a rare lead vocal from Linda McCartney on the loose rockabilly track, “Cook of the House.”
Paul and Linda McCartney
Credited to Paul and Linda McCartney, ‘Ram’ is essentially Paul's second solo album after the demise of The Beatles. But where his first album, ‘McCartney,’ featured simple songs recorded at home, ‘Ram’ showcased Paul’s production talents and gift for creating catchy pop songs that meander into unexpected flights of whimsy. Fans of Paul’s work on late Beatles albums such as ‘Abbey Road’ will get a lot of enjoyment out of ‘Ram.’