Tuesday, February 28, 2012
The vastly under-appreciated intro to the vastly under-appreciated movie. Unfortunately, the film was panned at the time because most people could only see it on their TV screens in black and white, which takes away the impact. The whole concept was just way ahead of its time, and several clips in the film later became genuine classics.
Paul still opens many of his concerts with this song - and, who can blame him? Obviously, from the album of the same name. Finally released as a single in 1978 and did quite well, all things considered. As everybody knows, this leads into Ringo's biggest moment as a member of the band.
From the movie "Yellow Submarine," one of Paul's most respected compositions, especially at the time. That there really was an Eleanor Rigby buried in Liverpool only adds to the mystique of this classic. I am hard pressed, today, to think of a better marriage of images and music than this very early music video.
How can you not like this song? Everybody's favorite Paul song, this song is about an actual street in his hometown of Liverpool, England. Ringo says the boys had trouble with the horses. This video is priceless just for the scenes of John Lennon strolling along the road like the coolest cat alive, everyone watching him in awe. I wonder if Paul took his persona "The Fireman" from this song?
"John and I would always meet at Penny Lane. We were writing childhood memories — pleasant memories for both of us." ~Paul McCartney
"Hey Jude" is the Ultimate '60s Anthem
It topped the charts for virtually the entire summer of 1968, which was the crest of the '60s spirit. The chart performance of this song ranks it with the greatest rock hits, probably the greatest if you take into account the cultural significance. Importance is measured by more than statistical artifacts, since all statistics are broken eventually just by sheer chance. Paul still does this in concert a lot, but it's just not the same. He wrote this for John Lennon's son on a ride through the countryside.
From "Let it Be," this no.1 hit has since become a standard. One of the best music videos ever made, if you ask me, just a straightforward performance of the song. Billy Preston nonchalantly knocks out the organ notes, George rips through the guitar solo, Ringo takes the occasional drag on a cigaret, just a splendid window on these sessions.
"The Long and Winding Road" From the "Let It Be" Film
From "Let it Be," this was the Beatles' last hit, topping the charts when Paul's first solo album came out. This is one of the best music videos ever made, before the term was even invented.
From his "Off the Ground" album of 1993, this video is one of the last to feature Linda. Neither the song nor the album were particularly successful (though both did well in Germany for some reason), but, as always, Paul rebounded a few years later with "Flaming Pie."
Monday, February 27, 2012
Video and song by Paul and Stevie Wonder. I never really could get my heart around this song, but it was a smash no. 1 hit, so it must have been good. From Paul's no. 1 "Tug of War" album, which I believe was his last solo US no. 1 (obviously, excluding the Beatles Anthology albums of the 1990s).
Paul teamed with Michael Jackson on this song that appeared on Paul's "Pipes of Peace" album. It is Paul's biggest post-Beatles hit, spending six weeks at no. 1, no doubt helped by Jackson's popularity peaking right about then.
This is, I believe, the most ambitious music video of Paul's entire career. Personal note, I was on a ferry between Copenhagen and Turku in the Baltic in 1986 and was seated near some locals. They were speaking on and on about something or other in German, and then came the magic words "Say, Say, Say," the only thing I understood them say all night.
There's no music video for this song - he may have finally stopped making them, or just thought they would be unnecessary for this type of song. No matter, it has gone to top 20 on the Adult Contemporary chart, a very respectable showing. The album itself is a major success on a par with "Memory Almost Full" from 2007.
Paul's top ten hit "Goodnight Tonight" of 1979. Trying something completely different, he managed to start the entire New Romantic movement that led directly to Duran Duran. Of course, he never gets credit for stuff like that, which is why I'm here. ;) The album didn't do well, but the song did, which is unusual for him.
Anyway, this is Paul and the band being borderline goofy in their last hit as an intact band (unless you count 1980's "Coming Up" as a Wings hit).
Paul's first post-Beatles single, went to no. 5 in the States. This is a nice video with scenes of Paul and Linda just relaxing and doing fun things. One gets the feeling they all needed a vacation after the Beatles breakup. Kind of a sad song, it's supposedly all about Linda.
Wings Over America!
This underrated tune went to no. 2 in 1976 on the "Wings at the Speed of Sound" LP. This is from the famous "Wings Over America" concert footage. As is often the case with Paul songs, it sounds much, much better live than on the radio.
Paul's First "Music Video"
This is Paul's music video for the song, which went to No. 1 in the summer of 1980. This was before MTV, but we can still consider this Paul's first true music video. Sure, The Beatles invented the modern music video, but they were called "promotional films" back then and they were done for different purposes. This video clearly was done to entertain a mass audience.
He played all the instruments on McCartney II, and did the same on the video. You can see him trying, sometimes awkwardly, to mimic famous artists of the past such as Buddy Holly, and some less famous ones, too. Who, precisely, he is "doing" in each case is the subject of some debate to this day.
I didn't particularly like this video when it came out (actually, I didn't see it until MTV started up a year later, or maybe I saw it once before then on one of those Friday Night video shows). But, it has grown on me over the years. The sheer artistry and control that Paul exercises here is stunning. He has this video diagrammed out like a mathematical code, everything perfectly timed and in rhythm. Even the "performers" who are out of step do so in a precise way. Linda also has a very nice appearance here, she really was an asset, no matter what some people choose to believe.
The version that got the most air play was a live performance in Glasgow, I will see if I can track a copy down.
From the London Town album, this went to No. 1 in 1978. This is the official promo film. One must remember that there were no "music videos" until MTV debuted in 1981, this was all ad hoc stuff that very, very few artists prepared in those days. The Beatles were one of the first, and Paul continued that tradition.
This video is taken from Paul's 1973 TV special. The tone changes halfway through because that's when the special cut off, the rest was filled in by a fan.
I don't think anybody really knows what this song is about, despite its magnificence (it went to no. 1 in 1971, his first post-Beatles chart topper). My interpretation is that it is a meditation on British/American unity, as embodied by Paul's Uncle Albert serving in the Pacific during World War II. Paul has confirmed that the Admiral Halsey in the song is, indeed, the famous World War II figure. One can read more WWII references into the lyrics if one wishes, but I think the "Hands across the water, hands across the sky" metaphor pretty much speaks for itself.
This is the version from his 1970 solo debut. It is crisp, not a performance video like the one that went to No. 10 in 1976. I think most people like the energy of the performance versions, but this is great as well.
This is, I believe, the official promotional film. At least it's the one that looks like it came directly from Wings. I think this video, out of all the music videos ever made, gives you a feel for what it must be like to be on a mega-tour, jumping in and out of airplanes, doing concerts, horsing around, being treated like royalty at each stop, more endless hours on the plane, having the kids sitting their bored to tears while you rehearse, signing autographs, police escorts, the works.
In this blog, I intend to pull together videos and other items pertaining to Paul McCartney. As a fan, I feel that having an informal spot to watch his videos and read news about him would be enjoyable. I hope you enjoy your visit!