Sunday, March 4, 2012

Biker Like An Icon


Biker Like an Icon paulmccartney.filminspector.com
"Biker Like an Icon" is one of Paul McCartney's more obscure singles.



"Biker Like an Icon" is an album track on the Paul McCartney 1993 "Off the Ground" album. The dark, mysterious setting of "Biker Like an Icon" is one of Paul's more unique videos, in which he does not appear at all. It has a 50's vibe, with film noir elements, and a jarring theme of a woman's unrequited love.

Biker Like an Icon paulmccartney.filminspector.com
Tamzin Haughton, the girl in the "Biker Like an Icon" music video (Twitter).

"Biker Like an Icon" was recorded on 25 November 1991 at Hog Hill Studio, Rye, UK, and released as a 12" jukebox single. The visually stunning video was shot on 16mm film between LA and Las Vegas. My take on the "Biker Like an Icon" song is that this is Paul performing in the style of Billy Joel, with that aggressive rip in his voice that characterizes so many Billy Joel videos (the two were working together a bit at the time).

Biker Like an Icon paulmccartney.filminspector.com


"Biker Like an Icon" is an interesting one off, if you will, not to everybody's taste for sure. "Biker Like an Icon" most definitely is one of Paul's sexier videos, replete with disturbing and unresolved undercurrents of sexual tension.

Biker Like an Icon paulmccartney.filminspector.com


The lyrics are ambiguous, which is part of what gives it a strange feel. Paul says he did that intentionally. The girl (Tamzin Haughton, the director's girlfriend) in the moody video directed by Richard Heslop and produced by Polly Tapson, dressed in a black leather catsuit and acting provocatively, just throws this off into the Twilight Zone of Paul McCartney videos.

Biker Like an Icon paulmccartney.filminspector.com


Some claim that the "Biker Like an Icon" video has something to do with Paul's relationship with his daughter Heather, who supposedly took up with Billy Idol briefly to her father's horror. Who knows, that's probably just an Idol (hehe) rumor. From what I heard, Billy Idol was a nice boy who kept to a macrobiotic diet. Anyway... getting back on track... some people hate "Biker Like an Icon," while I find it catchy and the video... intriguing.

Biker Like an Icon paulmccartney.filminspector.com
Some versions of "Biker Like an Icon" have a watermark of Paul and Linda McCartney in the corner.

It's rare to see a woman portrayed as desperate for a man (Mike Leigh, never really shown), perhaps even physically rebuffed by him, and abandoning everything to pursue him, at least in a mainstream video.  So, add this to the short list of Paul songs that are edgy and not quite politically correct, such as "Give Ireland Back to the Irish" and "Temporary Secretary."

Biker Like an Icon paulmccartney.filminspector.com
I may be mistaken, but if you look very closely, that appears to be the "icon" picture on the wall.

According to Paul McCartney, he was up in his attic where he likes to compose when Linda told him she had bought a new camera - a Leica, not a Nikon as I would have thought. This made Paul think of the title (eventually). The song "Biker Like an Icon" followed from there. Apparently, if you say to Paul, "Pass the salt, please," he will come up with a song about it. And, no, that is not an exaggeration, that's how "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" came about.

Biker Like an Icon paulmccartney.filminspector.com
The crisp black-and-white photography on 16mm film captures a sense of alienation and desperation in "Biker Like an Icon."

Paul performed "Biker Like an Icon" in 82 performances in 1992-93 New World Tour, with images from the music video and Marlon Brando in "The Wild Ones" playing on the big screen behind Paul. However, Paul apparently never returned to "Biker Like an Icon," perhaps because the song became so closely identified with that tour. It's a shame that Paul doesn't return to "Biker Like an Icon," because his voice could still do it justice, but "Biker Like an Icon" fell by the wayside. Paul McCartney concerts are all about giving people what they think they want to hear from the past, and nobody is exactly clamoring to hear "Biker Like an Icon."

Biker Like an Icon paulmccartney.filminspector.com


Personally, I think that "Biker Like an Icon" is in the upper tier of late (post-1990) Paul McCartney songs, thought it seems incomplete. I suppose we could have used a "Biker Like an Icon II" in order to wrap up the story. I give "Biker Like an Icon" my personal "most underrated Macca songs" recognition because it's a good song with a distinctive sound that has been overlooked by many McCartney fans. Sadly, "Biker Like an Icon" probably is never going to be performed live again, but that's only because Paul McCartney has so many other choice tunes to play. The only thing wrong with "Biker Like an Icon" is that the music video isn't longer, but such is life.


Off The Ground paulmccartney.filminspector.com


There was a girl who loved a biker
She used to follow him across America
But the biker didn't like her.

She didn't care, she still persisted
Though her brother said she was twisted
And the family said they wouldn't miss her
Anyway.

She loved the biker like an icon
Gazing at his picture everyday.
She loved the biker like an icon
Slowly watching precious water drip away.

She did her best to fix a meeting
She pulled it off one night in Hollywood
When he met her he couldn't let her get away.

He didn't ask for her permission
He took advantage of her position
But he was always her ambition
Anyway.

She loved her biker like an icon
Gazing at his picture everyday.
She loved her biker like an icon
Slowly watching precious water drip away.

The family tried so hard to find her
They showed her picture across America.
But no trace of her sweet face
Was ever found.

She loved her biker like an icon
Gazing at his picture everyday.
She loved her biker like an icon
Slowly watching precious water drip away.



Off The Ground paulmccartney.filminspector.com


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