"So Bad" was a track from Paul McCartney's "Pipes of Peace" album. It was released as a single with the title track on 5 December 1983 as a double-A side, with "So Bad" the preferred single in the United States and "Pipes of Peace" the "A" side in the United Kingdom. "So Bad" peaked at No. 23 in the US, a respectable showing, while "Pipes of Peace" was No. 1 in the UK for two weeks. So, overall it was a successful single, but more due to the other track than "So Bad." The song featured in "Give My Regards to Broad Street," which explains Ringo appearing in the music video. Eric Stewart of 10cc, who worked with Paul on several albums in the early '80s, also appears without any credit and often unrecognized even by his fans.
"So Bad" is one of those overlooked Paul songs, like "Take It Away" and "Let It Roll." The single was Paul's only No. 1 in the UK as a solo artist (setting aside his duet with Stevie Wonder and his work with Wings). As an oddity, the UK single made Paul the only artist to have No. 1 singles in the UK as a solo act, as a member of a duo, a trio, a quartet, and a quintet ("Get Back" in 1969 was formally credited to the Beatles and Billy Preston). Of course, Paul did not really craft "Pipes of Peace" by himself - he had some help from James Kippan on tabla and even the Pestalozzi Children Choir - but he was the only credited artist. But, anyway, we're getting off track this is about "So Bad."
"So Bad" incorporates the main elements that endear Paul to so many fans and also feeds the animosity of those not quite so enamored with his style. It is a beautifully sung ballad, with Paul using his falsetto that he turned to occasionally in the '80s on songs like "Wanderlust" on "Tug of War." It also is maudlin, plaintive, overtly sentimental, and some might say banal. The typical joke, of course, is that title sums up the song, which is patently unfair, but, really, what do you expect when you name something that? "So Bad" is a typical "Paul biting his lip" song, which some people love and others, well, don't. So everyone has something to like or dislike in "So Bad."
"So Bad" has an amazing video. Linda for once comes across as a real star in the video. Not a very successful song or album for Paul, "So Bad" continues the "New Romantic" theme he began with "Goodnight Tonight" in 1979 and, well, pretty much ends it. Linda McCartney did the photography for the posed shots at the shoot. This is another track that some people really liked that Paul apparently doesn't feel fits into the upper-echelon of the McCartney oeuvre, as it never makes it into his concerts or the compilations. Then again, Paul probably can't hit those high notes any longer, so it's a song that had its day and is now simply part of the catalog.