Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Letting Go (live)

Paul Linda McCartney Sgt. Peppers
Paul and Linda at the "Sgt. Pepper" launch party.

Sun Life Stadium, Miami, 4/3/10 (that's April 3, 2010, for you European types).

"Letting Go" is my personal pick of most underrated Macca tune, and here Paul just lets it go indeed. This is just a sterling performance, practically single-quality. This guy is almost 70 years old when he did this! Just amazing.

Paul Linda McCartney Letting Go

"Letting Go" was on "Venus and Mars," the choice by many as the best Wings album (with stiff competition from "Band on the Run," of course). "Letting Go" is about Paul's love for wife Linda (who is listed as co-writer on the tune, but that was probably just for peculiar legal reasons). One does not have to read too much into the song to see it as Paul's thank you to Linda for pulling him out of his brief post-Beatles depression. The almost menacing melody underscores that this is not about a happy and bouncing time in Paul's life. Knowing Paul, however, he would probably say that it was about their pet llama or something.

Paul Linda McCartney

Released as a single, "Letting Go" flopped for a Wings tune at the height of their prowess. "Letting Go" peaked at number 41 in the UK and number 39 in the US, an inexplicable outcome when "Junior's Farm could go Top 3 in the States. It really does sound like an album track or a stage song tailored for an extended riff, and some songs simply aren't meant for the bouncy 3-minutes-and-out radio format ("Letting Go" clocks in at 4:30). This is the song to play at 3 a.m. when everyone is buzzed and just wants to disappear into the rhythm, you don't want complicated thoughts, the beer still tastes good, and you never want the night to end... Everyone gets their moments, there's room for a guitar solo, a heavy bass line, a brass section, a typically tuneful melody, unobtrusive lyrics... it's a Macca gem, ladies and gentlemen.

However, "Letting Go" endures, and obviously, Paul himself still thinks quite highly of it. He returned to it in his 2016 One on One tour, for instance - and let's not mention songs like "My Brave Face" and "So Bad" that haven't seen the light of day in decades. "Letting Go" also finds its way onto a surprising number of compilations. There are many more recent songs and songs that charted higher that Paul doesn't play, but "Letting Go" gets its moments.

You're probably wondering at this point, "What's this guy going on about this forgotten song from the '70s?" I completely understand.

Anyway, I repeat that "Letting Go" is just about the most underrated tune in the entire Paul McCartney catalog. "Letting Go" captures a '70s vibe without sounding dated. A serious Paul tune, memorable and hummable, but aren't they all?

Paul Linda McCartney

Below, if it's still up, is another performance from about a quarter-century earlier. I prefer the 2010 performance (one of the few I really do prefer from 21st Century McCartney), but opinions will differ.


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