|Lovely Linda, meet-uh maid|
I don't have much on this site about "Give My Regards to Broad Street."
As far as I'm concerned, that's pretty appropriate.
However, this site is "Everything Paul McCartney," and, well, you can't have everything that is Paul McCartney without 'Broad Street.'
So here is a touch of Paul from 'Broad Street.' Just a touch of background to flesh this out. In the early '80s, Paul somehow got it into his head to do a film. Perhaps he was just too flush with success, having broken loose from Wings and found his music hotter than ever. Maybe it was a contractual obligation thing. Whatever. Naturally he would write the film himself. Naturally.
So, Paul collaborated with David Gilmour — who had helped the former Beatles star to a Grammy on the ‘Rockestra Theme‘ — and so much other talent that is positively mind-boggling. Led Zeppelin‘s John Paul Jones, Dave Edmunds, members of Toto and Eric Stewart of 10cc were there, and this is when these guys were at their peaks. We are talking 'Greatest Hits of the '70s' here. Throw in a compilation of McCartney's greatest compositions, bringing back both George Martin and Ringo Starr, and, well, that's too much talent for any one room.
It didn't work, of course, not by a long shot. Oh, it was inoffensive enough. It just wasn't worth sitting through. I still remember the newspaper advertisements for it (haven't seen them since), which made Paul look about 60 when he was still only 40, shots taken under some of the most god-awful lighting imaginable and him wearing a Hawaiian shirt for some unknown reason in a film that had absolutely no regards for the Pacific.
The cover - is it a cover if McCartney as a solo act records a Wings tune? - of 'Silly Love Songs' just encapsulates everything that was wrong with "Broad Street." You have Toto’s Steve Lukather and Jeff Porcaro participating on ‘Silly Love Songs,’ and indeed they do a great job. However, it is almost a muzak version of a song that just needs to rip in order not to put you to sleep. This version does not rip. It is so tuned down it is almost inverted. And everything is so precise, so meticulous, so un-random that you can imagine this playing out of one of those melitrons or whatever they were called from the '60s, where the machine provides a synthetic background for you to croon to.
|There he goes!|
When the Michael Jackson impersonator comes out, that's about the end of that. Just having to use the phrase "Michael Jackson impersonator," well, that sort of grades itself in terms of a review.
And no, I still haven't figured out why they rise out of the basement, pop out of boxes, and act stiffly like frozen robots (which was quite the fashion for street mimes of the time, but, like, on street corners in the park, not in music videos with full bands). Yes, it still makes me scratch my noggin. Was Paul making some kind of point about global warming thirty years in advance? (Actually, the theory then was global cooling, which makes more sense.) Was he trying to emphasize the emotion of this most emotional of his hits by being as emotionless as possible? He's clever that way. Diabolical. Insanely clever. Too clever.
'You know you have too much money when you....'
Perhaps it is all meant as a dialectic. We interpose the extreme emotions of love against the coldness of eternal winter in order to draw the contrast necessary to highlight the profundity of the theme. This extreme juxtaposition of human warmth against a sterile background of endless frigidity only amplifies the fragility and the rawness of the human spirit, creating splendor where otherwise there would be nothingness.
I could go on. I have no idea about any of it. Ice gods? Nordic princesses? Michael Jackson? Eh?
Ok, now for the positives. Porcaro (I think that is Porcaro under all that make-up, I could be wrong) is truly outstanding with his guitar solo. Paul is in good voice (undoubtedly lip-synching, but still...) The Michael Jackson impersonator, well, he isn't 'So Bad' (all right, I apologize for that).
And, best of all, Linda McCartney really is showcased nicely with her backup vocals. She is a total asset here despite the fact that all she does is recite her backups by rote and twist her head occasionally. She was the perfect unthreatening woman ever, and manages to give the band a bit of a sexual edge against all the odds.
But the most exciting part is when Paul does break down and gives a little 'aw, shucks' look at Linda (I think it was directed at Linda, not sure about that, it could have been directed toward the Michael Jackson impersonator for all I could tell). Oh, and Paul taps his feet at one point. Like, Oh My God. Then he looks kind of wistful when they go back down to the basement. Like... why?
I will be honest with you here and admit that 'Silly Love Songs' happens to be one of my favorite Wings tunes - just not this version. Linda is used to perfection, providing a perfect counterpoint that was so sorely missing in 'My Love.' The song truly encapsulates Linda's value to the band despite all the detractors, and I think this video exemplifies that. However, hunt down a 'Wings Over America' version if you can.