Sunday, April 21, 2024

Happy Birthday Paul McCartney — Top Lists and Winners


Paul McCartney turns 70 day. Happy Birthday, Paul! We got a lot of top 10 lists. They weren’t easy, were they? So many songs! And everyone had great choices. I had to pick three winners: Michael Kearny, Shelley Goldstein, and Tony Wright. Please send your snail mail addresses to Thanks to everyone, and happy birthday, Paul!  Thanks to Concord Records’ Joel Amsterdam for providing the “Ram” CDs.

Michael Kearney

Hi Roger…I don’t know what form your McCartney birthday celebration will take but I couldn’t leave my list of oddities without some comment so this is quite a read but hopefully an interesting one for you and/or your readers.
I guess I really want that ‘RAM’  ;-)
Hope you enjoy.


SOILY (1976, Wings Over America)
B-side to the live version of ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’ and the standard encore during Wings’ world tour of the mid-70’s, this track never actually made it onto a studio album before appearing on the chart-topping triple live album ‘Wings Over America. It’s probably best not to bother with the lyric which is pure nonsense but ‘Soily’ was purposefully designed as a live barnstormer as early as 1974 when it was featured during rehearsals shown in the unreleased but widely-bootlegged ‘One Hand Clapping’ Wings documentary. Noted widely noted is that its big soul-band horns-riff would make it uncredited into The Detroit Spinners’ ‘Rubber Band Man’ later in the same year.

While Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ later the same year contains notorious responses to tracks on ‘Ram’, few have noted that the latter is actually McCartney’s response to Lennon’s ‘primal scream’ album of the previous year, ‘Plastic Ono Band’. Except that, being Paul, when he lets it all hang out, it comes in an Alfred Jarry confection of voices and characters, as is the wont of McCartney’s essentially surrealist soul. But there’s no doubt that he’s screaming in pain here all the same and I’ve always heard this track with its ‘Catch up Super-Fury’, amongst other sneaky ‘mis-heard lyrics’ as the one that properly put a firework up Lennon’s ass. A truly unique and idiosyncratic mess of a masterpiece.

FOOTPRINTS (Press to Play, 1986)
Another quirky backwater gem that can properly be defined as an 80’s form psychedelia, this is another of McCartney’s ‘novels-in-song’, albeit one that can readily be read as a self-reflection, perhaps even a paean to a certain old fiancee (female). Notable in this respect is that the published lyric does not reflect the record which rather than ‘All that used to be’ actually, several times, bears the line ‘Paul that used to be’. Elsewhere there’s lament over ‘paths he didn’t take’ and ‘moves he didn’t make’. Sublimely beautiful and from an album that’s criminally underrated even by the man himself.

THIS ONE (Flowers in the Dirt, 1989)
The second single from McCartney’s last-minute return to the 80’s summons a 60’s spirit much more effectively than its first single ‘My Brave Face’ had contrived to. An irresistible McCartney melody wrapped up in a pun characteristic of The Beatles, it’s easy to imagine this as a record George, Ringo and John would happily have signed off as a group effort. Another occasion where words, music and spirit gel in the way only Paul can cause them to, this is a very underrated masterpiece that’s also a bittersweet paean to Lennon.

CALL ME BACK AGAIN (Wings Over America, 1977)
Among other things, Wings Over America is the live document of McCartney’s horns-augmented late-70’s ‘soul’ period, reflected in contemporary interest shown to his catalogue by artists like Earth Wind and Fire and Billy Paul. On this live cut of a track from 1975’s New Orleans-recorded ‘Venus and Mars’, Paul fully realises the soulful capacity hinted at on tracks like ‘Got to Get You Into My Life’,  ‘Hey Jude’ and ‘Oh Darling’. A killer blues vocal, amid deep horns, mad crescendos and the full gospel works that one critic described as “a wild-eyed wail of a vocal that is a perfect blend of soulful grit and rock energy.” A shame that he didn’t continue to mine this vein but then again he fairly kills it in one here.

DON’T LET IT BRING YOU DOWN (London Town, 1978)
Having hit a commercial peak he wasn’t expecting with ‘Mull of Kintyre’, Wings’ next album ‘London Town’, suffered the backlash in the UK, despite spinning off another US Number One in ‘With A Little Luck’. Missed amongst its grooves by the detractors is this Celtic gem, downbeat but hopeful and featuring flageolets and rare and delicious extended lead guitar work by the man himself.

JENNY WREN (Chaos and Creation in the Backyard, 2005)
A Dickens-inspired sequel to The White Album’s ‘Blackbird’, this grabs most of the latter’s thematic power and adds an Armenian wood-instrument, the Dubuk, for a solo. Added to the deliberate difficulties McCartney sets up for his otherwise sweet melody is an odd guitar tuning that requires an altogether new style of high vocal from McCartney. The the result is another innovation that rightly earned him a Grammy nomination. One of his latter-day best and later sampled by Amanda Diva on her track ‘Brown Girl’.

AND I LOVE HER (Unplugged, 1991)
When McCartney and his 90’s band decided to revive the acoustic set which had featured in mid-70’s Wings’ tours, they looked to an MTV invitation as the venue. The resulting’ show and album in 1991, inadvertently ushered in a whole new spate of ‘MTV Unplugged’ performances from practically everybody. This fresh arrangement of the Beatles’ standard is an exemplary demonstration of the ‘Unplugged’ idea and stands up alongside the original, complete with a beautiful harmony between McCartney and former Average White Band vocalist, Hamish Stuart.

ARROW THROUGH ME (Back to the Egg, 1979)
The third single in America off the final, underrated Wings album ‘Back to the Egg’ sees one of McCartney’s quirkiest and original constructions, an avant-garde jazz-pop confection with the unusual pairing of one of his upbeat voices with an uncharacteristically bitter and downbeat lyric.
Recently celebrated by a number of R&B artists including Eryka Badu who, via Twitter and at the last minute, famously managed to clear a sample of it with McCartney for her ‘Return of the Ankh’ album.

ALL YOU HORSE RIDERS (McCartney II, Archive Edition, 2011)
A backwater reject from the original McCartney II album which enjoyed, as a bootleg, an impressive ride of Myspace attention late last decade, this is whimsy at its most career-lacerating. Going full-tilt in the direction of ‘terrible’, McCartney utterly wigs out and scores a (s)hit that can take a seat amongst the extremes of indie post-punk art-house. The track that absolutely nobody, McCartney fan included, can identify as being him on first hearing, this is is so knowingly bad it’s utterly brilliant.

Robert boaby

Happy Birthday to the greatest of them all.

at this moment in time my fav 10 are.

1. Monkberry Moon Delight
2. listen to what the man Said
3. Oh Darling
4. 1985
5. Beautiful Night
6. The Long and Winding Road
7. Juniors Farm
8. No More Lonely Nights
9. Hey Jude
10. C’Mon People

M Rosin
Here is my list of Paul’s 10 best solo songs:

1. Maybe I’m Amazed
2. Every Night
3. Junk
4. Friends to Go
5. This Never Happened Before
6. My Valentine
7. Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey
8. Monkberry Moon Delight
9. This One
10. Temporary Secretary.

Jessica Veljanovski
Birthday Greetings:
Happy Birthday Paul! Wishing you happiness:) Thank you for always being an inspiration! I am a young fan and I would just like to thank you for making an impact in the world from the time of 60’s to today, in my life. Your music never gets old. Much love:)

My top ten favourite Paul McCartney songs: (Sorry, I have only become a fan recently over the past few months, so my knowledge of his songs is a bit limited, so far I have managed to buy 3 albums, which I love!):

1) Blackbird
2) Eleanor Rigby
3) Please Please Me
4) It won’t be long
5) Misery
6) Let it Be
7) Can’t Buy Me Love
8) Yesterday
9) Hey Jude
10) I Saw Her Standing There

Thank you:)

Jerry Lembo

Dear Roger,

Happy 70th Birthday to Sir James Paul McCartney!

Ten of my favorites (in alphabetical order):
1. Blackbird
2. Can’t Buy Me Love
3. Eleanor Rigby
4. Here, There, and Everywhere
5. Hey Jude
6. Lady Madonna
7. Let It Be
8. Penny Lane
9. The Long and Winding Road
10. Yesterday

All the best,
Jerry Lembo

Tony Wright
Hey Roger, here’s my entry:

1. Eleanor Rigby
2. Yesterday
3. Maybe I’m Amazed
4. Let It Be
5. Penny Lane
6. Back In the USSR
7. Helter Skelter
8. Here Today
9. Fine Line
10. Vintage Clothes

Do you know if he’s working on anything to follow Kisses On The Bottom yet?


1.Fixing a Hole
2.Too Many People
3.Medicine Jar
4.I’m Looking Through You
5.Get Back
7.Vanilla Sky
8.You Never Give Me Your Money
10.Monkberry Moon Delight

Happy Birthday Paul! You’re still FAB at 70! Thanks for all the great tunes!

My top ten Paul songs (how can I only pick 10??)

1. Hey Jude
2. Here, There and Everywhere
3. Maybe I’m Amazed
4. Get Back
5. Eleanor Rigby
6. Band on the Run
7. Golden Slumbers
8. And I Love Her
9. Things We Said Today
10. For No One

Honorable mentions: Mother Nature’s Son, Jet, My Love

-Ingrid Neimanis

Shelly Goldstein
Love your column, Roger. Always have.
Shelly Goldstein

1) Penny Lane

2) Another Day

3) Here There & Everywhere (I lost it to that one!)

4) Got to Get You Into My Life

5) Fixing a Hole

6) I’m Looking Through You

7) Its Getting Better

8) Good Day Sunshine

9) Things We Said Today

10) Blackbird


I Will,
Can’t Buy Me Love
& Calico Skies

Tom Hebbeln

My Fav top 10 Paul songs:

Let It Be
My Valentine
Eleanor Rigby
The Long And Winding Road
Another Day
Pipes Of Peace
I Saw Her Standing There
Only Love Remains

Love ya Paul!
Tom Roylee McPeely Hebbeln
Davenport, Ia

Nathan Gedge

Happy Birthday Sir Paul.  Best wishes on your 70th.  You’ve been a major influence in my life, so much that three of my children are named for you:  Taylor James; Abbey Kay and Stockton Paul

Any my Top 10:

1. Band on the Run
2. Let It Be
3. Venus and Mars/Rock Show
4. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
5. Beautiful Night
6. A Love for You
7. Live and Let Die
8. Maybe I’m Amazed
9. Yesterday
10. Abbey Road medley: She Came in Through the Bathroom Window/Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End

Mike Conner
Happy Bday to greatest songwriters of their generation (on my list anyway) Paul (18th) & Brian Wilson (20th).

My top 10 McCartney list

1. Eleanor Rigby
2. Hey Jude
3. Let It Be
4. Maybe I’m Amazed
5. My Love
6. Blackbird
7. Arrow Through Me
8. Come On People
9. Fool on the Hill
10. Let ‘Em In

Submitted on 2012/06/16 at 12:36 am

Happy birthday Paul, the world is a better place thanks to inspirational people such as yourself.

Although very difficult to knock down from a top 30, my top 10 in no particular order outside of age:
P.S. I Love You
And I Love Her
Things We Said Today
Hey Jude
Let It Be
Another Day
Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey
Silly Love Songs
This One

Natasha Polak

Paul has been and always will be my musical inspiration! Happy Birthday!!!!!!!!! You still can rock!

My favorite 10 songs are:
1. My Love
2. Band on the Run
3. My Brave Face
4. Figure of Eight
5. Jet
6. Picasso’s Last Words
7. Maybe I’m Amazed
8. Hope of Deliverance
9. Come and Get It
10. Sing the Changes

in no particular order, ’cause my brain doesn’t work in order…
1. My Valentine, which is wonderful.
2. Let Me Roll It
3. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
4. Really Love You
5. Helter Skelter
6. Back in the USSR
7. Penny Lane
8. Rocky Raccoon
9. Hello Goodbye
10. The Long and Winding Road

1.Hey Jude

2.Elenor Rigby

3.Let it be

4. Yesterday

5. Penny Lane

6. Dear boy

7.Mull of Kyntre

8. Mr Bellamy

9. I´m looking through you

10. For no one

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

Read more

In Other News