Wednesday, August 3, 2011

My Favorite Paul McCartney Songs

I saw Paul McCartney perform at Wrigley Field on Monday, and it was amazing. Now, I'm a sucker for reunion/old-person rock concerts (largely because I mostly listen to old music), but McCartney's show was even better than most. The man brought it for nearly three hours without stopping. His voice sounded good, the band sounded good, and, though the sound was a little muddy as it rang through Wrigley Field at the beginning, the best ballpark in the world turned out to be a pretty solid music venue.

Granted, it's a little easier to put on a good show when you're working with the material McCartney was. Few people can play a three hour set during which everyone in the crowd knows just about every word to every song. Sir Paul's catalogue is completely stacked--from his dozens of Beatles hits to handful of actually-good solo/Wings/Fireman tunes--and he showed that off in fine form (and with fireworks!). Post-show adrenaline forced me to prove how stacked his catalogue really is by compiling a list of my forty-five favorite Macca-penned songs.

Yes, all forty-five of the songs below are Beatles songs. McCartney's solo career has definitely had some high points, and I know and enjoy several of his hits--"Live and Let Die," "Jet," "Band On The Run," "Wonderful Christmastime," some others--but I don't have even close to as good a connection with any of his post-Beatles output as I do with this batch of Fab Four tracks.

Each of these songs was solely or primarily written by McCartney--and just about every one also features him on vocals. I think you'll notice as you look (and hopefully listen) to the songs listed below that McCartney not only wrote many of The Beatles' best songs, but he also has a very musicaly diverse canon. Many people think Lennon was the creative one, the visionary--but these songs (and many, many others) help illustrate McCartney's dedication to pushing the boundaries of pop music. That said, no matter how somber or druggy or psychedelic, there's a sweetness that runs through each song, a sincere quality that only McCartney really possessed among Beatles--and, really, a strength unique to him among almost all songwriters ever.

Many people think John to be by far the better songwriter of the two. I agree that he's better--his superior solo output and "Tomorrow Never Knows" prove that case--but not by far. Not at all. He and Paul wrote such amazing stuff--and evolved so much--because they were more or less equals, the two best songwriters in the world, each trying to figure out how to top the other. There's really no need to compare (everyone knows George is the best anyways). Just listen to these songs. Bask in the glow of (possibly) the greatest living pop songwriter--and, if possible, see him on his next tour.

45. Wild Honey Pie
44. When I'm Sixty-Four
43. Why Don't We Do It In The Road?
42. Magical Mystery Tour
41. We Can Work It Out

40. I've Got A Feeling
39. Oh! Darling
38. And I Love Her
37. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
36. Rocky Racoon

35. Fixing A Hole
34. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
33. Good Day Sunshine
32. Mother Nature's Son
31. Yesterday

30. I'm Looking Through You
29. Getting Better
28. Got To Get You Into My Life
27. Yellow Submarine
26. You Never Give Me Your Money

25. Helter Skelter
24. Your Mother Should Know
23. Love Me Do
22. Martha My Dear
21. You Won't See Me

20. Get Back
19. I Will
18. The Fool On The Hill
17. Drive My Car
16. I'll Follow The Sun

15. All My Loving
14. Back In The USSR
13. For No One
12. Paperback Writer
11. I Saw Her Standing There

10. Here, There and Everywhere
9. Can't Buy Me Love
8. Hey Jude
7. Penny Lane
6. Let It Be

5. Lady Madonna
4. Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End
3. Hello Goodbye
2. Blackbird
1. Eleanor Rigby

It's hard to put these in order; a lot of it has to do with my emotional connections to the songs rather than which are actually, conventionally "better." But that's why it says "My Favorite" at the top, I guess. I think we can all agree that Paul McCartney is da bomb.

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