Wings Play “Silly Love Songs”

Listen to this track by post-Beatles Paul McCartney songwriting vehicle and bona fide top forty behemoth Wings. It’s “Silly Love Songs” a smash single that appeared on the band’s 1976 LP Wings At The Speed of Sound. The song proved its own thesis by spending five non-consecutive weeks on the number one spot of the Billboard 100. It would be McCartney’s twenty-seventh number one song, helping to place him in the Guinness World Book of Records as the world’s most successful songwriter by 1979.

By this time, McCartney and Wings were on an upswing with a number of hits behind them and with many in front as well before the band ended in 1981. However even during this peak period where chart action was concerned, the songwriter was not without his critics. Even his former songwriting partner John Lennon had levelled an opinion that McCartney had gone soft, writing lightweight, crowd-pleasing love songs rather than turning his talents to more substantial subjects. This song was a self-aware reaction to that. Crowd-pleasing? What’s wrong with that, I’d like to know?

Having said that, there’s something else going on in this song that I think a lot of rock fans had complained about where McCartney was concerned by 1976; that it just doesn’t rock in the way that, say, “Helter Skelter” or Back In The USSR” does. I think there’s plenty to unpack there that reveals something about McCartney the writer, and maybe something about his audience, too. Read more

Happy Birthday Paul McCartney: Songs Chosen By The Fans

Right, good people!

Once again, it’s Paul McCartney’s birthday, born this day in 1942 in Liverpool.  He would go on to achieve success with a band called the Beatles, named by way of a man on a flaming pie if you believe the legend.  And after that band ended, he would record solo, with a new band Wings, and with his wife Linda, too.  All the while he kept writing songs.  He has a knack for it, you see.

And instead of listing off a bunch of songs of his that I love – and boy, there are a lot of them – I thought I’d try something different this year.  I thought I’d ask some of my friends to submit their favourites in exchange for some link love to their sites as well in celebration of the birth, and the work, of one of my heroes.

And so here they are, in no order and with some commentary from my erudite friends and family, Delete Bin regulars, and Twitter buds. When it’s all over, please feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments section!

♥ No More Lonely Nights –  “It appeared long after his well appeared to have run dry, and has all the trademark good Macca-aspects without any of the cringeworthy ones. Even Linda sounds OK on it. And (Pink Floyd’s David) Gilmour’s solo is mighty.” – John Roussety

♥ Maybe I’m Amazed (live version, 1976) – . “Maybe I’m amazed would be a necessary one. No one mentioned it yet? How dare they! The blasphemy! It’s my favourite McCartney song.  I’m glad it was me that contributed it.” –  Ashley MacDonald

♥ Lady Madonna –  I have just been humming “Lady Madonna”. I guess I must like that one. –  Gwyn Teatro

C-Moon“It reminds me of dancing in my basement to the jukebox with my sister and neighbours”. Karen Gurney

♥ Live and Let Die –  “Live and Let Die” is the best!” – Todd Lansing

♥ The Backseat of My Car –   “It’s ambitious to the point of almost being symphonic in scope, but it really brings the goods. The arrangement veers through all sorts of different territory and arrives at an incredibly bombastic yet fully satisfying crescendo, only then to zig-zag somewhere else for the fade-out. A stunning track.” ‘Snarfyguy

♥ The Long and Winding Road –  “I’ve always loved it because it has a beautiful melody that just grabs you and pulls you into the song and never lets you go. The lyrics are quite beautiful too.  And, sorry Paul, Phil Spector was absolutely right about the orchestra, you’re just jealous because he thought of it first.”  – Graeme Burk

♥ Pipes of Peace, Fool On The Hill –  “Pipes of Peace” is one that holds a special place in my heart. It still brings a tear to my eyes, all these 27 years later. And “Fool on the Hill”is the perfect Paul McCartney song”. – Guacira Naves

♥ Let ‘Em In – “It’s my first memory of singing along to a song on the radio.” – Stacie Biehler

♥ We Can Work It Out –  I pick “We Can Work It Out”, after the Sing It Loudly Three Times In A Row test. It makes me happy.  – Leslie Robinson

♥ Junior’s Farm –  “Huh!” This non-album single cooks with gas. Great escapism from the mundane and absurd; we’re racing to one of those mythical rock ‘n’ roll refuges where the whole tribe is welcome. – Geoff Moore

♥ Back in the USSR, Let It Be – Totally different songs but both rock and roll to the core. – Phil Reynolds

♥ Blackbird, Eleanor Rigby – I always sing to “Blackbird” (a little off key) and “eleonor rigby” evokes some strange emotions. – Donna Wilson

♥ Silly Love Songs – You really would think that the world had had enough of them, but it’s not the case [ed: “Oh, no.”].  I remember in the long hot summer of ’76 endlessly playing a tape of songs that me and my brother had taped from the wireless. This song always takes me back to then.  Splendid bass and horns make this my fave Macca track at the moment. – “Dances With Difficulty”, and seconded by Harriet Fancott

♥ Venus and Mars/Rockshow – I’m kinda partial to Venus & Mars, but there are many, many others.  – Bruce M. Campbell

♥ Helter Skelter – I’ll take Helter Skelter.  I can’t swear it’s my favorite McCartney track, but to me it’s the most surprising one. – Tom Treestman

♥ My Love – It’s a simple love song with such a mournful melody. His love is secure, but he sings of bare cupboards, going away… life.  Chris Blake

♥ Every Night – “Definitely one of my all time favs of his.  It may just be another silly love song, but it’s a good one.” Sarah Loewen

Thanks to everyone for their contributions, and happy birthday Macca!