Monday, 19 June 2017

Getting So Much Better All the Time.

Today is Paul McCartney’s 75th birthday; a fact which seems to have slipped below the radar despite the furore over the fiftieth anniversary of Sgt Pepper of late.

Sadly, his constant presence at high-profile events in recent years seems to have resulted in a dip in popularity (and an increase in cynicism) particularly in the UK. He still sells concert tickets by the bucket-load, but there’s a sense this is purely because he’s the only living Beatle who co-wrote the lion's share of their material - which he trades on heavily live - but perhaps that’s where the interest in his work should end.

As someone with huge respect for him as an artist, this makes me very sad. Only today, I stumbled across an internet poll that deemed him the third-best Beatle; the man who wrote Eleanor Rigby, Yesterday, Let it Be, Hey Jude, Blackbird, She’s Leaving Home, Here There and Everywhere, Helter Skelter, Golden Slumbers and You Never Give Me Your Money to name just a sizeable few; for some reason, a combination of familiarity and perhaps a slight dislike for his upbeat persona has left him falling short.

But I don’t want to talk about him as a Beatle; that topic’s been covered. I want discuss what he did afterwards. What I love about McCartney is his constant quest to do more. The man’s never lost the joy of creativity - and what’s forgotten is nearly every album he's put out recently has been described as “his best work since Band on the Run” for years.

This thought - and the fact that today's his 75th birthday - led to me tweeting links to eight songs released in the past twenty years (so long after his Beatles and Wings period) that I think are great.

I know I missed scores of good ones, but if I’d included them all, I'd have lost all my followers. That’s what’s so inspiring about his solo work; if you put your wellies on and dig deep, there’s an endless trove of treasures to find. But here's a place to start:

1) Jenny Wren (from 2005's 'Chaos and Creation in the Backyard).
2) Paul wrote Little Willow as a gift to Ringo's kids following their mum's death. Released in 1997; Linda was battling cancer at time.
3) Alligator (produced by Mark Ronson. From Macca's 2013 album, New). 
4)Another one written and recorded around the time of Linda's illness: the beautiful Somedays from 1997's Flaming Pie.
5) Fine Line (produced by Nigel Godrich and released in 2005).
6) My Valentine (written for McCartney's third wife Nancy and ttaken from 2012's bum-centric 'Kisses on the Bottom')
7) Travelling Light (taken from his mostly-improvised [?!] 2008 album released under pseudonym The Fireman, Electric Arguments):
8) The End of the End.  Only Macca could tackle the topic of his own death with positivity. Played on same the piano he recorded Lady Madonna on.

9)  Sod it. Bonus one from the Seventies. The bloody marvellous 'Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five'. Funky git.

In summary, anyone who says Paul McCartney has written nothing of note for years is talking out of their anus. Happy 75th!

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