Listening to the final part of 'Paul Merton’s Beatles' today in the midst of the UK's current heatwave brought to mind one of my favourite renditions of a Buddy Holly song, Wings’ ‘Love is Strange’.
Well…all right (to quote another Holly record): it isn’t technically a Buddy song so much as a track that’s often connected with him because he covered it too, but it’s fair to say neither the original by Fifties R&B act Micky & Sylvia, nor Buddy’s version instantly lend themselves to be reinterpreted with a loose reggae groove, but that’s the route Macca chose to take with excellent results. In my opinion it’s by far the most enjoyable performance on Wings’ much maligned first LP - and while that’s fairly shallow praise, it is by no means meant to be taken as such; it’s just about as summery a recording as you can get.
It’s fair to say that Paul had a bit of a soft spot for reggae in the early Seventies, something Wings' 1972 single C Moon also attests too, but the groove of Love is Strange is in my opinion far more successful; not surprising, as Wings purposely all switched from their usual instruments when recording the former, so it was always likely to be messier. For me, Love is Strange is the sound of summer, or at least the soundtrack to an idealized summer break. Even though it’s low-key it also has bite towards the end when Macca’s vocal cuts loose with a joy few other singers can bring to their voice. It makes me want to head for a barbecue, but one with plenty of veggie options, of course.