By Lexi Ashbury
We all know Paul McCartney as one of the founding members of The Beatles. Ever heard of them? Just one of the most successful and influential bands in music history. Not ringing any bells? Well maybe you know him from his hits with Wings or his highly successful solo career. With 18 Grammy Awards, and two Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductions, McCartney is recognized as one of the greatest songwriters of all-time, producing hits like “Yesterday” and “Hey Jude.”
As much as I’m partial to the classics he has given us, there is an abundance of songs by him that are constantly overlooked. During his music career he has been a part of The Quarrymen, which later evolved into The Beatles, Wings and The Fireman. Needless to say, his career has produced as many hidden gems as top hits.
In my professional opinion, these songs are the ones that get outshined and don’t deserve to. More than likely, he won’t be caught playing any of these on tour anymore, but these songs will still hold a special place in your heart (as cliché as that is).
This gentle song is off the 1970 self-titled McCartney. The tune is soothing and calm as it lists contents of a junkyard, stuff I know nobody has an interest in. And yet, he makes you wonder and care about it. He originally wrote this song in 1968 for The Beatles, but it was denied a space on both the White Album and Abbey Road (but “Octopus’s Garden” made the cut?). This song truly captures the genius of his talent, to be able to create a song with such simple lyrics and turn it into something so meaningful and effortless.
2. “Some People Never Know”
Sorry I’m a sucker for a good love song, sue me! This track is featured on Wings’ debut album Wild Life,which was not a huge hit in comparison to previously released albums. As I said, it’s a love song, with harmonies of his late wife Linda Eastman, the song truly captures the love between them that made them one of the most famous couples during that time. “Only love can stand the test, only you outshine the rest,” is repeated throughout the song and will truly pull on your heartstrings. This song has an acoustic feel to it, which makes it all the more exquisite. The chemistry between McCartney and Eastman should be studied in history books, but I guess this song will do.
3. “ Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five”
Off of the ever so classic Band on the Run album by Wings, this song is the final track that ties together everything this album portrays. Personally, this is one of my favorite Wings songs of all time, words really can’t capture its beauty. From the opening notes of the piano in the beginning you’re hooked. McCartney’s starting point for the song was the opening line “No one ever left alive in nineteen hundred and eighty-five” – it took months for him to finish the track, totally worth it. The song has a grandiose finale from the band that rightfully closes the track as well as the entire album.
4. “Too Many People”
From the 1971 album Ram, this track is known as being written as a dig for John Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono. The lyric, “You took your lucky break and broke it in two,” pretty much solidifies any speculation listeners had that there was some bad blood between Lennon and McCartney, alluding to the break-up of The Beatles. Looking past the petty drama, this is a phenomenal moment created by McCartney and Eastman that sets the tone for the entire album. This Thanksgiving I’ll be giving my thanks to Paul’s falsetto singing during the bridge, as I do so every year. There is a twang in the guitar that hooks you from the very beginning and is perfectly executed throughout, helping to make this song a classic.
5. “Arrow Through Me”
Placed on the final Wings album, McCartney decided to throw a little R&B into the track list. It’s one of those songs that makes you think, “Wait, Paul McCartney wrote this?” And it’s because it’s funky and soulful, something that was thought to be out of his comfort zone. The Duke Ellington influence is prominent with notes of jazz bursting throughout. Who doesn’t love a good brass melody?
Some honorable mentions include:
“On the Way” from McCartney II, “Calico Skies” off of Flaming Pie, “Every Night” from McCartney, “Ram On” off of Ram and finally, “That Girl is Mine” which is a Michael Jackson song off Thriller, but McCartney’s verse and ranging vocals outshine MJ in my opinion.
Be sure to give all these songs a chance and discover more hidden gems behind Sir Paul McCartney.
Featured image by Lexi Ashbury.