Tuesday, September 11, 2012

My favorite albums: Wingspan

And now back to the music.

Let's keep the classic rock train moving on with a review of a compilation album this time. Yeah, I know it's a little early in the game to be reviewing a compilation album, but hey it's by Paul McCartney, so the hell with the rules.

Wingspan: Hits and History, is one hell of an album, especially when you consider all the songs  loaded onto this album. And I'm talking about an almost 15 year span's worth of material, 1970-1984 here. Just to put all that into perspective, this album includes songs from his early solo career in the 70's, through the years he was in his band Wings, and on down to his solo stuff again in the early 80's.

What's really cool about the way this album was put together, is the innovative way its divided into two sections; One section's called Hits, the other History.

Personally I feel they're all hits, but I think I see where the people who put this thing together are coming from.

On one hand, you have the classic McCartney/McCartney and Wings Hits that everyone knows, and radio stations across the world love to play like "Band on the run", "Silly love songs", "Jet", "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsley" and "Live and let die."
These songs are certified chart-toppers.

And then you have the History section, which some could consider the B-Sides, and on that they may be right, but a good few of those were hits as well I think.

These include songs like "Junk", "Let me roll it", "Man we was lonely", and "The back seat of my car."

Call them B-Sides all you want, but to me they're just as good as those songs deemed hits.

Now for the sake of time, I won't cover each and every song on this album, since the Hits section alone covers 18 songs, and the History section, 22.

So I'll just briefly talk about the ones I really love, and the ones you should give a listen to if you haven't.

First, the Hits:

First and foremost, the man is an amazing songwriter, so let's get that out of the way. He can write love songs like no other. When you hear songs like "My love", "No more lonely nights", "Maybe I'm amazed", and "Every night", and you listen to the lyrics, you just know he was talking about his true love at the time, his dear departed wife, Linda. She was his muse, his inspiration. And you can hear his love for her shine through in every line of these songs. Now sure, you can readily apply these to whoever you're in love with, and hey, isn't that the point of these types of songs?

I just think it's rare nowadays, to hear songs written about one woman in particular, instead of the memories of so many. Add that to the fact that Paul and Linda rarely ever spent time apart in their 30-year marriage, except for the time Paul was locked up in jail in Japan because he was caught with some Pot in the trunk of his car, makes that story of their devotion to each other even more extraordinary.

Poor silly Paul:) I can't believe he made such an amateur mistake like that, taking pot with him to an airport, especially in another country.


So yeah, if you want to get your girlfriend/boyfriend/significant other into the mood, play some the those aforementioned hits, dim the lights, and let Paul work his magic, so that you can work yours;)

Now before you go asking, "Oh but, can he rock?" All I can say is yes, yes he can.

Listen to classics like "Hi, hi, hi", which curiously enough is not about Pot, but was banned from a lot of radio stations due to the belief that it was, is a pretty rocking tune in itself.

Take that critics!

"Live and let die", "Band on the run", "Let me roll it", "Helen Wheels", and "Venus and Mars/Rockshow" also help to dispel that notion that Macca's soft. Listen to those tunes, and tell me the man can't rock.

Quick little bits of trivia, Linda McCartney wrote some of the lyrics for Live and Let Die, and later Guns N' Roses covered it. Now if Paul didn't rock, do you seriously think a band like GnR would cover one his hits? Yeah, I thought so.

Here, see for yourself:

And here's the GnR version:

There's more of course, but don't be lazy, go You Tube 'em.

One of my personal favorites, and there's a lot of them, is the song "Mull of Kintyre."

I love this song devoted to, and in honor of McCartney's Scottish heritage. It's the type of song I'd love to hear played at my funeral if I'm ever lucky enough to have that option. Well, that and "Funeral for a friend" by Elton John, which was tune he wrote because he wondered what he'd have played at his funeral and came up with that piece that became two songs in one, off his "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" album I covered here last week.

"Mull of Kintyre" became one of the fastest selling singles for McCartney and Wings, and I can see why. The Scots must have come out in droves and bought that shit quick!

And there's more of course.

I love "Junk", which is an ode to....Junk. It's in the way he sings about all this stuff and the history and memories attached to them that'll probably not look not look at a pile of discarded objects the same way again.

There's little playful songs like "The Lovely Linda", "C Moon", "Bip Bop/Hey Diddle", and "Heart of the country", that wouldn't look out of place on a kids' album, but are classy enough to be enjoyed by adults as well.

Then there's a song like "Waterfalls", which is really, really good, and no doubt inspired and was mostly covered by the group TLC. Where do you think they got the main chorus from?

I wish they'd have put the track "Magneto and Titanium Man" on there myself, you know for obvious reasons. Besides it's an ode to random Marvel villains, as well as having history with a certain King....Jack "King" Kirby that is. Apparently Kirby's kids were major fans of McCartney/Wings at the time, and , well here's the link to the rest of the story:
Cool huh?

There's more of course, but I thought I'd pick out a few just wet your appetites. Again, I highly, highly recommend picking up this album, or downloading it. For it's time, which the album came out in 2001, so it's still pretty recent,  and it packs a lot of music in there.

I'll be reviewing the other Beatles' solo greatest hits albums as well, so don't worry, I got you covered on that one.

More of my favorite albums tomorrow, and then I'll finish out the week with a brand new skit.

Smiles everyone, smiles!

Oh, and before I forget, Today marks the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 trade attacks. It's hard to imagine it's been that long, when it only feels like it happened in half the time. So, wherever you are, maybe you could spare a quiet moment of silence for those affected and claimed by that day's horrible events.


Dan said...

Awesome post mr - I think the opening ceremony of the Olympics really showed how great Paul was. He even still pelted out Hey Jude at his age. A true true talent.

Didnt know about him and Kirby though - that's friggin sweet!

I love my gunners but I have to say I'm not a fan of their cover. Just didn't sit with me (and this is a guy who wanted to grow up to be Axel Rose!)

Mull of Kintyre I cant think of without picturing a pub all singing in unison. Is that how it goes in the US too? Some songs are just natural pub anthems in New Zealand. It really makes the places seem so cool.

My fav of those listed "Maybe I'm amazed" but that might be because under my dark and brooding demeanour I'm actually a big softy lol or more the fact it's just one of those 'yeah I know that feeling' type o songs.

Look forward to seeing who is next!

Dale Bagwell said...

Hey, he's still got it, what can I say. Starrypluto saw his old mate Ringo, and said the same thing, he's got it too.

I usually shit on covers myself, so I'm with you on this one, but i do like their cover of "Knocking on heaven's door."

Who doesn't love "Maybe I'm amazed"? It's one of his signature songs.

I like too many to pick, but Blackbird/Bluebird is good, as is Junk.

"Dark and Brooding" huh? I always figured you for a big softie anyways, so your cover was blown a long time ago:)

Glad you enjoyed this one, I'm sure you'll love the others as well.

Up next, is a Alice In Chains Live album.

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