Paul McCartney's Most Under-Appreciated Post-Beatles Tracks
July 3, 2016
Paul McCartney Out There Tour 2015
When Paul McCartney was in the Beatles, he sang about what he imagined his life would be like when he was 64. Well, he’s officially lived 10 years longer than that, and somehow is still touring and putting out inventive material — the latter of which often goes far too under the radar. To rectify that, we’re looking at some of the tracks from his post-Beatles career that never got enough love. Some of these are neglected deep cuts, while others are singles that never gained enough traction. At any rate, if you’re a Macca fan, all of them are well worth your time.
For all the fame Wings would receive, their first album, Wild Life flew under the radar, to the point where even today, you don’t really here people talk about it that often. That said, it’s a strong record, and the title track in particular is well worth your time. McCartney was a well-known animal rights activist, but this was the rare time he opined on the subject in song, as he laments the poor treatment of animals in zoos. This song would run the risk of being too preachy, but McCartney’s impassioned vocal makes it too good to resist.
“Nineteen Hundred And Eighty-Five”
Band On the Run was such a consistently strong album, and it’s endured as one of McCartney’s best albums, so it’s difficult to find any deep cuts. That said, this track has certainly endured over the years despite never being released as a single. The album closing song has often been played on the classic rock radio, and McCartney gave a brilliant performance of it at the 12-12-12 concert for victims of Hurricane Sandy. Even on an album with classics like “Jet” and “Bluebird,” this one was still able to carve out a place for itself, and today, it’s known as one of Macca’s very best.
“Magneto And Titanium Man”
Wings’ Venus And Mars album is best-known for giving us hits like “Listen To What The Man Said” and “Letting Go,” but this track might be the album’s finest showing of Macca’s pop sensibility. While never a hit, it’s ridiculously catchy, and chances are, you’ll be humming it for days after just one listen. You could possibly argue that he was indulging his cutesy side with this one, but the song’s memorability is undeniable.
To be sure, this track from McCartney II is a bit silly, but it’s also a lot of fun if you’re up for it. This was Macca being inspired by ’70s electronic acts like Kraftwerk and Yellow Magic Orchestra, and while the lyrics are a bit questionable, the melody is undeniably catchy, and proof that McCartney could pretty much make any genre work if he put his mind to it. As the above clip shows, McCartney debuted the song live last year, and his die-hard fans loved it. Again, a bit ridiculous, but it’s also a lot of fun, and it was nice to see McCartney finally acknowledge its existence.
“Biker Like An Icon”
When promoting his Off The Ground album in 1993, McCartney performed this song on Saturday Night Live. Unfortunately, it was overlooked in favor of his second performance, a rendition of “Hey Jude” that is remembered as one of the best moments in the show’s history. As incredible as that was, fans shouldn’t sleep on “Biker Like An Icon,” a great rocker that ranks among McCartney’s best late-period tunes. The entire Off The Ground album was a bit overlooked upon its initial release, but all of it is worth your time, and this song, in particular, stands out as one of the best.
“From A Lover To A Friend”
McCartney’s 2001 album Driving Rain was quite popular among those that actually heard it, but unfortunately, for most people, it was upstaged by the single “Freedom,” a post-9/11 track that seemed like a good idea at the time, but has *really* not aged well. With that said, there’s lot to love on Driving Rain, particularly this tear-jerking ballad. People have often speculated that it’s about McCartney wife, Linda, who passed away in 1998, but he has never confirmed that. At any rate, though, it’s an incredibly heartfelt track that should have been a much bigger hit.
“Sing The Changes”
Hey everyone, it’s the third most famous band Paul McCartney has ever been in! The Fireman was Macca’s side project with producer Youth, and their most fruitful project was easily 2008’s Electric Arguments. This was the song’s lead single, and it was a perfect anthem, out-doing most of the solo work McCartney had been making at the time. One can’t help but think that if this had been released with McCartney’s name on it, it would have been an even bigger hit. As it stands, it’s one of his best late-period tracks, and it gives us reason to hope McCartney works with Youth again in the not-too-distant future.
“On My Way To Work”
One of the best tracks from 2013’s New, this song was a wistful reflection on McCartney’s pre-Beatles life. He speaks of pining for a girl he loved at the time, while cleverly sneaking in a line about looking at a porn magazine while riding on the bus. This song is honest, funny, and a perfect example of McCartney’s expert abilities as a storyteller.