Ten of the Best: Paul McCartney

❉ SMERSH Pod host and Macca buff John Rain shares with We Are Cult his personal pantheon of Sir Paul’s best post-Fab Four numbers.

“Lists like this never really end well. All I can do is apologise and point out that I am against lists in general as the subjectiveness of them is always a piss-boiler. However James asked me to do one, so I have, and I am very, very sorry. This is all in my opinion.” – John Rain.

As one of the most famous musicians in the world, Sir James Paul McCartney may not reek ‘cult’, but he’s certainly an artist whose post-Fabs work attracts cult-like devotion amongst his hardcore fanbase, and here at We Are Cult, we’ve addressed some of his more esoteric assignments such as 1980’s ‘McCartney II’, the ‘Thrillington’ album and his collaborations with Killing Joke’s Youth as The Fireman. So, having recently enjoyed Egypt Station – arguably Paul’s best album since Chaos And Creation – we asked SMERSH Pod host, and avowed McCartney afficionado, John Rain to compile his personal ‘top ten’ of Macca tracks. Take it away!

10. Little Lamb Dragonfly

A lovely, playful little haunting number that Paul is said to have written upon witnessing the death of a lamb on his farm. There are also some Lennon wanderings in there, particularly the line “Since you’ve gone I never know, I go on but I miss you so”. As usual, with a Paul song, you could spend all day reading things into it, or just chill out and enjoy.

9. Some People Never Know

This song just screams “Paul and Linda living on a farm, making chick-pea soup, riding horses, smoking the doobs, and taking things easy”. It’s one of his most basic and beautiful songs, with a chorus that breaks your heart.

8. Temporary Secretary

While John was digging up the 1950s and rehashing rock and roll ballads, Paul had locked himself away with a synth plugged directly into a recording desk. He had an absolute ball and McCartney II is one of his best albums in terms of raw experimentation.

7. Long Haired Lady

Paul rolling up his sleeves after the very basic McCartney album and banging out the glossy, and at times angry, Ram. Long Haired Lady is one of his jaunty songs, but it still manages to sound cross at times. It’s bloody great.

6. Medley: Hold Me Tight/Lazy Dynamite/Hands of Love/Power Cut

Paul bloody loves a medley, and this is his best solo example. It’s an utter joy, especially when all the threads intertwine at the end. Joy.

5. Waterfalls

Probably the best, and most beautiful, example of Paul managing to do so much with so little.

4. Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five

The perfect closer to Band on the Run, and it’s got one of my favourite Macca piano riffs. He bashes the keys and stomps the feet, but still has the presence of mind to lush up some breaks.

3. Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey

No one writes character songs like Paul, and this is a bit of Pepper that he must have found behind the sofa. Two songs for the price of one, and one of them got used in Only Fools and Horses – so he made it at last.

2. Maybe I’m Amazed

Just one of the best love songs ever written. He has his best pipes on and Paul plays every bloody instrument on it. It’s a beautifully perfect song.

1. Live and Let Die

Not only the best Bond theme, it’s also, in my opinion, Paul’s best solo song. It goes all over the map (with beautiful George Martin production and orchestration), and jump-ends on the most incredible Eb minor ever put on record. An incredible piece of music.


❉ About the author: “Sorry old man, section 26, paragraph 5. Need to know, only. Sure you understand. John does @SMERSHPOD.”

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1 Comment

  1. John – Here was my five; ten was impossible. But, since the arrival of Egypt Station, I’ve bumped May Brave Face for I Don’t Know. I’ve done a number of these lists and, like you, I hate lists with a passion too! I once condensed the entire post-Beatles solo back catalogue of Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starkey onto one four-track EP. That ruffled a few feathers, I can tell you.

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