(NOTE: Music That Sucks is the correct opinion of the author. If you complain I will personally make sure that you do not have a wonderful Christmas time.)
I never thought I would be inducting Paul McCartney. Anyone who knows me well enough knows I am a huge Beatles fan...but then again my preference tends to be towards John Lennon. Still; Paul wrote many great songs during his tenure with the Fab Four. You will not get a detailed dissing of "Yesterday" (even though this song is beyond overplayed) or Penny Lane in this induction. In fact let me state for the record that the Beatles will NEVER recieve an induction into MTS. I mean, even if I wasn't a fan I would still be able to recognise that their music is some of the best rock ever made with the ability to transcend generation gaps like no other. This is why the Beatles get more...and younger fans each year. Anyone would be hard pressed to find a group or artist with a canon that can even compete with the Liverpudlians. Dylan? No, he saw his biggest success as others covered his songs and turned them into hits. Rolling Stones? Negative, they have been an aging joke since the mid-'70's. Hendrix? Nuh-uh, he wasn't around long enough. Led Zep? No, their mainstream popularity sort of petered out; the Beatles left people wanting more. No one, not even Michael Jackson or Elvis Presley can top the Beatles.
So now the question is, why are you inducting Paul McCartney? After all, he was (along with Lennon) a major key to the group's success. He was one of three members of the group to write songs (with Lennon and George Harrison). Shit, the group was so good all four of it's members could sing lead, and all four of them (even Ringo) went on to have varying degrees of solo success after the Beatles broke up! In fact, Paul was the most successful during the '70's and '80's!
Ahh yes...that's it! The music he made after the Beatles...
This induction specifically deals with Paul McCartney from 1970 on. Sure he had a song or two that was decent, but after listening to some of his "hits" either alone or with the group Wings, you'll be left scratching your head and wondering just what it was they laced cocaine with back in the day. As we have learned over and over again in the MTS inductions, chart-topping hits does not mean great music: most of the time it means the exact opposite.
It is with this in mind that I give to you readers an early Christmas present and a very special induction into Music That Sucks: Paul McCartney's post-Beatles career.
The year is 1970: and the Beatles had finally parted ways. Despite the fact that Ringo Starr had jumped ship for a short time during the recording of The Beatles (AKA The White Album), and John Lennon had gone off with Yoko Ono, recording two singles ("Give Peace A Chance" and "Cold Turkey", which, although written and performed by John alone, both had "Lennon/McCartney" in the songwriting credits) and an abstract, avante-guarde album by the name of Two Virgins (the one with John and Yoko naked together on the cover); Paul McCartney filed a lawsuit to officially dissolve the group on New Year's Eve 1969. With shrill wife Linda by his side, Paul released his first solo effort in April, the aptly titled McCartney. He had begun working on his solo debut roughly two weeks before the Beatles' final album, Let It Be, was released. Tensions between the former members of the group were at a fever pitch, particularly between "Macca" and the other two talented members, Lennon and Harrison. Ringo was...well Ringo and didn't ruffle too many feathers. After all, he would need the others to write songs for him...but I digress.
McCartney quickly hit #1 on the album charts. There is actually one decent song ("Maybe I'm Amazed), but other than that this album sucks the hairs off of a baboon's balls.The lack of Lennon's influence is clearly felt; without him around as a balancing act to help prevent Paul from making out and out clit rock, Paul goes for cheesy melodies and ultra light lyrics. To be honest, the majority of this album comes off as Muzak (more on that later).
Early in 1971, McCartney released his first hit single as a solo artist, "Another Day". With an annoyingly catchy melody and the stench of estrogen all over the song, the suicide factor on this one is about a 7.5. A few months later saw the release of Paul's second solo album Ram. Feeling a little frisky, McCartney decided to take some veiled pot shots at his former bandmates and Lennon in particular in the songs "Too Many People" and "3 Legs". Lennon would fire back with the song "How Do You Sleep?" off of his Imagine album, which by the way was not an all out attack and not veiled in any way.
As 1971 came to a close McCartney decided that what he really wanted to do was form another rock band and go touring. Thus the band known as Wings was born. For the most part Wings was Paul with his wife Linda, Denny Laine (of Moody Blues fame), and various backup musicians. The group's first album was called Wild Life. The album was a mild hit in the UK with the single "Mary Had A Little Lamb" (I shit you not), but didn't make much of a splash stateside. The songs are as hard as a convicted child molester after his has been castrated, with lyrics as flaccid as Bob Dole minus the Viagra. The music critics took one big, smelly, collective dump on Macca's solo career up to this point, but he was outpacing the other former Beatles as far as sales were concerned. Simply put, this early solo music is bland to the point of nausea.
The shit had not yet hit the fan, however. If Paul's entire post-Beatles career had consisted of bland crap that no one but the most die-hard of Beatles fans remember, I would not be inducting him. After a lukewarm reception from critics for the second Wings album (Red Rose Speedway, which hit #1 on the US album charts) our intread anti-Christ hit paydirt with the group's third album, 1973's Band On The Run.
I pinpoint the creation of this shits-terpiece with a single that didn't even appear on it. McCartney scored another hit with the theme song for one of those lame-assed James Bond movies, "Live and Let Die", a top ten hit in both the US and UK. The album that followed is McCartney's most successful post-Beatles effort to date, spending four weeks at the top of the charts and going triple platinum. With the title track, "Jet" (about his sheepdog of the same name), and "Helen Wheels", Macca turns up the bubblegum bullshit factor to 1,000. This is what you get when you get McCartney without the influences of Lennon and Beatles producer George Martin: music to commit random acts of violence to, and overflowing with proverbial pussy juice.
With an altered lineup in 1974, Wings followed Band On The Run with the hit single "Junior's Farm". The following year another Wings album was released to the critics (and anyone with half of a functioning brain) dismay; Venus and Mars. Despite it having no relevant singles to speak of, this album also climbed the charts. 1976 was a big year for McCartney and Co., with the release of another chart-topping album, Wings At The Speed Of Sound, and a triple disc live LP Wings Over America. The live album of full of McCartney's 1970's crap, with a touch of Beatles thrown in. As for the studio album, it contains what I believe is McCartney's worst song to date, "Silly Love Songs".
I defy anyone then a McCartney groupie to sit there and try to stomach this prime piece of clit rock. The lyrics, as deep and insightful as anything else Paul wrote during his solo years, state that even though "everybody" (i.e. critics) knock him for making nothing but bubblegum crap and silly love songs, he's going to keep churning them out anyway. Thanks alot, ya cocksucker. It's enough to make you want to punch the car radio while driving. Another notable song on this album is the...you guessed it...cheesy pop number, "Let 'Em In". Both of these songs became major singles hits.
Also in 1976, Paul McCartney made news by acquiring the rights to song catalog of Buddy Holly. I am making note of this now for the important ironic twist that comes later. In 1977 Wings released "Mull Of Kintyre", which became the #1 selling single of all time in the UK, going over the 2 milllion mark. McCartney also released an instumental version of Ram titled Thrillington. Seeing as though there was probably no public outcry for an intrumental Ram, one begs to ask the question "why?". In 1978, after the release of a greatest hits album, Wings came back with London Town, which went platinum.
As the end of the 1960's saw the end of the Beatles, the end of the 1970's would see the death of Wings. In 1979 McCartney and Co. released their final studio album called Back To The Egg. Though the album did go platinum, it had failed to makes any big waves within the industry. After the 1980 murder of John Lennon, McCartney did not feel like touring and Denny Laine left the group. Mercifully, Wings was dead. With every dark cloud (Lennon's death) there is a silver lining (the death of Wings).
Before Lennon was gunned down, Paul released another solo album, 1980's McCartney II. With or without a backing band it was more of the same bland shit that reaches the top of the charts. With his first album after Lennon's brutal murder, 1982's Tug Of War, Macca teamed up with former Beatles producer George Martin. For the most part Martin's influence is felt as this album is easier to stomach than the rest of McCartney's shit. Just when he has you thinking that you can get through a McCartney album without wanting to rip out your eardrums, there comes the two collaborations with Stevie Wonder. No one remembers the first McCartney/Wonder team-up on this record, "What's That You're Doing". It's the second, much more potent "Ebony and Ivory". With it's way too upbeat melody and sappy lyrics, "Ebony and Ivory", a song about piano keys and race relations, has caused more race riots than all of the Klansmen and black militants could ever dream of.
McCartney would go on to team up with fellow MTS inductee Michael Jackson in 1983. On Jackson's mega hit album Thriller they cut "The Girl Is Mine". If a middle-aged white guy and effeminate black man fighting over a woman was not enough to turn your stomach they teamed up again on the single "Say Say Say" which appears on McCartney's followup to Tug Of War fienishly titled Pipes Of Piece. "Say Say Say" would be the last McCartney song to reach the top spot on the singles charts. Fuck the 1980's.
By 1984 Paul had decided to try his hand at movies, much like did during his Beatles heyday. The result is the horrific bomb GIVE MY REGARDS TO BROAD STREET, about a big-time musician who gets a spool stolen from him and has to retrieve them before some villain takes over his empire. Although the soundtrack, which featured redundant re-recordings of some of his Beatles hits along with new shit, was a hit; the movie itself tanked in the box office. With over 300 votes, the movie has a composite score of 4.0 out of 10 on imdb.com. In 1985 Paul had his last US top ten hit with the title song to the soundtrack of a horrible Dan Ackroyd/Chevy Chase flick called "Spies Like Us".Also during this year Michael Jackson had outbid him for the rights to the Beatles' music, forever causing a rift between the two and saving us from more duets (see? Ironic twist!).
In 1986 Paul released another album, Press To Play. Although Paul had finally started to garner critical acclaim, his sales dropped drastically and the album tanked. Throughout the late '80's and early '90's McCartney would have more success with live concerts than he had with his music as his audience continued to dwindle. Among these albums was a release of his MTV Unplugged session, the first of the Unplugged albums (the most successful of those belonging to Nirvana). The middle part of the 1990's saw a retro resurrigence for the Beatles, and the release of three Anthology albums (which mostly contained studio outtakes from the days of the Fab Four). During this time he released his last album to attain commercial success, 1997's Flaming Pie. In 1998 Linda McCartney died of breast cancer, and in 2001 cancer claimed the life of former bandmate George Harrison; who until his death was heralded as the last remaining cool member of the Beatles. Paul has since remarried to a one-legged model.
So as you can see, I would be doing a great disservice if I didn't induct Paul McCartney. As great as the Beatles were, Paul's career after their demise was every bit as shitty. And I didn't even bother to cover his Christmas song "Wonderful Christmas Time". You can catch that on the Xmas Special induction from last year.
A thorn that has constantly stuck in McCartney's side is his former bandmate John Lennon. While Lennon's music and songwriting away from the Beatles has achieved legendary status, McCartney's hasn't stood up to the test of time. Take any Wings or McCartney solo album and compare it against Lennon masterpieces like Plastic Ono Band and Imagine and you can easily see why that's the case.
Paul McCartney after the Beatles, music...that sucks!