Paul McCartney : Ram (Album) Song by Song Thread

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Dr. Pepper, Jan 15, 2011.

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  1. Dr. Pepper

    Dr. Pepper What, me worry? Thread Starter

    Happy Anniversary Ram, 40 years old this year!


    Ram (album)
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Studio album by Paul McCartney & Linda McCartney
    Released 28 May 1971 (UK)
    17 May 1971 (US)
    Recorded Columbia Recording Studio NYC, November - December 1970, A&R Recording Studios NYC, January 1971, Sound Recording Studios LA, February - March 1971
    Genre Rock
    Length 43:15 (original)
    51:44 (1993 reissue)
    Label Apple, EMI (original release)
    Columbia (1979 US reissue)
    Producer Paul and Linda McCartney

    Singles from

    1. "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey"
    Released: 2 August 1971
    2. "The Back Seat of My Car"
    Released: 13 August 1971
    3. "Eat at Home"
    Released: 2 September 1971

    Ram is an album by Paul McCartney & Linda McCartney, released in 1971, the only album credited to the pair. It was McCartney's second solo album after The Beatles broke up.

    Recording and structure

    After the release of the successful debut McCartney, Paul and Linda went on a lengthy holiday and spent much time on their farm on the Mull of Kintyre, Scotland. It was during this period that Paul, often with Linda's input, composed the songs that would feature on Ram. The couple flew to New York City in the fall of 1970 to record their new songs. Lacking a working band, they held auditions for musicians, bringing some in under the guise of a session to record a commercial jingle.[1] Denny Seiwell was recruited for drums, David Spinozza and Hugh McCracken were tapped for guitar duties, and Marvin Stamm was featured on flugelhorn on "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey". Although it was a collaborative project, Linda's vocal duties were mostly limited to backing Paul, who sang most lead vocals. Linda sang co-lead vocals on "Long Haired Lady", however. The sessions also birthed future songs like "Dear Friend," released on the debut Wings album Wild Life later in 1971, as well as "Get on the Right Thing" and "Little Lamb Dragonfly", both of which would be finished for 1973's Red Rose Speedway.

    By early 1971, the project was completed with the non-album "Another Day"/"Oh Woman, Oh Why" single — McCartney's first after The Beatles — which was released that February and became a worldwide Top 5 hit. In May, Ram was unveiled.

    Despite the phase-out of monaural albums by the late 1960s, Ram was pressed in mono (MAS 3375) with unique mixes which differ from the common stereo album (SMAS 3375). These were only made available to radio stations and are among the most valuable and sought-after of Paul McCartney's solo records.[1][2]

    Apart from the released songs from Ram, McCartney also recorded the following songs during the Ram-sessions:

    * A Love for You
    * Rode All Night
    * When the Wind Is Blowing
    * Sunshine Sometime
    * Hey Diddle

    The back cover

    According to Peter Brown, John Lennon believed that songs on Ram included jibes at him in the lyrics, including "Too Many People" and "Dear Boy".[3] Brown also described the picture of two beetles copulating on the back cover as a description of how McCartney felt the other Beatles were treating him.[3] McCartney later said that only two lines in "Too Many People" were directed at Lennon. "In one song, I wrote, 'Too many people preaching practices,' I think is the line. I mean, that was a little dig at John and Yoko. There wasn't anything else on [Ram] that was about them. Oh, there was 'You took your lucky break and broke it in two.'"[4]

    Lennon's response was the song "How Do You Sleep?" on his Imagine album.[3] Early editions of Imagine included a postcard of Lennon pulling the ears of a pig in a parody of Ram's cover photograph of McCartney holding a ram by the horns.[5]
    [edit] Release and reception

    "The Back Seat of My Car" was excerpted as a UK single from Ram that August, only reaching #39, but the US release of the ambitious "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" would prove much more successful, giving McCartney his first #1 single after The Beatles.

    The album reached #1 in the UK and #2 in the US, where it spent over five months in the Top 10 and went platinum. The album has sold over two million copies.[6]

    At the time of its release, the album was given a mixed critical reception, and Paul was particularly stung by some of the harsher reviews. Jon Landau in Rolling Stone labeled it "incredibly inconsequential" and "monumentally irrelevant", while Playboy opined, "you keep wondering why he bothers." However, after the passage of several years, critics began favorably revising their earlier opinions. By the 1980s, for instance, Rolling Stone began hailing the album as one of McCartney's best, and retroactively awarded it four (of five) stars.

    In 1977, McCartney supervised the release of an instrumental interpretation of Ram (recorded in June 1971 and arranged by Richard Hewson) with the release of Thrillington under the pseudonym of Percy "Thrills" Thrillington.

    Ram was first issued on compact disc in 1987. In 1993, the album was remastered and reissued on CD as part of "The Paul McCartney Collection" series with "Another Day" and "Oh Woman, Oh Why" as bonus tracks. That same year Digital Compact Classics released an audiophile edition prepared by Steve Hoffman. The mono mix has never been issued on compact disc, except by bootleggers.[1]

    On Dec 3rd, 2010, Juliens Auctions sold the only known remaining acetate of Ram for $1536.00.[7]

    In 2009, two tribute albums featuring all of the songs from Ram were made available for digital download. Ram On L.A. was compiled by the website Aquarium Drunkard and featured Los Angeles-based acts; Tom was put together by New Jersey radio station WFMU DJ Tom Scharpling and included Aimee Mann and Death Cab for Cutie, among others.[8]

    Track listing

    All songs written and composed by Paul and Linda McCartney, except where noted.
    Side One
    No. Title Writer(s) Length
    1. "Too Many People" Paul McCartney 4:10
    2. "3 Legs" Paul McCartney 2:44
    3. "Ram On" Paul McCartney 2:26
    4. "Dear Boy" 2:12
    5. "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" 4:49
    6. "Smile Away" Paul McCartney 3:51
    Side Two
    No. Title Writer(s) Length
    1. "Heart of the Country" 2:21
    2. "Monkberry Moon Delight" 5:21
    3. "Eat at Home" 3:18
    4. "Long Haired Lady" 5:54
    5. "Ram On (Reprise)" Paul McCartney 0:52
    6. "The Back Seat of My Car" Paul McCartney 4:26
    Bonus tracks on 1993 reissue
    No. Title Writer(s) Length
    1. "Another Day" 3:41
    2. "Oh Woman, Oh Why" Paul McCartney 4:36
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  2. Dr. Pepper

    Dr. Pepper What, me worry? Thread Starter

    Love this album more all the time! I'm looking forward to this thread!
    tug_of_war likes this.
  3. hello people

    hello people Forum Resident

    Not much I can really say...I don't know the album that well...but I love the song Ram On

  4. yesstiles

    yesstiles Senior Member

    #1 Beatles-related album!

    Second only to Side 2 of Abbey Road for me.
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  5. Dr. Pepper

    Dr. Pepper What, me worry? Thread Starter

    You probably know "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey." It was on the radio some in the summer of 1971!:D
  6. Dr. Pepper

    Dr. Pepper What, me worry? Thread Starter

    Wow! That's some serious high praise indeed!:wave:
  7. hello people

    hello people Forum Resident

    Yeah I know that song...I wasn't alive in 1971...but I still know the song

  8. Slokes

    Slokes Cruel But Fair

    Greenwich, CT USA
    Does Ram feature the real birth of Wings? You have Denny Seiwell on drums, and Paul and Linda of course, but no Denny Laine. It feels nevertheless like a full-bodied band in action, and with Paul firing on all cylinders creatively, a precursor to his work on classic Wings albums like Band On The Run, Venus And Mars, and London Town.

    Ram is a classic of course, no doubt there. I'm with Yesstiles on that limb of his, and I think the rest of the world is beginning to catch up with us in the 21st century. But my question for the moment, as we begin to dive into this masterpiece, is this the beginning of Wings?

    Wings, as Alan Patridge famously noted, was the band the Beatles only wished they could have been...
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  9. Dr. Pepper

    Dr. Pepper What, me worry? Thread Starter

    I think a huge part of the Wings sound is that famous Paul and Linda sound, and this album definitely has that. I think Paul was looking for a new and different sound distinct form the Beatles and he found that on this album. His first album was for the most part an extension of the Beatles experience, but RAM was something wholly new, with some definite tips of the hat to the Beatles!
  10. Yovra

    Yovra Collector of Beatles Threads

    My favourite Macca-album! It has quite a few of his most beautiful melodies (Dear Boy, Ramon, Back Seat of my Car) and a good production (Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey has a great atmosphere).
    Loved the LP, bought the cd and fell "out of love" with it until I bought the DCC and it's back on my 'top shelf' again! :)
  11. Scott S.

    Scott S. lead singer for the best indie band on earth

    Walmartville PA
    Uncle Albert is the greatest song McCartney ever did, including his work with the Beatles.
  12. LambertHoroscope

    LambertHoroscope Forum Resident

    Glasgow, Scotland
    My favourite McCartney album, a really nice collection of songs. Don't understand the critical drubbing it got at the time, expectations seemed to be absurdly high. "Dear Boy" is, for me, a hidden gem.
    theMess likes this.
  13. jacksondownunda

    jacksondownunda Forum Resident

    I had a feeling this was coming! LOL
    This will be quite a jolt after some of the deep thoughts of Harrison's ATMP, but when I first flipped it on the turntable it was tons of fun (still is). As I mentioned in that other thread, fans jonesing for more mainline 'Beatles' as they'd known them didn't quite get 'it' from the sparse McCartney solo album, definitely didn't get 'it' from Plastic Ono Band (that was another ball game altogether, and JL had called his broader fanbase "****ing peasants"!), and ATMP was grand but generally quite a serious and deep piece (and echoed like crazy with that Spector sound).

    Macca said he'd taken note of his solo album critics (fans moreso) and tried to give them the Beatle experience they'd been wanting. RAM is probably as close a post-Beatle project as one could get to 'that' sound (give or take some Ringo tracks) and I do appreciate it and the AD/OWOW single for that. It is dazzling in many ways; Macca does manage to put some serious grunt into some guitar solos (Too Many People) and bass, great understanding of orchestration, crisp sound and production, and manages to put in some very showy vocals to boot.

    I think what happened though was that comparisons came to be made with the staggering statement of John's POB, or some of the depth of ATMP. Paul was out for a joyride by comparison lyrically and that's where critics went for the jugular. Maybe that was Paul's point though; 'too many people' being cynical, so Paul was gonna be the goodtime boy. There are some beautiful emotions expressed musically though, which I've always felt made up for some lyrical/thematic shortcomings.

    I wish there were more background stories to some of the songs that might give more lyrical depth to some of these. I try not to underestimate PM, as there's often more than meets the ear. We might hear some stories in the course of the thread (I'll read up). Having heard Paul's wistful piano Get Back sessions version of "Back Seat Of My Car" has made a big difference to how I hear the RAM version and I think it's a real underrated gem on RAM.

    Good luck DP!
  14. juniorleaguer

    juniorleaguer Member

    new orleans
    absolute favorite Macca record--AND i have it signed from the man himself!

    The mono version is totally great, although I got burned out on listening to it and have gone back to the stereo as my go to.
  15. kaleidakol

    kaleidakol Active Member

    McCartney 'Ram"

    Great LP
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  16. rockstar2866

    rockstar2866 Forum Resident

    Boston, MA

    Dear friend => Is "Tom" actually available anywhere? I have (and love) Ram on LA, but when I called the station re: a donation for Tom, they told me the album wasn't done yet. I thought it never reached conclusion. Thanks!

  17. Grant

    Grant Life is a rock, but the radio rolled me!

    United States
    I'm not too familiar with this album, as I only discovered it recently, but I really enjoyed it when I first played it in it's entirety two months ago. It's one of those few albums I didn't realize i'd had for years but never bothered to listen to. :hide:. It's now one of my most favorite Macca albums.

    I don't plan to visit this thread much, so i'll get it out of the way now that "Smile Away" shocked me. It just doesn't sound like the kind of song Paul would do. I love it!

    BTW, I have recently acquired the mono version.
  18. McCartney's whimsical pastoral masterpiece, all of the that randomness that got tossed into Beatles material is on full display here. Unfortunately critics thought it was his half baked stoner throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks record. But history has shown that full formed pieces of art can come from random ideas. See the b00tleg of Back Seat Of My Car from the Let It Be Sessions, see Ram On 2 - "who's that coming around that corner" which became the best song on Red Rose Speedway. Take Long Haired Lady, verses are intentionally annoying but then comes the sweeping melodic chorus. This album is all over the map and the better for it. I still have a well loved original vinyl and if the new Ram remaster is done as well as BOTR was last year then I am sure I parts of it will be like hearing it again for the first time. Looking forward to this thread.
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  19. belardd

    belardd Senior Member

    Fort Worth TX
    Back Seat of My Car - brilliant (easy to imagine on Abbey Road)
    Smile Away and Monkberry Moon Delight - fun and rocking
    Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey - solid
    Ram On 1 and 2 - delightul

    my favorite McCartney album
  20. Jayce

    Jayce Forum Resident

    "Ram" is fine -- but IMO, the critical re-appraisals over the last few years are a little over the top. It's pleasant, a nice listen. For me, it's nothing more or less than pretty good.
  21. Jbeck57143

    Jbeck57143 Forum Resident

    IL, USA
    When Band on The Run was reviewed in HI Fi they thought Ram was better-they said something like, if [Band On The Run] had a few more good songs "it would have exceeded that earlier triumph"-or something like that-I don't know if I still have the review
  22. :eek:

    You've got to me kidding Grant.

    Here Paul hides the autobiographical element of one song... "Ram On" is Paul's stage name "Ramon" from the early days of the Beatles and the way he sings probably provided the inspiration for the title as well. It's not a coincidence.

    Time has reduced the nasty attack critics made on the album (although some folks still feel it's pretty insubstanial lyrically and musically under some brilliant arrangements--not me mind you--I've always loved the album and felt that the attacks particularly from Lennon- who made his own version of "Ram" in the form of "Double Fantasy" and "Milk & Honey" later when he wasn't buried under the rhetoric of political cliches-and Rolling Stone were unjustified and an example of confusing rock music with political posturing) to distant memory.

    Listening to the arrangements of the album (and of McCartney's other albums as well), it's become clear to me what a brilliant arranger Paul was in The Beatles as well. Listen to any of John, George or Ringo's solo albums and you'll note an absence of the type of detailed arrangements you see in both The Beatles and Paul's solo career. That's not to disparage John--John also had some great ideas but he always seemed like a big picture musician who presented his work and then relied on others to translate his ideas musically.
    fatoldsun likes this.
  23. Grant

    Grant Life is a rock, but the radio rolled me!

    United States
    Point to where I said I don't like the album.
  24. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al Senior Member

    Long Island, NY
    I admit that I regarded it as lightweight when I first heard it, and I probably did so because of all the reasons previously stated (we had some sort of misconception back then that music needed to have a 'message' - if you know what I mean).

    These days I just enjoy the hell out of it. Too Many People seems to be the only message song on the album, after that it's all 3 legged dogs, moonshine, smelly feet, sleeping (and eating) in, and getting laid in the car. In all honesty - has any ex-Beatle ever had BETTER subject matter for any of their songs??
  25. Drifter

    Drifter AAD survivor

    Vancouver, BC, CA
    I'm guessing he was shocked that you acquired the extremely rare mono version. :eek:

    THANK YOU!!!!!! :righton:
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