Paul McCartney's weakest period ofsongwriting

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by jwb1231970, Dec 1, 2017.

  1. Arnold Grove

    Arnold Grove Senior Member

  2. MHP

    MHP Forum Resident

    He has had several. And this comes from a major McCartney fan.
    There has always been great songs from him, no matter how weak a period he has had.
    However, that doesn't mean that the majority of the material is not weak.

    The Beatles: None.

    Very obvious that McCartney tried to search for a new sound after RAM.
    The result was varied. Despite some obvious highlights, 1971-1972 was poor (RAM was written during 1970).

    Next weak period of writing was 1976-1979. Too many half-baked tunes and a lot of it was very uninspired.

    After the great period of Tug Of War, what followed was a long journey of searching for a new perspective.
    Pipes Of Peace is another half-baked affair. Press To Play is not a great record, but at least he tried to come up with something of value. There are a good deal of fine songs, but many things are also plodding along with the times. So 1983-1987 are also a low.

    Next up was 1998-2001. After the masterstroke of Flaming Pie, coming up with that mess of Driving Rain was a huge dissapointment for me. It contains about 3-4 good songs. The rest is under-rehearsed and under-written songs and jams.

    If McCartney would only have kept his songs under wraps for selected periods of time, his half-baked affairs would have been full-blown statements of records.

    My scenario for a flawless McCartney solo-carrer, would in an ideal world have looked like this:

    1970: McCartney
    1971: Ram
    1973: A combination of various singles and tracks from Wild Life and Red Rose Speedway
    1974: Band On The Run
    1975: Venus And Mars
    1978: A combination of various tracks from Speed Of Sound, London Town and Back To The Egg.
    1980: McCartney II
    1982: Tug Of War
    1986: A combination of various tracks from Pipes Of Peace, Broad Street and Press To Play.
    1989: Flowers In The Dirt
    1993: Off The Ground
    1997: Flaming Pie
    2003: A combination of Driving Rain and Memory Almost Full
    2005: Chaos And Creation In The Backyard.
    2013: New

  3. maccafan

    maccafan Forum Resident

    No such thing, because there are many and I do mean many that like something from every period!
    maywitch likes this.
  4. Sixpence

    Sixpence Zeppelin Fan

    1989 -1993 (IMO) Flowers in the Dirt and Off the Ground did not seem to have that McCartney magic.

    Getting Elvis Costello involved in the songwriting process seemed to me that Paul was experiencing writer's block.
  5. Hardly. It's disjointed, over ambitious but hardly a failed creation. It is flawed to be sure but it also has some highlights.

    The problem with Flowers in the Dirt is too slick a production, second guessing, etc. it has some fine songs and even the follow up has a couple of gems. It's also outside the timeframe we are discussing.
  6. The Zodiac

    The Zodiac God's Lonely Man

  7. true but some of the material on Red Rose Speedway was older from 1971 and some of it, no doubt, was written or begun in 1972. It also was recorded in 1972 even if it was released in 1973.
  8. I would argue 1970 (the material for Let It Be, Abbey Road and even Maybe I'm Amazed come from before that time) or 1972. 1976 also wasn't a stellar year. A couple of terrific songs anda lot,of filler on At The Speed of Sound.
  9. wildstar

    wildstar Forum Resident

    ontario, canada
    As a couple people alluded to record release year is often different to songwriting year (Ram written mostly in 1970 - not to mention partly - maybe even half - recorded in 1970)

    But with McCartney unlike most songwriters it can go even much further than that - he's sat on several/dozens of songs for years (or even decades) before releasing them on record. Flaming Pie had a song (or was it two) written in the early 70s making it (or them) nearly 25 year old songs at the time of their release. Also there was something from his debut solo album that was about twelve years old when released (written circa 1958)

    Plus there's the (supposed) '74 piano tape that had songs on it released in the 80s.

    ...and those are just some of the examples we know about...

    ...not to mention 'I Lost My Little Girl' (the first song he ever wrote at 14 yo) first released by Paul in the 90s on Unplugged :yikes:
  10. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    This thread is a textbook lesson in why the subject title is important. The OP itself, that specifies up to 1975, is clearly pretty much meaningless . :D
  11. jwb1231970

    jwb1231970 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Song wise on abbey road he doesn't offer much, it's just that when you put it all together like he did a great example the sum is greater than the parts
  12. gregorya

    gregorya Forum Resident

    I don't know about McCartney, but it seems that many of his fans and detractors have an issue with reading comprehension... ;)
    daveidmarx and Zeki like this.
  13. angelees

    angelees Forum Resident

    To me it appears 1968-1971, including 1969-1970, is the most fertile, creative, awe inspiring period of quality songwriting Paul McCartney ever produced. It’s his 1964-1965 (Lennon Peak). But let’s merely examine the years in question: 1969-1970. Let’s get the obvious out of the way. Let It Be, Long And Winding Road, Maybe I’m Amazed. Pillars of songwriting excellence. Continuing on, other excellent songs include The Abbey Road Medley with Crown Jewels like the progressive suite You Never Give Me Your Money and Golden Slumbers, Oh! Darling, Get Back, Two Of Us, Every Night, The Back Seat Of My Car which he later used on Ram, Come And Get It, which he gave away to Badfinger, Goodbye which he wrote for Mary Hopkins, the entirety of the Ram Sessions including Another Day, Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey, Too Many People, Heart of the Country, and Monkberry Moon Delight, not to mention the beautiful beginnings of unfinished songs like When The Wind Is Blowing and The Palace Of The King Of The Birds, Sunshine Sometime, etc. The man was on fire!

    Weakest year has to be 1972 because he’s still trying to figure out the sound for his new band, Wings.
    Zeki likes this.
  14. angelees

    angelees Forum Resident

    Nah, he’s pretty much wrong.

    I don’t know, I find that song to be a case of one of Paul’s best that just wasn’t put to record appropriately by the Beatles set. Originally intended to be given away as single for Tom Jones, once written it was recorded haphazardly in the cavernous Saville Row, i.e. the Home Of The Winter Of Our Discontent. The playing from George and John is lackluster, to say the least. Paul has put a much better vocal take down, but they didn’t choose it. No George Matin. Then Phil gussied it up too much in post. And it made number 1 in spite of all those things. I think your initial instinct was correct.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2017
    Zeki likes this.
  15. Norbert Becker

    Norbert Becker Forum Resident

    The stretch from after Ram to about Live and Let Die:

    Mary Had A Little Lamb
    The Wild Life album
    The college tour

    Maybe the least professional writing and playing he’d done.
  16. SixOClockBoos

    SixOClockBoos The Man On The Flaming Pie

  17. kaztor

    kaztor Forum Resident

    Funny how everyone who cites Flowers In The Dirt as a comeback forgets about the marvellous Once Upon A Long Ago.
    CrombyMouse likes this.
  18. daveidmarx

    daveidmarx Forem Residunt

    Astoria, NY USA
    ...or the even more marvelous Back On My Feet. But both tracks fall outside the scope of this thread.

    My pick would be 1963. I Saw Her Standing There was from '62, so rule that out. I Want To Hold Your Hand and She Loves You were mainly John songs, so rule them out. That leaves All My Loving as the only high quality Macca original from the year. What else was there? Not much. Just Hold Me Tight, I Wanna Be Your Man and From Me To You as the only mainly McCartney originals from that year. His lack of songwriting for the year is another reason I choose 1963. 1964 wasn't much better for Paul numbers-wise, but at least he wrote better songs overall (Can't Buy Me Love, And I Love Her, Things We Said Today, etc.)
  19. Mr Sam

    Mr Sam "...don't look so good no more"

  20. Yorick

    Yorick Forum Resident

    the Netherlands
    1964 was a relatively weak year for Paul. A Hard Day's Night was almost a Lennon solo album, though the three McCartney songs contributed were really strong. For Sale has some real strong co-writes and a beautiful McCartney tune from the Quarrymen days (I'll Follow The Sun), but that's about it for Paul.
  21. Keith V

    Keith V Forum Resident

    Jersey City, NJ
    I’m not as schooled on his solo stuff as many so I’ll stick with the Beatles period. I’ll say 69-70 (which isn’t too bad either).

    As an aside.

    Imagine he saved Long and Winding Road or Let it Be for McCartney instead of Teddy Boy.
  22. DrBeatle

    DrBeatle The Rock and Roll Chemist

    Midwest via Boston
    Sticking with the "up to 1975" criteria, Paul's weakest period was right after the brilliant perfections of RAM. Basically, as much as I like the albums, the Wild Life/RRS era.
    ohnothimagen likes this.
  23. SixOClockBoos

    SixOClockBoos The Man On The Flaming Pie

    Hold Me Tight dates back to about 1961, so that song can be ruled out as well. One And One Is Two might date back as far as 1963 and as much as I like it, it's an evident clunker, so we can add that song to the list. The B-sides released on that year and the songs written for Billy J. Kramer seem to be mainly Lennon-penned or an equal split between the two.
  24. yesstiles

    yesstiles Forum Resident

    "Off The Ground" time period. Truly awful stuff. Nothing else in his career comes close imo. Kinda makes sense, as the early 90's was a low-point in music worldwide. The subsequent live album was also terrible. Even more disappointing to me as it was the first Macca album I bought at the time of its release; I even saw the concert in Memphis.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2017
  25. For the Record

    For the Record Forum Resident

    Ontario Canada
    This thread will result in VERY different results. Mainly because there are SOOOOO many different kinds of Paul fans because he's been around for so long.

    1 - Only liked Paul in the Beatles, everything else he did was rubbish
    2 - Likes Beatles and 70's Paul, everything else he did was rubbish
    3 - Doesn't mind some of the 80's stuff, but most of it was rubbish and everything he's done since is rubbish.
    4 - Like's a couple 90's songs and even some of his newer stuff, but only a bit.
    5 - Likes everything the man has every done... more or less.
    6 - Actually prefers his post 90's career to his older stuff.
    7 - Just give me more Bip Bop already!


    I've always felt his weakest period is the medley on Red Rose Speedway. The whole medley is just OK. Nothing special about it and the lyrics are VERY basic.


    Hold Me Tight Hold Me Tight
    Hold Me Tight Hugga Me Right
    Hold Me Tight Squeeza Me Tight
    Hold Me Tight Hugga Me Right
    Hold Me Tight Hold Me Tight

    Oh Lazy Dynamite
    Oh Lazy Dynamite
    Oh Lazy Dynamite
    Oh Lazy Dynamite

    But When I Saw You Last Night
    I Knew For The First Time
    That You Were The One I'd Been Dreaming Of
    I Can't Get Over Myself
    Falling Into The Hands Of Love
    Falling Into The Hands Of Love
    Love Sweet Love

    Baby I Love You So
    Baby I Love You So

    Baby I Love You So
    Baby I Love You So
    Baby I Love You So
    ohnothimagen likes this.

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