Paul McCartney’s music is way more important to me than John Lennon’s.
There, I’ve said it. Now you know my horrible secret.
I realize I’ve committed pop-culture heresy by making such an admission. No cool kid would state, in public, a preference for Macca over the Walrus -- it’s just not done.
We all know John, rest his soul, was a hundred times deeper and more talented than Paul, right? I mean, Paul was the guy who followed up his time in the Beatles with . . . Wings. Does anything else need to be said?
And yet . . . let me explain.
The first thing you have to know is I grew up in the 1970s. One of the strange things about that decade is I don’t remember many Beatles tunes being played on London radio stations like CJBK and CKSL. Hey Jude would inevitably make the ubiquitous countdowns of the greatest songs of all time, typically in the Top 10, but other than that it seemed the radio programmers of the day had moved on.
We had only one Beatles album in the house, a collection of their early hits. So I didn’t get much Fab Four in my diet.
But McCartney . . . he was everywhere. Those same radio stations could literally not get enough of him.
Songs like Band On The Run, Listen To What The Man Said, Jet and With A Little Luck were in heavy rotation. You couldn’t listen to the radio for long without hearing a McCartney tune or two.
Are these songs immortal poetry? No, but they are my heritage. They’re what I grew up with as a child of the 1970s. They’re fun and catchy, and they carved a permanent mark on the inside of my skull through repeated airplay.
And the thing about Lennon was, I don’t remember him being on the radio that much. Sure, there was Imagine, but his music was nowhere near as pervasive. The Lennon fans I knew treated him with reverence, it was just a given his music had more meaning.
Even as an adult, my respect for McCartney keeps growing and growing. To take the derision of his former Beatle bandmate and turn it into a hit like Silly Love Songs, that takes not only writing skill but also a sense of humour about oneself. And while Lennon was protesting for world peace in hotel beds, Paul quietly went about buying the rights to old songs from the Great American Songbook, which turned out to be a brilliant financial strategy.
Besides, if you find something wrong with Paul McCartney’s solo work, then you obviously haven’t heard the solo work of Ringo Starr.
(The latest Paul McCartney album, Kisses On The Bottom, was released in February.)