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Sunday Spin: McCartney


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This week in 1970, Paul McCartney's first solo album, the simply titled McCartney, began a three week residence atop the U.S. charts. Mostly recorded at his home studio (with a few sessions at Abbey Road under the pseudonym “Billy Martin"), his first Lennon-less effort is a paean to domesticity and simple pleasures. With the mood of a more barebones White Album without an editor, McCartney is an oft-overlooked treat in his voluminous catalog. Despite one of the most colossal love songs of all time ("Maybe I'm Amazed"), even hardcore Beatles fans are often unaware of refurbished ditties like “Hot As Sun," which dates back to late 1959, or the undisguised sweetness of “Man We Was Lonely."

I used to ride on my fast city line
Singing songs that I thought were mine alone, alone
Now, let me lie with my love for the time
I am home, home, home

Compared to later Beatles' works, McCartney can initially come across as slight, many tracks more sketches than fully fleshed songs. But let it spin and his palpable happiness creeps from the speakers. Begun in 1969 while The Beatles were in the process of crumbling, the album captures some of the weariness that was hitting McCartney, the fight to keep the “Fab Four" together ebbing. In their place, he finds a new voice, one less fraught with compromise or conflict, in this love note to his wife Linda McCartney, who contributes throughout. Released almost concurrently with Let It Be, this first solo salvo hit shelves just days after McCartney announced his departure from The Beatles. It is the sound of a man reminding himself of why he got into making music in the first place, and as such it remains one of his most sincere, unvarnished efforts.

McCartney track list:

1. The Lovely Linda
2. That Would Be Something
3. Valentine Day
4. Every Night
5. Hot as Sun/Glasses
6. Junk
7. Man We Was Lonely
8. Oo You
9. Momma Miss America
10. Teddy Boy
11. Singalong Junk
12. Maybe I'm Amazed
13. Kreen-Akrore

Here's the instrumental “Singalong" Junk from a 1991 Unplugged set:

Macca takes flight with Wings on this great version of “Maybe I'm Amazed" from 1976:

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