Paul McCartney has had so much written about him it’s hard to start an article without immediately referring to The Beatles. So I’ll start in 1980, soon after his drug bust in Japan.
After Japanese customs found 219 grams of the devils tobacco in his suitcase he spent nine days in prison in Japan before canceling the entire Japanese tour with Wings, effectively ending Wings as a band. He returned to the UK to figure out what he was going to do post scandal, and in the meantime, recorded McCartney II, which contained the song Temporary Secretary.
Keep in mind that this is Paul McCartney, the “pin up” Beetle, one of the more softer rock stars you’re likely to find. About four years ago I was standing in a nightclub wondering who the hell was playing this song into a dance music set. The DJ had segued from pretty aggressive electro into this random song, so I asked him who it was. He held up the cover to McCartney II and I was floored – could this really be a fucking Paul McCartney song I was hearing? WTF? At a club? And people were dancing to it? Paul Mc-fucking-Cartney?
This opened the doors to his whole back catalogue post Beatles to me. While some of it is admittedly too twee and precious for my taste (see anything he did in the mid to late 1980′s), I discovered a very very different side of Paul than most people give him credit for. While its easy to pigeonhole him into the Beatles days, Paul post Beatles comes off as a very forward thinking artist with the same penchant for great chord structures and a clear genius talent for melody.
Not all of it has been hits: see the shockingly bad mid 80′s period where he was going for some terrible sounds and songs with Michael Jackson. His collaborations with Elvis Costello never quite peaked the charts like he had hoped, but still remain some of his strongest work. Check out the MP3 for “You Want Her Too” here, (along with a great article about Paul here). However, the 2000′s have been especially good to Paul. The vastly underrated 2007 album “Memory Almost Full” carried with it probably one of the best pop song of the year with “Dance Tonight”, the video of which can be found here:
Paul continues to put out frankly brilliant work. He’s a lot like the music equivalent of (bear with me) Clint Eastwood; still putting out great work with such ease that people tend to slag him off for doing it so easily. Here’s to you, Paul, and another great album coming hopefully soon.