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No. 38: Paul McCartney, ‘Live and Let Die’ – Top 100 Classic Rock Songs

Wings Live and Let Die

1973 was a busy year for former Beatle Paul McCartney. April 1973 saw the release of his album ‘Red Rose Speedway.’ But it was the song ‘Live and Let Die’ — written for the James Bond movie of the same name — that would garner McCartney one of his biggest hits ever, and earn him the No. 38 position in our Top 100 Classic Rock Songs countdown.

The single was unlike much that McCartney had released to date, either with the Beatles or with his group Wings. The track starts with a hushed introduction featuring piano and McCartney’s doubled-up vocals, but an entirely different dynamic comes into play after the first verse.

At this point, a bombastic run of strings and orchestral instruments brings 007-approved action movie drama to the proceedings, before making another surprising move, into a pseudo-reggae bridge.

It was, to say the very least, an interesting mash-up of musical styles, and one that only a talented and studied artist like McCartney could pull off with such flying colors.

In what could have been the ultimate tribute, Weird Al Yankovic had approached McCartney with the idea of writing a parody of the song that he was going to call ‘Chicken Pot Pie.’ McCartney, a staunch vegetarian, reportedly declined Yankovic permission based on his beliefs.

Many bands have covered the track since its release; arguably most successful of these was the version by McCartney’s fellow Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Guns N’ Roses, whose cover of the song appeared on their 1991 record ‘Use Your Illusion I.’

Next: Elton John Gets Lost in Space

Skip to: No. 100 | No. 80 | No. 60 | No. 40 | No. 20

Watch Paul McCartney Perform ‘Live and Let Die’

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