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Top 10 Underrated Paul McCartney Songs

Paul McCartney
Central Press-Hulton Archive, Getty Images
Of all the members of that little combo know as the Beatles, Paul McCartney may have the distinction of being the most loved, and at the same time, most loathed of the four. For all those who cherish his every note, there are those who, shall we say, can't get past his “silly love songs.” Despite his immense popularity all these years, Sir Paul still has many songs that have just been ignored, forgotten, or maybe just never heard. To help rectify this, we have dug out his tracks that cry out the loudest for rediscovery, or perhaps to be heard for the first time. You won't be sorry… trust us!


Paul McCartney Chaos and Creation in the Backyard
Capitol/EMI Records
10

'Jenny Wren'

From 'Chaos And Creation In The Backyard' (2005)
 
 

'Jenny Wren' is another in a long line of beautiful Paul McCartney acoustic ballads. The mid-song solo is played on an obscure woodwind instrument called a duduk, which adds an odd yet very effective color to the song. The whole 'Chaos' album stands of one of McCartney's strongest albums from his later years, and this is one of many wonderful moments on it.

 
Wings London Town
Capitol/EMI Records
9

'Cafe On The Left Bank'

From 'London Town' (1978)
 
 

In 1978, Paul McCartney was about as unfashionable as he could get, but that didn't stop him from hitting the top of the charts with the sappy 'With A Little Luck' from the album 'London Town.' But there on the same album, you will find this lost little diamond. It features an almost boss-nova like groove, which, coupled with some dynamic lead guitar work helps this rise above the sap. Where McCartney finds these amazing melodies in that brain of his we will never know, but seems able to toss them off in his sleep.

 
Paul McCartney Band On The Run
Capitol/EMI Records
8

'Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five'

From 'Band On The Run' (1973)
 
 

Did 1985 really seem that far off in 1973? This one ended up as the B-side of the 'Band On The Run' single as well as the closing number for the album of the same name. We think it's a headliner in its own right. A funky groove holds the song together as Paul delivers a gritty bluesy vocal. Two brief vocal only interludes interrupt the bluesy flow but add something indefinable to the proceedings. Pounding drums, grunting vocals, squalling synths and heavy brass build to the song to it's illogical climax just before a 'Band On The Run' slight reprise ends the album. Perfect!

 
Paul McCartney Run Devil Run
Capitol/EMI Records
7

'Run Devil Run'

From 'Run Devil Run' (1999)
 
 

This is one of McCartney's most all out, pedal to the floor stompers. The album of the same name was a tribute of sorts to the music Paul loved growing up. It features a batch of well chosen '50s rockers along with this self-penned barn burner. With a band made up of guitarists David Gilmour and Mick Green (of famed '50s rockers Johnny Kidd & The Pirates), and drums by the amazing Ian Paice of Deep Purple, this is Paul and friends having a blast kicking out jams.

 
Paul McCartney Flaming Pie
Capitol/EMI Records
6

'The World Tonight'

From 'Flaming Pie' (1997)
 
 

'Flaming Pie' was one of Sir Paul's strongest albums in a long time, and was universally cheered when it was released in 1997. There are many gems on the album, but tragically, no hits! This song was released as a single, but barely made the top 40. The song and performance are so strong that you almost forget it was produced by sometimes constraining Jeff Lynne.

 
Paul McCartney II
Capitol/EMI Records
5

'Coming Up'

From 'McCartney II' (1980)
 
 

Paul's second all solo album, aptly named, 'McCartney II,' came ten years after his first one and it couldn't be more different in style and approach. The earthiness of solo album number one is replaced by a plastic gloss very influenced by the then current 'new wave' movement. The album's lead0off track is pure pop put through a very quirky filter. Sterile drums, thin guitars and an effects laden vocal make it sound like it's being beamed in from some odd radio broadcast.

 
Paul McCartney Red Rose Speedway
Capitol/EMI Records
4

'Big Barn Bed'

From 'Red Rose Speedway' (1973)
 
 

1973 would prove to be a huge year for the former Beatle. The single 'My Love' started the year off atop the US charts, and the year would end with another smash in the form of the theme from the James Bond film 'Live And Let Die.' In between came the made for TV special, 'James Paul McCartney,' and the release of not one, but two albums: the landmark 'Band On The Run,' and the seemingly forgotten 'Red Rose Speedway.' Originally planned to be a double album, McCartney, perhaps wisely, rethought things and issued them separately. 'Big Barn Bed' leads off the lesser-known album in wonderful fashion. A seductive rhythm lures in the listener and the echo-laden vocals keep you hooked as a catchy as can be chorus ices the cake.

 
The Fireman Electric Arguments
ATO Records
3

'Nothing Too Much, Just Out Of Sight'

From 'Electric Arguments' (2008)
 
 

The lead off track from the 2008 album 'Electric Arguments,' released under the alter ego of The Fireman, this is easliy Paul's rawest performance since 'Helter Skelter.' A thinly-veiled rant against his second wife, Heather Mills, this is brutal, almost Beefhartian stuff going on here. Loud guitars, bashing drums, distorted harmonica, and a fierce vocal, all delivered by the man himself. This will blow your speakers out. Play it loud!

 
Paul McCartney Back to the Egg
Capitol/EMI Records
2

'Spin It On'

From 'Back To The Egg' (1979)
 
 

'Back To The Egg' was McCartney's last record of the '70s, as well as the last released under the Wings banner. It is also one of his most forgotten, which is a crying shame as it features several lost gems. 'Spin It On' is a full throttle, no -rills rocker that plows along and never lets up for all of its two minutes of glory. There are elements of classic primal, early rock and roll, but with a totally contemporary urgency and drive. Obviously melody is still front and center, the man can't help it, but it's a real corker! A voice at the start whispers 'This is it!," and yes...it is.

 
Paul McCartney Ram
Capitol/EMI Records
1

'Monkberry Moon Delight'

From 'Ram' (1971)
 
 

One of many fantastic songs from what die-hard Macca fans consider Paul's finest all-around solo album, 'Ram.' This killer features one of Paul's rawest vocals tracks ever. He has a primal bluesy growl here that still catches the listener offguard forty plus years on. The lyrics, possibly about a home made elixer of sorts, are not your typical Macca fare either. "Well, I know my banana is older than the rest / And my hair is a tangled beretta / When I leave my pajamas to Billy Budapest, and I don't get the gist of your letter," for example, is but one of the lines that calls for a head scratch. The stomping rhythm and whimsical back up vocals only add to the track's barrel house romp.

 

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