Paul McCartney, "Let Me Roll It"

>> Saturday, June 30, 2012

Sometimes when I'm posting embedded music, with or without commentary, I fret that it's something I've already run with at some point in the lengthening history of this blog. I don't like doing repeats, least of all by mistake. But this is an easy one.

Because, honestly, there just isn't a whole lot of solo Paul McCartney I like.

He's a brilliant songwriter, sure. Phenomenal musician. Competent, distinctive vocalist. But, y'know... he's kind of like The Beatles' Phil Collins. Or maybe it would be more accurate to say Phil Collins was Genesis' Paul McCartney, I dunno. But Peter Gabriel is John Lennon and maybe Steve Hackett was George Harrison. Or maybe Mike Rutherford. Actually, this metaphor breaks down because classic Genesis was a five-piece and The Beatles never limped on to greater success as a cheesy, crowd-pleasing but hardly-daring trio.

(Ringo, if you were wondering, is unique. There are no other Ringos anywhere.)

But what I think I'm trying to get at is how Paul McCartney--like Phil Collins--was this phenomenally capable songwriter and musician who is just cloying and hard to suffer for very long unless he's treading a path one of his former bandmates has already blazed, and then he can be really, really enjoyable except there's a certain grudging irony I feel while enjoying it (your mileage may vary--probably varies: everybody loves that Sir Paul, ev'rybody 'cept me). Like this track: if you asked me, I would have told you it was something John Lennon did, I dunno, around '72 or '73, maybe. But no, it's from Band On The Run. Even so, apparently even McCartney later admitted he was singing the song like Lennon, though he hadn't meant to; tho' it isn't just the singing--tell me that isn't a totally Lennonesque guitar riff driving "Roll It".

And how is it I like so much of McCartney's Beatles-era stuff? But then, maybe that one's easy: even on the tracks Lennon had hardly anything to do with, Lennon was still there to tell McCartney if a song was total balls and keep McCartney at the top of his game. (And, by the way: I can't decide if a song being "total balls" means it's awesome or awful, but I guess the previous sentence works either way, so read it how you will.)

Maybe I shouldn't undercut the song while I'm selling it. It's a great song, there you are.


Nathan Saturday, June 30, 2012 at 10:43:00 AM EDT  

I think you pretty well nailed that one. Yes, Paul was destined to (cheerfully) be the lamest ex-Beatle. And, yeah, you can hear Lennon all over this song.

I think the studio version is similar, but what's great is how ragged it is. The harmonies never quite sync up. The bass has all sorts of distortion.

Great song.

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