Too often people dismiss Paul McCartney’s entire career after The Beatles. It’s become such “conventional wisdom” that McCartney was no good after The Beatles that a lot of people don’t even question it. But really the whole idea makes no sense. The guy who wrote so many of The Beatles greatest songs, the guy who was behind many of the Beatles greatest ideas, the guy who wrote such amazing bass lines with The Beatles, this guy is suddenly no good at making music because he’s on his own? It makes no sense, and it’s not true. McCartney recorded a lot of great music after the Beatles both as a solo artist, with his band Wings, and as a part of the experimental duo (with the producer Youth) The Fireman. In this article I feature the five best post-Beatles McCartney albums that I recommend you check out. They are listed in chronological order.
These are our top 5 albums of Paul McCartney excluding the Beatles songs:
5. McCartney (1970)
Paul McCartney’s debut solo album is also among my favorites. I love the home studio “do it yourself” vibe to it. At the time a lot of people just looked at it as lazy or unfocused (in comparison to the Abbey Road suite that McCartney had largely been responsible for, I can understand that.) But I think it looks a lot better now, looking back at it. It was really a very “indie” sounding album. It’s just a singer-songwriter being creative and recording interesting music because he enjoys doing it. Plus, it features what is arguably his best solo song “Maybe I’m Amazed.”
4. Ram (1971)
I think this may be my favorite solo Paul McCartney album. It’s just such imaginative music. Are the lyrics silly? Yes. So what? Paul’s best music was never about the lyrics even when he was with The Beatles. Unfortunately the music critics at the time didn’t get Ram and I think the criticism stung Paul pretty badly and that made him go into other directions. I personally wish he would have continued down this path a bit farther.
3. Band on the Run (1973)
His third album with Wings and his 5th post Beatles album. This is his best known post-Beatles album and it was the first one to really get a lot of good critical reviews. It’s definitely Paul McCartney in his “Abbey Road mode” where he’s really trying to create a “perfect album.” And while it’s not as good as Abbey Road, it is a really strong album with a lot of good songs. Unfortunately I think it was his last really good album for quite some time.
2. Flaming Pie (1997)
Perhaps it was the Beatles Anthology project that got Paul back in gear but he seems to have found his muse again beginning with this album (interestingly enough, I think this is about the same time Bob Dylan got it together again too after a similarly long period of subpar releases.) Now, I’d probably rank this about 5th out of these five as it does have some not so great tracks on it, but it also has a number of songs that I do think are really inspired, “Calico Skies” probably being my most favorite.
1. Rushes (1998)
This is an ambient electronic music album he released under the name The Fireman. I have listened to this album many times, I find it to be really entrancing. For anyone who questions Paul’s “experimental edge” I beg of them to listen to this album and 2000’s Liverpool Sound Collage (which didn’t make this list, but I do think is very interesting too.)
Article by: Jake Topp