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Monday, Aug 2, 2010

Every artist has a signature song, which becomes the symbol of their entire career. For better or worse, it sums up how the public views them in usually less than five minutes. In Paul McCartney’s case, that song is “Maybe I’m Amazed”.


Ironically, it almost didn’t become a hit. When he originally recorded the song in 1970, McCartney refused to release the song as a single, in keeping with the British tradition of not releasing album tracks as singles. Despite this, the song still became well known enough through radio airplay that he performed it during Wings’ concerts. In 1977, the group included a live version with an extended ending on Wings Over America, a three-record live set. Performed in June 1976 at the Seattle Kingdome, this is the version that most people identify with the song. Capitol records released a promotional 12” record with four different versions of the song on it to radio stations, but for the commercially released version, the live rocker “Soily” was its flipside. In the UK, it only hit number 28 on the singles chart, but in the US, it cracked the top 10.


As for the original studio version, it was written and recorded in London. He recorded many different versions of the song, most of which have never been released to the public (these original takes were examined by DJ Hellraiser for the 2005 Twin Freaks album’s “Maybe I’m Amazed” remix; additionally, some of the “beat-boxing” sounds McCartney recorded for those sessions were scattered throughout the rest of the album). Not surprisingly, McCartney wrote the song about how his wife Linda helped him through the emotional mess that was the break-up of the Beatles. Originally entitling it “Baby, I’m Amazed”, McCartney changed it in order to sound less “self-assured”. Linda’s voice can be heard singing back-up on the track, but that is not the only involvement she originally had with it.


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Monday, Jul 26, 2010

“Teddy Boy” is the simple acoustic tale of a boy named Ted with serious mother issues. Ted’s mother cries when talking about his soldier father, but later remarries, incensing Ted so much that he runs away. There is also a double meaning in the fact that “teddy boy” was common British slang in the 1950s. It was used to describe teenagers who wore “Edwardian”-inspired clothes and acted in a similar fashion to the “punks” of the 1980s or the “greasers” of the American 1950s.


Because former bandmate John Lennon had a similar childhood experience and was thought to be a part of the teddy boy subculture, it is believed that the song was a dig at him. However, the Beatles themselves originally recorded “Teddy Boy” during sessions for what eventually became their Let It Be album. There are several different bootleg versions floating around, but in one particular version Lennon is heard in the background laughing and making up extra lyrics, so I doubt that it was intended to offend. While it was never completely finished by the group, the two most notable takes of the song were edited together and put on 1996’s Anthology 3 album.


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Tuesday, Jul 20, 2010

“Momma Miss America” is another instrumental track on the McCartney album, as the only voice heard is that of an engineer announcing that this is take one of “Rock ‘n’ Roll Springtime”. That title was soon changed, as what was to become two separate songs “ran into each other by accident and became one”. Made up as McCartney went along, it was recorded entirely at his London home.


McCartney’s only recent involvement with the song is its inclusion on The McCartney Years box DVD set. (It is used as background music on Disc 2’s “Chronology” menu.) However, as I previously said about “Hot As Sun/ Glasses”, “Momma Miss America” has also been used as bumper music on PBS’ History Detectives TV series.


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Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010

“Oo You” opens side B of the McCartney album, and despite the fact that it is such a great, bluesy little rocker, it isn’t discussed much. Strangely, I can’t seem to find any evidence that McCartney has ever performed it live. When searching for information on “Oo You”, sometimes you come up with things about the Beatles working on it together. While some of the songs on McCartney started out as Beatle jams, whatever you hear about this being one of those songs comes from mere speculation. In 2005 a online music store came up with the idea to make the album that the Beatles would have made if they stayed together. Part of this ensemble of covers and Beatles’ Anthology tracks was a brief interpretation of “Oo You”. That is where those rumors of it originally being recorded by the group come from.


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Friday, Jul 9, 2010

Side A of McCartney closes with “Man We Was Lonely”, which was the first song that both Paul and his wife, Linda, wrote together and sang together as a duet. In a way, it is a precursor to Wings. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that it is about the pair’s true feelings for each other, being that the two could be considered lonely before they got together. When they first started dating, Linda was a recent divorcee and Paul’s long-term relationship with actress Jane Asher had just ended.


Regardless of the song’s meaning, Paul admitted in 1970 that it was one of the last songs recorded for the album. He and Linda wrote the chorus while in bed the morning of the day it was recorded. Later that afternoon, they wrote the middle part. The background is made up of a bass drum and three different guitars, all played by Paul and tracked on together later. As for the song’s unique steel guitar sound, Paul revealed that he created it by playing his Telecaster “with a drum peg”.


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