Despite the fact that it was never released as a single, “That Would Be Something” has been well-loved and critically praised throughout the years. Shortly after the McCartney album’s release, George Harrison, who harshly criticized the rest of the album, called both it and “Maybe I’m Amazed” “great”. He wasn’t its only admirer, though. The Grateful Dead started covering it at some of their concerts in 1991. A part of their version appears on the Dick’s Picks, Vol. 17 CD. Paul McCartney himself seems to have some fondness for it, performing it at his 1991 MTV Unplugged TV special. That version also appeared on the Unplugged (The Official Bootleg) album.
Written in Scotland in 1969, it was recorded at Paul’s London home. Similar to the album’s first track, it is about his wife, Linda. It also shares some lyrical similarities to the Beatles’ “Two of Us” in that it relates to the rainy weather that the couple experienced together. Playing the acoustic guitar, bass, tom tom, and cymbal that appears on the track, he also adds a little vocal percussion, which was a little unusual in those days. Also unusual is the fact that a song that runs over two and a half minutes is all really just one verse. I’ve heard people describe it as “folksy”, but I just don’t hear that. It’s so different and has such a great groove to it, that you forget that it’s mostly the same lyrics repeated over and over again.
Next time, however, we’ll look at a McCartney song that has no lyrics at all, “Valentine Day”.
// Notes from the Road
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