Music

Paul & Linda McCartney - “Another Day” and “Oh Woman, Oh Why”

Bridging the gap between 'McCartney' and 'Ram', Jessy Krupa takes a look at the first single collaboration between Paul McCartney and his wife Linda.

McCartney was a hit solo album for Paul McCartney, but none of its tracks were released as a single. McCartney was still under the British idea that singles are stand-alone songs, not contained in albums, so that they can be strung together occasionally on EPs or “greatest hits” albums. So in February of 1971, “Another Day”, with its B-side of “Oh Woman, Oh Why”, was released as a single. The songs would not be included on the upcoming Ram album, which was released about three months later.

“Another Day” began as a track that the Beatles worked on for possible release on what would be the Let It Be album, but after the band's break-up, it turned into something else. Just as she had co-written “Man We Was Lonely” before, Linda McCartney also co-wrote “Another Day”. While posters promoting the single listed it as “written by Mr. and Mrs. McCartney” and the single itself was credited to Paul & Linda McCartney, others found that suspicious.

The owner of Northern Songs, the publishing company who held the rights on Paul’s work, later filed a lawsuit (also citing the next single, “Uncle Albert"/"Admiral Halsey”) saying that Linda was incapable of songwriting. Paul once stated, “I thought that whoever I worked with, no matter what the method of collaboration was, that person, if they did help me on the song, should have a portion of the song for helping me.” Eventually the suit was dropped, but doubt and speculation continue to this very day on Linda’s contributions to Paul’s music. Could this be because of some sort of gender bias?

To “Another Day”, Linda contributed the necessary feminine touch, with her background vocals arriving when the song’s female subject has something to express. Similar to the Paul-composed “Eleanor Rigby” and “A World Without Love”, however, “Another Day's" main theme is loneliness. A woman goes through the everyday motions of her average life -- she showers and gets ready for work at her office job--but despite her self-sufficiency, she is alone and depressed without someone (“the man of her dreams”) to love. Though she is seeing someone, it isn’t love (“He comes and he stays, but he leaves the next day”). She still sadly goes through her routine, however, thinking that things will someday change for the better, because after all, “it’s just another day”.

John Lennon once criticized his former bandmate’s writing style in the Imagine album track, “How Do You Sleep?” with the line, “The only thing you done was 'Yesterday' / And since you’ve gone you’re just 'Another Day'". Once referring to him as “all pizza and fairy-tales”, he shut down the fact that McCartney’s songwriting usually describes the lives and hopes of fictional, but realistic, normal people. Lennon’s writing is usually autobiographical or about a social or political issue instead. This isn’t always the case, but it is the usual main difference between McCartney and Lennon’s solo work.

Recorded at Columbia Recording Studios in New York, “Another Day” and “Oh Woman, Oh Why” featured instrumentation from future Wings members, Denny Seiwell (drummer), Dave Spinozza, and Hugh McCracken (guitarists). The decision to release the songs on a single reportedly went to the assistant engineer, Dixon Van Winkle, who later felt they “got carried away with the bass part” on “Another Day”.

“Oh Woman, Oh Why”, the aforementioned B-side, might be seen as a continuation of the previous song, but it is unlikely. The phrase “fed up with your lying, cheating ways” implies that the woman has had to deal with this cad for a while, not that he just came and went. However, the next line, “But I get up every morning and every day” does seem a little more than a coincidence. Written solely by Paul, its dark tone, complete with gunshots, is vastly different from much of his catalog. Also notable about it is the fact that he sings both the male and female viewpoints in the song, using higher and lower voices, despite the fact that Linda is heard in the refrains.

“Another Day”/”Oh Woman, Oh Why” reportedly sold over a million copies worldwide. It was a number one hit in France and Australia, in the U.K. it reached number two, but in the U.S. it only got up to number five. Paul McCartney doesn’t perform these tracks in concert, but they are held in high-esteem. When Ram was re-released on CD, both of the songs were added on as a bonus. Whereas “Another Day” was included on the Wings Greatest, All The Best, and Wingspan: Hits and History compilations, “Oh Woman, Oh Why” has seen a different legacy. It was included twice on the DJ Freelance Hellraiser Twin Freaks remix album. It is first mixed along with elements of “Band On The Run”, “Loup (1st Indian On The Moon)”, and “Venus & Mars”, but its guitar sounds appear on “Lahula” later on in the album. It was also covered by orchestra leader Bert Kaempfert, and by Ray Paul and Emitt Rhodes on a 2001 McCartney tribute album.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

Keep reading... Show less

Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.

Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"

Keep reading... Show less

Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.

It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.

Keep reading... Show less
3

A 1996 classic, Shawn Colvin's album of mature pop is also one of best break-up albums, comparable lyrically and musically to Joni Mitchell's Hejira and Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

When pop-folksinger Shawn Colvin released A Few Small Repairs in 1996, the music world was ripe for an album of sharp, catchy songs by a female singer-songwriter. Lilith Fair, the tour for women in the music, would gross $16 million in 1997. Colvin would be a main stage artist in all three years of the tour, playing alongside Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Erykah Badu, and many others. Strong female artists were not only making great music (when were they not?) but also having bold success. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill preceded Colvin's fourth recording by just 16 months.

Keep reading... Show less
9

Frank Miller locates our tragedy and warps it into his own brutal beauty.

In terms of continuity, the so-called promotion of this entry as Miller's “third" in the series is deceptively cryptic. Miller's mid-'80s limited series The Dark Knight Returns (or DKR) is a “Top 5 All-Time" graphic novel, if not easily “Top 3". His intertextual and metatextual themes resonated then as they do now, a reason this source material was “go to" for Christopher Nolan when he resurrected the franchise for Warner Bros. in the mid-00s. The sheer iconicity of DKR posits a seminal work in the artist's canon, which shares company with the likes of Sin City, 300, and an influential run on Daredevil, to name a few.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image