December 23, 2007

Macca Moment

I do not love the Beatles as completely and unconditionally as I should, and I lay the blame squarely at the feet of Paul McCartney. Yes, I have plenty of Beatles albums, and even a decent collection of live and unreleased material, so it’s not like I despise them, far from it. Rather, I’ve gained a grudging love for them over the years as the guys who did it first and, arguably, best as fully in evidence on the brilliant, energetic With the Beatles/Meet the Beatles!, despite the cognitive dissonance that still disrupts my affection at times due to Paul’s ridiculous crap since the disbandment.

Exhibit A: Since the holidays are upon us now, I might as well be seasonal and bring up this ridiculous turd first, “Wonderful Christmas Time”.

Why, Paul? We already had a great Beatles Christmas song! Lennon had already taken care of that. Were you just trying to one up him? Well, thanks for ruining a few minutes of my holiday season every year when I have to hear this stinker!

Exhibit B: Maybe it was Linda’s fault. Since we are now a marriage removed from her undeniably sad, untimely passing, I guess that it’s safe to deliver criticism without sounding like an asshole: she had no business being on stage with you. She has forever ruined “Hey Jude” for anyone who cared. Bad call, man.

Exhibit C: “Say, Say, Say”, “The Girl Is Mine”, and “Ebony and Ivory”. The Jacko duets are awful enough, and “Ebony and Ivory” may have ruined Stevie Wonder for me, if In Square Circle hadn’t nearly completely destroyed my respect for him later. I’m just glad that you could never managed to line up studio time with Kiki Dee.

Exhibit D: Still trying to be “The Cute One”, aren’t we? That’s always grossed me out.

Rock stars, please guard your legacies better than this. You may think that you should not have to worry about it, that you can have your wife in the band, even if she doesn’t have musical ability, because it will make things easier at home, that you can appear with Hanson or Puffy just because you think it’s fun, that you can appear on Oprah, because it may help you sell tens of thousands more albums, even though you really don’t need the money, but it can and will be used against you in the court of youth. Your old fans may forgive you, since they’re already hooked, but, if you don’t maintain your integrity, then the kids will smell bullshit and turn on you, endangering that unimpeachable immortality that you’ve been striving for since you first strapped on a Hofner.

A long time ago, a friend of mine pointed out that you always hear music differently once you know that an artist is deceased, that it colors the experience to some degree, no matter how absorbed you may become in the music. I have always found this to be true to some degree, but Paul’s cheesiness continues to overwhelm my Beatles experience, even in the wake of Lennon and George’s deaths. I envy those who are able to overlook it.


TheAngryYoungMan said...


I think you're allowing later lameness to ruin your appreciation of the earlier greatness of these artists far too much. People get lame when they get older. It's sort of a fact of life. If you're allowing meaningless, harmless pop Christmas confection by Paul McCartney in his later days to diminish your appreciation of the Beatles, or allowing Ebony & Ivory to diminish your appreciation of Stevie Wonder, that's sort of a shame. Even the greatest artists can't be great all the time, dude.

LenBarker said...


I certainly don't expect everyone to be Neil Young. It's a matter of degree, and Paul McCartney has tarnished his legacy to a distracting and detracting degree. I'm definitely amazed!

venerableseed said...

I'm not 100% that Paul got lame just b/c he got old; that lameness was always there. But his cuteness and his goofy poppy songs were absolutely necessary for the Beatles success. see the Scientist's post. His Oprah appearances and Starbucks promos also seem like something he would have been more than willing to do in the Beatles days.

I've tried to resist Paul's solo work but by the end of the song I'm singing along just the same!

I do wonder how the Gen Y generation of kids rates the Beatles. Their parents wouldn't have been playing them and radio is a thing of the past. So their songs can't be as embedded in their minds as they were in ours, right?

I think they might even admire Paul's shameless entrepreneurialism. Even JT goes on Oprah you know.