guilty pleasure monday: venus and mars/rockshow (wings)

it’s no secret i love the beatles, and i am ashamed very little by them (ok, so qualifiers include the entire magical mystery tour movie (motto: we’re stoned, and we don’t even care if the Queen knows it) and their worst song ever, mr. moonlight.) it must be apparent — one of the major search terms that brings people to wreke land is paul mccartney. and i cut wings a lot of slack. after all, i decided i would marry macca when i was 4; and i didn’t really switch favorite beatle allegiance to john until i was well into adulthood. i heart paul. and i still do.

(paul, if you’re listening: i’ll sign a pre-nup! really!)

anyway, i grew up with wings; since the beatles didn’t tour, it was about as close as i could get… i would wait with bated breath until the latest albums would come out, as late as 1980 before i began to wonder why i was still listening to stuff that older folks liked. i still think band on the run is a solid work; but i must confess that i also adore venus and mars, a loopy LP that i think paul clearly wrote with huge stadium concerts in mind. and the single venus and mars/rockshow totally caters to that idea. sure, there are adorably whimsical lyrics elsewhere on the album which i frequently quote when i am talking about my BS; and letting go is a killer song.

but rockshow is exactly what my 11 year old, never-been-to-a-rock-show self thought that rock shows must be like: loud and energetic and exciting… which they have been, though not always. there have been shows where i wondered why the artist even showed. (there have even been shows where i pondered whether the artist onstage was, in fact, a cardboard cutout propped on the stage. but i digress…)

i was a bit chagrined when i saw sir paul for the first (and only) time in 1993. i thought he was rather hammy: look at me, the cute one, i could sit here and fart and you’d cheer. it made me a bit angry at the time, especially since i had spent a lot of money for tickets that were waaaaaay in the back of RFK stadium. but since he lost his wife and then subsequently started getting screwed over by his second wife, i’ve softened a lot.

(if you’re out there, paul, i promise, i won’t marry you for the money. just let me hear you every day and that will be enough.)

10 thoughts on “guilty pleasure monday: venus and mars/rockshow (wings)

  1. OK, well, if you choose to talk about something on which I am fairly literate, I have to take a moment to respond. I agree with your choice of Venus and Mars as a great album, and rockshow is one of the best on the album (I will always choose “Listen to What the Man Said” as the best as I find it more classical McCartney). But Band on the Run will always be my choice for the best Wings Album. (and Live and Let Die, the best song).

    Just my 2 cents!

    What is your favorite Beatles Song?

  2. no doubt, band on the run is a better album. “listen to what the man said” is representative mccartney; i’m just sick of it still from when he released it eons ago 😉

    as far as favorite beatle song, it’s “norwegian wood” followed closely by “dear prudence” and “you’ve got to hide your love away.” yes. i’m weird.

  3. Oh, I adore You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away!

    I also love the sweetness of When I’m 64.

    And the haunting sound of She’s Leaving Home.

    But I could change those three any day of the week. I simply share your passion for The Beatles!

  4. NOT AT ALL! I would not call you weird. I think that musically Norwegian Wood is one of the best Beatles tunes (I dont think George every wrote a sub par song). Plus it is one of the few that I can play decently on the Guitar! Dear Prudence is wonderful as it is a very off the cuff song. It was not written with much though and it shows how much of a genius John was for begin able to just come up with a song. You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away is the other song I can strum out decent on the Guitar so you hit it on all three!

    tp – I agree that She’s Leaving Home is haunting, but the song somehow just gets on my nerve. Dont know why. It is on Sgt. Peppers so that is somthing (perhaps the 2nd best Album ever!)

    I dont usually have a favorite Beatles song as it changes all the time. These days Strawberry Fields seems to have a place in my head and heart, but that could change tomorrow. My kids staarted their love of the Beatles with All Together Now and Yellow Submarine from seeing the movie, but they are even changing their favorites to songs like Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da and Good Morning Good Morning.

    So if anyone is weird, I think I take the cake with my Beatles obsession.

  5. i recently listened to some Sgt Pepper 4 track sessions with each track sequenced on the CD separately,and then at the end the whole songs as just basic 4 tracks, and She’s Leaving Home was breathtaking even in that stripped down, raw nakedness. I had it stuck in my head for days. Paul was spectacularly talented.

  6. agree with all of this. i actually wrote a spirited defense of mccartney ii (with “coming up”) for an anthology of overlooked records a few years ago. it’s the sound of him going insane after breaking up wings and almost going to jail in japan for a stretch for pot possession. very weird, and not always successful (“waterfalls,” ugh), but i find it fascinating. i liked back to the egg as well.

    the more i read about the beatles, the more it becomes clear that john wasn’t the only avant-gardist in the band. in fact, paul had the advantage for awhile: he lived right in the center of london, so he’d actually go out to small clubs and happenings while john was sequestered out in weybridge. he is responsible for “carnival of light,” an extended beatles piece that was never released but apparently makes “revolution 9” seem structured. mccartney needs critical re-evaluation, stat.

  7. you are brave, son, praising that one 😉 seriously, years later, i enjoy coming up much more than when it was released. not as much of a fan of the rest of macca II. i heart heart heart macca the first, though. i think junk and every night are two of the sweetest songs. ever.

    speaking of waterfalls, there’s a funny phenom i’ve noticed regarding his singles in the UK versus here in the US. the aforementioned was a top 10 single in the UK but never passed any sort of muster in the US. this happens to him a lot with his lame-a$$ work… i think the poster child is mull of kintyre — i think it was something like the top selling single in Britain forever. or something like that. and no one here liked it. least of all me — i remember thinking what the hell has paul done? recorded for someone’s granny?

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