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Evaluating Paul's Post-Beatles Career
28 July 2017
4.17am
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Flyingbrians
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I'd be interested to hear peoples thoughts on Paul's post-Beatles career and whether you think he's been successful both musically and critically. 

Personally i'm not a fan of Paul's solo or Wings work, but then again none of my top 10 Beatles songs are Paul songs. I do like the majority of his Beatles songs but his post-Beatles work just doesn't appeal to me. Maybe it's just not my kind of music.

I think a lot of what turns me off his stuff is the critical reception that his albums receive. Aside from a small number of albums, critics don't seem to rate Paul's solo and Wings work too highly (aside from Ram & Band On The Run ). It makes me wonder if people only follow his work just because he was a Beatle. 

John panned Paul's early Post-Beatles work and Paul himself said that Wings were not a good group.

I personally think John had the best post-Beatles career, considering his work was generally well received and he released two masterpieces with John Lennon /Plastic Ono Band and Imagine . Unfortunately it was cut short before we could hear more.

I'd be especially interested to hear the opinions of Paul fans. I know his career isn't over yet (hopefully) but it'd still be cool to hear some thoughts.

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"And life flows on within you and without you" - George Harrison

28 July 2017
8.17pm
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ewe2
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For a start, forget the critics, their appraisals have rarely been useful. If you can't enjoy music because someone dislikes it, you're doing it wrong. And with any of the ex-Beatles, the critics have proved time and again to miss the point and the good stuff. They're still ignoring a lot of great stuff George did in his solo career too.

Wings existed to prove something, and Paul dumped it when the excuse arose. I think he did some good work in that framework, but I think he did better when he wasn't chasing the charts. Paul's style is to throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks, he's a prolific writer and there's going to be a lot of misses as well as hits. I think his legacy is going to be as a pop influence on other musicians even more than his singular success as a songwriter. Ironically it's McCartney II , the project after he had to dump Wings, that is often cited as an influence more than many other things he's done, but musicians will quote obscure songs on Wings albums as influences too. The trio of albums as The Firemen are also influential, especially the third which has more conventional song structures and some very fine singing. But otherwise if you want to evaluate Paul's career post-1970 you're going to have to trawl it yourself, there's just too much there, and I doubt when the time comes any obituary is going to sum it up to anyone's satisfaction.

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28 July 2017
8.48pm
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sir walter raleigh
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I think Paul's chart topping 70s were filled with brilliant hits and album tracks that showcased his seemingly effortless ability to write songs. He did prove something with Wings: that he is the most prolific songwriter to ever live. 

I usually get worn out trying to compare Beatles solo careers. Putting one against another always makes me realize how much I like everything (well almost everything) that any of them ever did. 

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5 August 2017
5.08pm
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Holloway
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Why not listen to the work yourself rather than rely on critics' views? Why do you need a gatekeeper? Why is John's solo career your favorite because "it was generally well received" (although you're ignoring that most of John's solo albums were critically panned) and not because YOU like the music? I don't understand that mindset. It's not like this music is inaccessible to you, you don't need to rely on secondhand opinions.

Many of the critical responses to Paul's work in the 70's had to do with the rock press' feelings about things not related to the music. For example, one critic at Rolling Stone has written about giving one of Paul's 70's albums a positive review, only to have editor Jann Wenner insist it be rewritten to be negative because "Paul broke up the Beatles." However, that said, claiming that Paul's albums were always critically panned is in itself a myth. Band On The Run is one example of an album that was critically acclaimed even in the 70's, including being named Rolling Stone's Album of the Year. Tug Of War (1982) was critically acclaimed. Since Flaming Pie (1997) and continuing to the present, almost all of Paul's albums have been released to critical acclaim. 

There's also the fact that critics change their minds. Ram was critically savaged at the time of its release, however it is now universally praised as a masterpiece and hugely influential to indie rock. When it was re-released, modern critics gave it universal acclaim. Jon Landau, the critic (now Bruce Springsteen's manager) who gave it an infamously terrible review in Rolling Stone back in 1972 was even interviewed about it upon its re-release and laughed off his original review, so not even the critics themselves take their original reviews seriously. 

"And if you want to see me cry/Play Let it Be or Nevermind." -The National, "Don't Swallow the Cap"

5 August 2017
9.37pm
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I was once influenced by the idea that John's work is somehow more serious or important than Paul's. There is a general idea among some fans (and maybe critics) that Paul wrote light-weight fluff while John wrote confessional songs.

I have always been more of a fan of John than Paul. But the more I get into the Beatles, that distinction fades away. I have always liked later Beatles more than early Beatles, for instance, and in fact later Beatles is actually more Paul-dominated, while early Beatles is more John-dominated. This is because, in the context of The Beatles, (and common opinion would actually tend to dictate otherwise), John is more of a simple, straight-forward rocker, while Paul is the one who moved the group in a more experimental direction (Sgt. Pepper ).

John experiments as well, and maybe his experiments are more effective (I Am The Walrus , Tomorrow Never Knows ). I think what actually happened was that, while Paul experimented with the avant-garde first, John was more successful than Paul at translating the experimental ideas into actual results on the albums.

After a while of being on this forum, I asked people for recommendations of Paul's music. I'm not sure what the thread title was, but I'm sure you could find it. I was slowly won over to becoming a fan of Paul's music. And, ironically, I found that I ended up most liking the songs that I had criticized. I think Paul's main strength is writing good pop melodies. Even in the later Beatles catalogue, when I hear a song by Paul that I like, I like it because it has a strong melody (for instance, Your Mother Should Know , You Never Give Me Your Money ).

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"This Beatles talk bores me to death.” —John Lennon 

5 August 2017
10.17pm
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Holloway
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When John experimented, he tended to go all in. He would be passionate about it until he got bored, then discard it for something new. So John could make something like "Revolution 9 " or the Two Virgins album, then a couple of years later fall completely in love with Phil Spector's syrupy strings. Paul's strength, IMO, was in taking elements of the experimental, studying them, then taking those elements and adapting them to pop music. 

One difference between John and Paul's solo music in the 70's is that IMO John's solo career had mostly horrible production quality. 

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"And if you want to see me cry/Play Let it Be or Nevermind." -The National, "Don't Swallow the Cap"

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