I Like Paul McCartney. Reluctantly.

I grew up mainly listening to my parent’s collection of gas station promotion tapes, a series called Solid Gold where each tape showcased about a dozen songs from each decade. I’m pretty sure this is a Canadian thing, maybe even just an Ontario thing, but it seems anyone who blogs about these Solid Gold cassettes acquired them from their parents in the 80’s. Anyway, I listened to those and also to the Beatles’ red (1962-1966) and blue (1967-1970) double cassette compilations. Generally I liked the blue one better and they were all I listened to — until I hijacked my sister’s copy of Viva Hate in grade 6.

Over the years I got into other stuff by the Beatles, including a heavy obsession with the White Album, and then a fling in the late 90’s with Band on The Run by Wings. Now listening to the Beatles is a little exhausting: I still appreciate them but I really listened to their stuff A LOT in high school. So anyway, blah blah blah, more years pass, I get into John Lennon, George Harrison, and think I’m a smartypants for recognising Ringo’s voice on Thomas the Tank Engine.

These days, equalled perhaps only by Yoko Ono’s media presence, McCartney hits the headlines pretty often. He puts out an album every couple of years, and is otherwise either being knighted or getting divorced. It seems there’s always a reason to keep talking about him. Recently, Murray and I endured a made-for-TV movie ‘The Linda McCartney Story’ because our friend Moya was in the opening credits so we had to watch it. The movie was pretty brutal, especially the neanderthal-like portrayal of John Lennon, but it was fun seeing Moya as Heather McCartney. So Sir McCartney is always on our minds, most recently quoted: McCartney Brands Label ‘Boring’.

This article is awesome, and so telling of the dinosaur operating strategy of most major labels. They sit back, resting on their laurels, banking on the guaranteed success of established artists, and not evolving with the rest of the world, then wondering why CD sales are going down. And quite fittingly these established artists (Madonna, Radiohead, Morrissey, McCartney, to name a few) are sick of — quite literally — working for the man, and are leaving the majors for new and adventurous music distribution and marketing models. I guess it’s easier for a bigger artist to break out this way, since they don’t need big advances to get started. Now the more evolved labels are getting into the 360 deal, as it’s called. Dipping in to the artist’s touring and merch income, online strategies and not just focusing on retail sales for income. The industry seems divided on whether or not the 360 deal can work: many artists and some labels are skeptical. But its just business doing business, and really don’t we do business with the goal of hopefully seeing a return from an investment?

Anyhow, this is just another reason why I reluctantly like Sir Paul, even though he can be a real cheeseball sometimes.

5 Replies to “I Like Paul McCartney. Reluctantly.”

  1. Maybe CD sales not only go down because the major labels are not “evolving with the rest of the world”. Maybe it’s just the music that doesn’t relate to the people anymore. How come that we all love to listen to music that was produced before the seventies? Maybe it has to do with quality.

  2. lol I always say thay McCartney is my favourite “live” Beatle (meaning not dead). But yeah I get the little jokes and I’ll be the first to rip on his crappy songs (and there are a couple). But then again there are some really good ones (yeah even in the more recent albums).

    I got into the Beatles through an oldies station and checked out tapes (!) of the blue, red and 20 greatest hits from the library…I thought I’d grow out of it but 12 years later I’m still a huge fan.

    PS: love The Dears come to Chicago!

  3. It used to be that “record labels” stuck to making back their money from your “record sales” (i.e. very few artists ever saw income from their record sales) but at least the artists were able to make some income from things like live performances, merchandise sales and whatever else they could muster so they didn’t starve.

    I guess this “360 Deal” came about because labels are claiming that there is no money in record sales anymore and they need to dip in to what traditionally used to be the artists sole bread & butter. That’s unfortunate, especially is the label is not supporting the artist in the other non-record sales activities.

    Personally, as a music buyer, I don’t think music sales have gone down. Back when I was a teenager and had no money, I would borrow and dupe music tapes from people that had the music. Now that I am a yuppie with money, I am buying music as I would have done back then if I was a yuppie with money.

  4. For as long as I can remember, I’ve liked McCartney, but did not really appreciate Lennon. (When I was 5 my favorite song was “Silly Love Songs.”) But when I reached high-school age, I was informed that Lennon was the more “cool” of the duo, so I kept my McCartney torch hidden. Then during college I let it out and started working McCartney/Wings songs into my repertoire and realized how not alone I was.

  5. I just stumbled across your blog Natalia and I think it’s great and informative. (BTW, big Dears fan too.) As far as McCartney goes, he can be downright embarrassing at times but I can’t help but like him too. His music can certainly be hit and miss (more miss these days) but he’s always struck me as someone with a good business sense so I find his disenchantment with the music industry to be not very surprising.

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