Sunday, June 12, 2022

McCartney’s Ram is one of many great primers for seeing him in concert

To celebrate seeing Paul McCartney (for the third time) tonight at Baltimore’s Camden Yards, I figured I would read MOJO Magazine’s recent feature on his breakaway album from The Beatles, Ram. 

Here’s what I learned:

  • Recording it with many-layered Pet Sounds-like tracks in Los Angeles, the follow up to his solo debut, McCartney, was aimed to be lush and far from the sparseness of that album. Also interesting because, with its pastoral sheep cover, I had always assumed this was recorded in Scotland.
  • One of the many session drummers who auditioned for the part thought Another Day sounded like Eleanor Rigby transplanted to Manhattan, where the auditions took place.
  • Linda was credited with co-creating the whole album, but rather than musical, most of her contribution seemed to be to get Paul off his ass to make it amidst his post-Beatles depression and funk.
  • That said, the interweaving voices of Paul and Linda throughout the release are no doubt a thing of beauty.
  • McCartney conducted the New York Philharmonic on the masterful (still one of my favorite Paul tracks) Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey. Same for Long Haired Lady and The Backseat of My Car. And George Martin also helped.
  • Producer Eirik Wangberg was given a lot of latitude to edit down some of the orchestration and the track sequencing.
  • Despite Ram’s commercial success, major detractors at the time included Ringo, John, and Rolling Stone.

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