Although he is one of the most prolific singer/songwriters of this generation or any for that matter, there are still many Paul McCartney tunes that go underappreciated by most music fans. In total, McCartney's songs count well over 600, including his hits with The Beatles. But while his Beatles hits have become contemporary classics, many of McCartney's solo works have been dismissed as subpar.
While there are many McCartney/Wings songs that have become true radio favorites, there are still many more that are classic in their own right. The list could be longer, including some favorites you may not see here but in the interest of space, here are 12 of the most underappreciated Paul McCartney songs from his complete catalogue.
12. My Brave Face (Flowers In The Dirt, 1989)
Written by McCartney and Elvis Costello, "My Brave Face" is one of the most acclaimed songs from the album, "Flowers in the Dirt". It peaked at #18 in the United Kingdom a week after its debut, and #25 in the United States. The back-story to the tune is that Costello urged McCartney to play his famous Hofner violin bass on the song, so the songwriter got it out of storage. Upon taking it out, he revealed it even had the set list still taped on it from the Beatles' 1969 Apple rooftop concert. This inspired the music video of a Japanese collector stealing the now-priceless artifact.
11. Goodnight Tonight (All The Best, 1987)
Noted for its disco-influenced sound and flamenco guitar break, "Goodnight Tonight" peaked at number five in both the United Kingdom and United States during 1979. The song was originally recorded for Wings' album "Back to the Egg", but was later included on the 1987 McCartney compilation, "All the Best!". "Goodnight Tonight" began as an instrumental backing track that McCartney recorded in 1978. Since the track was over seven minutes long, an edited version was used as the single, with the full version available as a 12-inch single.
10. My Love (Red Rose Speedway, 1973)
An ode to McCartney's wife Linda, "My Love" was recorded live with an orchestra at Abbey Road Studios. A large number of takes were performed, as the guitar solo was different every time. "My Love" was also released as a single in March 1973, reaching number 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 9 on the UK Singles Chart.
McCartney later recalled to Mojo magazine in October 2010, "I'd sort of written the solo, as I often did with our solos. And Henry McCullough (guitarist) walked up to me before the take and just sort of said (adopts Celtic brogue), 'Hey, would it be all right if I try something else?' And I said, (uncertainly) 'Er…yeah.' It was like, 'Do I believe in this guy?' And he played the solo on 'My Love,' which came right out of the blue." In the sleeve notes for Red Rose Speedway, the message "We love you, baby" was written in Braille specifically for Stevie Wonder.
9. Helen Wheels (Band on the Run, 1973)
The song "Helen Wheels" was named after Paul and Linda McCartney's Land Rover, which they nicknamed "Hell on Wheels". This fun rockin' tune was released as a single prior to "Band on the Run" and was not included on the original British release of the eponymous album. However, it was included on the original American release. The band recorded this song in Lagos, Nigeria. Usually when a band records in Africa there are some influences present within the recording. But the band went out of its way to avoid an African sound after McCartney was robbed at knifepoint and accused of coming to Lagos to exploit their music.