They Say It’s Your Birthday

Happy birthday to you, Sir Paul!

You say it’s your birthday
It’s my birthday too, yeah
They say it’s your birthday
We’re gonna have a good time
I’m glad it’s your birthday
Happy birthday to you

Today, Paul McCartney is turning 79 years old – wow! He’s one of my greatest music heroes of all time, who continues to inspire me after an incredible close to 60-year recording career. Paul’s biography has been written up countless times, and it’s safe to assume there is nothing new I could reveal. Instead, I’d like to celebrate Macca’s birthday with some of the great music he has given us over the decades.

...Yes we’re going to a party party
Yes we’re going to a party party
Yes we’re going to a party party

Things We Said Today (1964)

A song from The Beatles era I’ve always loved, which appeared on the U.K. version of the A Hard Day’s Night album released in July 1964 but wasn’t part of the movie soundtrack. According to The Beatles Bible, McCartney wrote this tune on a yacht in the Virgin Islands in May 1964, where he vacationed with his girlfriend Jane Asher, as well as Ringo Starr and his future first wife Maureen Cox.

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)

The title track and a Macca tune from my favorite Beatles album on most days, which was released in May 1967. The idea of the song and the entire album of an alter-ego band that would perform before an audience came to McCartney in November 1966 on a flight from Nairobi back to England.

Maybe I’m Amazed (1970)

The highlight of McCartney’s debut solo album McCartney from April 1970. Written in 1969, the tune is about his first wife Linda McCartney (née Eastman). Linda who passed away from breast cancer in 1998 undoubtedly had an enormous impact on Paul. Instead of picking the studio track, I’m cheating a bit here and feature what I feel is a superior version that appeared on the great Wings Over America live album from December 1976.

Band on the Run (1973)

The title track from what I think is the Mount Rushmore of Macca’s solo period, released in December 1973. The tune was McCartney’s response to drug laws he believed unfairly criminalized him and his friends. Noting the latter included the Eagles and The Byrds, Songfacts quotes Macca as follows: “We’re not criminals… We just would rather do this than hit the booze – which had been a traditional way to do it. We felt that this was a better move.”

Letting Go (1975)

A nice rocker from Venus and Mars, McCartney’s fourth studio album with Wings, which came out in May 1975. Letting Go is another tune about Linda McCartney, a reflection on Paul’s relationship with her and that she deserved more freedom to pursue her own interests after she had given up her photography career. Linda received a co-credit for the song.

Here Today (1982)

A moving tribute to John Lennon Macca wrote wrote in the wake of Lennon’s senseless murder in December 1980. It appeared on McCartney’s third solo studio album Tug of War from April 1982, another gem from his solo catalog I previously covered here. This song can still make me well up!

Fine Line (2005)

Time to continue the party by jumping to the current century. Fine Line is the opener to Macca’s 13th solo album Chaos and Creation in the Backyard from October 2005. It’s a great piano-driven pop song that also showcases the multi-instrumental talents of Sir Paul. In addition to piano and vocals, he provided guitar, bass and drums – pretty much the track’s entire instrumentation, except for the strings that were played by London-based session players Millennia Ensemble.

I Don’t Know (2018)

A beautiful piano ballad from Egypt Station, McCartney’s 17th solo studio effort from September 2018 – a late career gem in his solo catalog, in my opinion! You can read more about it here. Yes, Paul’s voice is clearly showing some wear and tear, but I think it works very well for this and the other tracks on the album.

Lavatory Lil (2020)

A nice rocker from McCartney III, which is yet another intriguing late career release in my book. I would also say it’s the charm of Macca’s three DIY home-made albums, as I previously wrote here. Check out the cool descending bass line of Lavatory Lil.

Birthday (1968)

A birthday celebration calls for a birthday song, so I’d like to wrap up this post with exactly that. Conveniently, Sir Paul also wrote the perfect tune for the occasion. It first appeared on The Beatles’ White Album from November 1968 as the opener to side three (speaking in vinyl terms here!). Instead of picking the original studio track, let’s up the fun with a live version captured during a performance at New York’s Grand Central Station in September 2018 to celebrate the release of the above noted Egypt Station album. It’s just great to see how much fun Macca continues to have when performing in front of an audience. This absolutely makes me want to see him again!

I would like you to dance, birthday
Take a cha-cha-cha-chance, birthday
I would like you to dance, birthday
Dance

I would like you to dance, birthday
Take a cha-cha-cha-chance, birthday

I would like you to dance, birthday
Dance

You say it’s your birthday
Well it’s my birthday too, yeah
You say it’s your birthday
We’re gonna have a good time

I’m glad it’s your birthday
Happy birthday to you

Rock on, Paul, and here’s to good health and many more years to come!

Sources: Wikipedia; The Beatles Bible; Songfacts; YouTube

8 thoughts on “They Say It’s Your Birthday”

  1. Hard to believe he is 79. I remember when my grandfather was 75… I’m glad he is in good health and still active…how many can say that at 79?

    I don’t know how the man keeps writing songs. Him and Dylan have written so many that it would be hard not to repeat themselves.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right, Max, Paul is a genius! Apart from being able to write new music, what amazes me in particular is the apparent ongoing joy he gets from performing live. It’s priceless and something you can’t fake.

      I really so much hope I get another opportunity to see him. My two Paul McCartney shows (one in Germany in the late ’80s and the second one in the US in July 2016) rank among my most memorable concerts.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My two are the same also…I saw him in 2010 and 2014 I believe. We are fortunate that he does still enjoy this because we get the benefits.
        I loved the video with Emma Stone.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I think “Band on the Run” overall is Paul’s best post-Beatles album but also really like “Tug of War.” While I’m undoubtedly biased, I also find “Egypt Station” and “McCartney III” intriguing.

      The fact Paul is still writing new music at this stage of his career is pretty remarkable.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t actually know many of his solo records – I just have Ram, Band on the Run, and the Wingspan compilation. I generally think solo Beatles are a bit disappointing in comparison to the parent band, even though they have their moments.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I would say having had “their moments” is a fair assessment. In general, the total of The Beatles was greater than the sum of their parts.

        As a longtime Beatles fan, part of me is also just simply happy that the surviving members are still active and release new music.

        Like

  2. Birthday is one of the greatest Beatles records and by far the best song on The White Album. That’s because it’s the most Beatles-ish one on the whole album. And Things We Said Today is also one of the best Beatles records. And it goes without saying that Sergeant Pepper’s is also. Besides Maybe I’m Amazed and Band on the Run I also love Letting Go. The Venus and Mars album is really underrated I think. Most of it is really good.

    Liked by 1 person

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