Band On The Run is widely considered the masterpiece of Paul McCartney’s solo career, and I can’t argue with that. From start to finish the listener is showered with the kind of musical genius we all associate with Paul McCartney. Band On The Run is arguably Paul’s first SERIOUS album after leaving the Beatles. The solo albums that came before are just as good (McCartney, RAM, Wild Life, Red Rose Speedway) but you get a feeling that on Band On The Run he’s back to his fully brilliant best.
The title track is a three-part song which the Beatles used to do all the time. If they didn’t fully finish a song they’d put a couple together which would then turn into one song. The most famous example is A Day In The Life which features two separate songs from John and Paul. Band On The Run is in the same vein. The next track, Jet, is without a doubt one of Paul’s live highlights and has been since the release of this album in 1973.
The album features two acoustic based songs (Bluebird and Mamunia) which both add different flavours amongst the mainly electric album. Mrs Vandebilt is a wonderful song with a driving (and almost African) rhythm which is then followed by a love song, Let Me Roll It. No Words is a song which in my opinion would have made a fantastic Beatles song if they’d have stayed together. Listening to Paul’s melody and harmonies makes you realise the song would have fit perfectly on Revolver. Classic McCartney.
Picasso’s Last Words (Drink To Me) is more of an experiment than a proper song. It’s the longest track on the album and was written at a dinner party where Dustin Hoffman challenged Paul to come up with a song out of nowhere. As well as the original song idea, the track features elements of three other songs on the album, Band on the Run, Jet and Mrs Vandebilt. The final song, Nineteen Hundred And Eighty-Five, is without a doubt one of the best songs Paul has ever written. The bouncing piano starts from the off and the song continues to get better and better right up until it finishes. This song was never played live until recently which is a shame as it’s most certainly the highlight of the entire album.
- Band On The Run
- Mrs Vandebilt
- Let Me Roll It
- No Words
- Picasso’s Last Words (Drink To Me)
- Nineteen Hundred And Eighty-Five
My only fault with the album (if you can call it that) is that it isn’t a Beatles album. When I listen to these songs I can’t help but wonder how even more incredible they would have sounded with John, George and Ringo on backing vocals and their instruments. I’m not saying it isn’t an outstanding album as it is (because it DEFINITELY is) but I can’t help but wonder.
To sum up, this album is a MUST HAVE. If you don’t have it in your music collection already then please put it at the top of your ‘to get’ list immediately!