1970 brings us the implosion of the Beatles, in all of its messy presentation. After the release of Abbey Road in 1969, John informed the band he was leaving, which was underscored with several tense meetings and discussions over business management and finances. We will see that the ill-fated “Let It Be” album will come out soon, but in a final straw of contention between Paul McCartney and the other band members, he recorded and chose to release his first solo album, “McCartney”, weeks before the release of “Let It Be”. In a funny story, Ringo Starr was selected by the other three to go to Paul and try to convince/insist that he delay the release of his solo album. Paul summarily dismissed Ringo, and thus the others, and the release was on.
It is interesting to review this album in this context. Knowing the intense competitive rivalry that existed between all of the band members, particularly between Paul and John, I would have expected Paul to debut with a more impactful album. For the most part, “McCartney” is pretty uninspiring. It was recorded solo with limited technology, and most of the song are one-to-two-minute mini-songs, not unlike the stream of short snippets in the Abbey Road medley. Unfortunately, they aren’t near as catchy or interesting, and most of the album is honestly pretty dull. Of all of these songs, “Every Night” and “Junk” are probably my favorites, but in what will become a common theme in my assessment of the Beatles’ solo releases, the contributions from the other three, including their signature three-part harmony vocal, are sorely missed here. Oddly placed near the end of the album, we do have the one standout song on the album, and Paul’s first hit as a solo artist, “Maybe I’m Amazed”. Complete and powerful in its delivery, as much as I like this song, it sounds somewhat misplaced among these other “smaller” songs. It does reinforce his raw talent as a singer, songwriter, and musician, and is a good preview of stronger work to come.