88: Compiling McCartney

January 14, 2017

Podcast, Podcasting


Last year’s Pure McCartney compilation set stirred some debate among fans: how could a career spanning 46 years and over 500 recordings be adequately compressed down to 67 tracks? Beatlefan magazine’s Tom Frangione weighed in with an alternate 100 track set, and he is our guest, making the case for the choices he made, In this episode, Richard and Robert offer up their thoughts on what should go into a career-spanning representative set.

Songs include “Put It There,” “Wanderlust” and “Daytime Nightime Suffering.”     

Compiling McCartney

Find Robert’s books here.

Find Richard’s books here.

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    37 Responses to “88: Compiling McCartney”

    1. Bill Says:

      Surprised Richard’s collection isn’t on a 45!


    2. Rick Says:

      Richard and I are no longer speaking (when he last spoke he cursed me!), and even before our falling out, we disagreed over the merits of McCartney’s music.

      Nevertheless, with the possible exception of “Once Upon a Long Ago,” which I remember liking during the Macca-Costello era, I agree 100% with the songs which he feels detract from Paul’s solo legacy.

      Wonderful Christmastime is here to stay seasonally, but it wouldn’t be on any compilation of mine, nor would the others to which Richard took exception. Not EVERY hit need be on a compilation. I like Richard’s commitment to the Art in McCartney.



    3. Rick Says:

      Great show, guys.

      Now that I’ve listened to it in its entirety, I really appreciate Tom Frangioni’s insights about Paul’s music, but I have to take exception to his blanket dismissal of Wild Life.

      I would be inclined to include the title track, an exhilarating, if essentially silly, ride indeed, “Dear Friend.” and “Some People Never Know.”

      It might be a throwaway record, but, paradoxically, it contains some keepers.


    4. Dave Says:

      Hi guys, I enjoy the show .. we all know and love Paul’s legacy as a songwriter, instrumentalist and vocalist, there are a select few at his level. That said, it seems like he has a penchant for half-finished songs, lazy arrangements and cornball antics. Just my opinion.. If he has one final great work in him, he should consider a producer such as Jack White, Lindsey Buckingham, Butch Vig.. someone who can talk to him, trim the fat and keep the songs sharp. On a separate topic: Rockestra; he has a room full of good guitar players and there are no solos (?) .. missing songs for me on a compilation would be ‘Call Me Back Again’ and ‘Rainclouds’ ( although I wish the arrangement was a lot better ) .. Run Devil Run LP has always been a favorite, it shows Paul’s unbelievable range when he is at the top of his game ) .. Thanks, have a great week


    5. James Corcoran Says:

      Hi gents. I was looking to see if someone had put this together as a playlist on Spotify, and they haven’t… so I just have. Some songs aren’t there (Give Ireland Back, Mary had a little lamb) and there’s a couple of minor amendments, for instance the studio Vanilla Sky isn’t there so I’ve gone with the live version.

      Just search The Real Pure McCartney and it should come up. If I’ve made any mistakes let me know.


    6. Jim Dean Says:

      As a challenge, I created a best of compilation for post-Speed of Sound McCartney. By best, I mean fun-to-listen-to, catchy or great. I’d dismissed most Press to Play and beyond a long time ago, so I wanted to revisit and see if there was at least one song from each album.

      Get Out of My Way
      Spin It On
      Used To Be Bad
      The World Tonight
      Long Leather Coat
      My Brave Face
      Arrow Through Me
      Coming Up
      Stranglehold (#3)
      Fine Line
      That Day Is Done
      Keep Under Cover
      This One
      I’ve Had Enough
      Lonesome Town
      Talk More Talk (#2)
      Ballroom Dancing
      Goodnight Tonight
      Move Over Busker
      No Other Baby
      Figure of Eight
      Daytime Nightime Suffering
      On the Way
      On the Wings of a Nightingale
      Name and Address
      Baby’s Request
      After the Ball
      Back on My Feet
      I’ll Give You a Ring
      That Was Me
      Yvonne’s the One
      No More Lonely Nights
      It’s Not True
      Put It There
      The Same Love
      Return to Pepperland

      Of course, this is YOUR blog, so I have to say thanks for another great show. Perhaps an entire show on the Russian album. I foresee many artists belatedly following in Paul’s footsteps.


    7. Tony D Says:

      I am hoping you guys do shows about the compilations of Harrison, John, & Ringo. Ringo especially has been shortchanged because those compilations of his do not highlight his post rehab period when his solo music got wayyy better.


    8. James King Says:

      The songs you would toss are absolutely right. Horrid.” Christmas time “is OK during the holiday season, but I’ll never understand the “Freedom ” thing. Cringe worthy stuff, particularly when ones envisions The Who’s masterful performance on that same stage in The Garden that night.


    9. David Says:

      Bit bizarre, that selection has a lot of merit, but to include arguably the worst things he ever did in Freedom and Spies Like Us is baffling. Glad to see some love from all for Chaos and Creation (in your selections), and I think C Moon is great!


    10. Peter Says:

      Here’s a list I made long time ago that I really enjoy.
      Love soloPaul, but agree Pure McCartney is quite misjudged.
      Enjoy your show eben though we often disagree.
      Often think of this particular topic so was glad it came up!
      My fav albums btw are Ram, Tug of war, Chaos & Band.
      Love Love Chaos!! Late masterpiece I often return to.
      Tug of war made me a maccafan and then a Beatlefan at 6
      so holds a special spot and I think it really holds up to this day.
      I quite enjoy Wild life to be honest. The most uneven listens are probably
      Speed of sound, red rose, pipes, press, driving rain & off the ground but seriously they all have great songs. I feel generelly Venus & mars is overrated and London town is underrated.


    11. Brian P Says:

      haha, this sounds like the spark for another great show: carving a 5-CD set down to 3 or 4. “Which ones would *you* throw out?”

      Certainly Freedom and Spies Like Us could easily go, but I must be the only one in the world that would toss out Maybe I’m Amazed. That song just doesn’t do it to me.


    12. Sjoerd Says:

      I think that Paul has made too many albums that were far below the quality of his Beatleswork.Hè Has missed John very badly. If John hadn’t been killed I think Paul had made much better albums. I think they would have made songs together.I agree with Richard that a lot of Paul’s work after The Beatles is not as good as his Beatles stuff. And that’s a pity.Because I love all his Beatles records. And I think hè Has to stop perform, because I starts to became emberrasing. Why does nobody tells him that. But hè is quitte stuburn ofcourse. It starts to become silly.


      • David Says:

        Most artists do their best work before they are 35, McCartney is no different, nothing to do with not having John around. And we are privileged to have had several decent albums in the last 20 years.


      • Brian P Says:

        >>And I think hè Has to stop perform, because it starts
        >>to become embarrassing. Why does nobody tell him that?

        My guess: He’s doing what he wants, what he enjoys. Why shouldn’t he. He’s probably now what Dylan always has been: making records, because he *likes* making records, and isn’t much concerned who likes it or doesn’t.


    13. Erick King Says:

      I Actually think that of all 500 plus songs post Beatles ” Wonderful Christmas Time” is about the only thing that gets played on the radio of his anymore and will probably stand The test of time. Same thing with John, how ironic that they’re Christmas songs that didn’t do much here in the States when first issued. Only Imagine resonates more.


    14. Maurice Dorreboom Says:

      Dear Robert,

      Yes I would be interested in your 5 CD set of McCartney’s Compilation.
      Does it have a name?

      I did compile your wishlist’s of both the Second Guessing The Beatles podcasts and made it into two, almost three hour in length, podcasts. While listening to your choices I must admit, the album sound much stronger. Hopefully you will continue this subject soon.

      Windy greetings from the Netherlands.



    15. Peter Says:

      Just have to chip in some more.
      I do love “flowers in the dirt” as well. It’s
      maybe my fifth fav album of his and it was important
      when I started playing music as a teen.
      I often covered songs from it. So it felt natural
      to do this when we got asked to be a part of
      “The art of McCartney” with my band which came
      a bit out of the blue. I try to think of it as a cut from
      “Beatles for sale” or something.
      Of course it only ended up as an Amazonextra😊
      Funnily enough we recorded this the same day;

      I’m with you on “freedom” & “spies like us”,
      haven’t heard the last one since I was a kid and
      it is horrid. I enjoy “christmastime” though since
      I included it in my list where I don’t care about
      hits at all, its just songs I like. I really like when he
      experiments with electronics.
      Regarding “pure” again I feel “flaming pie” is overrated
      by many including Macca himself.
      It’s fine but not one of his 5 best albums.


    16. Peter Says:

      Woops! I sent the wrong playlist before!
      There was a lot of stuff misslng there. This is the one!


    17. BW Says:

      Regarding Driving Rain, I have to agree with the assessment. I WOULD say that “About You” was a GREAT tune and “Loving Flame” was decent. The rest of the album I couldn’t get into and especially “Your Loving Flame” – terrible. “About You” seems to be a largely ignored track as was “Souvenir” from Flaming Pie which was a great tune that nobody’s heard.

      “Spies Like Us” – whooboy that’s a bad one.


    18. Craig Davison Says:


      Maybe it was better as a “cover?”


    19. Kent Roessler Says:

      Great show guys!

      Robert, I’m curious what your 5 disc multi-themed set would look like?
      That’s a cool idea!

      Please share!


    20. Scott Johnson Says:

      Thanks for a great podcast!

      Regarding the discussion around the origins of the phrase, “Put It There,” Mike McCartney talks about this saying in his book “Mike McCartney’s Family Album” published in 1981. There aren’t any page numbers but it can found under the heading “The Family Sayings.”

      “Then there are the family sayings. As a welcome . . . ‘put it there if it weighs a . . . ton’, to be announced on the full extent and a tight squeeze of the hand . . . Paul and I are still keeping up the family tradition with our own unfortunate children.”

      So it would appear that Paul was on the level, as it were, about the origins of the song.


    21. Maurice Dorreboom Says:

      Hi Guys,

      Another question: what is the reason the last three podcasts are offered in 128kbps instead of the usual 320kbps.

      Just wondering …

      Maurice Dorreboom


      • Us Says:

        I didn’t realize the file size had diminished but we had received complaints that some people were having trouble with the m4a files, so we switched back to mp3.

        We’ll get our techies involved to remedy this!


        • Brian P Says:

          MP3 is certainly easier to deal with than m4a. But for discussion audio files like SATB (as opposed to music files), the bit rate doesn’t normally need to be 320. 256 is more than enough, and many/most discussion podcasts are done at 128.


          • Maurice Dorreboom Says:

            True, but the musical interludes quickly suffer from to low bit rates and we are for the music, aren’t we? Sometimes I reuse the hard to find tracks the guys play into my own additional podcasts I create to add to my collection.

            Talking about collections: Robert would you be so kind to share your 5 CD set compilation? I would love to compile your choices and listen what they sound like.

            Thank you in advance for your efforts,



    22. Marlon Says:

      The Fireman tracks don’t count? I love Sing The Changes and Dance Til We’re High.


    23. Keith Moore Says:

      Spies Like Us was always unlistenable and hearing it on your show it still is!
      I really like Wildlife album. Yes I must be weird. Tomorrow,Dear Friend, Some People and the title track. Tug of War I always felt was overated. As Robert says, about half of it I like. Back To the Egg was a much better collection of songs (and vocals too) and I would have After the Ball/Winter Rose on a compilation of mine.
      Its always been a puzzle why he has never done Little Lamb Dragonfly live. Such a strong song. I like Driving Rain album. Lots of energy and loose. That’s the kind of McCartney I like. Not smooth and polished. ‘Magic’ from that album would be on my list too.
      Ok I will stop there, could go on for hours


    24. WingsJer Says:

      Hey guys, have Tom on the show more often-great talk. Paul was so overdue for a post Beatles career box set and I am glad “Pure” came out last summer. I love “Pure” but admit its faults with many singles and album tracks that are missing. Tom did a great chat at the Chicago “Fest” last August and it created a great discussion like on here. A 100 track box I think would have left very few gaps in Paul’s 45 year post Beatles career. No “Flowers” tracks was the biggest travesty!


    25. Dan Says:

      What a strange show. I listened to the whole thing not having any idea who Tom Frangione is and, although I think that discussing what a meaningful McCartney compilation might look like is a great topic, I spent most of the time (metaphorically) scratching my head. It seems as though Tom couldn’t decide whether to follow the “accountant” part of his brain – the objective – or the fan part of his brain – the subjective. So the accountant give us a few pieces that are almost universally looked down on because of their chart history (“Freedom,” “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” “Spies Like Us” are but three) and yet we get nothing from Wild Life, which – loathe, like or love it – represents a very specific (and unique) moment in his cannon, simply because the compiler doesn’t like it. So this 100-song comp ends up being a kind of awkward hybrid.

      It’s disappointing because it is such an interesting idea. McCartney’s solo catalog is massive and varied and, as such, there are a number of different ways to approach it. One could look at the songs that actually do match the quality of his best Beatles work, without regards to chart placement. Or to approach it with only an eye towards his post-Beatles work, with an aim to defining what work defines him solely as a solo (+Wings) artist, again without regards to charting. No matter the option, I think a very strong case could be made for making it a single disc collection, which I think even Richard would (might) agree could make for a very interesting and compelling listen.

      All that said, it does make me want to go back to the core catalog…


    26. Mark Says:

      Very good show. When you have 500 songs it is inevitable there will be differences of opinion. Where there is a consensus is that Paul’s quality control was inadequate and that he was not tolerant of disagreement. For me his three best albums are Ram, Band on the Run and Chaos and Creation. All so different which tells one so much about his range. The latter is perhaps his most personal and direct statement and all credit to producer Nigel Goodrich who recognised Paul’s immense talent but was confident enough in his own talent to stand up to him and help him channel his best work. Less good is Venus and Mars but when it came out I adored it as a teenager and it seemed to me it was the equal of much of Elton John’s output in the 70’s and equally successful. My favourite song in his solo canon is Single Pigeon from Red Rose Speedway. A small but perfectly formed miniature – it has emotional depth and a wistfulness that few if any other song writer can match. Bless you Paul – so many songs, so much pleasure.


    27. WingsFan2012 Says:

      Next week will be 1 year since the “Pure McCartney” box set was released. For all the songs it is missing, I still love it and will play it and the new 2017 “Pepper” this weekend!


    28. J Neo Marvin Says:

      Am I the only person on the planet who loves You Gave Me The Answer? I know it’s a silly love song, but it’s a top-notch one in my book.


    29. Carla Says:

      A guy who thinks overarranged trumpet cloyfest Wanderlust is great doesn’t get Wild Life? Gasp.


    30. Neil Bruce Says:

      Re the phrase “put it there if it weighs a ton”. I had never heard the phrase before hearing it on Paul’s record. But then I came across it in The Good Companions, a J.B Priestley novel published in 1929. Love the show.


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