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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hits and album tracks, 2 Jun 2008
This review is from: Wingspan: HITS And HISTORY (Audio CD)
Some people may regard this as a missed opportunity, as it collects together many of Paul's hits since the break-up of the Beatles (whether solo or with Wings) but includes a selection of album tracks at the expense of several minor hits. I don't mind this approach as most of the hits that really matter are here. The most notable omissions are the duets with Stevie Wonder (Ebony and ivory) and Michael Jackson (Say say say, The girl is mine), the novelty song with the frog chorus (We all stand together) that became a a British top three hit and two other British top ten hits (Wonderful Christmastime, Once upon a long ago). With the exception of The girl is mine (a track from Thriller that has never appeared on any Paul McCartney album) and Wonderful Christmastime (which can be found on multi-artist Christmas compilations and is in any case better heard that way), all those tracks can be found on the Brithish version of an earlier compilation (All the best). The American version of that compilation only includes two of the missing tracks (Say say say, Ebony and ivory).

Given the decision to include some album tracks that were never released as singles, it would have been interesting to read Paul's explanation as to his choice of album tracks. Sadly, the booklet contains no such explanation although it contains plenty of pictures. We are therefore left to speculate as to the reason's for Paul's choices although I understand that they just happen to be Paul's favorites among the songs that weren't big hits.

With such a diverse range of material to choose from, anything other than a straight greatest hits compilation was likely to provoke fierce debate among fans and so it has proved as you can see by looking at other reviews here and elsewhere. Even a straight greatest hits isn't so simple because Paul, whether solo or as the leader of Wings, sometimes had different hits in different countries. The most extreme examples are Uncle Albert Admiral Halsey (an American number one that didn't chart in Britain) and Mull of Kintyre (a British number one that was a huge hit in many other counties but a flop in America). These tracks sit next to each other on the hits CD here. It would have been unthinkable to leave either off a set like this, though each was only included on one version of the single CD All the best, where the British track listing differed from the American version. When it comes to other hits that only charted in one country, there would be plenty of scope to argue about which ones should be included and which omitted.

Perhaps the strangest thing about this collection, given that it is not a straight greatest hits compilation, is that it contains nothing recorded after 1984. I'll admit that I haven't followed Paul's career closely since then but he has had plenty of minor hits (at least in the UK) since then and one might have expected that one or two of his later recordings would have featured on the History CD. Still, this is an interesting collection that includes most of Paul's really obvious post-Beatles hits in Britain and America.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 28 Jul 2008 03:14:05 BDT
A. Sweeney says:
It was supposed to be a Wings 'anthology' but the edges got blurred. From my understanding, I believe Paul compiled by using his personal idea of what he considered to be a certain era in his life. During his concerts, he regularly dedicates "Too Many People" from the 1971 'Ram' Album (credited to Paul & Linda McCartney) to the "Wings fans" in the audience, even though it wasn't a Wings track. I suppose that Paul sees it differently, and we're given a similar personal slant on this album. It's a mighty fine collection, but we still haven't got the definitive solo McCartney collection yet. I, personally, see this as a collection from the Wings era with a few years either side thrown in for good measure. Odd, but good.

Posted on 9 Feb 2009 16:51:27 GMT
Of course there are some great songs on here - 'Maybe I'm amazed', 'Back Seat Of My Car', 'Everyday', 'Jet', 'Band On The Run' - minor classics one and all but to award this compilation 5 stars is to be seriously over generous. Paul's work when he was a Fab is not in question but the solo material is patchy to say the least (his quality control went seriously wonky without Lennon). The 80's were pretty much a wipe out for Macca and it wasn't until the mid 90's that he produced an album of note and consistency (Flaming Pie).
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