Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Es-Say #17 What Exactly Is A "Mull Of Kintyre"? ...and the answer is...

  One day in the late 1990s, I probably found a US copy of Wings Greatest Hits and noticed that the last song listed was "Mull of Kintyre". All I did next was scratch my head.

Many of the songs on this album do repeat on the US version of Paul's solo greatest hits album All The Best, but "Mull of Kintyre" did not. At the time, I did some research and found out that it was a huge hit for Wings, so it made sense it would be included, but I couldn't figure out why I had no ability to hum it or why I never heard it on the radio.

In a nutshell, it was not a success in the USA compared to the international chart explosion the song caused in the winter of 1977. Wikipedia notes that it did chart in the lower end of the top 40 on the Billboard Easy Listening chart but nothing more. Being at nine weeks at number one in the UK charts, it's no surprise it got the distinction of being the first UK single to go double platinum.

The song was not in rotation on music stations that I would listen to, so eventually I got either the cassette or cd of Wings Greatest Hits and gave "Mull of Kintyre" a whirl. I think I might have just went back to the other songs on the CD a bit dumbstruck to how this song did better than all the rest of the songs on the album. It was in a class by itself, not good, not bad, just something else!

Time has passed and I would say I'm more knowledgeable with Paul's solo work, but this top song of a beloved place in Scotland still doesn't interest me. Breaking down the lyrics reveals it to be rather nice and the bagpipes are memorable. However, the vocals are melancholy and the chorus repeated over and over is actually saved by the use of the bagpipes. Throwing another log on the fire, I think the version shown on Top Of The Pops completely makes me have the opinion that the original video was possibly given more favouritism. This version really does ruin both this song and The Muppet Show in the same breath. I'm not even going to link the video.

What I will do is link the original video(or what I am assuming is the original video) because it's so much the image I do want to have of the song. Outdoors, natural, unforced,'s lovely. I ran into the living room yesterday and jumped around when I saw it was the "correct version."

I don't want to get into a whole detailed rant about the second version(ie. I can't look at a smoke machine ever again) but it wasn't like some of the other studio sound stage Wings videos done at the time. The song "London Town", in fact, is boosted up by the clever video using a sound stage.  "With A Little Luck" screams Top Of The Tops but it is just so 70s and personally dear to me that I can happily watch it. No one said you have to love everything Paul and chums has ever done, right?

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