It has been The Cute Beatle’s curse that not many objective music fans have called Paul McCartney, who turns 71 on June 18 — a musical genius.
It’s as if the term should be reserved for his peers John Lennon and Bob Dylan, and that it would diminish John or Bob to put Sir Paul in the same category.
Paul is more of a master craftsmen, you see.
If he couldn’t have ever come up with I Am the Walrus or Desolation Row, John and Bob perhaps couldn’t have had the work ethic to create All My Loving, And I Love Her, Yesterday, Michelle, Eleanor Rigby, For No One, Here,There and Everywhere, most of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Let It Be, The Long and Winding Road, the suite that closes Abbey Road, Maybe I’m Amazed, Another Day, Band on the Run, the secret songs with Elvis Costello in 1988 and so many other master works.
I was lucky enough to watch The Master Craftsman himself in concert on June 8 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, USA. He was terrific. I’d seen him in 1989 at Madison Square Garden and in 2009 and 2011 at NYC baseball stadiums and he was excellent on those occasions, too. I saw him sing Rave On with Buddy Holly’s Crickets on Sept. 7, 1999 at the Roseland Ballroom — and he was wonderful then as well.
What’s wrong with being a master craftsman and not a genius?
You can throw the term crowd-pleaser in there, too.
And what a survivor of the music life! McCartney has enjoyed a fulfilling 50-year-career as a superstar musician. He had to endure the barbs of his ex-writing partner John Lennon for a while and that was no fun for him, even if the peanut gallery laughed when Lennon wrote How Do You Sleep and sang it with a snarl.
McCartney proved himself to be the maestro of feel-good music. He was right — there’s nothing wrong with silly love songs, even if the song itself wasn’t too inspiring.
What’s wrong with being Paul McCartney, anyway? Nothing.
What’s wrong with liking him and appreciating his work? Absolutely nothing.