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Paul McCartney Post-Beatles Bass Work

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by SquireMan4001, Feb 18, 2013.

  1. SquireMan4001


    Feb 17, 2013
    First, a preface. I'm a huge McCartney fan and he was my reason for getting interested in bass. For me, so much of his Beatles-era (65 on) basswork epitomizes tasteful playing, and I still am in awe of how he was able to play so melodically and still prop up the song. He's hugely underrated as a bass player, imo.

    Having said that, his post-Beatles work is a bit of an enigma. I like his Rick 4001 years, and despite how vapid some of his songs were (Silly Love Songs), I _still_ listen to them for the basslines alone. So the mid-70's was a good time for him, bass-wise.

    Once you get past that, though, it seems pretty hit and miss. After Tug of War in 82 up until the Beatles Anthology in 94, I completely lost interest in where he was at, musically.

    It seems like the Anthology really lit a fire in him and I'm awestruck at the resurgence he's experienced since. I absolutely love Flaming Pie, Driving Rain, Memory Almost Full, and Chaos (I know not everyone agrees) and I find little bass moments in all of these where it seems like Paul is HAPPY to be a bass player again. Maybe I got the feeling in the 80's he saw that as "beneath" him...I dunno.

    I'm curious what the bass community thinks of this, and if there are any hidden gems from his "Lost Years" in the 80's/90's I should go and revisit. Or, just what you think of his post-Beatles work in general, or which tracks you really enjoyed.

    "Arrow Through Me" off of Back To the Egg in '79 was another high point for me. Totally different feel, almost like a smokey night club version of McCartney--in a good way. Nice up front bass and great vocals too.
  2. mcm


    Oct 2, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    Silly love songs is a silly love song, BUT the bass groove is sick. I actually like his wings playing better than the Beatles stuff.
  3. SquireMan4001


    Feb 17, 2013
    I think it's more or less a function of personal taste. In the Beatles, he probably made a subconscious choice to serve the song more.

    In Wings, he was the main attraction and it was only natural he put his sound more upfront and in-your-face. I think both styles worked.
  4. mcm


    Oct 2, 2007
    Nashville, TN
  5. Roscoe East

    Roscoe East

    Aug 22, 2011

    "What's That You're Doing?" from 1982's Tug Of War album has to be one of the greasiest, nastiest, git-down-wit-yo-badself basslines ever associated with Macca.

    Unfortunately, I suspect it was played on a minimoog, and probably by Stevie Wonder...so maybe it doesn't count. But it's still a cool track.
  6. Roscoe East

    Roscoe East

    Aug 22, 2011
    Slightly germane to this thread: Over Super Bowl weekend a friend brought by a copy of the recently-remastered Band On The Run CD, and we spent some critical listening time prior to kickoff. One thing that struck me was how even Macca's simplest basslines are never simplistic; they always seem to grow, evolve, develop, progress in a way that makes the song (or section) a journey rather than a static groove.
  7. Basshappi


    Feb 12, 2007
    OP, no disrespect intended but...Underrated as a bassplayer? - Really??

    McCartney is one of the most influential bassplayers of all time. Read an interview with just about any famous bassplayer and they will most likely name him as an influence. Most of the players here (or on any other bass forum) at least know of him and respect his playing.

    I really loved his playing and tone on such songs as "Silly Love Songs", "It's Coming Up" and "Live and Let Die". His tone on "Silly Love Songs" is one of those 'tones I hear in my head', love it!

    I did not pay much attention to his post Wings work.
  8. Mike M.

    Mike M.

    Feb 14, 2010
    I love the bassline in "Figure of Eight." When people talk about that bounce in Macca's playing, it's all over it in that song. Another favorite is when the bass comes in on "This One." But really, there's ton's of post-Beatles stuff that's amazing.

    I've been checking out a lot of his concert video's on You Tube lately. I really like the little changes he's made to some of his basslines in the Beatles stuff. You know how it is....you've heard those songs for years to the point of knowing every nook and cranny and when you hear a little change in his parts that sounds better than before, you just smile.

    Paul McCartney is my absolute favorite bass player. I've been playing long enough to know what I'm all about and I know I'm always going to be of a certain "ilk" and nothing more. His example is constantly on my mind and makes me try the best I can with what I have to play the right note at the right time with the right feel. If I could do half as good as he does on the bass, I'm a happy camper.
  9. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    Here's a nice one:
    Veronica (co-written by Elvis Costello and Sir Paul, with Sir Paul on bass)
  10. FrednBass


    Feb 24, 2012
    His tone and playing in "Wings Over America" album is just perfect.
  11. FrednBass


    Feb 24, 2012
    Oh, yeah... I nearly forgot: Another Day
  12. winterburn69


    Jan 27, 2008
    See your sunshine from Memory almost full. Awesome bass part.
  13. Meddle


    Jul 27, 2009
    McCartney II is a funny album, but the groove on Check My Machine is awesome.

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