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Paul McCartney names the best song he’s ever written


It is a question that Paul McCartney and the rest of his Beatles bandmates have been asked more than they’d care to have admitted. While John Lennon and George Harrison had less time to dwell on the answer, McCartney and Ringo Starr have matured in their self-reflection. After all these years, what was the best song that the great Paul McCartney has ever written?

One of the best selling musicians of all time, an artist that forged a career as part of the most pioneering band in history, and a musician who happened to work “eyeball to eyeball” in the greatest songwriting partnership the world has ever seen, Paul McCartney has a back catalogue that very few can compete with. While many of his best efforts are labelled as shared credits with his partner in crime John Lennon, Macca’s name is not only etched into the annals of music history, it is carved in stone and borderline unrivalled.

After surviving Beatlemania and the manic work schedule that their band demanded in terms of studio albums, live shows, and feature films, McCartney has continued in the business of hitmaking through Wings and his solo material. With 26 studio solo albums to his name, it’s easy to forget just how prolific McCartney has been. With all that considered, can you imagine asking him to name the single greatest creation? More astonishingly yet, can you believe that he can even name one?

Well, having sat down with Howard Stern as part of an interview that was built around the promotion of his lyrical book, McCartney did just that. After pondering the question for a moment, Paul came to the conclusion that ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ sits at the top of the pile. The Beatles cut, originally released in 1963, would end up featured on the band’s UK debut album Please Please Me, setting the Fab Four on their meteoric rise to the top.

The first song on The Beatles’ first album, ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ remains one of the band’s most iconic tunes, typifying their Beatlemania period. In 1988, Macca remembered writing the song: “I wrote it with John. We sagged off school and wrote it on guitars. I remember I had the lyrics, ‘Just seventeen/Never been a beauty queen,’ which John… it was one of the first times he ever went, ‘What? Must change that!’ And it became, ‘you know what I mean.’”

Remembering the change, McCartney told Howard Stern: “I was like ‘Oops, this is not good,’” he recalled. “Years later, I was getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Neil Young was there … and I told him that story,” McCartney added. “He was playing that night … and he did the song and he used that line, of course. He was the only one to ever use that line, I think.”

Listen to Paul McCartney explain the song to Howard Stern, below.