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(Credits: Far Out / Alamy / Alex Rodríguez Santibáñez)

Music

Paul McCartney at 80: A playlist of Paul McCartney’s 80 best songs

@TomTaylorFO

“I still believe that love is all you need. I don’t know a better message than that.” – Paul McCartney

60 years ago the first Beatles single was released. They went on to change the world forever. Now, at 80 years old, Paul McCartney continues to push the envelope for progressive art. When The Beatles broke up in 1970, ‘Macca’ could have easily slunk away into obscuring in basked in the bounty of culture-shaping labour, but he set about offering up benevolent musical boons forevermore.

In the process, he inspired even more people to persevere. As musician Andrew Bird told us: “There are very few who are continuously obviously pushing themselves. Paul Simon can still pull out an amazing song and Paul McCartney is no different. There aren’t many people who make it that far and are still pushing themselves. John Prine never put out a bad record, McCartney is similar where every song is fully invested, but it is a very short list.”

Part of this longevity and continued lust for life comes from the following: “Nothing pleases me more than to go into a room and come out with a piece of music.” That monomania for melody shows in the music itself too. The man is a tower of song and he is forever throwing down the ladder. It’s the joy of creation that kickstarted him, and it evidently keeps him going.

This sense of jubilation is reflected in his message as a songwriter too. It doesn’t get much more upbeat than the following poem he once penned: “Sadness isn’t sadness. It’s happiness in a black jacket. Tears are not tears. They’re balls of laughter dipped in salt. Death is not death. It’s life that’s jumped off a tall cliff.”

Throughout all the highs and lows that message has sustained. Perhaps even more remarkable is that his humility has too. As director Andrew Donoho told us of his work with the star on the music video for ‘Find My Way’: “Whoever said ‘Don’t meet your heroes’ has never met Paul McCartney. The guy was a bubbling ball of energy, creativity and life.

Continuing: “He cracked more jokes than I could keep up with. I got to spend a few hours with him during the 3D scan of his face, and then the entire shoot day: both have become prized memories. He embraced the ideas I presented and brought many of his own to the table. He arrived at the shoot with a bouquet of flowers because he wanted his five-second cameo to have a background story. Paul thinks about the details. The collaboration was honestly a dream come true in every capacity.”

At 80 he is still searching for those details that make something perfect, and that is as inspiring now as it ever has been. As the one and only Paul Simon said of the greatest songwriters of all time: “I’d put Gershwin, Berlin and Hank Williams. I’d probably put Paul McCartney in there too.” In short, his legacy knows no bounds.

Below we have collated the 80 greatest songs of his career in a beauteous playlist of ‘Macca’ at his finest. The rules of the playlist were simple, provided McCartney wrote or composed the song then it was eligible to go in. Thus, we’ve got epics from his Wings days to his latest outing McCartney III and even some of the first songs he ever created, they’re all there in one collection that stands as testimony to the fact he is one of the greatest artists of all time.

Paul McCartney’s 80 greatest songs:

  • ‘All My Loving’
  • ‘Another Day’
  • ‘Another Girl’
  • ‘Back in the USSR’
  • ‘Band on the Run’
  • ‘Blackbird’
  • ‘Bluebird’
  • ‘Calico Skies’
  • ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’
  • ‘Coming Up’
  • ‘Cut Me Some Slack’
  • ‘Dance Tonight’
  • ‘Dear Boy’
  • ‘Dominoes’
  • ‘Eight Days a Week’
  • ‘Eleanor Rigby’
  • ‘Every Night’
  • ‘Find My Way’
  • ‘Fine Line’
  • ‘Flying to my Home’
  • ‘For No One’
  • ‘Get Back’
  • ‘Heaven on a Sunday’
  • ‘Hello, Goodbye’
  • ‘Helter Skelter’
  • ‘Her Majesty’
  • ‘Here There and Everywhere’
  • ‘Here Today’
  • ‘Hi Hi Hi’
  • ‘Honey Pie’
  • ‘I Saw Her Standing There’
  • ‘I’ll Follow the Sun’
  • ‘I’m Looking Through You’
  • ‘I’ve Just Seen A Face’
  • ‘Jet’
  • ‘Junior’s Farm’
  • ‘Junk’
  • ‘Let it Be’
  • ‘Let Me Roll It’
  • ‘Little Willow’
  • ‘Live and Let Die’
  • ‘Love Me Do’
  • ‘Magical Mystery Tour’
  • ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’
  • ‘My Brave Face’
  • ‘My Love’
  • ‘New’
  • ‘Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five’
  • ‘Oh! Darling’
  • ‘P.S. I Love You’
  • ‘Paperback Writer’
  • ‘Penny Lane’
  • ‘Pipes of Peace’
  • ‘Pretty Boys’
  • ‘Riding to Vanity Fayre’
  • ‘Say Say Say’
  • ‘Seize the Day’
  • ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)’
  • ‘She’s Leaving Home’
  • ‘Silly Love Songs’
  • ‘Single Pigeon’
  • ‘Take it Away’
  • ‘Temporary Secretary’
  • ‘That Would Be Something’
  • ‘The Back Seat of My Car’
  • ‘The Fool on the Hill’
  • ‘The Long and Winding Road’
  • ‘The World Tonight’
  • ‘Too Many People’
  • ‘Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsey’
  • ‘Vanilla Sky’
  • ‘Waterfalls’
  • ‘We Can Work It Out’
  • ‘When I’m 64’
  • ‘With a Little Luck’
  • ‘With a Little Help from my Friends’
  • ‘Women and Wives’
  • ‘Yesterday’
  • ‘You Want Her Too’
  • ‘Hey Jude’

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