parlando playlist #47: wings - mull of kintyre [1977]

Posted on October 28th, 2013 by Scraps.
Categories: Music, Parlando Playlist.

If you're British, you're probably raising your eyebrows, or yawning, of laughing incredulously, or whatever you do when you start to turn the page because you've been there and you can't imagine how you would turn back to 1977, all the way back when you've never heard the song before. Because if you're British, this song is famous, to the point where at the time it sold two million copies, breaking the British record held by the Beatles' "She Loves You". Eventually Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas?" overtook it, but the song remains the UK's best-selling non-charity single.

In America, unless you are a big fan of Wings, you probably never heard it (or rarely, anyway). Sometimes the musical gulf between Britain and the States is immense. Nine weeks at number one in Britain; a b-side (the a-side was "Girls' School"! honestly) in the States. (Everywhere else "Mull of Kintyre" was the a-side: I count at least thirteen countries.)

So, "Girls' School" was a very minor hit -- that's because it was (yes, yes, IMO) bad -- and "Mull of Kintyre" didn't appear on an album, except Wings Greatest, a compilation: if you had it in America, you probably had it from there. (Eventually London Town came out on CD with bonus tracks [not the first CD, but eventually].)

Well, I like it, anyway. A lot better than "Girls' School" ("she's an oriental princess") and "With a Little Luck" (oh man, awful keyboard) and "I've Had Enough" (bump, bump, bump, bump), and "London Town" (toot-toot-toot-toot), Wings' singles at the time.
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5 comments.

Scraps

Comment on October 28th, 2013.

I'll bet Gavin knows that fans of Nottingham Forest F.C. have adopted "Mull of Kintyre".

Anonymous

Comment on October 28th, 2013.

I was a young American boy in the mid-80s when I discovered this song. I was just past the point when my Beatles obsession had exhausted itself, but I realized there was a whole other world to explore: the solo stuff. I tore through it as fast as I could, preferring the Lennon material overall to just about anything else (All Things Must Pass and McCartney excepted) but I kept soldiering on through everything I could check out of my local library, including all that London-Town type stuff Paul was issuing at the time (toot-toot-toot-toot indeed). AND YET I LOVED MULL OF KINTYRE. Still do. I don't know, I was raised in an Irish Catholic family in the Boston area. Bagpipes, lilting poetic hymns about windswept stones, mournful sentimental tunes about the Auld Sod ... these were all normal to me. Mull of Kintyre was just another of many great ancient-sounding songs celebrating peat or loam or mist or mulls or kintyres. Paul knew what he was doing. Love it! - Michael aka Chief

Scraps

Comment on October 28th, 2013.

That was very nice.

Gavin

Comment on November 13th, 2013.

Did you know he made a video for the song?

Gavin

Comment on November 13th, 2013.

Hmmmn, that link doesn't seem to work.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFRcMYjut4o was what I was aiming for.

Anyway, I did not know that about Nottingham. I remember being baffled in my youth by the inclusion of "Mull of Kintyre" on Wings Greatest, but now I think it's just lovely. A lullaby, or more probably, a drinking song. Paul's good at many things, but melody more than any other, and this is pretty much nothing but melody.

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