Paul’s Granny Music

Songs corresponding to After I’m 64, Honey Pie and You Gave Me the Reply, represent a outstanding half in McCartney’s repertoire. “Paul’s granny Songs”, John Lennon used to name them sarcastically. And that’s an apt description. As a result of that’s what it’s: music from the outdated days, corny, but in addition very cheerful and humorous.

It is the type of music McCartney grew up with as a toddler. Father Jim has his personal band in his youth which he performs with at events. That band is already historical past when Paul is born, however with Christmas Eve and at household gatherings Jim invariably takes his place behind the piano; English Music Corridor classics from the twenties and thirties are a typical a part of his repertoire, and if the temper is correctly inserted, the entire household sings alongside. For the grownup Paul, these songs are a logo of youth sentiment, nostalgia; they largely evoke heat emotions.


McCartney didn’t write a number of English music corridor songs, or vaudeville within the US, only a massive handful, most of whom are from the late sixties. Probably the most well-known is undoubtedly After I’m 64, from the album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Membership Band.
Video: After I’m 64

It’s certainly one of McCartney’s oldest songs of which he writes the music when he’s about fifteen years outdated. And of their early years The Beatles are taking part in it commonly: When throughout a efficiency the tools is getting overheated or there’s a energy reduce, the band gathers across the piano for an acoustic efficiency.


Necessary for McCartney is the humor that’s within the songs. Equally, After I’m 64 meant to be humorous, the place the joke lies within the phrases “will you continue to feed me?”. As if it’s an outdated senile man who’s unable to eat by himself. The picture of a sluggish outdated couple will get a complete new dimension without delay. It’s a very delicate joke, which has eluded me initially as a non-English.
Your Mom Ought to Know is the closing of the movie Magical Thriller Tour, with John, Paul, George and Ringo dancing in tuxedos, descending a giant showbiz stage. Every part within the model of old style British dance halls. In 2003, on the Out There Tour, the tune was added to McCartney’s setlist.

Video: Your Mom Ought to Know




The White Album is richly endowed. Honey Pie is a tribute to the music model and to present it an additional thirties temper you hear at first the sound of a 78-rpm report. Additionally utterly thirties-style is Martha My Expensive, about his sheepdog Martha. Questionable is Ob-la-di ob-la-da which has undeniably English Music Corridor influences, but in addition a robust ska part. In accordance with custom, Lennon had a profound dislike to this observe; On this case, he talked about “Paul’s granny shit”.

On Abbey Street you’ll discover Maxwell’s Silver Hammer, a comic book tune during which one Maxwell together with his silver hammer commits one after one other homicide; even the choose acquired knocked down. An even bigger distinction between the lurid lyrics and the extraordinarily comfortable tune is hardly conceivable. It is a type of Python-sketch in music. To McCartney having enjoyable appears a very powerful purpose for making granny music. That doesn’t imply he doesn’t takes the songs significantly. He places plenty of time in it, which actually annoys the opposite band members throughout the recording of Maxwell’s Silver Hammer:

Ringo: “The worst session ever was Maxwell’s Silver Hammer. It was the worst observe we ever needed to report. It went on for fucking weeks. I believed it was mad.” John: “I hate it. ‘As a result of all I keep in mind is the observe – he made us do it 100 million instances.” George: “After some time we did a very good job on it, however when Paul acquired an thought or an association in his head…” Paul: “I keep in mind George saying, ‘You’ve got taken three days, it is solely a tune.’ – ‘Yeah, however I wish to get it proper. I’ve acquired some ideas on this one.’ It was early-days Moog work and it did take a little bit of time.”

Video: The Beatles rehearsing Maxwell’s Silver Hammer


After the Beatles’ breakup, in 1971, McCartney even information a complete album in granny-style. Thrillington is an instrumental remake of Paul’s second solo album Ram, that hasn’t even been launched on the time of recording Thrillington.

The album is completely in massive band swing model and undoubtedly price listening to. However not too many individuals did as a result of Thrillington has by no means acquired a lot consideration. First, the album has been on the cabinets for six years earlier than being launched in 1977. And second, Thrillington isn’t issued underneath McCartney’s personal identify however underneath the identify of the fictional character Percy Thrillington. From the beginning there are suspicions about the true identification of this particular person, however it takes till 1989 earlier than McCartney lastly admits that he himself is Thrillington.
In 1974 Wings information You gave me the Reply, a tribute to Fred Astaire; the observe seems on the album Venus and Mars. In the identical interval he additionally releases an outdated tune of his father Jim, Strolling within the Park with Eloise, underneath the pseudonym The Nation Hams. After that it’s achieved with the ‘fruity outdated songs’, as McCartney makes use of to name them by himself. 

Video: You Gave Me The Reply

On the album Tug of Struggle seems Ballroom Dancing nonetheless, a tribute to the British dance halls and the accompanying music. However the tune itself is above an up-tempo rock tune. The one different solo work that would probably be thought of a part of the style is English Tea, from the 2005 album Chaos and Creation within the Yard. The observe paints an image of an England which is slowly disappearing; with outdated, wealthy, eccentric women who get pleasure from having tea on a sunny afternoon, in a rigorously landscaped backyard. The lyrics and the corny music are in excellent stability.

Video: English Tea



Simply due to the quaint character of the songs, they usually are handled with a little bit of condescension. When after the discharge of Sgt. Pepper pals, colleagues or the media ask for his or her opinion on After I’m 64, Lennon and George Harrison really feel considerably embarrassed. It is not so cool for a rock ‘n’ roll band, as Lennon identified in 1979: “I’d by no means even dream of writing a tune like that.”

Lennon might have been adverse about Paul’s granny music time to time, however in accordance with McCartney the music was a shared love. So it’s Lennon who performs fantastic, and fully in thirties model, lead guitar on Honey Pie. And on the subject of After I’m 64, he wasn’t adverse on a regular basis: “Paul wrote it within the Cavern days. We simply caught a number of extra phrases on it like ‘grandchildren in your knee’ and ‘Vera, Chuck and Dave’ … this was only one that was fairly successful with us.”

Lennon might have favored it, he simply had no ambition in any respect to put in writing such songs. McCartney has clearly a special method: Why would you allow it, for those who prefer it? Or as Wings guitarist Denny Laine solutions the why query: “As a result of you’ll be able to! Why not? It’s Paul being Paul. (…) Why would you be adverse about it? To me that’s silly too. You develop issues, you do all kinds of issues, and on the finish of the day you bought a physique of labor. You bought this or that, of which you’ll be able to select from.”


It’s typical McCartney that this style can be a part of his repertoire. It’s a part of a steady strategy of adopting and experimenting with different music, outdated and new, to push the boundaries every time once more. Denny Laine: “It’s important to have the heart to try this.”
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