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Readers’ Poll: What Is the Best Paul McCartney Song of All Time?

Your picks chosen from his Beatles, Wings and solo catalogs

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Sir Paul McCartney, truly one of the most talented people produced in the past century, has absolutely nothing left to prove at age 69, yet he's been working with the giddy enthusiasm of a rookie entertainer angling for his big break. Last week, he released his newest album, Kisses on the Bottom, and accepted his (belated) star on the Hollywod Walk of Fame. On Sunday, he performed his new single, "My Valentine," on the Grammys, then closed the show by leading a raucous all-star jam on the Beatles' "Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight." For our latest Weekend Rock Question, we asked you to choose your favorite McCartney songs, and the results run the gamut from his most introspective moments to his wildest. Click through to see our readers' picks.         

Gallery by James Sullivan

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8. (tie) ‘Helter Skelter’

Another unique pairing begins with "Helter Skelter," the fantastically reckless number McCartney wrote for the Beatles' "White Album." Supposedly, it was a response to the Who's claim that they had recorded their loudest, rawest song to date ("I Can See for Miles"). The song is sometimes noted as the first instance of heavy metal.  

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8. (tie) ‘Let Me Roll It’

Recorded in Nigeria, this future concert favorite was featured on the Band on the Run album, the blockbuster third set for Wings. McCartney claimed not to have noticed how much the song sounded like those of his former writing partner, John Lennon, until it was pointed out to him.    

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7. ‘Live and Let Die’

One of his biggest post-Beatles hits, McCartney's symphonic theme song to the James Bond film of the same name didn't appear on any of his albums until five years after its initial release, on Wings Greatest.

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6. ‘Blackbird’

McCartney has often said that this gentle acoustic song from the double album The Beatles was inspired by the Civil Rights Movement. 

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5. ‘Let It Be’

As the Beatles were on the verge of breaking up, the singer introduced a little gospel wisdom into the troubled sessions for the album of the same name. 

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4. ‘Band on the Run’

McCartney's monster 1974 hit with Wings seemed to hint at his old band's struggles with lines about the feeling of imprisonment that gradually overwhelmed the Beatles. 

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3. ‘Yesterday’

Perhaps McCartney's biggest contribution to the popular music songbook, "Yesterday" is one of the most-covered songs of all time. A BBC poll in 1999 ranked the song as the best of the 20th century.

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2. ‘Hey Jude’

Often said to have been written for John Lennon's son, Julian, during his father's breakup from his first wife, "Hey Jude" was a McCartney epic, building from a melodic piano ballad to a joyous, mantra-like sing-along.    

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1. ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’

The top vote-getter in our poll by a fairly wide margin, "Maybe I'm Amazed" first appeared on the singer's low-key solo debut, McCartney, before becoming a concert staple over the years. Maybe Valentine's Day had something to do with the vote: the song is undoubtedly a prime example of the songwriter's lifelong ability to express love and romance like few others can.

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