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The 12 Weirdest Paul McCartney Songs

Explore the mad-genius side of the silly-love songsmith

Paul McCartney weirdest songs

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Paul McCartney has long been pilloried as a writer of silly love songs: a master of melody, sure, but not forward-thinking, let alone radical. However, while John Lennon got most of the credit for the Beatles’ sonic experiments, McCartney has always had a mad-genius side of his own. Even “Silly Love Songs” begins with a clanking industrial beat. Don’t believe us? Check out 12 of Sir Paul’s weirdest tracks below.

(See Rolling Stone’s definitive ranking of McCartney’s 40 greatest solo songs here.)

Paul McCartney weirdest songs

Fred Morgan/NY Daily News Archive/Getty Images

“Temporary Secretary” (1980)

An insane highlight of McCartney II. It’s got a classic McCartney melody and lyric – set over bleeping music that could be drawn from an 8-bit Nintendo game. It sounds like McCartney is trying to simultaneously invent drum and bass and They Might Be Giants.

Paul McCartney weirdest songs

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“Nod Your Head” (2007)

The final track on Memory Almost Full crams in a psychedelic groove, skronking guitar, orchestral bursts and drone assaults – and gets it all done in less than two minutes.

Paul McCartney weirdest songs

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“Famous Groupies” (1978)

The sound of this track, from the Wings album London Town, is straightforward – midtempo rock built around an acoustic guitar. And most of the lyrics are just silly. The way the song gets its passport stamped for Bizarroland is the monologue at the end: “Ladies and gentlemen, those magnificent examples of female pulchritude and luminosity, direct from their global perambulations to the very boards of this supremely magnificent proscenium arch – ladies and gentlemen, I give you famous groupies!”

Paul McCartney weirdest songs

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“Loup (1st Indian on the Moon)” (1973)

Macca goes Laser Floyd. This trippy instrumental suite from Red Rose Speedway feels like a man drowning in an ocean after midnight with only a bassline to save him.

Paul McCartney weirdest songs

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“Free Now” (2000)

McCartney has made three electronic albums as the Fireman, in collaboration with Youth (former bassist for Killing Joke). But the Liverpool Sound Collage record, which cuts up samples of the Beatles, Super Furry Animals and random Liverpudlian pedestrians, might be the best and strangest of the bunch. With strangled vocals, a relentless groove and random noises, “Free Now” sounds like a transmission from another planet.

Paul McCartney weirdest songs

Fred Morgan/NY Daily News Archive/Getty Images

“All You Horseriders” (2011)

“Let’s go for a ride!” Incredibly, some material was just too weird for McCartney II. This track, best described as synthesizer cow-punk, was left off the album (although it resurfaced decades later as a bonus track).

Paul McCartney weirdest songs

Fred Morgan/NY Daily News Archive/Getty Images

“Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” (1971)

You may have grown accustomed to it over the years, but this is one of the strangest Number One singles ever made. It includes vocals that sound like they were recorded over a policeman’s bullhorn, a flugelhorn solo, about five different sections jammed together, and that freaky “be a gypsy get around” coda. But McCartney’s gift for melody is so powerful, he makes it work, and the world sings along.