John Lennon makes a good greatest hits – Paul McCartney less so. With Paul it’s an album-by-album thing; he doesn’t excerpt well. Maybe because his biggest solo hits have been the “cheese” that turns so many off him. There’s certainly a lot of buried treasure in the Wings back catalogue that that band’s “Greatest Hits” couldn’t teach you about and I feel the same way with the solo discography too. But there’s also some utter shit. And one of the albums reviled is this movie soundtrack.
I love this movie soundtrack.
I love this fairly shitty film. Roger Ebert’s withering one-star review of the time called it “as close as you can get to a non-movie” and, even better, pointed out – rather correctly – that “the parts that do try something are the worst”.
The film was Ringo and Paul reconnecting – it was about their friendship rekindling in the wake of John’s death.
I bought the film on VHS tape as a young high-schooler obsessed with all things to do with The Beatles. In fact I bought it with the three narrative Beatles films too. All of them nonsense. (All of them wonderful!)
And I think I already had the film soundtrack before seeing the movie; was certainly aware of it. For the most part it is Paul covering himself, a couple of Wings songs and some Beatles tunes. And sure, why would you want this if you could have the originals…? And there’s really no answer to that beyond being a paint-huffing Beatles-freak. And a Paul-fan to boot.
Written to fill the void. Here, Macca, the world’s greatest jobbing hack, pops out this song the weekend before deadline because he’d been told the album wasn’t up to much; needed a hit, needed a single. So Sir Paul of Songwriting just nuts out one of his greatest ballads, sprays it into booth, says to George Martin, effectively, “take that. Take it all!”
I’d also say that the version of the then-new solo song, So Bad is better than its original take. But then I’d almost say the version of Silly Love Songs is nearly better too – and I love the original version of that. So it’s slippery-slope territory. And there are some slippery-slops too. Of course.
But if you think of Broad Street as being the reconnection with Ringo and through that, and beside that, it’s about Paul fully reconnecting with his Beatles past in the wake of Wings. Sure, Beatles songs were a part of any Wings stadium show, but this was Paul digging a little deeper, he didn’t ever need to remind the audience but he maybe needed to remind himself.
So Broad Street’s grand failure – as a “non movie” that bores most people and as an over-long double-LP soundtrack of “covers” – is one of the stepping stones towards the creation of Beatles Jukebox Sir Paul; the touring entity now celebrating 30 years of knocking hits out of the fucking park.
So if you think about it like that there’s lots to love about Broad Street.
I’ve always had a soft spot for it.