Being an old radio guy, I am acutely aware of an interesting anomaly with music that most people are probably not aware of. Since it has been about a month since I have written anything specifically for the Beatles Group, I will explain.
The top markets in the English speaking world, as far as popular music, are Great Britain and the United States (Canada too). Most of us, knowing that the USA loved the Beatles and the Stones and that the UK loved Motown and our top American bands, would think that those of us in the English speaking world all like the same tunes to the same degree.That just is not true. Even many of the Beatles songs that were the big hits in the USA and Canada WERE NOT the hit sides in Great Britain. Often when a new single, or an album, came out different cuts would be released on opposite sides of the ocean. A new Beatles #1 in the USA, was often not the same song they were grooving to in Europe.
Many songs by artists,that were huge in the UK never made it here. There was a 60's group over in the UK -- Dave, Dee, Beaky, Mick and Tich. Ever hear of them? Probably not but Bend It was one of the biggest hits of the 1960's over there. Also, in the UK they had their own Elvis -- a guy named Cliff Richard. He never did anything much over here. And, of course, some popular groups here never scored in Great Britain either.
Now it is time to give you a glaring example of what I am talking about. I will state a fact that will surprise you. Fact: A song by Paul McCartney and Wings, that you never even heard in the USA, is the biggest selling non-charity single in the history of the UK. This Wings song sold more copies in the UK than any Beatles song. The Wings song held that position, as the top selling single in the history of the UK, for seven years but eventually two songs, produced and sold for charitable causes, eclipsed those sales. Wing's song still holds that position as the largest selling non-charity song in the history of the UK charts.
The title is Mull of Kintyre.....starting to ring a bell? Probably not. McCartney owned a farm in Scotland. He recorded this song in his barn and he brought in seven bag pipers and ten drummers from a nearby town.This song spent a Christmas, and nine weeks, at number one. What song did it bump as the, previously, all time number one tune in the UK? Answer: She Loves You by the Beatles! Read that again. This novelty song, unheard of in the USA, was bigger than any of the Beatles releases in the UK. McCartney does not even play it in US concerts. He does perform it in Europe and Canada.
So, what was the biggest McCartney and Wings song in the USA? This all time #25 rated song on the Billboard record charts is pure pop. Two legends teamed up for this one --McCartney and Stevie Wonder. In 1982 Ebony and Ivory, spent 12 weeks in the top ten in the USA.
That was the biggest McCartney hit in the USA, but it was not my favorite. Of all the songs released by Wings, my favorite is one that I think rivaled the Beatles at their best. In 1974, McCartney and his band were on the run.
Steven L. Smith
Bellingham WA Home Inspections