Steven L. Smith, Bellingham, WA Home Inspector (King of the House)

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Beatles, McCartney and the UK Charts

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

Steven L. Smith

If you enjoy nostalgia and music of yesteryear, click on Elvis' gold record to visit This Day In History. To explore The Stories Behind The Music blog posts click on the electric guitar. 

 

        

 

 

 

 

Comment balloon 22 commentsSteven L. Smith • August 25 2008 10:52AM

Comments

That's a good Beatles review!  Thanks for dragging those songs out!  I wanted to listen longer but Charlie put up those VERY difficult directions on how to draw.  You don't think he would have left out a few steps (deliberately) do you?????

Posted by Barbara S. Duncan, GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR (RE/MAX Advantage) about 10 years ago
Barbara, He would not on purpose but I know he had some trouble getting that blog to come out. He had problems with the scripting.
Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) about 10 years ago

Okay, here's my tune for you.  I love Roger Miller and this song was playing just now on Sirius.  It made me think of King of the House!  Bet you played it a lot when you were that famous disc jockey!  Now I've gotta go work on my master's degree assignment from Charles.

Posted by Barbara S. Duncan, GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR (RE/MAX Advantage) about 10 years ago

Barbara, You and I have exquisite taste. That beeman, he just brings down the sophistication at this site. I played Kansas City Star much. I also played England Swings and My Uncle Used to Love Me But She Died. Now, I will provide links to my two favorite Roger songs. The first link is the first of his songs I played on air. Actually these are two sides of a double-sided hit. The second link has become a country standard. The first one, being goofy Roger, has remained his own. He was a one of a kind performer, never to be duplicated.

 

Roger Side One

Roger Side Two

 

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) about 10 years ago

My husband and I were driving cross country and had a Roger Miller cd and listened to it for hours.  I really like his fun songs.  Add him to my Elvis, Beatles, Jerry Lee and now Roger.

Back to this assignment.  I feel like I'm in college again and can't figure out the subject. 

Posted by Barbara S. Duncan, GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR (RE/MAX Advantage) about 10 years ago
What are you working on, that thing on photos? That will have you pulling your hair out no doubt.
Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) about 10 years ago

Okay you guys now lets listen to the real "Roger"-----THERE IS NO COMPARISON

Barbara, I guarantee with this on in the background all will be well with Excel:) 

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 10 years ago

Charles, the link doesn't work.  When you wrote that thesis did you take into consideration that some of us have never used Excel?

Steven, do you do photos this way?

 

Posted by Barbara S. Duncan, GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR (RE/MAX Advantage) about 10 years ago
Try it now Barbara, it should work now----don't know what happened---maybe I did it in Excel:) Are you still having trouble? Email me.
Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 10 years ago

Not so bad Charlie. So is he a former Pink Floyd guy?

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) about 10 years ago

Barbara,

I do not do well with Excel. When I do class schedules I end up sending them to Charlie who then makes them look right. My photos are pretty basic. If I want a circle or arrow, I first put them in my report writing software. Charlie knows all that way beyond what I do. I am pulling my hair out right now trying to figure out why my outlook expess is not working right.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) about 10 years ago

In my humble (I wish:) opinion, he was Pink Floyd:)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 10 years ago

So he was your favorite in the band.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) about 10 years ago
It wasn't about being my favorite----without him there simply wouldn't have been a band? What did they do after he split the group? Nada----but he went on to do a lot of great albums afterwards. The guy was/is a genius.
Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 10 years ago

New day, good night's sleep if you don't count the nightmares about Excel!  The discussion about Pink Floyd must have gone on into the night.  I can live with the song.  It's no Roger Miller song but it was okay.

The Excel is progressing very slowly.  I got to the part about the line drawing and started drawing lines and the line wouldn't stop and wouldn't stop and kept on going.  I had to reread where you said to hit enter to stop the line. Lucky you didn't leave that out, Charles. 

Now I can't figure out how to fill in the "cell" with color, etc.  I'll try again when I have time today.  I still think it was great of you to do such a long blog with the intention of helping....not driving people to drink. : )

Posted by Barbara S. Duncan, GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR (RE/MAX Advantage) about 10 years ago

Barbara, sounds like you are getting there.  Not so bad once you get the hang of it is it?  Thanks for the hyjack Steve:)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 10 years ago

"Mull of Kintyre," while being Wings' biggest UK single, only held the UK overall title for 7 years I believe. It was the first UK single to break the two-million-sold mark.

Bob Geldof (Boomtown Rats) and Band Aid hit the big time with 3.6 million UK copies sold of their 1984 hit, "Do They Know It's Christmas?" That record stood until 1997, when it was eclipsed by Elton John's "Candle In the Wind 1997/Something About the Way You Look Tonight," which is also recognized as the biggest selling single in the world. It sold almost 5 million copies in the UK and 11 million copies in the US.

All songs mentioned in this blog post are in my digital music collection of over 25,000 songs, which I'm still cataloging on five one-terabyte external hard drives.

Beatles Rock!

Beatles Roll!

Beatles Rule!

Posted by Russel Ray, San Diego Business & Marketing Consultant & Photographer (Russel Ray) about 10 years ago

Russel,

I think you are right on Mull of Kintyre, it has been eclipsed by two "charity" songs. Most of the source work I looked at still consider it to be the  biggest "real" song, meaning not a charity work that gets all that worldwide hype. Kind of like baseball statistics.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) about 10 years ago

Hey, Steven.

Billboard, Joel Whitburn, and I make no difference between where the money goes. If it was released as a single, it was released as a single. It's arguable that Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" is the biggest selling single in the history of music, but statistics back then are a little more difficult to come by. Would a seasonal song also not count as a single?

I was hoping that McCartney would do Mull of Kintyre on MTV Unplugged, but, alas, not to be.
Posted by Not a real person about 10 years ago

Russel,

You have a point for sure, however, research I read specifically stated that, with the exception of two charity or benefit songs, that was the biggest selling single in the UK. The language tends to be like Wikipedia, which says: The song remains the UK's best-selling completely non-charity single. I guess I found the most interesting part of all this that Wings, McCartney's group,out sold the Beatles who were the giants.

Actually, I tink it is reasonable to make a differentiation between charity songs, that receive massive publicity and have every showbiz or Hollywood somebody on them versus songs that have to make it on their own. We normally do not compare sales of country songs to pop or top 40, they have their own charts and milestones. We categorize sales by sex. Biggest seller by a male, a female, a group and then further break it down into country, adult, pop, gospel, etc. You can even research and find the best selling celtic song. Also, speaking of seasonal songs, Mull of Kintyre itself got quite a boost by being released at Christmas.

That info, about the two charity songs, was included in the Wikipedia link in the blog. But I will make a change in the language in the blog, to add this disclaimer

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) about 10 years ago
For a while there in 1983, I was afraid that "Say, Say, Say" by McCartney and Michael Jackson was going to outdoo "Ebony and Ivory." I've never been a fan of Jackson. Although "Ebony and Ivory" spent 22 weeks on the Billboard charts to 19 weeks for "Say, Say, Say," "Say, Say, Say" spent one less week at #1, 7 to 6. I have officially decided that "Coming Up (Live at Glasgow)" is my all-time favorite worst McCartney song, yet it was #1 for three weeks, with 21 weeks on the chargs.
Posted by Russel Ray, San Diego Business & Marketing Consultant & Photographer (Russel Ray) almost 10 years ago

Russel,

I never much liked the one about the Admiral Halsey.

So do you have a least favorite by the Beatles? I was not so taken with the flip of Nowhere Man, "What Goes On". You probably know it, a Ringo country take.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) almost 10 years ago

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