Paul McCartney Shares the Story Behind His Maligned 1976 Wings Hit & Filling the World With “Silly Love Songs”

In the latest episode of the McCartney: A Life in Lyrics podcast series, Paul McCartney looks at the 1976 song he wrote in response to criticism he’d received about his recent tunes mainly being lightweight love songs. “Silly Love Songs” was the lead single from McCartney’s 1976 album with his band Wings, At the Speed of Sound, and it went on to top the Billboard Hot 100.

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In an audio interview segment featured in the podcast, McCartney discussed what inspired him to write the tune.

[RELATED: Paul McCartney Shares the Story Behind the Song He Wrote on a Dare from Actor Dustin Hoffman]

“I was being accused of just writing silly love songs,” McCartney said. “[And I] was in danger of starting to buy into this idea that you should just be a bit tougher and a bit more worldly. But then I suddenly realized, that’s exactly what love is. It’s worldly.”

He continued, “So, this idea came to me. You know, ‘You think that people would’ve had enough [of silly love songs]. Well, I look around me and see it isn’t so. Some people want to fill the world that silly love songs. What’s wrong with that?’”

McCartney went on to note that he wrote the song “in response to a lot of people who would say that about me. I was given that reputation … and I had to stand up for it.”

Paul McCartney on the Importance of Writing About Love

The rock legend explained that upon reflection, love is an extremely important topic, and writing positive songs about it offsets any hesitancy he’s had about being accused of releasing material lacking in depth.

“[T]his love thing is global and goes throughout not only humans but animals, goes throughout creatures,” McCartney maintained. “So, it really becomes very important, which outweighs the fact that it might be soppy. So, you’re always trying to say it in a kind of non-soppy way. Nearest I’ve got to it is with ‘Silly Love Songs’ … which is purposely being soppy.”

He added, “I think it is a staggeringly important word, feeling, because it’s going on everywhere in the whole of existence, right now.”

Chart Success of “Silly Love Songs”

Soppy or not, fans embraced “Silly Love Songs,” which wound up spending five non-consecutive weeks at No. 1 on the Hot 100, the most of any of his other post-Beatles singles to that point.

“Silly Love Songs” went on to be the top single overall on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1976. This made McCartney the first artist to achieve the feat as both a solo artist and the member of a band. The Beatles had year-end No. 1 Hot 100 singles in 1964 with “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and 1968 with “Hey Jude.”

About the McCartney: A Life in Lyrics Podcast

As previously reported, the McCartney: A Life in Lyrics podcasts incorporate segments of audio interviews that Irish poet Paul Muldoon conducted with McCartney for the 2021 book The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present.

The McCartney: A Life in Lyrics podcast is available at,, and on various popular streaming services, including Apple Music and Spotify. The series is co-produced by iHeartPodcasts and the Pushkin audio-production company.

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