Ranking the 5 Best Songs on the Paul McCartney and Wings’ Album ‘Wings at the Speed of Sound’

Paul McCartney wanted to convince the world that Wings were far from a one-man band. Thus, in the mid-’70s, he started to bring the other members of his post-Beatles group into the spotlight. On the 1976 album Wings at the Speed of Sound, he handed out lead vocals liberally, with each of the other four other band members getting a chance to sing at least one song.

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Unfortunately, the songs he wrote for them to sing weren’t all that memorable. As it turned out, the best five songs on this uneven record were sung by Macca. Let’s see how they rank.

5. “She’s My Baby”

If you’re going to get on the wavelength of what Paul McCartney was trying to do with Wings, you have to accept there are going to be songs that sound like they were written in about as much time as it took to play them (maybe less). Some of these songs are eminently skippable, and others are quite fun, as long as you don’t go into them expecting that your world is going to change by the time they’re over. Case in point: “She’s My Baby,” which couples some nonsensical lyrics with some subtly funky touches and doesn’t overstay its welcome.

4. “Let ‘Em In”

Perhaps the reason people have a problem with Wings at the Speed of Sound is that it’s just too lightweight as a whole, and that’s an understandable complaint. But McCartney makes these songs so listenable and hummable that it’s almost impossible to object to them on an individual basis. “Let ‘Em In” sounds easy, at least until you realize how few other artists were able to churn out stuff like it on a consistent basis. From the doorbells to the marching band-style breakdown to McCartney name-checking The Everly Brothers, there’s a lot of whimsy at play here, and it all goes down smooth.

3. “Silly Love Songs”

The common criticism here is that McCartney is being defensive, but that’s only a valid bash when someone doesn’t realize they’re being defensive. In this case, McCartney is completely in on the joke with “Silly Love Songs” while still daring people to find fault with the notion that there can never be enough good-hearted songs in the world. It’s a song that wears well over time, largely because of the effervescence of the music. McCartney’s bass line is one of his most supple, serving as the foundation for the ornate touches like the cascading backing vocals and cheeky horns.

2. “Warm and Beautiful”

To close out Wings at the Speed of Sound, McCartney decided to lose the band and perform a piano-and-vocal testament to his love for wife Linda. He’s spoken about how this song is special to him in retrospect since her passing. Give him credit for the subtle addition of the strings, something that he learned well from producer George Martin back in the day. Maybe the lyrics aren’t saying anything new, but they’re saying it quite eloquently. This one gets a bit lost among all the beautiful ballads McCartney has written and sung, but it deserves a fresh listen.

1. “Beware My Love”

On an album where everything else is warm, gentle, and unassuming, this track goes for fever-pitch intensity for much of its elongated running time. McCartney has always been a great rock and roll screamer. Look back to Beatles songs like “I’m Down” and “Helter Skelter.” But it’s hard to find any song in his catalog where he’s forced to go to the absolute tippy-top of his range for such a long time like he does on “Beware My Love.” Fun fact: Wings recorded a version of this with Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham, only to later shelve it.

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Photo by Mike Moore/Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

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