The Story and Meaning Behind “My Love,” Paul McCartney’s First Chart-Topper with Wings

Paul McCartney has written and performed many a gorgeous love song in his time. “My Love,” which he performed with Wings and released in 1973, stands very near the top of that hallowed list. A No. 1 hit back then, it has remained a concert staple through the years for McCartney.

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What is the song about? What member of Wings stepped up with a crucial instrumental part? And why was “My Love” such an important song for McCartney’s career at that time? Let’s take a look at how this love song for the ages came to be.

Wings and a Prayer

Paul McCartney knew that starting another band in the wake of The Beatles would invite all kinds of scrutiny if they didn’t put it all together quickly. And, to be frank, they didn’t. Wings’ first album Wild Life in 1971 was a bit of a dud, as McCartney struggled to find the right material for the new collective he’d assembled.

One thing he hadn’t really tried on that first album was one of the anthemic ballads for which he was known. That changed when he started musing one day on his wonderful relationship with his wife Linda. He soon began sketching out what would become “My Love.”

McCartney liked the song so much that he soon began inserting it into Wings live shows even before the band had a chance to record it. In fact, he considered releasing the song in a live version. Reconsidering, he decided that the song would benefit from the presence of an orchestra to really play up the sweetness of the melody.

Wanting everything to be just perfect in the studio with all the moving parts of the orchestra to consider, McCartney decided to write out a guitar solo for Wings’ lead guitarist Henry McCullough to play. The band played live in the studio with the orchestra to give the song the feel of something you might hear on a Frank Sinatra record.

After doing many takes with the solo performed just as McCartney wanted, McCullough asked if he could try one with a solo of his own making. McCartney OK’d it, and McCullough responded with a roman candle of a guitar solo, one of the most memorable instrumental parts on any Wings’ song not performed by McCartney himself.

As for McCartney, he certainly helped the proceedings with a wonderful vocal on one of the rangiest melodies he ever composed. When all was said and done, he and Wings had the hit they desperately needed, as “My Love” hit the top of the U.S. charts in 1973 and gave the band’s new second album Red Rose Speedway a major springboard to popularity.

What is “My Love” About?

Even Paul McCartney would probably tell you that “My Love” isn’t the most complicated set of lyrics. But considering the tune he wrote, simple words proved to be the most powerful way to go about doing it. As mentioned above, the song was directly inspired by his relationship with Linda, so speaking straight from the heart made sense.

And when the cupboard’s bare / I still find something there with my love, McCartney sings, indicating how his relationship tends to fill in all the gaps in his life that might have previously yawned open wide. It’s also clever how he starts the song and other verses with the word And, as if he’s just always going on and on about this topic and we just caught him in the middle of it.

But really, McCartney doesn’t have to say much more than My love does it good to get his point across. After all, as he claims, it’s understood. And we all now understand how “My Love” found Paul McCartney going back to one of his greatest strengths as a writer and musician to give Wings the boost they desperately needed.

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Photo by David Redfern/Redferns

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