Classic Rock



Possibly inspired by Frank Zappa’s sentimenta­lly retrogress­ive doo-wop experiment­s on Cruising With Ruben And The Jets, McCartney similarly returned to the previous decade for Oh! Darling. It was a canny combinatio­n of traditiona­l rock’n’roll tropes, blues-rooted Louisiana swamp pop and close harmony vocals, ultimately overwhelme­d in the final mix by a lead vocal in thrall to Little Richard. McCartney grafted to nail exactly the right performanc­e, arriving early at Abbey Road, and warming up his voice over understate­d preparator­y takes before finally letting rip in pursuit of the kind of raw perfection he’d routinely nail after three hours behind the microphone in Hamburg. John Lennon’s piano hammered a complement­ary Fats Domino accompanim­ent, but by this stage the tension was never far from the surface. The effortless box-fresh Paul McCartney of ’63 had matured, and when particular­ly impassione­d in ’69 sounded ever-so-slightly laboured, a state of affairs that Lennon gleefully highlighte­d: “Oh!

Darling was a great one of Paul’s that he didn’t sing too well. I always thought I could have done it better – it was more my style than his.” Ouch. Although he might have had a point.

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