Could Paul McCartney have launched a successful career in 1969? All signs point to ‘yes’. The Beatles were right on the edge of breaking up in January 1969. They probably put off breaking up because they didn’t know what else to do. They certainly didn’t stay together after January 31, 1969 because they loved being in the group. However, what if George’s exit in January had been permanent? Or what if John simply went off with Yoko as I’m sure he would have preferred? Or what if Paul had grown tired of being the only one who cared?
Paul McCartney’s eventual solo career got off to a slightly shaky start. The McCartney album was good, and contained at least one career highlight, “Maybe I’m Amazed”. The other songs were Beatles leftovers, instrumentals, and half-finished ditties. Nice, but not impressive.
The fact is, by late 1969 and early 1970, when most of McCartney was recorded, Paul had used up all of his great songs from the previous year. Most of Paul’s best recent songs were already included on Abbey Road, and then Let It Be. The timing of the breakup (when John unofficially left in September 1969) was such that Paul didn’t have a big backlog of unused songs, even if there were still some gems in the making such as “The Back Seat Of My Car”.
Had the group fallen apart prior to Abbey Road, what are the chances that they would have done anything to push Let It Be along? Paul could very well have had all of those songs available to launch a solo career in 1969. Consider the contrast of the relatively informal McCartney album with an album containing “Let It Be”, “You Never Give Me Your Money”, “Two Of Us”, and “The Long And Winding Road”? Perhaps Paul would have foundered after that first album, similar to George’s “diarrhea” on All Things Must Pass. But he would have gotten an amazing start.
Try this playlist for fun and games:
- Come And Get It
- Two Of Us
- Oh Darling
- Let It Be
- Every Night
- You Never Give Me Your Money
- The Long And Winding Road
- Maxwell’s Silver Hammer
- Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight