When Paul McCartney’s long playing record Ram came out in 1971, a lot of people hated it. They were especially irritated by Linda McCartney’s astringent vocals, and the sight of her standing woodenly and self-consciously on stage was embarrassing. Why was she on the record anyway: as if it were a primary school music class where everyone has to join in enthusiastically banging tambourines and triangles, even the talentless? She was even accredited fully as co-creator, which no one really believed.
I simply dismissed it. It was not The Beatles. I was fed up with it emanating from Brendan’s room in the shared house. I was after all a knowledgeable connoisseur of serious rock music, particularly Jethro Tull who had just released Aqualung. How could the McCartneys’ frivolous and inconsequential warbling possibly compare?
The only legacy, for me, was that even to this day, whenever we drive past a certain cut-price supermarket I sing the following mondegreen:
Lidl Lidl be a gypsy get around
Get your feet up off the ground
Lidl Lidl get around.
I mentioned this recently in commenting on another blog about post-Beatles Paul McCartney. I looked up the lyrics to discover that the actual words are “Live a little” from the track Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey who “had to have a bath or he couldn’t get to sea” – another misheard lyric, it’s “berth”.
One thing led to another and I ended up recently getting the CD as a birthday present (I don’t do streaming). What a revelation! Dismissing it as inferior to Jethro Tull was being Thick as a Brick.
I now think Ram is amongst Paul McCartney’s best and most innovative output: so rich in ideas, almost every part of every track is different. It‘s an amusing, joyful record, a bit late-Beatles, like the brightest parts of Abbey Road and The White Album.
Another reviewer describes it as a “domestic-bliss album”. Despite personal and contractual pains in disentangling himself from the Beatles, Paul was now living a contented and enviable lifestyle, very happy with Linda and children in their rural retreat. You hear it throughout. And Linda’s voice is OK too.
Maybe I liked it all along but did not want to admit it.