Monday, January 07, 2008

Song of the Week 1/4/08

Paul McCartney and Wings - "Arrow Through Me"

Ah, its a long and winding road to explain this one.

(Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

It was almost a year ago that blogger extraordinaire Matthew Perpetua wrote about this track on the always top notch Fluxblog. I downloaded the MP3 and was instantly transported back in time--actually, two times.

When "Arrow Through Me" and Back to the Egg were released in the spring of 1979, I was just becoming aware that Paul McCartney had done other music after The Beatles. In the late winter I had bought the 45 for the non-LP track “Goodnight Tonight” with my allowance. The song sounded pretty funky and disco-ish, which was right up my “I Love the Nightlife” and Village People (I had Go West and Macho Man on 8-track!) digging brain. The station always on in my house was WGY-AM. Even though it was on the AM dial WGY was still mostly a Top 40 station, playing much of the softer hit tunes of the day. The Fender Rhodes sound of “Arrow Through Me” fit snugly with station’s musical direction and the Walt Fritz’s Music Magazine. The show started at 3:00 p.m. every weekday, just in time for me to get home from school, and features a weekly countdown and daily musical history nuggets. (Hmm, wonder if that had an impact on me.) Alas, I never bought the “Arrow Through Me” single--I think my comic book interest was also starting to gear up around that time, so I’m sure my tiny amount of money went to Spider-man or Batman. I do remember being fascinated by the Back to the Egg cover, which seemed to be on display at the Zayre store over the border in Great Barrington, Mass. I’m positive it had to be the same copy that sat there for four months.

My other flashback came from my 2002 stint as a roadie for The Figgs. As Mike Gent drove the van down to Philadelphia so we could pick up Pete Donnelly he asked me to go through his CD case and pick out some stuff. The first one disc I came upon was Back to the Egg, which I poked fun at by saying “I didn’t know you wanted to sleep when you drove.” He dismissed my insult and said it was a much underrated album. So I put it into the van’s CD player, and I’ll be damned if Mike wasn’t right. I had forgotten about the album’s other single “Getting Closer,” which was a great little rocker, and how much I liked “Arrow Through Me.” I made a mental note to get Back to the Egg somewhere on the tour, but then I promptly forgot during our first stop at Waffle House 11 hours later.

So last January I listened to the “Arrow Through Me” MP3, decided I needed Back to the Egg on CD and went to Amazon. Alas, I discovered (and you’ll discover for yourself if you click here) Back to the Egg has been out of print for a while in the U.S. So once again I forgot about the song and the entire album until Apple made a big deal about Macca’s catalog going upon iTunes. The first day the albums were up I put Back to the Egg in my shopping cart, secure in my knowledge that I would soon enjoy the last album by Wings.

Yet I never pulled the trigger on downloading it. I always felt like I had something else more pressing to place on my iPod. Back to the Egg got buried in the load of crap I stored in that shopping cart. To buy everything I stashed in that queue would have cost 363 bucks as of last Thursday. Then I was given a 50 dollar iTunes gift card by one of my work superiors as a token of appreciation for the number of times I helped him out in 2007. It was by far the best Christmas/holiday gift I got. And the first thing I downloaded was Back to the Egg. I listened to that album twice on Thursday and then again while doing laundry on Saturday and on the way into work today.

Six years later, Mike Gent is still right--it is an underrated work, and “Arrow Through Me” is a great little single that’s much better than most of McCartney and Wings’ 70s hits.

AND NOW FOR SOME POST-CHRISTMAS BONE-I: Check out the video for “Arrow Through Me.” It’s not as slick as the song, that’s for certain.

When I was searching for that video, the second clip that came up was New York’s own long-running songwriter’s tribute Loser’s Lounge covering the song last month. I scrolled down to what else they had tackled and found my friend Jed Parish (of his own amazing solo career and the just as amazing Gravel Pit) just tearing up “Maybe I’m Amazed.” Listen to the crowd go nuts when he hits some high notes:

Best. Cover. Ever.

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