Paul McCartney, the greatest songwriter of all time?
It was announced last week that Paul McCartney is coming out with a new album next year. I found it odd that the news of this achievement received a ho-hum reaction. I think I know why. Paul McCartney is one of the most prolific songwriters in the history of music. Not to bore you with numbers but to give you an idea, Paul McCartney is credited with writing 32 number one hits.
He’s written well over 150 songs that have charted on Billboard. He’s an 18 time Grammy Award winner, an Academy Award winner, inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the Beatles and then again for his solo contributions. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth. His last album, Egypt Station, which was released in 2017, debuted at number one on the charts.
While Bob Dylan has written more songs, Paul has achieved more commercial success. The Guinness Book of World Records in 1979 named Paul McCartney as the most successful songwriter ever and that was in 1979, over 40 years ago.
We get to the point where we almost expect a new album, or some new piece of music from Paul. I mean after all he’s been doing it since the early '60s. He never really went into seclusion; for the most part he kept on touring or in some manner performed occasionally throughout his years. He would occasionally pop up on a charity broadcast, a TV or radio interview, he would be there to let you know he’s still here and cranking out the hits.
We live in a society where we have to know who, what or where is the BEST! Who’s number one? When it comes to musicians and songwriters I’ve had this argument for years. I’ve had it with world class musicians, fans, program directors and many friends. Who is the best songwriter? Is it Dylan for his sheer number of songs and kaleidoscope lyrics? Is it Paul McCartney for his many successful songs and albums that topped all the charts? Is it Springsteen for his hard hitting tantric lyrics and screenplay scenarios? Is it Leiber and Stoller who cranked out hit after hit, over 70 chart topping hits as a matter of fact?
My conclusion is that there isn’t a best. We all have our own opinion and there are very good arguments for the songwriters I just mentioned. With that said, if you tied me up with a liverwurst and onion sandwich pointed to my head and I only had to pick one, it be Sir Paul. I’m looking forward to his new music coming out next year.