Cook of the House
|"Cook of the House"|
|Single by Wings|
|from the album Wings at the Speed of Sound|
|A-side||"Silly Love Songs"|
|Released||1 April 1976 (US)
30 April 1976 (UK)
|Recorded||4 February 1976|
|Label||MPL Communications (UK)
MPL Communications/Capitol (US)
"Cook of the House" is a song written by Paul McCartney that was first released on Wings' 1976 album Wings at the Speed of Sound. It was also released as the B-side to the number 1 single "Silly Love Songs." The song was included on Linda McCartney's posthumous 1998 solo album Wide Prairie.
Music and lyrics
"Cook of the House" is a "1950s-style rock 'n' roll song." Linda McCartney sings the lead vocal, her first lead vocal performance for Wings. Paul McCartney plays the same double bass Bill Black played on Elvis Presley songs. Other musicians on the song are Denny Laine and Jimmy McCulloch on guitar and Joe English on drums. Either Thaddeus Richard or Howie Casey plays saxophone. The song opens with the sound of bacon and chips frying in the key of E-flat. This sound effect is the only part of the song recorded in stereo; most of the track is in mono to enhance the retro feel.
"Cook of the House" was inspired during the McCartneys' stay at a rented house in Australia during their 1975 tour, and was written in November of that year. A plaque in the kitchen stated "Wherever I serve my guests, they like my kitchen best," which inspired some of the lyrics. Most of the remaining lyrics came from the McCartneys looking at the food in the kitchen and listing the items in the song.
The song was most likely recorded on 20 January 1976.
"Cook of the House" was largely panned by critics. Rolling Stone called the song a "celebration of scatterbrained wife-in-the-kitchen coziness." Authors Chip Madinger and Mark Easter claim that Paul McCartney's double bass playing is the song's only redeeming value. Author Robert Rodriguez calls it an "embarrassment," and author Tim Riley calls it a "feminist's nightmare." Paul McCartney biographer Howard Sounes praised the song's production values but called it a "weak song" which was not sung well. Entertainment Weekly described it as a "simpleminded domestic anthem" and claimed it was "genuinely terrible." On the other hand, Wings' guitarist Jimmy McCulloch was happy for Linda's lead vocal opportunity and considered the song a "tribute to her talent of whipping up a meal in no time." Allmusic critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine found the song charming, though acknowledging that it is "awkwardly sung." Paul McCartney biographer Chris Welch called it "one of the most popular items" on Wings at the Speed of Sound.
"Cook of the House" appeared as the B-side of Wings' 1976 single "Silly Love Songs." That represented the second time a singer other than Paul McCartney sang the lead vocal on a Wings' single, the first being Denny Laine's vocal on "I Lie Around," the B-side to "Live and Let Die." Linda also sang "Cook of the House" live on Wings' 1979 UK tour. "Cook of the House" was included on Linda McCartney's 1998 posthumous solo album Wide Prairie. The Eastmans covered "Cook of the House" on Love in Song: An Atlanta Tribute to Sir Paul McCartney.
- Linda McCartney - lead vocals, piano
- Paul McCartney - double bass
- Denny Laine - electric guitar
- Jimmy McCulloch - electric guitar
- Joe English - drums
- Howie Casey - saxophone
- Thaddeus Richard - saxophone
- Benitez, V.P. (2010). The Words and Music of Paul McCartney: The Solo Years. Praeger. p. 75. ISBN 978-0-313-34969-0.
- Madinger, C. & Easter, M. (2000). Eight Arms to Hold You. 44.1 Productions. pp. 215, 254. ISBN 0-615-11724-4.
- Blaney, J. (2007). Lennon and McCartney: together alone: a critical discography of their solo work. Jawbone Press. pp. 113–115. ISBN 978-1-906002-02-2.
- Fong-Torres, B. (1999). Not Fade Away: A Backstage Pass to 20 Years of Rock & Roll. Hal Leonard. pp. 236–237. ISBN 9780879305901.
- Rodriguez, R. (2010). Fab Four FAQ 2.0: The Beatles' Solo Years 1970–1980. Hal Leonard. p. 216. ISBN 978-0-87930-968-8.
- Riley, T. (2002). Tell Me Why. Da Capo. p. 359. ISBN 9780306811203.
- Sounes, H. (2010). Fab: An Intimate Life of Paul McCartney. Random House. p. 327. ISBN 9780385667036.
- McGee, G. (2003). Band on the Run. Taylor Trade. pp. 91, 131, 152, 178, 201. ISBN 0878333045.
- Erlewine, S.T.. "Wings at the Speed of Sound". Allmusic. Retrieved 27 October 2012.
- Welch, C. (1984). Paul McCartney: the definitive biography. Proteus. p. 106. ISBN 9780862761257.
- Erlewine, S.T.. "Wide Prairie". Allmusic. Retrieved 27 October 2012.
- "Love in Song: An Atlanta Tribute to Sir Paul McCartney". Allmusic. Retrieved 27 October 2012.