Cook of the House

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"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)
Format 7" single
Recorded 20 January 1976
Genre Soft rock
Length 2:37
Label MPL Communications (UK)
MPL Communications/Capitol (US)
Writer(s) Paul McCartney
Producer(s) Paul McCartney
Wings at the Speed of Sound track listing

"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[edit]

"Cook of the House" is a "1950s-style rock 'n' roll song."[1] Linda McCartney sings the lead vocal, her first lead vocal performance for Wings.[2] Paul McCartney plays the same double bass Bill Black played on Elvis Presley songs.[3] Other musicians on the song are Denny Laine and Jimmy McCulloch on guitar and Joe English on drums.[3] Either Thaddeus Richard or Howie Casey plays saxophone.[3] The song opens with the sound of bacon and chips frying in the key of E-flat.[2][4] 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.[2][3]

"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.[3][2] A plaque in the kitchen stated "Wherever I serve my guests, they like my kitchen best," which inspired some of the lyrics.[3] Most of the remaining lyrics came from the McCartneys looking at the food in the kitchen and listing the items in the song.[3]

The song was most likely recorded on 20 January 1976.[2]

Reception[edit]

"Cook of the House" was largely panned by critics.[1] Rolling Stone called the song a "celebration of scatterbrained wife-in-the-kitchen coziness."[5] Authors Chip Madinger and Mark Easter claim that Paul McCartney's double bass playing is the song's only redeeming value.[2] Author Robert Rodriguez calls it an "embarrassment," and author Tim Riley calls it a "feminist's nightmare."[5][6] Paul McCartney biographer Howard Sounes praised the song's production values but called it a "weak song" which was not sung well.[7] Entertainment Weekly described it as a "simpleminded domestic anthem" and claimed it was "genuinely terrible."[8] 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."[8] Allmusic critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine found the song charming, though acknowledging that it is "awkwardly sung."[9] Paul McCartney biographer Chris Welch called it "one of the most popular items" on Wings at the Speed of Sound.[10]

Other appearances[edit]

"Cook of the House" appeared as the B-side of Wings' 1976 single "Silly Love Songs."[3] 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."[8] Linda also sang "Cook of the House" live on Wings' 1979 UK tour.[8][2] "Cook of the House" was included on Linda McCartney's 1998 posthumous solo album Wide Prairie.[11] The Eastmans covered "Cook of the House" on Love in Song: An Atlanta Tribute to Sir Paul McCartney.[12]

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Benitez, V.P. (2010). The Words and Music of Paul McCartney: The Solo Years. Praeger. p. 75. ISBN 978-0-313-34969-0. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Madinger, C. & Easter, M. (2000). Eight Arms to Hold You. 44.1 Productions. pp. 215, 254. ISBN 0-615-11724-4. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h 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. 
  4. ^ Fong-Torres, B. (1999). Not Fade Away: A Backstage Pass to 20 Years of Rock & Roll. Hal Leonard. pp. 236–237. ISBN 9780879305901. 
  5. ^ a b Rodriguez, R. (2010). Fab Four FAQ 2.0: The Beatles' Solo Years 1970–1980. Hal Leonard. p. 216. ISBN 978-0-87930-968-8. 
  6. ^ Riley, T. (2002). Tell Me Why. Da Capo. p. 359. ISBN 9780306811203. 
  7. ^ Sounes, H. (2010). Fab: An Intimate Life of Paul McCartney. Random House. p. 327. ISBN 9780385667036. 
  8. ^ a b c d McGee, G. (2003). Band on the Run. Taylor Trade. pp. 91, 131, 152, 178, 201. ISBN 0878333045. 
  9. ^ Erlewine, S.T.. "Wings at the Speed of Sound". Allmusic. Retrieved 27 October 2012. 
  10. ^ Welch, C. (1984). Paul McCartney: the definitive biography. Proteus. p. 106. ISBN 9780862761257. 
  11. ^ Erlewine, S.T.. "Wide Prairie". Allmusic. Retrieved 27 October 2012. 
  12. ^ "Love in Song: An Atlanta Tribute to Sir Paul McCartney". Allmusic. Retrieved 27 October 2012.