Silly Love Songs

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"Silly Love Songs"
Silly Love Songs (Wings single - cover art).jpg
German single sleeve
Single by Wings
from the album Wings at the Speed of Sound
B-side"Cook of the House"
Released1 April 1976
Recorded16 January 1976
3:28 (single edit)
Producer(s)Paul McCartney
Wings singles chronology
"Venus and Mars/Rock Show"
"Silly Love Songs"
"Let 'Em In"
Wings at the Speed of Sound track listing
11 tracks
Side one
  1. "Let 'Em In"
  2. "The Note You Never Wrote"
  3. "She's My Baby"
  4. "Beware My Love"
  5. "Wino Junko"
Side two
  1. "Silly Love Songs"
  2. "Cook of the House"
  3. "Time to Hide"
  4. "Must Do Something About It"
  5. "San Ferry Anne"
  6. "Warm and Beautiful"
Alternative covers
Silly Love Songs - Wings (Dutch single sleeve).jpg
Music video
"Silly Love Songs" on YouTube

"Silly Love Songs" is a song by the British–American rock band Wings that was written by Paul and Linda McCartney. The song first appeared in March 1976 on the album Wings at the Speed of Sound, then it was released as a single backed with "Cook of the House" on 1 April in the US, and 30 April in the UK. The song, which features disco overtones, was written in response to music critics accusing McCartney of predominantly writing "silly love songs" and "sentimental slush".[1]

The song was McCartney's 27th number one as a songwriter; the all-time record for the most number one hits achieved by a songwriter.[n 1] With this song, McCartney became the first person to have a year-end No. 1 song as a member of two distinct acts. McCartney previously hit No. 1 in the year-end Billboard chart as a member of the Beatles with "I Want to Hold Your Hand" in 1964 and "Hey Jude" in 1968.[2][3]

"Silly Love Songs" has since appeared on multiple McCartney greatest hits compilations, including Wings Greatest and All the Best! The song has also appeared on the "Hits" section of the compilation album Wingspan: Hits and History. Despite its popularity, McCartney has not performed the song live since the dissolution of Wings.


"Silly Love Songs" was written as a rebuttal to music critics who had criticized McCartney for writing lightweight love songs.[4] Author Tim Riley suggests that in the song, McCartney is inviting "his audience to have a laugh on him," as Elvis Presley had sometimes done.[5]

But over the years people have said, "Aw, he sings love songs, he writes love songs, he's so soppy at times." I thought, Well, I know what they mean, but, people have been doing love songs forever. I like 'em, other people like 'em, and there's a lot of people I love -- I'm lucky enough to have that in my life. So the idea was that "you" may call them silly, but what's wrong with that?

The song was, in a way, to answer people who just accuse me of being soppy. The nice payoff now is that a lot of the people I meet who are at the age where they've just got a couple of kids and have grown up a bit, settling down, they'll say to me, "I thought you were really soppy for years, but I get it now! I see what you were doing!"

By the way, "Silly Love Songs" also had a good bass line and worked well live.

— Paul McCartney, Billboard[6]

The song includes a build-up of multiple vocal parts sung in counterpoint, similar to the Beach Boys' "God Only Knows", a song that McCartney cited as his favourite of all time.[7] McCartney allowed the horn section to create their own parts for the song.[8]


"Silly Love Songs" was released in the US on 1 April 1976[9] and spent five non-consecutive weeks at number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.[10][11] The song was the number 1 pop song in Billboard's Year-End Charts of 1976; it was also the group's second of three number ones on the Easy Listening chart.[12] The single was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America for sales of over one million copies.[13] Billboard listed "Silly Love Songs" as Paul McCartney's all-time biggest Hot 100 single.[14]

The single was released in the UK on 30 April 1976[9] and reached number 2 on the UK Singles Chart.[15][16] The song reached No. 1 upon the Irish Singles Chart on 27 May.[17]

Critical reception[edit]

Upon release, "Silly Love Songs" generally received positive reviews from music critics,[18] despite a common criticism of the song lacking substance. AllMusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine described the song, as well as its follow-up single, "Let 'Em In", as "so lightweight that their lack of substance seems nearly defiant".[19] Music critic Robert Christgau called the two tracks "charming if lightweight singles", while Rolling Stone critic Stephen Holden said "Silly Love Songs" was "a clever retort whose point is well taken".[20][21] Cash Box said that "the production is slick and the arrangement filled with drive" and that McCartney's "voice is as good as ever".[22] Record World said that "all the ingredients of a sure chart-topper are wrapped up in this delightful, fast moving number" with "awesome hooks."[23] John Bergstrom of PopMatters called the song "an exemplary piece of mid-‘70s pop production and a pure pleasure".[24]

In 2008, "Silly Love Songs" was listed at No. 31 on Billboard's Greatest Songs of All Time, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Billboard Hot 100 chart.[4]

Other recordings[edit]

In 1976, Wings recorded "Silly Love Songs" live for their triple live album Wings Over America. In 1984, three years after the dissolution of Wings, Paul McCartney re-recorded "Silly Love Songs" for the soundtrack to the motion picture Give My Regards to Broad Street.


Personnel per The Paul McCartney Project[25]


Other musicians[edit]

  • Tony Dorsey – trombone
  • Thaddeus Richard – saxophone
  • Steve Howard – trumpet
  • Howie Casey – saxophone



Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[43] Gold 1,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

Ardijah version[edit]

"Silly Love Songs"
Single by Ardijah
from the album Time
Ardijah singles chronology
"Love So Right"
"Silly Love Songs"
"Do 2 You"

In 1999, New Zealand music group group Ardijah released an R&B version of "Silly Love Songs". Their cover debuted at number 22 on New Zealand's RIANZ Singles Chart on 17 January 1999, rising to number nine the following week. It then moved up to number three, where it stayed for two weeks, and reached number one on 14 February, becoming the band's highest-charting single in their home country as well as their first top-10 hit since "Watchin' U" in 1988.[44] "Silly Love Songs" logged 17 weeks on the New Zealand chart in total. Despite the song's success, it did not appear on New Zealand's year-end chart for 1999, nor did it receive any sales certifications.[45][46]


Chart (1999) Peak
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[47] 1

Other covers[edit]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ McCartney: Songwriter ISBN 0-491-03325-7 p. 152
  2. ^ Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1964
  3. ^ Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1968
  4. ^ a b Billboard 2009.
  5. ^ Riley, T. (2002). Tell Me Why: The Beatles: Album By Album, Song By Song, The Sixties And After. Da Capo. p. 359. ISBN 9780306811203.
  6. ^ "Paul McCartney On His Not-So-Silly Love Songs". Billboard.
  7. ^ Nobile, Drew (2020). Form as Harmony in Rock Music. Oxford University Press. pp. 232–234. ISBN 978-0-19-094838-2.
  8. ^ Benitez, Vincent Perez. The Words and Music of Paul McCartney: The Solo Years.
  9. ^ a b McGee 2003, p. 210.
  10. ^ McGee 2003, p. 232.
  11. ^ "Paul McCartney Charts and Awards". allmusic. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
  12. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 163.
  13. ^ "Gold & Platinum Searchable Database - June 06, 2014". RIAA. Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2014-06-06.
  14. ^ "Paul McCartney's Top 10 Billboard Hits". Billboard. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  15. ^ McGee 2003, p. 240.
  16. ^ "Official Charts: Paul McCartney". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
  17. ^
  18. ^ McCartney: Songwriter ISBN 0-491-03325-7 p. 119
  19. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Wings at the Speed of Sound". AllMusic.
  20. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Paul McCartney discography".
  21. ^ Holden, Stephen (20 May 1976). "Wings at the Speed of Sound". Rolling Stone.
  22. ^ "Cash Box Singles Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. April 10, 1976. p. 15. Retrieved 2021-12-11.
  23. ^ "Hits of the Week" (PDF). Record World. April 10, 1976. p. 1. Retrieved 2023-03-06.
  24. ^ Bergstrom, John (26 January 2021). "Paul McCartney and Wings: Wings at the Speed of Sound". PopMatters.
  25. ^ "Silly Love Songs (song)". The Paul McCartney project. Retrieved 2021-08-29.
  26. ^ "Australia's (David Kent) Weekly Single Charts from 1976". Retrieved 16 June 2018.
  27. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 4132a." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
  28. ^ "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 4141." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
  29. ^ "Wings – Silly Love Songs" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved February 24, 2018. To see peak chart position, click "TITEL VON Wings"
  30. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Silly Love Songs". Irish Singles Chart.
  31. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 22, 1976" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  32. ^ "Wings – Silly Love Songs" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  33. ^ "Wings – Silly Love Songs". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  34. ^ "Wings – Silly Love Songs". VG-lista. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  35. ^ "Wings: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  36. ^ "Wings Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  37. ^ "Wings Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  38. ^ "Top 200 Singles of '76". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
  39. ^ "Top 50 Singles of 1976". Music Week. London, England: Spotlight Publications: 25. 25 December 1976.
  40. ^ "Pop Singles" Billboard December 25, 1976: Talent in Action-6
  41. ^ Top 50 Adult Contemporary Hits of 1976
  42. ^ "Hot 100 turns 60". Billboard. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
  43. ^ "American single certifications – Paul Mc Cartney & Wings – Silly Love Songs". Recording Industry Association of America.
  44. ^ "Search for: Ardijah". Retrieved 16 June 2018.
  45. ^ "End of Year Charts 1999". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
  46. ^ "Official Top 40 Singles". Recorded Music NZ. 9 May 1999. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
  47. ^ "Ardijah – Silly Love Songs". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
  48. ^ a b "Original versions of Silly Love Songs by Shirley Bassey". SecondHandSongs. 1976-03-25. Retrieved 2014-06-06.
  49. ^ "Replicants - Replicants". Discogs. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  50. ^ Rolling Stone review
  51. ^ "Performs the Hits of Wings". Allmusic. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
  52. ^ "Glee Season 2 Episode 12: Silly Love Songs | The Official Music for Glee Site". Retrieved 2014-06-06.
  53. ^ Erica Futterman (2011-02-09). "'Glee' Recap: 'Silly Love Songs' Hits the Right Note | Culture News". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2014-06-06.
  54. ^ "Midnight McCartney". 30 October 2015. Retrieved 26 March 2019.

External links[edit]


  • McGee, Garry (2003). Band on the Run: A History of Paul McCartney and Wings. New York: Taylor Trade Publishing. ISBN 0-87833-304-5.