Silly Love Songs
|"Silly Love Songs"|
German single sleeve
|Single by Wings|
|from the album Wings at the Speed of Sound|
|B-side||"Cook of the House"|
|Released||1 April 1976 (US)
30 April 1976 (UK)
|Recorded||16 January 1976|
|Length||5:53 (commercial 7" version)
3:22 (DJ copy edit)
|Label||MPL Communications (UK)
MPL Communications/Capitol (US)
|Writer(s)||Paul & Linda McCartney|
|Certification||BPI (UK) Silver 1 June 1976
RIAA (US) Gold 11 June 1976
|Wings singles chronology|
"Silly Love Songs" is a song written by Paul McCartney and performed by Wings. The song appears on the 1976 album Wings at the Speed of Sound. It was also released as a single in 1976, backed with "Cook of the House". The song, written in response to music critics accusing him of writing only "silly love songs", also features disco overtones.
"Silly Love Songs" was written as a rebuttal to music critics, as well as former Beatle and friend, John Lennon, accusing Paul McCartney of writing lightweight love songs. 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.
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 bassline and worked well live.— Paul McCartney, Billboard
McCartney allowed the horn section to create their own parts for the song.
The US single was released on 1 April 1976 and spent five non-consecutive weeks at number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. "Silly Love Songs" 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. In 2013, Billboard Magazine determined the song is McCartney's biggest US chart hit of his post-Beatles career, ranking at No. 36 on the "all-time" charts. The UK single was released on 30 April 1976 and reached number 2 on the UK Singles Chart. The single was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America for sales of over one million copies.
The song was McCartney's 27th number one as a songwriter, the all-time record for most number one hits by a songwriter. (see List of Billboard Hot 100 chart achievements and milestones) With this song, McCartney became the first person to have a year-end No. 1 song as a member of two distinct acts. He previously hit No. 1 in the year-end Billboard chart with "I Want to Hold Your Hand" in 1964 and "Hey Jude" in 1968. In 2008, the song was listed at No. 31 on Billboard's Greatest Songs of All Time, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
"Silly Love Songs" has since appeared on multiple of McCartney's greatest hits compilations, including Wings Greatest and All the Best!. It also appeared on the "Hits" half of the compilation Wingspan: Hits and History.
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 critically panned motion picture Give My Regards to Broad Street.
"Silly Love Songs" has generally received positive reviews from critics, despite the 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." 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." John Bergstrom of PopMatters called the song "an exemplary piece of mid-‘70s pop production and a pure pleasure."
Weekly singles charts
- Paul McCartney – lead vocals, bass
- Linda McCartney – backing vocals, keyboards
- Jimmy McCulloch – lead guitar
- Denny Laine – backing vocals, rhythm guitar
- Joe English – drums
- Tony Dorsey – horns
- Thaddeus Richard – horns
- Steve Howard – horns
- Howie Casey – horns
- In 1977, Welsh singer Shirley Bassey covered the song on her album You Take My Heart Away.
- In 1978, British pop singer Greg Bonham performed it on his Moscow concert, that was recorded live and released on LP (Melodiya С60–11121-2).
- In 1995, American rock band The Replicants covered the song on their self-titled album, with Maynard James Keenan on vocals.
- In 1996, rock group Red House Painters performed the song on their album Songs for a Blue Guitar.
- In 1998, American singer Stevie B recorded a version for his album Right Here, Right Now.
- In 1999, New Zealand music group Ardijah performed an R&B version of the song.
- In 2001, Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor featured the song in "Elephant Love Medley" within the film Moulin Rouge!
- In 2007, Wings band member Denny Laine covered "Silly Love Songs" on his album Performs the Hits of Wings.
- In 2011, the song is featured in the Valentine's Day episode of Glee, which is also titled after the song. The song was performed by Darren Criss (who plays Blaine Anderson), while all-male a cappella group Beelzebubs sang the background vocals.
- In 2015 John Pizzarelli recorded the song on his album Midnight McCartney.
Uses in popular culture
- This song was used in the pilot episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air when Carlton Banks is heard singing the first verse while taking a shower.
- In 2005, the song was sampled in Jenn Cuneta's Come Rain, Come Shine.
- The song is heard playing on a car radio in an episode of True Blood. Its use is ironic, since the car's driver is Hayes, a violent vampire.
- List of Hot 100 number-one singles of 1976 (U.S.)
- List of number-one adult contemporary singles of 1976 (U.S.)
- "Certified Awards Search". BPI. Retrieved 12 October 2012.
- "RIAA Gold and Platinum". RIAA. Retrieved 12 October 2012.
- Billboard 2009.
- Riley, T. (2002). Tell Me Why: The Beatles: Album By Album, Song By Song, The Sixties And After. Da Capo. p. 359. ISBN 9780306811203.
- "Paul McCartney On His Not-So-Silly Love Songs". Billboard.
- Benitez, Vincent Perez. The Words and Music of Paul McCartney: The Solo Years.
- McGee 2003, p. 210.
- McGee 2003, p. 232.
- "Paul McCartney Charts and Awards". allmusic. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
- Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 163.
- Bronson, Fred (2 August 2012). "Hot 100 55th Anniversary: The All-Time Top 100 Songs". Billboard. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
- McGee 2003, p. 240.
- "Official Charts: Paul McCartney". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
- "Gold & Platinum Searchable Database - June 06, 2014". RIAA. Retrieved 2014-06-06.
- Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1964
- Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1968
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Wings at the Speed of Sound". AllMusic.
- Christgau, Robert. "Paul McCartney discography".
- Holden, Stephen. "Wings at the Speed of Sound". Rolling Stone.
- Bergstrom, John. "Paul McCartney and Wings: Wings at the Speed of Sound". PopMatters.
- "Top Singles – Volume 26, No. 14 & 15, January 08 1977". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved March 13, 2016.
- "Original versions of Silly Love Songs by Shirley Bassey". SecondHandSongs. 1976-03-25. Retrieved 2014-06-06.
- "Performs the Hits of Wings". Allmusic. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
- "Glee Season 2 Episode 12: Silly Love Songs | The Official Music for Glee Site". Gleethemusic.com. Retrieved 2014-06-06.
- Erica Futterman (2011-02-09). "'Glee' Recap: 'Silly Love Songs' Hits the Right Note | Culture News". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2014-06-06.
- "The Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Songs (40-31)". Billboard. 2009. Retrieved 29 August 2009.
- McGee, Garry (2003). Band on the Run: A History of Paul McCartney and Wings. New York: Taylor Trade Publishing. ISBN 0-87833-304-5.
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