The Back Seat of My Car
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|"The Back Seat of My Car"|
|Single by Paul and Linda McCartney|
|from the album Ram|
|B-side||"Heart of the Country"|
|Released||13 August 1971 (UK only)|
|Recorded||22 October 1970|
|Producer(s)||Paul and Linda McCartney|
|Paul and Linda McCartney singles chronology|
|Ram track listing|
"The Back Seat of My Car" is a song written by Paul McCartney and released by him and his wife Linda McCartney as the last track on the 1971 album Ram. Several months later, it was released as a single in the UK, peaking at number 39. The song modulates stylistically between a sweeping piano-and-orchestra ballad similar to McCartney's "The Long and Winding Road" and upbeat rock sections before ending in a raucous and passionate finale.
McCartney first presented this composition for The Beatles' consideration during the Get Back rehearsals on 14 January 1969 at Twickenham Film Studios in London, but the album was aborted before anything could be done with the song, which eventually did not make it onto Let It Be either.
According to McCartney, this song and other car-based songs in his late-Beatles and early solo career, such as "Two of Us" and "Helen Wheels," were inspired by the long road trips he and Linda used to take as the Beatles were breaking up. Most of the song is a piano-based ballad. But it is interspersed with orchestral sections and sections inspired by 50s-style rock 'n' roll. Allmusic critic Stewart Mason likens the main tune to those of McCartney's Beatle songs "Two of Us" and "You Never Give Me Your Money." Mason compares the effect of the various song sections to the medley from the Beatles Abbey Road and to some of the Beach Boys' post-Pet Sounds work. McCartney said of the song:
"Back Seat of My Car" is the ultimate teenage song, and even though it was a long time since I was a teenager and had to go to a girl's dad and explain myself, it's that kind of meet-the-parents song. It's a good old driving song. [Sings] "We can make it to Mexico City." I've never driven to Mexico City, but it's imagination. And obviously "back seat" is snogging, making love.
John Lennon felt that this song, among others on the album, was directed critically towards him; in particular, he perceived the protagonists who sing "We believe that we can't be wrong" to be himself and Yoko Ono. Allmusic critic Stewart Mason claims that in the context of the criticism McCartney was receiving in the aftermath of the Beatles breakup, this line sounds more like a "statement of personal intent" than the declaration of love it could be in the context of the song's lyrics themselves.
In a contemporary review for RAM, Jon Landau of Rolling Stone described "The Back Seat of My Car" as one of only two good songs he enjoyed on the album, the other being "Eat at Home". Landau further described the song as "the album's production number".
Critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic said the song demonstrated the "imaginative and gorgeous" arrangements on Ram and called the song its "sad, soaring finale." Mason considers it to be the "true highlight" of Ram.
- Paul McCartney – lead and backing vocals, piano, electric guitar, bass guitar
- Linda McCartney – backing vocals
- David Spinozza – lead guitar
- Hugh McCracken – lead guitar
- Denny Seiwell – drums
- New York Philharmonic – orchestral arrangement
- "Official Charts: Paul McCartney". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
- "UK Top 40 Chart Archive". Retrieved 1 September 2009.
- Mason, S. "Back Seat of My Car". Allmusic. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
- "Paul McCartney On His Not-So-Silly Love Songs". Billboard.
- McCartney: Songwriter ISBN 0-491-03325-7 p. 104
- Landau, Jon (8 July 1971). "Ram". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 30 July 2017.
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Review of Ram". allmusic. Retrieved 2 September 2009.