Too Many People

Last updated
"Too Many People"
Too Many People label.jpg
Single by Paul and Linda McCartney
from the album Ram
A-side "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey"
Released2 August 1971
Recorded10 November 1970
Genre Rock, psychedelic rock
Length4:10
Label Apple
Songwriter(s) Paul McCartney
Producer(s) Paul and Linda McCartney
Paul and Linda McCartney singles chronology
"Another Day"
(1971)
"Too Many People"
(1971)
"The Back Seat of My Car"
(1971)
Ram track listing
12 tracks
Side one
  1. "Too Many People"
  2. "3 Legs"
  3. "Ram On"
  4. "Dear Boy"
  5. "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey"
  6. "Smile Away"
Side two
  1. "Heart of the Country"
  2. "Monkberry Moon Delight"
  3. "Eat at Home"
  4. "Long Haired Lady"
  5. "Ram On"
  6. "The Back Seat of My Car"

"Too Many People" is a song by Paul McCartney from his and his wife Linda McCartney's 1971 album Ram as well as the B-side of the "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" single.

Contents

Background

Ono and Lennon in 1969. John Lennon en echtgenote Yoko Ono verlaten het Hilton Hotel te Amsterdam, omrin, Bestanddeelnr 922-2493.jpg
Ono and Lennon in 1969.

"Too Many People" contains digs at McCartney's former bandmate and songwriting partner John Lennon, as well as his wife Yoko Ono.

I was looking at my second solo album, Ram, the other day and I remember there was one tiny little reference to John in the whole thing. He'd been doing a lot of preaching, and it got up my nose a little bit. In one song, I wrote, "Too many people preaching practices", I think is the line. I mean, that was a little dig at John and Yoko. There wasn't anything else on it that was about them. Oh, there was "You took your lucky break and broke it in two".

Paul McCartney, Playboy , 1984 [1]

The line "You took your lucky break and broke it in two" was originally "Yoko took your lucky break and broke it in two" but McCartney revised it before recording the song. [2]

The song also begins with the line "piss off", later revealed to be a dig on Lennon.

Piss off, cake. Like, a piece of cake becomes piss off cake, And it's nothing, it's so harmless really, just little digs. But the first line is about "too many people preaching practices". I felt John and Yoko were telling everyone what to do. And I felt we didn't need to be told what to do. The whole tenor of the Beatles thing had been, like, to each his own. Freedom. Suddenly it was "You should do this". It was just a bit the wagging finger, and I was pissed off with it. So that one got to be a thing about them.

Paul McCartney, Mojo, 2001 [3]

Rolling Stone Magazine stated that "Too Many People"'s "incredibly sweet melody is proof that McCartney could use his charm as a weapon when he wanted to." [4]

The introduction to the song as well as the bridge alternate the tonic chord of G major with its minor subdominant chord of C minor. [2] This allows McCartney to go from the bridge to a repetition of the introduction music as a means of moving the music back to the verses. [2] According to Vincent Perez Benitez, this strategy "enhance[s] the coherence of the song," in a manner consistent with McCartney's earlier song "Maybe I'm Amazed." [2] "Too Many People" incorporates guitar solos in both the middle and at the end of the song. [2]

McCartney also recorded an instrumental version of "Too Many People" that was released on his Thrillington album. In this version a stereo phaser was used to produce a sound that music journalist Ian Peel describes as coming from a "psychedelic echo chamber." [5]

Recording

"Too Many People" was initially recorded on 10 November 1970 in Columbia Studios in New York City. Most of the overdubbing, including adding brass instruments to the beginning of the song, occurred in January 1971. Additional overdubbing occurred in March/April 1971. [3]

Aftermath

Following the release of Ram, John Lennon pointed out several songs that he claimed were attacks at him, among them being "Too Many People".

There were all the bits at the beginning of Ram like 'Too many people going underground'. Well that was us, Yoko Ono and me. And 'You took your lucky break', that was considering we had a lucky break to be with him.

John Lennon [3]

In response, Lennon wrote "How Do You Sleep?" for his album Imagine , an attack at McCartney featuring musical contributions from George Harrison. McCartney later wrote "Dear Friend", a truce offering to Lennon, and released it on the album Wild Life with his band, Wings. [6]

Reception

Rolling Stone Magazine rated "Too Many People" to be McCartney's 3rd greatest post-Beatles song, 2 slots ahead of its A-side "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" and behind only "Band on the Run" and "Maybe I'm Amazed." [4] Billboard described "Too Many People" as "wailing sentimentality." [7] Capital Journal critic Steve Gettinger called "Too Many People" a high point of Ram stating that it is "bright and bitter, carefully constructed" and "unmistakably Beatles." [8] Boston Globe critic Ernie Santosuosso described it as "a loud meditation about society" with a "particularly violent guitar statement," praising the music more than the lyrics. [9]

Los Angeles Times critic Robert Hilburn described "Too Many People" as "a sort of musical extension of Thomas Malthus that includes some of the humorous irony of the vintage Beatles," with lines such as "Too many people reaching for a piece of cake" and "Too many hungry people losing weight." [10] Hilburn goes on to state that the song provides a lyric surprise, which he likens to an O. Henry story, in which the lyrics turn to "a statement about the resolution of ones problems in a difficult self-centered world." [10] Hilburn suggests that this may be a reference to McCartney's experience with the Beatles' breakup. [10]

Of the instrumental version on Thrillington, Peel states that "rock 'n' roll is transformed into funky jazz with more than a hint of studio experimentation." [5]

Personnel

Related Research Articles

John Lennon English singer-songwriter; founding member of the Beatles

John Winston Ono Lennon was an English singer, songwriter, musician and peace activist who achieved worldwide fame as the founder, co-lead vocalist, and rhythm guitarist of the Beatles. His songwriting partnership with Paul McCartney remains the most successful in history. In 1969, he started the Plastic Ono Band with his second wife, Yoko Ono. After the Beatles disbanded in 1970, Lennon continued a career as a solo artist and as Ono's collaborator.

<i>Imagine</i> (John Lennon album) 1971 studio album by John Lennon

Imagine is the second studio album by English musician John Lennon, released on 9 September 1971 by Apple Records. Co-produced by Lennon, his wife Yoko Ono and Phil Spector, the album's lush sound contrasts the basic, small-group arrangements of his first album, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (1970), while the opening title track is widely considered to be his signature song.

"How Do You Sleep?" is a song by English rock musician John Lennon from his 1971 album Imagine. The song makes angry and scathing remarks aimed at his former Beatles bandmate and songwriting partner, Paul McCartney. Lennon wrote the song in response to what he perceived as personal slights by McCartney on the latter's Ram album. The track includes a slide guitar solo played by George Harrison and was co-produced by Lennon, Phil Spector and Yoko Ono.

<i>Ram</i> (album) 1971 studio album by Paul and Linda McCartney

Ram is a studio album by Paul McCartney and his wife Linda McCartney, released in May 1971 by Apple Records. It was recorded in New York with guitarists David Spinozza and Hugh McCracken, and future Wings drummer Denny Seiwell. Three singles were issued from the album: "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey", "The Back Seat of My Car" and "Eat at Home". The recording sessions also yielded the non-album single "Another Day".

<i>Wild Life</i> (Wings album) 1971 studio album by Wings

Wild Life is the debut studio album by the British–American rock band Wings and the third studio album by Paul McCartney following the breakup of the Beatles. The album was recorded over the course of eight days from 25 July to 2 August 1971 at Abbey Road Studios by McCartney and his wife Linda along with session drummer Denny Seiwell, whom they had worked with on the McCartneys' previous album Ram, and guitarist Denny Laine, formerly of the English rock band the Moody Blues. It was released by Apple Records on 7 December, in both the UK and US, to lukewarm critical and commercial reaction.

Real Love (Beatles song) 1979 song written and composed by John Lennon

"Real Love" is a song written by the English musician John Lennon formerly of the Beatles. He recorded six demos of the song in 1979 and 1980 with "Real Life", a different song that merged with "Real Love". In 1988, the sixth take was posthumously released for the documentary soundtrack Imagine: John Lennon. In 1995, his demo was completed by his former Beatles bandmates as part of the Beatles Anthology project, along with "Free as a Bird".

Why Dont We Do It in the Road?

"Why Don't We Do It in the Road?" is a song by the English rock band the Beatles, released on their 1968 double album The Beatles. Short and simple, it was written and sung by Paul McCartney, but credited to Lennon–McCartney. At 1:42, "Why Don't We Do It in the Road?" comprises 34 bars of a twelve-bar blues idiom. It begins with three different percussion elements and features McCartney's increasingly raucous vocal repeating a simple lyric with only two different lines.

Everybodys Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey

"Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey" is a song by the English rock group the Beatles from their 1968 double album The Beatles. The song was written by John Lennon and credited to Lennon–McCartney.

Cry Baby Cry

"Cry Baby Cry" is a song by the English rock band the Beatles, written by John Lennon from their 1968 double album The Beatles. The coda of the song is a short segment referred to as "Can You Take Me Back", written by Paul McCartney, which was actually an outtake from the "I Will" session.

Julia (Beatles song) Original song written and composed by Lennon-McCartney

"Julia" is a song by the English rock band the Beatles from their 1968 double album The Beatles. It is performed as a solo piece by John Lennon. The song was written by Lennon about his mother Julia Lennon, who died in 1958 at age 44.

Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey

"Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" is a song by Paul and Linda McCartney from the album Ram. Released in the United States as a single on 2 August 1971, it reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on 4 September 1971, making it the first of a string of post-Beatles, McCartney-penned singles to top the US pop chart during the 1970s and 1980s. Billboard ranked the song as number 22 on its Top Pop Singles of 1971 year-end chart. It became McCartney's first gold record as a solo artist.

The Back Seat of My Car

"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.

Eat at Home

"Eat at Home" is a 1971 single by Paul and Linda McCartney that also appeared on their album Ram from the same year. The song, a standard rock number, features McCartney on lead vocals, electric guitar, bass and drums and Linda McCartney performing backing vocals.

David Spinozza is an American guitarist and producer. He worked with former Beatles Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and John Lennon during the 1970s, and had a long collaboration with singer-songwriter James Taylor, producing Taylor's album Walking Man.

Early 1970

"Early 1970" is a song by English musician Ringo Starr, released in April 1971 as the B-side to his hit single "It Don't Come Easy". It was inspired by the break-up of the Beatles and documents Starr's relationship with his former bandmates, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison. The lyrics to the verses comment in turn on each of the ex-Beatles' personal lives and the likelihood of each of them making music with Starr again; in the final verse, Starr acknowledges his musical limitations before expressing the hope that all the former Beatles will play together in the future. Commentators have variously described "Early 1970" as "a rough draft of a peace treaty" and "a disarming open letter" from Starr to Lennon, McCartney and Harrison.

"Dear Boy" is a song from the Paul McCartney album Ram. Credited to Paul and Linda McCartney, the song was written during the couple's lengthy holiday on their farm in the Mull of Kintyre. The lyrics were written by Paul about how lucky he was to have Linda.

"Out the Blue" is a song written by John Lennon and originally released on his 1973 album Mind Games. The song is included on the 1990 boxset Lennon, the 2005 two disc compilation Working Class Hero: The Definitive Lennon, the 2010 album, Gimme Some Truth and the 2020 compilation album, Gimme Some Truth. The Ultimate Mixes.

"Little Lamb Dragonfly" is a song by Paul McCartney and Wings, credited to Paul and Linda McCartney and originally released on the 1973 album Red Rose Speedway. The song was originally recorded during the sessions for McCartney's Ram album in early 1971, and thus Hugh McCracken plays guitar on the recording rather than Wings' guitarist Denny Laine. However, Laine did provide backing vocals during the production work for Red Rose Speedway. McCartney originally intended to use the song as part of his Rupert and the Frog Song animated film project. Chip Madinger and Mark Easter noted that drummer Denny Seiwell may have assisted in writing the song, although he was not credited.

"New York City" is a song written by John Lennon that was first released on Lennon's and Yoko Ono's 1972 album Some Time in New York City.

"Sunday Bloody Sunday" is a song written by John Lennon and Yoko Ono that was first released on their 1972 album with Elephant's Memory, Some Time in New York City. The song addresses the Bloody Sunday massacre of 1972 and is one of two on the album that addresses the contemporary Northern Ireland conflict, "The Luck of the Irish" being the other.

References

  1. "Paul McCartney 1984 Playboy Interview". The Trustees of Indiana University. Retrieved 6 May 2008.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Benitez, V.P. (2010). The Words and Music of Paul McCartney: The Solo Years. Praeger. pp. 28–29. ISBN   978-0-313-34969-0.
  3. 1 2 3 "Too Many People". The Beatles Bible.
  4. 1 2 Dolan, Jon; Vozick-Levinson, Simon; Hermes, Will & Sheffield, Rob (September 13, 2017). "Paul McCartney's 40 Greatest Solo Songs". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2020-06-19.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. 1 2 Peel, Ian (2013). The Unknown Paul McCartney. Titan. ISBN   9781781162750.
  6. "Dear Friend". The Paul McCartney Project. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  7. "Billboard Album Reviews" (PDF). Billboard. 29 May 1971. Retrieved 2020-06-29.
  8. Gettinger, Steve (19 June 1971). "Paul (and Linda) McCartney album has ups and downs". Capital Journal. p. 7. Retrieved 2020-06-27 via newspapers.com.
  9. Santosuosso, Ernie (30 May 1971). "McCartney LP Needs Lennon". Boston Globe. p. 32. Retrieved 2020-06-27 via newspapers.com.
  10. 1 2 3 Hilburn, Robert (23 May 1971). "Disappointing Solo Album From Paul McCartney". Los Angeles Times. p. 47. Retrieved 2020-06-27 via newspapers.com.