Snapshot: ACL Artists Pick Their Favorite Paul McCartney Songs

Because you either like the Beatles, or you haven't listened to enough of the Beatles

Everyone likes the Beatles, right?

There are always a few naysayers when the question is broached, but as with many music lovers, "Snapshot" operates off the adage, "You either like the Beatles, or you haven't listened to enough of the Beatles." Haven't heard Revolver or The White Album? Yep, there's still hope for you.

And even if you're vehemently grounded in the nope-no-way-never camp, chances are you'd dig some tune from the expanded catalog of Paul McCartney, whose double-Friday finales (Oct. 5 & 12) at the 17th annual Austin City Limits Music Festival made history as the first-ever instance of him booking consecutive weekend performances at a long-running U.S. fest. Experts still quibble over which Beatles songs credited to "Lennon-McCartney" were actually Macca's, but including those, Wings records, solo albums, and other projects, his tally since the late Fifties is close to 1,000. So yeah, you can pick one.

In the process of snapping artists' portraits during ACL Fest's second weekend at Zilker Park, "Snapshot" homed in on that idea, asking each performer, "What's your favorite Paul McCartney song, and why?"


Brandi Carlile: "'Let It Be,' because it's divinely inspired and it's just one of the greatest pop-soul songs in the world. It always brings me inner peace. When I started covering it – because I cover it a lot – it always brings the show into focus, and it always brings me perspective and makes me realize how lucky I am even to have the opportunity for people to listen to me sing anything."


Jungle (Josh Lloyd-Watson and Tom McFarland): “It’s gotta be ‘Live and Let Die,’” says McFarland. “It’s just a grand riff, isn’t it?” Lloyd-Watson’s take: “I gotta say ‘I Am the Walrus.’ … I just like the weird, psychedelic shit, like he was taking too much acid. It makes me feel weird, and I like feeling weird.”


Elle King: “Even though John wrote it, it’s ‘Oh! Darling.’ [Paul] would go every day and scream for an hour because he really wanted to sing that song. He did it every day for like … six months, and then finally he got such a good take that they let him sing it. I love emotional singing, and you could hear that he loves hard.”


Disturbed: “Easy. It’s ‘Live and Let Die,’” says vocalist David Draiman (second from right). “It’s the most rockin’, the heaviest. And then the yang to the yin over there … I like ‘Let It Be.’”


Curtis Roush: “‘Temporary Secretary,’ because it’s the first techno song ever. [I first heard it] maybe 10 years ago … it was a van listen or something [with] the Bright Light [Social Hour] guys. … We were just shocked that it was that early, and it had a crazy sequenced synthesizer.”


Natalie Prass: “From Wings era, ‘Arrow Through Me,’ from the album Back to the Egg. The groove of that song and the synth horns … I could listen to that song all day. I first heard it in 2014 when I was touring with Jenny Lewis. Her drummer put it on the PA system and I was like, ‘What is this?!’ and I’ve been obsessed ever since.”


Duncan Fellows: “‘Rocky Raccoon,’” says keyboardist Jack Malonis. “I think it highlights the silliness of Paul’s songwriting while still encompassing the good narrative structure. I don’t know when I first heard it … probably when I was a kid. My dad used to test me on which Beatle was singing which song.”


Reignwolf: “[It’s] tough to pick a very favorite as Paul has got so many of the best,” says frontman Jordan Cook. “But the railed guitars on ‘Let Me Roll It’ take the cake. Raw and loud!”


Mon Laferte: “Después de el concierto, tengo muchas, pero mi favorite fue ‘Blackbird,’” says Laferte. “Fue un momento mágico, cuando el tocaba la guitarra solo y canto esa canción. Fue hermoso.” (Translated from Spanish: “After the concert, I have so many, but my favorite one … was ‘Blackbird.’ It was a magical moment when he played the guitar by himself and sang that song. It was beautiful.”)


Mike McCready of Pearl Jam (who guested with Brandi Carlile and Thunderpussy): “It would be ‘Blackbird.’ I think it was his kind of civil rights song, an ode to that, and I feel like that’s important, certainly in today’s atmosphere, how awful everything is. I feel like some songs resonate more and more and more when I wish they wouldn’t.”


Thunderpussy: “‘Live and Let Die,’ [because of] the fucking xylophone,” says drummer Ruby Dunphy (left). “It’s so amazing. I’ve never heard a xylophone sound badass before.” Guitarist Whitney Petty (upside down) weighs in: “‘Blackbird.’ It has the most beautiful guitar part.”


Ben Kweller couldn’t be reached for comment, but “Snapshot” guesses he might love the Beatles’ “Wait,” which he covered alongside the Strokes’ Albert Hammond Jr. in 2005, and “I Saw Her Standing There,” which he covered live in 2006.


Lily Allen likewise wasn’t able to comment, but it’s likely she’s particularly fond of “When I’m Sixty-Four” as she references it in the lyrics of “Pushing Up Daisies” off new album No Shame: “When we’ve lost our teeth/ Sleep in separate beds/ ’Til we’re just a strain on the NHS/ Will you stay with me?”

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Austin Powell, Aug. 28, 2009

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

ACL Festival, ACL Fest 2018, Lily Allen, Ben Kweller, Duncan Fellows, Disturbed, Thunderpussy, Mike McCready, Mon Laferte, Jack Malonis, Ruby Dunphy, Whitney Petty, Reignwolf, Jordan Cook, Natalie Prass, Curtis Roush, Jungle, Josh Lloyd-Watson, Tom McFarland, Elle King

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