Since its release in 1970, much has been made of John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band LP, a stripped down, soul bearing divorce from the Beatles shackles album, and a stunning achievement, no question. What many forget, though, is that months before, Paul McCartney was making the exact same type of record, and playing and recording every instrument himself, alone at his farm in Scotland. McCartney is, in its own way, every bit as stripped down, spare and bold as Lennon’s debut solo record, but then, these two soul-mated artists were always opposite sides of the same coin.
Ten years later, while Lennon was returning from his househusband years and recording radio-ready pop for Double Fantasy with NYC’s finest studio musicians, McCartney was once again at home, setting up drums in the loo and cutting experimental tracks alone, often with young children tugging at his pant legs for McCartney II. Today, McCartney has issued remastered deluxe editions of both eponymous records. Everyone knows “Maybe I’m Amazed”, but McCartney II in particular is studded with hidden gems worth a spin.