Paul McCartney – Listen To What The Man Said

This was one of those songs that sounded so good over AM radio…and I guess still does if you can catch it on AM. It’s a song I forget about from time to time. I was reminded when I saw Paul in 2010 and 2014. He just keeps playing songs you remember and you think…did this guy write every hit of the 20th century?

It takes me back to when my sister would skip school (she is eight years older) and take me with her…maybe that is the reason I can’t spell worth a dam. Mom never found out about those days or my sister would have been grounded forever.

It’s far from his best song but it’s a good pop hit.  It was recorded for the album Venus and Mars. It was a song which McCartney had high hopes for, but early recordings did not live up to the song’s potential. The missing indgredient was Jazz musician Tom Scott’s sax solo. They ended up keeping the first take.

Listen To What The Man Said peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100, #1 in Canada, #6 in the UK, and #8 in New Zealand in 1975. The album peaked at #1 in the Billboard Album Charts, #1 in Canada, #1 in the UK, and #1 in New Zealand.

Paul’s impression of Leo Nocentelli, the guitarist for The Meters…many people thought he was imitating Wolfman Jack.

Paul McCartney and John Lennon were talking seriously about getting together during the Venu and Mars sessions in New Orleans but John reunited with Yoko and didn’t come. This was after John’s “lost weekend” when he was separated from Yoko. May Pang (his girlfriend at the time) verified this.

Paul McCartney:It was one of the songs we’d gone in with high hopes for. Whenever I would play it on the piano, people would say ‘Oh, I like that one.’ But when we did the backing track, we thought we didn’t really get it together at all.

Someone said [famous jazz musician] ‘Tom Scott lives near here.’ We said, yeah, give him a ring, see if he turns up, and he turned up within half an hour! There he was, with his sax, and he sat down in the studio playing through. The engineer was recording it. We kept all the notes he was playing casually. He came in and I said ‘I think that’s it.’ He said ‘Did you record that?’ I said yes, and we listened to it back. No one could believe it, so he went out and tried a few more, but they weren’t as good. He’d had all the feel on this early take, the first take.

My stuff is never ‘a comment from within’. Basically I’m saying: ‘Listen to the basic rules, don’t goof off too much’. But if you say ‘The Man’, it can mean God, it can mean ‘Women, listen to your man’, it can mean so many things. Later I did a song with Michael Jackson called ‘The Man’ and again, it’s quite nice leaving things ambiguous: I’m sure for Michael, probably ‘The Man’ meant God.

Listen To What The Man Said

Alright, okay
Very good to see you down in New Orleans, man
Yeah here it is
Yeah, yeah

Any time, any day
You can hear the people say
That love is blind
Well, I don’t know but I say love is kind

Soldier boy kisses girl
Leaves behind a tragic world
But he won’t mind, he’s in love
And he says love is fine

Oh yes, indeed we know
That people will find a way to go
No matter what the man said

And love is fine for all we know
For all we know, our love will grow
That’s what the man said

So won’t you listen to what the man said
He said

Ah, take it away

Oh yes, indeed we know
That people will find a way to go
No matter what the man said

And love is fine for all we know
For all we know, our love will grow
That’s what the man said

So won’t you listen to what the man said
He said

Oh yes, indeed we know
That people will find a way to go
No matter what the man said

And love is fine for all we know
For all we know, our love will grow
That’s what the man said

So won’t you listen to what the man said
He said

The wonder of it all, baby
The wonder of it all, baby
The wonder of it all, baby, yeah yeah yeah