John Lennon – Imagine (1971) and Paul McCartney & Wings – Band on the Run (1973)
Often celebrated as their respective ‘finest post-Beatle achievements,’ I’m curious as to how they sound head-to-head.
For simplicity, the records will henceforth be named I (Imagine) and BOTR (Band on the Run).
Conveniently, both have ten tracks (at least in North America), five per side, a track-by-track showdown it is!
Today, side A.
Track 1: Imagine (I) vs. Band on the Run (BOTR)
Lead with strength, name the album after the best tune, make it timeless.
Is picking a winner here like picking a favourite child? Go with Lennon’s unforgettable request for peace? McCartney’s brilliant mini-suite? Though it pains me to choose one (I don’t lead a terribly difficult life), it has to be the song that’s in the conversation for greatest song of all-time. Though Band on the Run easily cracks my top 20 song list, I don’t think it’s going out too far out on a limb to say people will still be singing Imagine into the 22nd century.
I 1, BOTR 0
Track 2: Crippled Inside (I) vs. Jet (BOTR)
Crippled Inside is a playful ditty for sure but the strength of Jet makes this less of a photo finish.
I 1, BOTR 1
Track 3: Jealous Guy (I) vs. Bluebird (BOTR)
For McCartney, the comparisons to Blackbird were inevitable, perhaps even intentional. Both easy, breezy, beautiful tunes, though I’d argue the relative sparseness of Blackbird made it the more effective of his famous avian songs. For me, Jealous Guy‘s piano intro is on par with the intro from the album’s namesake. On any other record, it would likely have received the recognition it deserves.
I 2, BOTR 1
Track 4: It’s So Hard (I) vs. Mrs. Vandebilt (BOTR)
McCartney evens the score with his chant-along lyric, Ho Hey Ho, Ho Hey Ho.
I 2, BOTR 2
Track 5: I Don’t Want to Be a Soldier, Mama, I Don’t Want to Die (I) vs. Let Me Roll It (BOTR)
Close to a coin flip. The guitar riff on Let Me Roll It gets less exciting as the song goes on, but it’s memorable enough to be the side A tie-breaker.
I 2, BOTR 3
B sides battle tomorrow, enjoy!