Do you ever wish you knew more about Paul McCartney’s career after he left The Beatles?
If so, I have found the answer on the excellent Steve Hoffman forum, a place for music enthusiasts. I’ve found it a bit intimating to join but it’s a great place to read.
Ratings For Paul McCartney’s Studio Albums
A member (MrJinks) has been conducting a series of polls to discover how McCartney’s albums have been rated by forum members and the results can be found at
A summary of the “How do you rate Paul McCartney’s Albums?” polls
It starts with a summary but that has been updated on page 4 to…
#1: “Band on the Run”. 572 votes, with the highest average rating of 4.63 (out of 5.00).
#2: “Ram”. 647 votes, average rating: 4.59.
#3: “Venus & Mars”. 333 votes, average rating: 4.25.
#4: “Chaos & Creation”. 337 votes, average rating: 4.17.
#5: “Tug of War”. 332 votes, average rating: 4.10.
#6: “Flaming Pie”. 465 votes, average rating: 4.07.
#7: “McCartney”. 484 votes, average rating: 4.02.
#8: “Flowers in the Dirt”. 546 votes, average rating: 3.76.
#9: “Electric Arguments”. 279 votes, average rating: 3.66.
#10: “Run Devil Run”. 229 votes, average rating: 3.64.
#11: “Back To The Egg”. 478 votes, average rating: 3.6004.
#12: “New”. 484 votes, average rating: 3.5992.
#13: “Memory Almost Full”. 296 votes, average rating: 3.43.
#14: “Red Rose Speedway”. 333 votes, average rating: 3.37.
#15: “London Town”. 298 votes, average rating: 3.29.
#16: “McCartney II”. 356 votes, average rating: 3.20.
#17: “At The Speed Of Sound”. 424 votes, average rating: 3.14.
#18: “CHOBA B CCCP”. 288 votes, with an average rating of 3.03.
#19: “Wild Life”. 518 votes, average rating: 2.90.
#20: “Off The Ground”. 393 votes, average rating: 2.89.
#21: “Driving Rain”. 383 votes, average rating: 2.74.
#22: “Press to Play”. 440 votes, average rating: 2.60.
#23: “Kisses on the Bottom”. 275 votes, average rating: 2.53.
#24: “Pipes of Peace”. 329 votes, with the lowest average rating of 2.51.
#25: “Give My Regards to Broad Street”. 246 votes, average rating: 2.48.
The links are to the discussions of the individual albums.
This is a terrific effort by the original thread creator and an interesting comparator to the AllMusic Guide to Paul McCartney.
In terms of which albums, then these are the winners:
Band On The Run 453
Flaming Pie 204
Chaos & Creation 181
Venus & Mars 169
Tug of War 158
Flowers in the Dirt 136
Back To The Egg 126
My Thoughts On The Paul McCartney Album Ratings
Let me start off by making clear my position.
I like The Beatles. They are one of my grade A bands and I’ve been to see Paul McCartney play live in concert three times, starting off with the tour that was recorded as Tripping The Live Fantastic to promote Flowers In The Dirt.
But I’ve never delved that deeply into McCartney’s solo career. I had Band On The Run and Venus & Mars as a teenager back in the 1970s. I never knew anyone with the pre-Wings McCartney albums but they didn’t seem to have a great reputation back then and of course they was no Internet, no YouTube, no streaming to allow you to find out more or listen for yourself.
I thought Wings At The Speed Of Sound was patchy, even if the two sings are catchy. The live album, Wings Over America was brilliant in the ’70s and I still think it’s brilliant. Definitely one of my top 20 live albums and probably it makes the top 10.
I hated Mull of Kintyre (which was number one for far too many weeks) so that put me off London Town. I had the singles from Back To The Egg and then I gave up.
I bought Flowers In The Dirt before the concert and enjoyed the album at the time but it never stuck with me and I’ve been sniffy about the setlist for Tripping The Live Fantastic
I’d bought Flaming Pie before I saw this analysis but it’s my only late McCartney album… at least until Chaos & Creation and New are delivered which I listened to on my streaming service and thought were well worth buying.
It’s fantastic that he’s made albums late in his career that are getting such great recognition. A real credit to a dedicated professional and it’s a shame that they aren’t that well known to the wider pop rock crowd. It’s a long time since he’s had a big hit single on his own. A quick look at Wikipedia his last top 10 single in the UK was back in 1987 with Once Upon A Long Time Ago to promote his All The Best compilation.
I am surprised at how well Ram is doing. Band On The Run is an absolute classic and Venus & Mars is excellent so I’m not surprised at their ratings. Back then, McCartney had found his second life with Wings.
Ram is a strange on. I don’t remember seeing it do well in the “greatest albums of all time” polls that are regularly published. I bought it some time ago after a bout of reading the Steve Hoffman forum and it’s not really made much of an impression. Definitely not horrible or an embarrassment but it hasn’t seized my heart in the way it has many of the voters on the Hoffman forum. I probably need to listen to it more to spot what others are seeing and I’m missing. While I may not agree with widely recognised great albums, I can normally see why they are so well regarded.
What Do You Think? What Are Your Favourite Paul McCartney Albums?
Leave a comment and post your thoughts.
This blog is going to switch it’s emphasis from all live albums to the best live albums and the best studio albums, as I move from quantity of posts to quality.