“When I want to alert my children to the dangers of marijuana abuse, I just print out the lyrics to some Wings' songs.”—Comedian/second banana Andy Richter, April 26, 2013 tweet
According to Skylark, Philip Furia’s biography of Johnny Mercer, the singer Margaret Whiting was used as an intermediary to sound out the Oscar-winning lyricist of “Moon River” and “Days of Wine and Roses” about the possibility of collaborating with Paul McCartney. Mercer turned down the invitation, using as an excuse his wife’s fragile health, though more likely it was his own (he died shortly afterward). There are conflicting reports about the Georgia-born writer’s feelings about the Beatles, but he is unlikely to have been impressed with most of McCartney’s lyrics in the Seventies.
Andy Richter’s comment brings to mind the usual complaints about the “cute Beatle” after his breakup from longtime songwriting partner John Lennon. Case in point of what Richter and the other (less snarky) critics have in mind: the album Red Rose Speedway, released in the United States on this date 40 years ago, recorded with the backup band Wings. It was a success, of course, hitting #1 in the U.S., including the singer's tribute to wife Linda, "My Love." But...
Here, for instance, are some sample lyrics of “Big Barn Bed,” the LP’s first song:
“Who you gonna weep on?
Who you gonna sleep on?
Who you gonna creep on next?”
Amazingly, McCartney thought seriously about releasing this as a double album. (Other songs, released in other formats later, were “Live and Let Die,” admittedly one of the better James Bond songs, and “Hi Hi Hi,” which—well, talking about “who you gonna creep on next”!)
Of course, Richter’s jibe could apply just about across the whole spectrum of rock ‘n’ roll. I mean, can anyone really explain America’s “Horse With No Name”? And let’s not get anywhere near their “Muskrat Love”!