A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Band on the Run (featuring Paul McCartney, his wife Linda, and former Moody Blues guitarist Denny Laine, the core of McCartney's post-Beatles band Wings) offers ambitious, clever pop-rock with little in the way of worrisome content. "Let Me Roll It" is Paul's response, in the guise of a lovelorn ballad, to John Lennon's scolding "How Do You Sleep" on Imagine; a song title like "Helen Wheels" is the closest the bouncy, cheerful album gets to profanity. The core concept of the album involves a band breaking out of jail, but it's not clear why they were there in the first place, and the whole thing is about as sinister as "Jailhouse Rock."
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What's the story?
On BAND ON THE RUN, Paul McCartney offers lots of style and showmanship in songs that are mainly a display of adroit craftsmanship rather than substance -- as in "Picasso's Last Words," which he famously composed on the spot in a bet with Dustin Hoffman, who challenged him to write a song about a random newspaper story. The 1973 album with Wings (his band that included Paul's wife Linda, former Moody Blues guitarist Denny Laine, and a changing cast) is a happy, often downright silly confection of tunes by an ex-Beatle having fun. Besides the title song, it includes such perennial radio mainstays as "Jet," "Bluebird," and "Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five."
Is it any good?
Fans of McCartney's Beatle songs, including such simple but profound lyrics as "Hey Jude," "She's Leaving Home," and "The Long and Winding Road," may have issues with the largely content-free fare here. But it's delivered with such superb craft and good cheer that it's hard to begrudge McCartney his infectious fun. Whatever the critics say, Band on the Run is a classic example of the future Sir Paul giving his audience exactly what it wanted. And it was still on the Billboard 200 albums chart in 2012.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether they prefer the Beatles' music from when the band was together or the solo work of the various bandmembers after the Fab Four broke up.
Why do you think this album is still so popular decades after it was first released?
How would you compare this album and John Lennon's Imagine -- and what does that tell you about McCartney and Lennon?
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