He's been described as the most successful rock composer of all time and today Paul McCartney turns 72 years old.

With The Beatles he scored 21 US No.1 & 17 UK No.1 singles plus McCartney has scored over 30 US & UK solo Top 40 hit singles. He has written and co-written 188 charted records, of which 91 reached the Top 10 and 33 made it to No.1 totalling 1,662 weeks on the chart.

But what about those underrated McCartney tracks through the years?

Kevin Winter, Getty Images
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

UltimateClassicRock.com has a pretty good Top Ten list of the McCartney tunes that might have slipped through the cracks. There's a couple I'd like to highlight starting with a tune that hit #1 on the charts. So how could a song like that be underrated?

Well, it's because the version of "Coming Up" you're used to hearing likely is the live performance, which radio stations (and listeners) preferred back in 1980. The studio performance is more unusual:

The album's leadoff track is pure pop put through a very quirky filter. Sterile drums, thin guitars and an effects laden vocal make it sound like it's being beamed in from some odd radio broadcast.

Also on this list is one of my favorite later-day McCartney songs, "The World Tonight" from the Flaming Pie album in 1997.

There are many gems on the album, but tragically, no hits! This song was released as a single, but barely made the top 40. The song and performance are so strong that you almost forget it was produced by sometimes constraining Jeff Lynne.

However, the most underrated Paul McCartney track isn't even on the list. I love "Take IT Away" from the Tug of War album, which was produced by Sir George Martin. Stylus Magazine has written a great appreciation of the magic moments throughout the song:

Sirs Martin and McCartney must have known what they had here, because the joie de vivre of “Take It Away” is indisputable: its thundering (like horses) choruses, its whipped cream-fluffy bridge, the way it all comes together in utter, making-it-sound-so-simple perfection. And like all great singles it knows when to take its leave, fading out as the song approaches the 4:00 mark. If “Take It Away” doesn’t convince you of Paul’s genius as a solo artist—for the record, I’m not a particularly big Beatles fan—nothing ever will. This is, as they say, as good as it gets.

Having whet your McCartney appetite, how about seeing  him in concert this summer in Utah? We’ve got your chance.

We’re sending one lucky winner and a guest to Salt Lake City to see Paul McCartney’s concert at EnergySolutions Arena on August 7, 2014. We’re including airfare, hotel accommodations, and $500 cash to spend however you want.

To enter the contest, you must become a VIP. But you really should do that anyway – sign-up is free, and qualifies you for tons of contests like this one, plus games, prizes, and exclusive content.


More From WROK 1440 AM / 96.1 FM