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Back Seat of My Car - why wasn't it a hit in the UK?

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Last post 05/02/2019

Posted by Nancy R

      Original post

      In several of the Beatles Solo Years books, quite a bit of fuss is made of the fact that George Harrison's "Ding Dong" failed to chart (i.e. Top 20) in the UK. It reached Number 38. But Paul's "Back Seat of My Car" reached only Number 39 in 1971. So, why did BSOMC do so badly in the UK, given that almost every solo-Beatle single (except "Cold Turkey" (#12) & "Give Ireland Back to the Irish" (#16)) from 1970-1972 reached the Top 10? Discuss!

        There are a few reasons I would cite. Firstly it was released in August (1971), a few months after it had originally been made available on the Ram album.  There was also nothing new on the b-side to encourage fans to buy it and also it wasn't really single material. Back Seat Of My Car works fine as an album track but its arrangement was too 'complicated' (for lack of a better word) to attract much radio play. Several of those reasons could also be attributed to Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsey of course, and that made #1 in the US, so in the end I think Back Seat Of My Car just wasn't commercial enough to be a hit.

          briaboy wrote:

          In several of the Beatles Solo Years books, quite a bit of fuss is made of the fact that George Harrison's "Ding Dong" failed to chart (i.e. Top 20) in the UK. It reached Number 38. But Paul's "Back Seat of My Car" reached only Number 39 in 1971. So, why did BSOMC do so badly in the UK, given that almost every solo-Beatle single (except "Cold Turkey" (#12) & "Give Ireland Back to the Irish" (#16)) from 1970-1972 reached the Top 10? Discuss!

          While the vocal on the song is Paul at his very very best, especially at 3:43, I believe, when he screams..perfectly...if that's the best way to describe it; the song builds to a stong ending, but was  just too repetitious and seemed to run longer than it actually does.  At least that's how it came across to me.  Kind of the same way that his "Come On To Me" does.  (George's vocal on "Ding Dong" was awful....his hoarsness....and the song was just sort of embarrassing.  Ding dong, ding dong????)

            Unpopular opinion, at least on this board: Maybe UK audiences recognized that it just wasn't very good.

              That song BSOMC is all over the place; hard to get a handle on it. Also what does it mean exactly.

                I love this song! Just think it was not in the minds of the powers-to-be as a proper single. Otherwise it would've been given a proper release. I don't think it was ever given that respect. And maybe it was too 'clever' to be given that priviledge as a single. Too long. Too clever. It had too much to say. Too many twists. Defied the attention span of the then-average listener.... I do love the song, however. One of my faves.

                  toris wrote:

                  I love this song! Just think it was not in the minds of the powers-to-be as a proper single. Otherwise it would've been given a proper release.

                  I don't think Paul or MPL were very clued up in those early years. Maybe I'm Amazed should have been a single from McCartney but wasn't. Another Day was a single but should have been included on Ram to promote the album...and it wasn't. Back Seat Of My Car was the Ram single but was three months too late...and the wrong choice anyway. Love Is Strange was the single for Wild Life but was cancelled. Give Ireland Back To The Irish, Mary Had A Little Lamb & C Moon / Hi Hi Hi were all Top 20 stand alone singles, without an album to promote. It wasn't until the release of My Love to promote the forthcoming Red Rose Speedway that Paul finally got it right.

                    SusyLuvsPaul wrote:

                    That song BSOMC is all over the place; hard to get a handle on it. Also what does it mean exactly.

                    I think it was about two young people doing what they do in the back seat of a car, while trying to convince her skeptical dad they are..or will be....just driving around.

                      Kestrel wrote:

                      toris wrote:

                      I love this song! Just think it was not in the minds of the powers-to-be as a proper single. Otherwise it would've been given a proper release.

                      I don't think Paul or MPL were very clued up in those early years. Maybe I'm Amazed should have been a single from McCartney but wasn't. Another Day was a single but should have been included on Ram to promote the album...and it wasn't. Back Seat Of My Car was the Ram single but was three months too late...and the wrong choice anyway. Love Is Strange was the single for Wild Life but was cancelled. Give Ireland Back To The Irish, Mary Had A Little Lamb & C Moon / Hi Hi Hi were all Top 20 stand alone singles, without an album to promote. It wasn't until the release of My Love to promote the forthcoming Red Rose Speedway that Paul finally got it right.

                      But then he seemed to forget all of that and resume making the same sort of mistakes with "Egypt Station."  He released the wrong songs as singles and way too soon in any case.  He just seems to not really know how to select songs that will promote his albums!  I believe it was obvious to most of us that "Who Cares" was the best song to kick off the album b/w the beautiful "Happy With You." The Beatles seemed to just know these things....for the most part.  

                        SusyLuvsPaul wrote:

                        That song BSOMC is all over the place; hard to get a handle on it. Also what does it mean exactly.

                        Paul said of the song:

                        "Back Seat of My Car" is the ultimate teenage song, and even though it was a long time since I was a teenager and had to go to a girl's dad and explain myself, it's that kind of meet-the-parents song. It's a good old driving song. [Sings] "We can make it to Mexico City." I've never driven to Mexico City, but it's imagination. And obviously "back seat" is snogging, making love.[4]

                        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Back_Seat_of_My_Car

                        Personally, I really like the song.

                          Beatles4Ever&Ever wrote:

                          SusyLuvsPaul wrote:

                          That song BSOMC is all over the place; hard to get a handle on it. Also what does it mean exactly.

                          I think it was about two young people doing what they do in the back seat of a car, while trying to convince her skeptical dad they are..or will be....just driving around.

                          Yes! Totally. Great memories... :)

                            Beatles4Ever&Ever wrote:

                            Kestrel wrote:
                            toris wrote:

                            I love this song! Just think it was not in the minds of the powers-to-be as a proper single. Otherwise it would've been given a proper release.

                            I don't think Paul or MPL were very clued up in those early years. Maybe I'm Amazed should have been a single from McCartney but wasn't. Another Day was a single but should have been included on Ram to promote the album...and it wasn't. Back Seat Of My Car was the Ram single but was three months too late...and the wrong choice anyway. Love Is Strange was the single for Wild Life but was cancelled. Give Ireland Back To The Irish, Mary Had A Little Lamb & C Moon / Hi Hi Hi were all Top 20 stand alone singles, without an album to promote. It wasn't until the release of My Love to promote the forthcoming Red Rose Speedway that Paul finally got it right.

                            But then he seemed to forget all of that and resume making the same sort of mistakes with "Egypt Station."  He released the wrong songs as singles and way too soon in any case.  He just seems to not really know how to select songs that will promote his albums!  I believe it was obvious to most of us that "Who Cares" was the best song to kick off the album b/w the beautiful "Happy With You." The Beatles seemed to just know these things....for the most part.  

                            I bet that was due to George Martin’s input. 😉

                              Beatles4Ever&Ever wrote:

                              SusyLuvsPaul wrote:

                              That song BSOMC is all over the place; hard to get a handle on it. Also what does it mean exactly.

                              I think it was about two young people doing what they do in the back seat of a car, while trying to convince her skeptical dad they are..or will be....just driving around.

                              I just never bothered to listen to the lyrics closely. Actually, the title should be self-explanatory, shouldn't it... that song "Back Seat of My Car" isn't one of my favorites, but I should give it another glance and chance. It might grow on me. Which album is it on?

                                SusyLuvsPaul wrote:

                                Beatles4Ever&Ever wrote:
                                SusyLuvsPaul wrote:

                                That song BSOMC is all over the place; hard to get a handle on it. Also what does it mean exactly.

                                I think it was about two young people doing what they do in the back seat of a car, while trying to convince her skeptical dad they are..or will be....just driving around.

                                I just never bothered to listen to the lyrics closely. Actually, the title should be self-explanatory, shouldn't it... that song "Back Seat of My Car" isn't one of my favorites, but I should give it another glance and chance. It might grow on me. Which album is it on?

                                RAM

                                  Thanks, Nancy R. That was my first thought on that,  but I wasn't sure. Is this another of Paul's "horney songs" or is it spelled "horny" (to become sexually aroused) LOL. BTW, I've another reply to your missive tacked onto yours in the pm's.

                                  I recall being in the back seat of cars fighting them off, feeling kind of bruised, a bit black and blue when the guy got too rough, and another time I fought one off even though he was real cute 'cause my legs weren't shaved (laughs), and because he expressed conservative views. We were all very young.

                                   

                                   

                                    SusyLuvsPaul wrote:

                                    Thanks, Nancy R. That was my first thought on that,  but I wasn't sure. Is this another of Paul's "horney songs" LOL. BTW, I've another reply to your missive tacked onto yours in the pm's.

                                     

                                     

                                    Yeah, but I spell it “horny.” 😂 

                                    I answered you - check PMs.