The Number Ones: Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder's "Ebony And Ivory"
Terry Crews and Jimmy Fallon
Paul and Stevie LIVE 2010
Didn't fully agree with the article. Always enjoyed Ebony and Ivory. Why should a song about Ebony and Ivory living in Unity be critiqued as not enough. Heck we need lots more songs about Ebony and Ivory living in Unity in this world today. May those songs bring us some comfort and Understanding and a more harmonious world in the future.
The Civil War was over 154 years ago. Thats a long time ago now. Some people need to get rid of an ancient war, an ancient flag that represents slavery and dig deep into their heart. We are all immigrants from somewhere (except Indians and Mexicans who lived here first ). Love thy neighbor as thyself. Looking at all of the people in the streets gives me much hope that we get it right this time. The younger kids have it right and are so much more open. The Beatles taught us All You Need is LOVE.
Lovetotravel...Thanks for your imput. Musically I don't agree with this writer's opinions at all. In fact I haven't agreed with this writer (McCartney's # 1's) on practically anything he has said. I've been a McCartney and Beatles' fan all of my life and I lived through critics like this guy way back in the early 70's after the Beatles' broke up. Somehow there were some music critics who believed that if you loved John Lennon you couldn't even like Paul McCartney. I've read their opinions back in the day. Never understood this concept by some critics that you couldn't like both John and Paul. After their jointly written early hits (e. g. She Loves You, I Want to Hold Your Hand) they wrote mostly independently. How could you not love songs from Revolver like Here There & Everywhere, For No One, Got to Get You into My Life and Eleanor Rigby that were written by Paul. How could you not see his talent?
Is Ebony and Ivory the best song on Tug of War. Not even close but it doesn't deserve a 3 out of 10 either. And it was the obvious choice as the "lead single". At the end of the day, the music company was right!. It was number 1 for like 8 weeks and helped skyrocket the album to #1 as well. In my opinion, the only thing wrong with E&I was its own success. it got way,way overplayed especially by the leading AM radio stations at the time that everyone listened to. You would start to dislike any song that got that much airplay hearing it every 5 minutes. When I hear it today on the radio from time to time or on a playlist like Spotify's This is Paul McCartney, the song sounds fine. Unlike what this critic says (who is obviouslly very bias concerning all things Paul anyway) the song and lyrics are very heartfelt. Lyrically Ebony and Ivory starts by taking a simple metaphor (the keys on a piano) and therefore showing that people are really the same everywhere and Paul uses it as a plea that the human race should live together in harmony. Like Silly Love Songs, what is wrong with that sentment. Yes it was simple but Ebony and Ivory as one of its lead Tug of War tracks fit perfectly with the overall theme of the album (a theme of opposites) and I thought putting E&I as the last track on Tug of War worked great in my opinion.
The funny thing about this critici is that I even disagreed with his opinion that the other Stevie /Paul song "What's That Your Doing" was a far better song than E&I. To me, this 2nd Stevie/Paul collaboration was by far the worse song on Tug of War. Not because I don't like Stevie Wonder or because it's a terrible song on its own but because in my opinion, it just didn't fit well with the rest of the album. It also went on entirely too long (well over 6 minutes). I think it's another case where Paul got so enamoured by having Stevie as a guest on Tug of War, he overcompensated by giving his guest too much space on the album. Afterall it was Paul's album and Ebony and Ivory is a Paul song (written entirely by Paul). Conversely, this 2nd Paul/Stevie song is mostly a "jam song" written almost entirely by Stevie. I remember the first time hearing Tug of War, I absolutely loved the way Tug of War started out with the first 3 songs. I loved the first song (the title cut) and how it seemlessly went into Take It Away. The 3rd track "Somebody Who Cares" is then in my opinion one of Paul's greatest hidden gems on any Paul album. Unfortunately, the next song "What's That Your Doing" (again my opinion) just took the air totally out of the momentum that the 1st 3 tracks had achieved. For a little while I thought maybe it was just me (who couldn't like this song because afterall it IS Paul and Stevie) but the more I listened to it, the more I didn't like it. it was like "work" trying to get through it. A classic song should never feel like "work" just listening to it. Later on I felt a little more justified after listening to the wonderful"Take It Away" Podcast on Paul McCartney's Solo career. The 2 very objective Paul McCartney critics on this Podcast felt the same way I did about the Tug of War album. They both felt that the 2nd Paul/Stevie collaboration was the worse song on Tug of War. Like me they felt the song was entirely too long and that Paul's singing sounded "too white". While I hadn't thought of that as a fault to the song, I understand better what they said. It was another way of saying that it didn't fit well on the album.
Getting back to this series (Stereogum and Paul's #1's) this writer was even very critical of the Song...Band on the Run. That should told me everything.