Marrick’s McCartney Music Marathon #4: RAM
By Marrick Thurman
RAM was Paul McCartney’s second solo album released on May 17th, 1971. The first solo album he released was McCartney, which was in 1970. RAM was the first album McCartney ever did with his late wife Linda McCartney, the second of theirs being Wild Life, which we’ll get to later. All the singing and instruments played in RAM were by McCartney himself, Linda, and their daughter Heather (who helped with back-up vocals on Monkberry Moon Delight).
The first song on RAM, Too Many People, was a dig at John Lennon and Yoko Ono. When giving an interview to Playboy in 1984, McCartney recalled part of why Too Many People was aimed at his ex-bandmate and Yoko Ono. McCartney explained that Lennon and Ono’s preaching was the reason he added in the line: “Too many people preaching practices”. McCartney also added in the line: “You took your lucky break and broke it in two.” as another jab at Lennon, who in a direct response to the song, wrote How Do You Sleep, which included many digs at McCartney. The song, aside from the reasons for some of the lyrics, is a very entertaining and catchy.
Most of the songs on RAM were made in a recording studio in New York, where McCartney and his family went before returning to Scotland for Christmas. The songs sounded very different in comparison to The Beatles songs, but were all very interesting. Admiral Halsey/Uncle Albert had a unique sound to it due to certain audio effects being put in, like the sound of a thunderstorm. The second half of the songs also changes into a less melancholy sounding song to a more cheerful and sort of playful tune. The song was McCartney’s first golden record as a solo artist. It was ranked 22nd in the top 100 pop singles of 1971.
Monkberry Moon Delight and Back Seat of My Car were both very interesting, because of the silly interjections it had included into the song. That was one of the things that made RAM feel more expressive and unique than some of McCartney’s previous albums.
RAM as a whole has a very calming and nostalgic feeling to it. It’s almost indescribable, but it is by far one of McCartney’s best albums as a solo artist. McCartney’s vocals range from soft to raucous but amazing; Linda’s soft voice contributed well to the songs that she sang in and contributed to the overall feel of the album. RAM expanded McCartney’s style as an artist and it left fans in the seventies anticipating more from the gifted musician.