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Music / Ram

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"You took your lucky break and broke it in two."

"The songs don't feel collaborative so much as cooperative: little schoolhouse plays that required every hand on deck to get off the ground. Paul had the most talent, so naturally he was up front, but he wanted everyone behind him, banging pots, hollering, whistling— whatever it is you did, make sure you're back there doing it with gusto. It is exactly this homemade charm that has caught on with generations of listeners as the initial furor around the album subsided. What 2012's ears can find on Ram is a rock icon inventing an approach to pop music that would eventually become someone else's indie pop. It had no trendy name here; it was just a disappointing Beatles solo album."
Jayson Greene, Pitchfork review (2012)

Ram is the second studio album by Paul McCartney and debut studio album by Linda McCartney, released in 1971 through Apple Records.

Ram was styled as an attempt to respond to criticisms of 1970's McCartney with a more fleshed-out production. Gone were the one-man band approach and shot glass and bow-and-arrow soloing, replaced with a more typical series of pop songs. Critics didn't respond as Paul had hoped in the slightest, with Rolling Stone's Jon Landau famously calling it "inconsequential", "monumentally irrelevant" and "the nadir of the decomposition of Sixties rock thus far". A. J. Weberman of the Rock Liberation Front was so affronted by an album that "said nothing about what was happening on the street" that he staged a mock funeral to symbolize Paul's death as a "representative of youth culture". Even Ringo publicly trashed the album, saying this: "I feel sad with Paul's albums because I believe he's a great artist, incredibly creative, incredibly clever, but he disappoints me on his albums. I don't think there's one tune on the last one, Ram... he seems to be going strange." John Lennon had the strongest response as, convinced the album was a long attack on him, he convened George and Ringo for an Answer Song, "How Do You Sleep?" (Ringo reportedly refused to take part after hearing the lyrics, famously stating, "That's enough, John!"), later to appear on Imagine. (Paul later admitted that the song "Too Many People" was a dig at John; they buried the hatchet a few years later).

The critical slings and arrows stopped no one from buying the record, which spawned the hit singles "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey", "Eat at Home", and "The Back Seat of My Car" on its way to the top of the charts worldwide. Taken aback by the cold reception, McCartney became convinced he needed to form a real band to feel like a real musician again, birthing the first line-up of Wings with Linda, ex-The Moody Blues member Denny Laine and Ram drummer Danny Seiwell. Over time, Ram has gained in reputation, and while not quite receiving the praise of its most direct competition, is now considered a key forerunner of Jangle Pop. (Its reputation has recovered enough that popular music review site Allmusic has given it the maximum rating of five stars, so it has been Vindicated by History).

In 1977, Percy "Thrills" Thrillington - actually an adventurer persona McCartney invented to amuse himself - released an orchestral version of Ram in its entirety. This version had been recorded during the original sessions, then stayed in the vault for six years.

Not to be confused with the Traditional Heavy Metal band Ram.


Original 1971 LP

Side One
  1. "Too Many People" (4:10)
  2. "3 Legs" (2:44)
  3. "Ram On" (2:26)
  4. "Dear Boy" (2:12)
  5. "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" (4:49)
  6. "Smile Away" (3:51)

Side Two

  1. "Heart of the Country" (2:21)
  2. "Monkberry Moon Delight" (5:21)
  3. "Eat at Home" (3:18)
  4. "Long Haired Lady" (5:54)
  5. "Ram On" (0:52)
  6. "The Back Seat of My Car" (4:26)

Bonus Disc (2012 Remaster):

  1. "Another Day"
  2. "Oh Woman, Oh Why"
  3. "Little Woman Love"
  4. "A Love for You"
  5. "Hey Diddle"
  6. "Great Cock and Seagull Race"
  7. "Rode All Night"
  8. "Sunshine Sometime"

iTunes Bonus Tracks:

  1. "Eat at Home"/"Smile Away (Live)"
  2. "Uncle Albert Jam"

Trooooooooooopes across the water! (water) Trooooooooooopes across the sky!

  • Call-Back: The short piece "Ram On" is a reference to Paul's early stage name "Paul Ramon".
  • Cover Version: Several full-length covers of RAM have appeared in recent years, in part as a celebration of Paul's 70th birthdayinvoked.
  • Everything Is an Instrument: "Oh Woman, Oh Why" features Paul firing a gun in the studio as part of the percussion section.
  • Face on the Cover: Paul's face can be seen on the album cover.
  • In the Style of:
  • Intercourse with You: "Eat at Home" is about oral sex with one's wife. "The Back Seat of My Car" is similarly about making love in the back seat of a car.
  • One-Word Title: "RAM".
  • Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: Paul mimics a ringing phone vocally about a minute into "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey".
  • Song Style Shift:
    • "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" throws around various song fragments McCartney had lying around, adding up to some twelve distinct sections according to Beatles Bible, because going up to eleven wasn't enough.
    • "The Back Seat of My Car" alternates pop and orchestral sections before building into a big Power Ballad finish.
  • Take That!: Despite an abundance of Word Salad Lyrics, Paul found space for a couple pot-shots.
    • "Too Many People" starts off with a "Piece of cake" that sounds deliberately like "Piss off!" and quickly evolves into a rant about things "too many people" (but mostly John and Yoko) were doing at the time, particularly "preaching practices" and "sharing party lines".note 
    • "Dear Boy" is a shot at Linda's ex-husband.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: Par for the course with McCartney. "Monkberry Moon Delight" is merely the worst offender.