‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’ is my least favourite Beatles’ song, and my nomination for Paul McCartney’s worst, most annoying composition ever (it’s a jaunty number about a homicidal maniac with a hammer in case you’re suffering from post-trauma memory loss since you last heard it). But anyway, that’s a debate that could just run and run (I’ll leave it to the BBC to compile the public’s top 100). Here’s not the place. But, BUT, this is musicaltaste.com, and there is one moment of utter sublimity, in that misery of a song, a moment of incredible transcendent beauty. That very last chord. The final chord is indescribable wonder (it’s a D I think). Every time I hear that I just feel like the dark clouds of evil have lifted, the ring has been destroyed, and everything is gonna be alright for me and the hobbits. I remember having a really vicious fight with my first wife and ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’ came on the radio and when we heard that final chord we just stopped, looked at one another and we both knew that from then on everything would be alright forever.
from Abbey Road
25 Sep 05 ·Mike: Unfortunately MacCartney, responsible for (or at least connected with) some of the best recorded rock/pop has also written such a huge quantity of absolute dross that I can't agree that "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" comes anywhere near being his worst. Can anyone name more than about three tracks he's come up with since the 60s that aren't dreadful? 26 Sep 05 ·rum: Well you can ignore his solo work, pretend it's not there, but 'Maxwell's Silver Hammer' is on an otherwise sterling Beatles set. Maybe if either the 'Frog Chorus' or 'Silly Love Songs' were on there instead they'd steal the crown. No, no, that's not true, i hate this track so much because it's meant to be funny (Paul was always the unfunny Beatle, listen to those early press conferences). If you listen very carefully you can hear the other Beatles wincing and grimacing at Macca's 'comedy'. It makes it so painful to listen to. Unbearable. Still I'd stick my thumbs aloft for 'The Girl Is Mine', now that's funny.
My theory is that everyone seriously into music has time for The Fall. They're just too superlative - in places - not to give them massive amounts of respect.
I have no problem with being a selective Fall fan, and probably err too much to "the Brix Years" for serious Mark E Smith hardcases. I love the early to middle period and The Classical, for me, is the absolute pinnacle of their acheivements. A parity of stupidity and - er, classicality - it marries the phrasing genius of Smith with one of the very best group line-ups in their 27 year career.
So what if MES is a toothless old git now? So what if they haven't released an album of worth in many a year? So what if their back catalogue is being shamelessly exploited by various low-rent record labels? They are one of the biggest unacknowledged influences on British music today and it's time they got the props they are worthy of.
Stunning late seventies reggae. maybe it's Blood and Fire's tasty design that makes the whole album feel like it was released for the first time yesterday, but I suspect it has more to do with the amazingly clean and timeless production. At any rate this song in particular brings me a feeling of great happiness and well-being.
Sublime lead and backing vocals with a bass line worthy of deep praise and adoration and lead guitar by the peerless Ernest Ranglin. A beautiful song.
20 May 04 ·pleasepleaseme: I don't own this record, but the album "Heart of the Congos" by the Congos from 1977 is a must have session! Some of the most uplifting Jamaican Soul. 13 Jan 05 ·mattypenny: SLightly OT - their Row, Fisherman, from the Heart of the Congos was really good for getting our nipper off to sleep. A combination of the high voices, bass sounds and reggae rhythms, I guess. Cracking song in any case 14 Jan 05 ·james: Am going to listen to Row, Fisherman Row - thanks for reminding me! must be something about falsetto reggae artists, our second boy was always mightily calmed by the Minstrel by Cornell Campbell - not really in the same league as the congos but check him out if you don't know him.
very simply put, this song is interesting. it can almost be split in two, the monotone first part and the almost screeching end. the whole song conveys hopelessness (or is it helplessness) in a very precise way.
the obligatory references to the city are here as well as an interesting verse, 'you can only go so far for womankind' which always reminded me of 'i've lost my faith in womanhood'--a bit in the smiths' "pretty girls make graves".