When Paul McCartney left The Beatles in 1970 he decided to drop out of public life for a while. Taking his wife and children Macca headed off to his newly bought farm house in the Mull of Kintrye to raise sheep, walk on the beach and pen gentle folky ditties.
It wasn’t until a year later in 1971 when the former Beatle raised his head above the parapet again with the release of the album that had largely been written on Kintrye – Ram. He probably wished he hadn’t bothered. When the press compared Ram with the output of his former sparring partners they found it to be twee, slight and a tad half-baked. It was no match at the time for Lennon’s primal screams or Harrison’s spiritual ditties. Although it sold well Ram became a exhibit A for Macca detractors.
Fast forward over forty years and there is a growing number of both critics and fans that rate Ram as the very best post Beatles solo album. Macca had in Ram delivered the template for much of what we now know as indie pop. It is all there; twee pop (Uncle Albert), folky acoustic strumming (Ram On), re-inventing the Beach Boys (Dear Boy), power pop (Too Many People). Music that delights in big melodies and that wears it tweeness as a badge of honour.
But also take a look at this pic. Macca wasn’t only light years ahead in his music,. He also delivered the template for men’s hipster fashion in 2013. Unkempt beard – check, Fair-isle jumper – check, retro camera -check, ironic tea drinking – check. Credit to @ianbetteridge for the spot.