On the occasion of Paul McCartney’s 80th birthday weekend, anyone reading this is probably thinking the same thing: Only 80 Paul McCartney songs? The hope, of course, is that he lives to 120, in order to provide a hook for a much easier-to-narrow-down list of his 120 finest. But 80 is just enough to cover the breadth as well as greatness of the 20th century’s (and beyond’s) greatest journeyman singer-songwriter.
This critical list of major, world-changing accomplishments and delightful trifles runs the gamut from “The Long and Winding Road” (sorry to anyone who still has PTSD from the Phil Spector arrangement) to “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road” (sorry, just generally, on that one). We know what you’re thinking: Will “Wonderful Christmastime” be on the list? No — we’re not monsters, all right? But you may find a guilty pleasure or three — if that should really even be a thing — amid dozens of selections as worthy of veneration as anything to hit a classical concert hall or juke joint in the last hundred years. Here’s to Sir, with love.