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"Listen to What the Man Said" is a hit single from Wings' 1975 album Venus and Mars. The song featured new member Joe English on drums, with guest musiciansDave Mason on guitar and Tom Scott on soprano saxophone.[2] It was a number 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the US;[3] as well, it reached number 1 in Canada on the RPM National Top Singles Chart.[4] It also reached number 6 in the UK, and reached the top ten in Norway and New Zealand and the top twenty in the Netherlands.[5][6] The single was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America for sales of over one million copies.[7]

Contents Edit

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  • 1 Recording
  • 2 Lyrics
  • 3 Reception
  • 4 Charts
    • 4.1 Weekly singles charts
    • 4.2 Year-end charts
  • 5 Covers
  • 6 References

Recording[edit] Edit

"Listen to What the Man Said" was recorded in early 1975 by Wings during their New Orleans sessions for Venus and Mars.[2][8][9] It was a song which McCartney had high hopes for, but early recordings did not live up to the song's potential.[8][9] After Mason added guitar overdubs, the band was still dissatisfied.[8][9] However, once Scott recorded the sax solo, the band was satisfied.[8][9] Although several takes of the solo were recorded, the very first take was the one that was used.[8][9] The effect of a kiss smack heard on the track was recorded by engineer Alan O'Duffy, who taped Linda doing it.[10]

The end of the song also features a small link used to transition into the next song on Venus and Mars, "Treat Her Gently/Lonely Old People".

Lyrics[edit] Edit

The song is an optimistic love song.[12] Even though love may be blind or may cause separated lovers to suffer, the singer believes that love will prevail.[12] This is in accordance with what “the man” said.[12] “The man” is not explicitly identified, but might be God.[12] Author Vincent Benitez believes that, "McCartney is advising everyone to stick with the basics of life, which for him means focusing on love."[12] The song is in the key of G major, although the key is not established until the chorus.[12]

Reception[edit] Edit

Allmusic critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine called "Listen to What the Man Said" "a typically sweet and lovely melody".[13] Paul Nelson of Rolling Stone called it "deliciously catchy" and "as fine an example of slick, professional entertainment and carefully crafted 'product' as has ever hit the airwaves".[14] Author John Blaney described the song as "a slice of radio-friendly pop" and "a joyous celebration of love and life, buoyed by Linda's equally exuberant backing vocals...".[9] Benitez described the song as "another great example of McCartney-style pop, a buoyant and optimistic song about love where words and music are wedded together.[12] Authors Roy Carr and Tony Tyler note about the song that "artful and sensitive production elevate what was originally a piece of inconsequential whimsy into what can only be described as High Pop", also describing the song as "likeable" and "hummable".[15] Author Chris Ingham described the song as "superior pop".[16]

The song was also included on the numerous greatest hits compilations, including 1987's All the Best! and and 2001's Wingspan: Hits and History.[17][18] However, it was not included on the first Wings compilation, Wings Greatest.[19]

Charts[edit] Edit

Weekly singles charts[edit] Edit

Chart (1975) Peak

position

Canada (RPM 100 Top Singles)[20] 1
Germany (Media Control)[21] 42
Ireland Singles Chart 4
Japan (Oricon)[22] 46
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[23] 18
Norway (VG-lista) 3
UK Singles Chart (Official Charts Company)[24] 6
US Billboard Hot 100[25] 1

Year-end charts[edit] Edit

Chart (1975) Position
Canada (RPM 100 Top Singles)[26] 13
US Billboard Hot 100[27] 41

Covers[edit] Edit

  • The song was covered (as "L.T.W.T.M.S.") by indie pop band The Trouble with Sweeney on their 2004 EP Fishtown Briefcase.[28]
  • Ex-Wings member Laurence Juber covered the song on his 2005 album One Wing, despite not being a member of the band at the time of the song's recording and release.[29][30]
  • Former Wings member Denny Laine covered "Listen to What the Man Said" in 1996 on his album Wings at the Sound of Denny Laine.[31]
  • In 2008, Freedy Johnston covered this song on his album My Favourite Waste of Time.[32]
  • The chorus elements from the single were used in the 2003 Dance single "Just The Way You Are" by the Italian dance group Milky.[33] Because of this, Paul and Linda McCartney were given credit on the single.
  • Owl City covered "Listen to What the Man Said" on The Art of McCartney tribute album.[34]