In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well—some inspired by a weekly theme and some not, but always songs worth hearing. This week, we asked: “Record Store Day is this weekend. What’s your favorite song getting re-issued this weekend or that you’ve discovered through a previous RSD?”
Usually, I have no problem deciding whether I prefer the live version or the studio version of a classic-rock song. Cheap Trick’s “I Want You To Want Me”? The stomping live version from At Budokan beats the rinky-dink studio version from In Color. Neil Young’s “Cortez The Killer”? The majestic studio version from Zuma is way better than the reggae-injected live version from Live Rust.
I’ve never been able to make that call when it comes to “Maybe I’m Amazed.” First released on McCartney, Paul McCartney’s 1970 solo debut, the epic love song has a timid, tender intimacy that’s balanced by bouts of wailing bombast. That sprawling dynamic isn’t as heart-stopping on the 1976 live version from Wings Over America, where screaming fans wash out some of the hush. But on the Wings version, McCartney digs deeper on the notes, yanking even more of a desperate growl out of the lyrics. And the guitar solos rip harder. Whichever one I’m listening to, I win.
The live version of “Maybe I’m Amazed” was released as a single in 1977, and that 12-inch vinyl edition is being reissued on Record Store Day. (Wings Over America will see an expanded reissue on May 28.) In spite of my misgivings about RSD, I might have to sneak into my friendly neighborhood record store and snag a copy of the vinyl. At least then I can spin it backward and get McCartney’s legendary recipe for lentil soup.