Paul McCartney has written countless hit songs with the Beatles, Wings, and as a solo artist. As the Beatles legend turns 82 years old (Happy Birthday, by the way), it's appropriate to look back at his career.

There is so much to choose from, too. It is nearly impossible to pick 10 songs for a list. McCartney's Beatles resume alone is legendary. He then released countless albums with Wings and as a solo artist that were great.

So, here are some of Paul McCartney's best songs and some honorable mentions. The list includes songs from his Beatles, Wings, and solo catalogs.

Paul McCartney's greatest hits

Rusty Anderson, Abe Laboriel Jr., Paul McCartney, and Brian Ray performing on "Got Back" tour in 2022.
Saul Young/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Some honorable mentions:

  • “Here, There and Everywhere”
  • “My Brave Face”
  • “Run Devil Run”
  • “Calico Skies”
  • “Figure of Eight”
  • “Another Day”
  • “I Saw Her Standing There”
  • “All My Loving”
  • “I've Just Seen a Face”
  • “Live and Let Die”

“You Gave Me the Answer” (Venus and Mars)

A short and sweet song from McCartney and Wings, “You Gave Me the Answer,” showcases Macca's brilliance. His vocals are sung with a megaphone-like effect while the arrangement is like a few songs rolled into one. There are even shades of classical musical with the strings and horns section.

“You Gave Me the Answer” is a unique Wings song. They also killed it with the performance captured on their Wings Over America live album.

“I Don't Know” (Egypt Station)

The lead single for Egypt Station, “I Don't Know,” is one of Paul McCartney's most introspective songs. There is a seriousness to its lyrics and McCartney still finds a way to add levity.

As McCartney repeats the title refrain, it becomes clear that even someone as wise as him doesn't have all the answers. Life has curveballs — sometimes you should give yourself a break and shrug your shoulders.

My connection to the song aside, “I Don't Know” is another brilliant track from McCartney. It opens with a long piano melody before the rest of the instruments come in. It is too bad the song hasn't made it into McCartney's live sets. (Note: He has played it at select soundcheck sets.)

“Take It Away” (Tug of War)

One of McCartney's most underrated albums is Tug of War. He collaborated with former Beatles bandmate Ringo Starr for the album's second track (and second single), “Take It Away.”

Carried by McCartney's bass line, “Take It Away” is one of his most infectiously joyous songs as a solo artist. It begins with Starr's drumming before the bass comes in. The song is just groovy and McCartney sings beautifully on it. George Martin, known for his work with the Beatles, produced the album, and it shows in songs like “Take It Away.”

“My Love” (Red Rose Speedway)

I often joke that McCartney used up his best romantic creative juices on Linda, his first wife. “My Love” (and another song later on this list) proves this theory.

The lone single from Wings' Red Rose Speedway, “My Love,” is a love ballad that helped propel the group after Wild Life. At this point, Wings had not released Band on the Run, and “My Love” gave them a hit ballad that showcased McCartney's signature romantic sensibilities.

“Hi, Hi, Hi” and “Live and Let Die” may be more fun, but “My Love” is one of McCartney's most beautiful love songs. The tenderness of his voice, especially with the elongated falsetto note at the end, carries it. Denny Laine and Linda McCartney's backing vocals — and the orchestral arrangement — also stand out.

Paul McCartney performing on the "One on One" tour in 2016.
David Sorcher for The Enquirer via Imagn Content Services, LLC.

“Coming Up” (McCartney II)

The eighties were a magical time in music. Bands like U2 and Bon Jovi were gaining traction in the rock scene. Meanwhile, McCartney was implementing synthesizers into his music.

“Coming Up,” the lead single and opening track from 1980's McCartney II, sets a new precedent for McCartney. A tape machine and sped-up vocals make it one of the most unique songs from Paul McCartney's discography.

It has also been performed live by McCartney. My favorite rendition is from the 2002 live album Back in the U.S.

“Listen to What the Man Said” (Venus and Mars)

Another classic Paul McCartney bop, “Listen to What the Man Said,” infuses saxophones into Wings' sound. Optimism is found in so many of McCartney's love songs (e.g. “Silly Love Songs”) — “Listen to What the Man Said” is no exception. It is a special song that sounds just as good when played live.

While McCartney's bass doesn't carry the song as much as songs like “Take It Away” or “I Saw Her Standing There,” there is a subtlety in his performance in this song. Listen for it in the chorus after the title line as he plays a walking bass line.

“Let It Be” (Let It Be)

Everyone knows the Beatles' “Let It Be.” It is an iconic song and one of the Beatles' best feats.

Stemming from a dream, something McCartney can do, “Let It Be” is open for interpretation. He has discussed it being about his mother Mary who came to him in a dream after her death. Still, the song is also open to religious interpretations.

Either way, there is eternal hope that radiates through the lyrics. “When the night is cloudy, there is still a light that shines on me / Shine until tomorrow let it be,” he croons in the final verse.

The arrangement is relatively simple, but McCartney makes the most of the handful of chords he uses and creates one of the best piano melodies ever. The opening C chord is instantly recognizable.

“Band on the Run” (Band on the Run)

Like the last entry on the list, “Band on the Run” is the title track of its respective album. The song is an amalgamation of three different songs. It opens slowly before building to a rock anthem.

It is McCartney's ultimate driving song. The Eagles have “Take It Easy,” and U2 has “Where the Streets Have No Name.” Wings have “Band on the Run” as their best song to drive on the highway with your windows down.

“Yesterday” (Help!)

Another song McCartney wrote in his sleep, “Yesterday,” is his Beatles magnum opus. There is a reason it is so iconic. From McCartney's guitar playing to the orchestral background, “Yesterday” is a masterpiece.

Lyrically, the song is seemingly about a lost love that McCartney still thinks about. He harps about a better day, specifically yesterday. To this day, McCartney plays the song live. Perhaps the Beatles breakup is the “Yesterday” that he thinks about.

“Maybe I'm Amazed” (McCartney)

While “My Love” is good, “Maybe I'm Amazed” might be the greatest love song ever written. It has to be up there with “Your Song.”

Firstly, McCartney's vocal performance is one of his very best. There is an edge to his voice in the chorus matched with the tender falsetto he has had since his Beatles days.

It is even more amazing that McCartney composed it all himself. He plays the drums, guitar, bass, piano, and organ on the track. While he is no Tré Cool or Jon Bonham, it takes talent to play all of those instruments.

Linda McCartney also contributes backing vocals, making it even more special. “Maybe I'm Amazed” is Paul McCartney's best love ballad — having Linda on the track adds to its allure.

If you catch McCartney in concert, he still plays the song. While his voice is not at the level it was in 1970, seeing images of and taken by Linda on the screens as he plays it will bring a tear to your eye. All things considered, he still impresses with the falsetto notes.