The rock snobs of 1971 were underwhelmed by the cute and seemingly non-tortured “Another Day,” but had they listened to the flipside they would have realized that the son of Little Richard was still in possession of his shredding rock-and roll vocal range. McCartney slips back into the mode of “I’m Down,” “Oh! Darling,” and the climax of “Hey Jude,” while the slide guitar sounds like he’s riffing off the country blues on the second side of LED ZEPPELIN III, released a month or two before McCartney recorded this song. Macca was always trying to keep pace with the guitar virtuosos; after seeing Jimi Hendrix, he wrote the guitar for “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” “Helter Skelter” was his attempt to outdo The Who’s live sonic assault.
Basically, “Oh Woman” is “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road” with lyrics and a full band backing him. McCartney would dig the song’s drummer, Denny Seiwell, enough to bring him into Wings later in 1971.
In the song, McCartney’s woman shows up with a gun to shoot him down. He pleads with her to tell him what he’s done wrong and it’s his cheating ways. Perhaps it’s a flashback to the time in 1968 his pre-Linda girlfriend Jane Asher came home to London earlier than expected. The fans who hung around outside McCartney’s house saw her arriving and tried to warn McCartney, who was inside with girlfriend number two, Francie Schwartz. He scoffed, “Ah, pull the other one” — but suddenly Jane was standing there glowering.
The main attraction of the song is McCartney’s voice, a freak of nature every bit as powerful and rough as Kurt Cobain’s or any who have come down the pike since. This song should be played for people who associate McCartney solely with soft pop like “The Girl Is Mine.”
For a long time it was unavailable but this May it was included on the deluxe version of RAM, along with another great non-album B-side “Little Woman Love.” Other Grade A ’70s flipsides are still not on iTunes, including “Sally G” and “Girls’ School,” but presumably this will be gradually rectified when McCartney releases the remastered versions of albums like VENUS AND MARS and LONDON TOWN.
That’s because the rock snobs of 1971 were MALE and couldn’t appreciate a song like Another Day which was entirely written about the hopelessness facing a female character. But a song about a woman shooting a man? That they could relate to. Fortunately for Paul, and those of us who appreciate his work, Paul could understand both perspectives. These are both terrific songs.