Linda McCartney / Paul McCartney

The Back Seat of My Car

Song Review by

In comparison to the homemade, lo-fi McCartney album, Ram has a number of self-consciously epic songs. Although the giddily twee "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" was the number one hit, the album's closing track, "Back Seat of My Car," is the true highlight. Sounding as if it were inspired by Brian Wilson's post-Pet Sounds epics (not to mention side two of Abbey Road), the multi-part "Back Seat of My Car" starts with and consistently returns to a piano-based ballad section featuring an overdubbed McCartney doing his best Beach Boys imitation, but in between are a number of orchestral interludes and a boppish section of old-timey rock & roll (similar to "Eat at Home," the album's earlier homage to Buddy Holly), before the whole thing ends with a jubilant, rocking fadeout. Lyrically, the tune is something of a rewrite of "You Never Give Me Your Money" and "Two of Us," with a similar theme of escape by automobile. In his autobiography, Many Years from Now, McCartney explains that all of these car songs (which he would go on to write well into the '70s, with singles like "Helen Wheels") had their genesis in the long, random road trips he and new wife Linda McCartney used to take in the waning days of the Beatles, on which they would deliberately get themselves lost. In the context of the critical brickbats the couple were taking, both for the Beatles' dissolution and the supposedly inconsequential direction of McCartney's solo records, the repeated, anthemic chorus of "We believe that we can't be wrong" at the song's climax sounds more like a statement of personal intent than the declaration of love it otherwise would be.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Ram 1971
Capitol 4:29
Top of the Pops, Vol. 19 1971
Various Artists
Hallmark Recordings
Wingspan: Hits and History 2001 Capitol / EMI Records 4:29
Pure McCartney 2016 Hear Music / Virgin EMI 4:31