Paul McCartney at Mull of Kintyre

Let me set the stage for you. Sometime in 1977, EMI and a young 19-year old artist tussled over what single to release and launch her career with. Finally released in January 1978, few expected how absolutely out of the norm a song like this would take the whole world by storm. Rocketing up to #1 in the UK charts, this ghostly mix of Symphonic Folk, Prog, and Pop sensibilities, for a month in March dethroned such luminaries like ABBA and Paul McCartney. People forget how special this occurrence was.

“Mull of Kintyre” Single

Can you believe on the month of this single’s release, Paul McCartney was ruling supreme with his highest selling single ever (Beatles included) the now forgotten “Mull of Kintyre”, a quite lovely Scot-lilting folk ballad dedicated to his homestead (or how he pictures it when he misses it)? Paul’s brilliant last salvo to traditional English folk music somehow became this monster of a hit at a time when music was beyond swiftly shifting away from this style. What could have slowly eroded this single’s popularity?

It would have been chart burners like this joke of a reggae song by Althea & Donna, followed by the hit from one blatantly ABBA-aping English group called Brotherhood of Man, or it could have been one magnificent neo-motorik dance pop single from ABBA, “Take A Chance on Me”. Somehow, few expected this young woman to come out of nowhere, wipe this whole slate, then captivate and dethrone such a scene. However, when one hears the mesmerizing fulfillment that commences after the first 30 seconds of this track (which I’ll feature on the next post), one starts to understand how everyone just fell under her spell. Neo-folk music would never quite be the same after this…