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Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Tres: Day 124
Sun. June 2, 2013

“Let Me Roll It”
Paul McCartney & Wings

1973

“♫ You
gave me
lovin’
in the
palm
of my
hand
♫”

I remember reading one of those mythical Fab Four tomes, while I was in high school, specifically there was a book where somebody stopped John Lennon asking him what he was doing at the airport in 1973, rumor has it Lennon replied, ‘I just got back from recording my new album, Band on the Run.’ There was talk that Lennon played on Wings best album but that was mainly because of Macca’s Lennon-esque guitar riffs on “Let Me Roll It.”

Paul McCartney had been in the shadow of John Lennon since he left the Beatles before the release of his first solo album 1970’s McCartney. Paul and John traded lyrical barbs in songs during their early post Beatles careers. Although, Macca looked to reconcile his friendship with John Lennon, in John Blaney’s Lennon and McCartney: Together Alone, why “Let Me Roll It” was more of his own creation instead of a tribute to John when Paul said, ““Let Me Roll It” was not really a Lennon pastiche, although my use of tape echo did sound more like John than me; but tape echo was not John’s exclusive territory. And you have to remember that, despite the myth, there was a lot of commonality between us in the way we thought and worked.”

Later, talking about that same magical riff on “Roll It,” in 2001 Paul told Billboard Magazine, “[“Let Me Roll It”] was a riff, originally, a great riff to play, and whenever we played it live, it goes down great. We’d play it on two guitars, and people saw it later as a kind of John pastiche, as Lennon-ish, Lennon-esque. Which I don’t mind. That could have been a Beatles song. Me and John would have sung that good.” Can you imagine, Lennon and McCartney trading lines on a Beatles version of “Let Me Roll It?” that would be…legendary.

Paul reminisced about the creation of “Let Me Roll It” when he said, “A song like Let Me Roll It came about by playing around with a little riff; if I’m lucky the rest of the song just comes to me.” Even though it was believed that Lennon played on Band on the Run, John always praised Macca’s album telling Rolling Stone magazine, “Band on the Run is a great album. Wings keep changing all the time. It doesn’t matter who’s playing. You can call them Wings, but its Paul McCartney music – and its good stuff.”

Good stuff that’s a perfect way to describe the cloudy ingredients that inspire Paul’s extracurricular and blunt pastime. Macca finally cleared the air, pun intended, on the meaning of this classic Band on the Run hit, when Paul shared, ““Let Me Roll It” wasn’t to John, it was just in the style that we did with The Beatles that John was particularly known for. It was really actually the use of the echo. It was one of those: ‘You’re not going to use echo just cos John used it?’ I don’t think so. To tell you the truth, that was more [about] rolling a joint. That was the double meaning there: ‘let me roll it to you.’ That was more at the back of mind than anything else.”

So, “Let Me Roll It,” has now been rehashed as a smoker’s anthem. I always heard “Roll It” as a metaphorical joint pass to John Lennon. It was Paul’s way of signaling a pipes of peace, if you will, trying to calm down the fires of litigation that tore the friendship of the Fab Four apart. Here’s hoping that “Let Me Roll It” healed the unbreakable love and between Lennon & McCartney. So in honor of Paul and his cloudy tribute to his best friend John, if you got them, smoke ‘em; just make sure you share the experience with another as you inhale by heeding Macca’s message, pass it forward while singing, “Let Me Roll It…to you.”

I also love reliving the glory of this live version of “Let Me Roll It” from Wings Over America:

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