Song: “Ebony and Ivory” by Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder
Reached #1: May 15, 1982 (McCartney’s fourth, 7 weeks)
30 years on, the basic message of “Ebony and Ivory” is struggling to be heard – ask gay people in North Carolina about “living together in perfect harmony” today…
What I find interesting is that popular opinion on this song seems to be as split as the people it was about. For everyone who put this song on a Greatest Ever list, there’s one who bashed it. It’s been called simplistic, saccharine, cheesy… thing is, that should be no surprise. Paul McCartney has a weak spot, at times, for “cheesy” lyrics. Anyone who’s listed to his solo works knows this – without John Lennon as a balance, McCartney can be very sentimental and, occasionally, just plain weird as a songwriter.
If you’ve hit “play” on the video, you probably figured out that McCartney and Wonder were taped separately due to touring schedules – something very obvious in the scenes where both are on camera. Technology has marched on, and the editing methods used to get both of them on-screen are rather… um… visible today, aren’t they?
McCartney turns 70 on June 18, and will be celebrating a couple of weeks early by performing at Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee concert on June 4.
Tomorrow, a band whose lead singer has also been as involved in “social issues” as McCartney and Wonder…
Other songs that reached #1 on May 15:
1976 – “Boogie Fever” by the Silvers (their first, 1 week)
1993 – “That’s The Way Love Goes” by Janet Jackson (her sixth, 8 weeks)
2010 – “OMG” by Usher feat. will.i.am (Usher’s ninth, 4 weeks)