Paul McCartney is about as at home on the Hot 100 as an artist can be. From the Beatles’ record-setting 71 singles on the Hot 100 chart to McCartney’s nine post-Beatles No. 1s, his songs are all over the Billboard history books.
Now, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Beatles arrival in America on Feb. 7, 1964, we’ve compiled a list the 10 biggest Billboard hits from Sir Paul’s multi-decade career. The ranking includes not only Wings hits but also Macca’s huge duets with Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson.
This chart of Paul McCartney’s 10 biggest Billboard hits is based on actual performance on the weekly Billboard Hot 100. Songs are ranked using an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at No. 100 earning the least.
10. “Live And Let Die” – Wings
Hot 100 Peak Position: 2, Peak Date: 1973
While the 1973 single is one of the of the most famous James Bond film theme songs, it never reached No. 1 on the Hot 100 chart. (The famous British secret spy franchise wouldn’t nab its first chart-topper until Duran Duran’s “A View To a Kill” in 1985.) Rock band Guns N’ Roses would later cover the song for its “Use Your Illusion I” album in 1991, and released it as a single later that same year. It peaked at No. 33 on the Hot 100.
9. “With A Little Luck” – Wings
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (two weeks), Peak Date: 1978
“London Town” single “With a Little Luck” was decidedly modern for McCartney and Wings, utilizing synthesizers throughout the 1978 track. Paul shows his emotional maturity on the song, acknowledging that relationships take work – and “a little luck.” The single version, which is two and a half minutes shorter than the album cut, reigned on the Hot 100 for two weeks.
8. “Listen To What The Man Said” – Wings
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1, Peak Date: 1975
From Wings’ 1975 “Venus and Mars” album, “Listen to What the Man Said” was recorded by the band in New Orleans, but McCartney was not happy with early versions of the song. After adding Traffic’s Dave Mason on guitar and composer Tom Scott on soprano sax, the track was released and rose to No. 1 on the Hot 100.
7. “The Girl Is Mine” – Michael Jackson & Paul McCartney
Hot 100 Peak Position: 2, Peak Date: 1983
The first of two Jackson/McCartney collaborations on this list, “The Girl Is Mine” was the first single from Jackson’s mega-blockbuster 1982 album “Thriller.” It was released in October 1982 and quickly debuted on the Hot 100 at No. 45, eventually peaking at No. 2. It would preview the pair’s “Say Say Say” collabo, which would arrive the following year. But more on that in just a bit…
6. “Band On The Run” – Paul McCartney & Wings
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1, Peak Date: 1974
The title track off McCartney and Wings’ beloved album of the same name reached No. 1 on the Hot 100 in 1974, albeit running from the top stop after just a week. As a single, the five-minute “Band On the Run” showed variety for McCartney and Wings: three distinct parts that don’t depend on a chorus yet still manage to feel anthemic.
5. “Coming Up (Live At Glasgow)” – Paul McCartney & Wings
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (three weeks), Peak Date:1980
McCartney embraced disco and new wave in his own small way with 1980’s “Coming Up,” just as the former was phasing out and the latter becoming in vogue in pop music. Radio stations picked up, specifically, on the more straight-forward live from Glasgow version of this single from “McCartney II.”
4. “My Love” – Paul McCartney & Wings
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (four weeks), Peak Date: 1973
It’s no mystery that Paul McCartney is a sensitive fella with a penchant for penning love songs. Besides “Maybe I’m Amazed” (which didn’t make this list), his sultry 1973 single “My Love” takes the cake for his most touching track during his post- Beatles career. Fans agreed, and made the song — off McCartney and Wings’ “Red Rose Speedway” — No. 1 on the Hot 100 for four weeks.
3. “Ebony And Ivory,” Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (seven weeks), Peak Date: 1982As a soloist, Wonder had topped the Hot 100 with six songs between 1963 and 1977, with his debut hit “Fingertips – Pt 2” and “Sir Duke” each reigning for as many as three weeks. With McCartney as his duet partner, the song brought Wonder his longest stay atop the chart (seven weeks). Ironically, despite the song’s message of coexisting “side by side,” McCartney and Wonder shot their parts of its video separately.
2. “Say Say Say” – Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (six weeks), Peak Date: 1983“Say Say Say” was the first single from Paul McCartney’s “Pipes of Peace” album, but not his first duet with Michael Jackson. Earlier in 1983, the duo stalled at No. 2 for three weeks with their first charting collaboration, “The Girl Is Mine” – the lead single from Jackson’s “Thriller” album. Out of the duo’s two charting hits, “Say Say Say” was the only one that sported a music video. The colorful clip features Jackson and McCartney as conmen and was directed by Bob Giraldi. (The latter also helmed Jackson’s “Beat It” and Pat Benatar’s “Love Is a Battlefield.”)
1. “Silly Love Songs” – Wings
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (five weeks), Peak Date: 1976
The highest ranked McCartney tune on this all-time list is his biggest No. 1 hit with Wings, “Silly Love Songs.” The single, released in 1976, spent five weeks atop the Hot 100 and was the third chart-topper for McCartney’s post-Beatles band. The group reached No. 1 with “My Love,” “Coming Up,” “Band on the Run,” “Listen to What the Man Said” and “With a Little Luck.”