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Rock Show

by

Paul McCartney & Wings



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

True to its title, this song does describe a Rock concert. McCartney specifically wrote the song for his upcoming world tour, where he would perform in the US for the first time since 1966. Hence the references to "Madison Square" (Garden) and the "Hollywood Bowl." Another Rock reference he got in was to Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page: "What's that he's rolling across the stage, it looks like the one used by Jimmy Page, like a relic from a different age." McCartney said he wasn't implying Page was a relic, but liked the image of the great vintage amp coming out for the show. (thanks, Ken - Louisville, KY)
The lyrics, "Tension mounts, sometimes you score an ounce," were added to give the authentic concert feel and make the song, as McCartney said, "less respectable." McCartney had been busted a few times on minor drug charges, and in 1980 spent 10 days in a Tokyo jail when he tried to fly his stash so he would have something to smoke. He was evasive about his drug use for most of his career, and in 1975 claimed that he didn't do any drugs at all. In the '00s, he started answering questions about his drug use more candidly, saying that drugs influenced many Beatles songs, although that influence was often over stated.
Paul McCartney & Wings
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Comments (11):

In his live shows, from 1976 to this day, Paul has always done this song as a sort of medley with "Jet". The "coda" at the end ("Remember I said I was gonna buy those tickets to the rock show? Well, I bought 'em!") is always cut off in favor of the strong opening bars of "Jet".
- Ken, Louisville, KY
Yoko Ono didn't steal John Lennon's soul. Ask Paul, if you can; because I can and he will tell you. He said at the 2005 Grammy Awards: "Yoko didn't break The Beatles up, it was simply a matter of artistic view. John wanted to stay with 4/4 time and I wanted to experiment with different timing in our music. I love John like a brother and Yoko like a friend." Paul was making a reference to the girls getting rings put in their noses and thinking that it made them look pretty.
- stephen, Lawton, OK
I believe that the lyrics...
"What's that man movin' to and fro?
That decibel meter doesn't seem to be reading low
But they was louder at the rainbow
Could be, ooh-ee"
...were a reference to a concert that Deep Purple performed at The Rainbow Theater in London in 1972 which was so loud at 117 dB, that it allegedly rendered three fans unconscious. This led them to being crowned the world’s loudest band by The Guinness Book of World Records.
- Mike, Hartford, CT
I always though this was just Paul's commentary about rock in the 70's - the big, loud arena concerts, glam rock, hair bands, heavy metal, etc.
- Ken, Louisville, KY
'("the ring that I wear in my nose" just has to refer to Yoko's stealing of John's soul, right?)' That has to be the silliest 'songfact' I've read here, yet. John fell in love with a woman that he thought was beautiful (shocking, for a man to do that, eh!) The fact that everyone else thought she was ugly (including me) has nothing to do with anything, John was happy with her. And John was responsible for his OWN actions, no one forced him to do anything. Funny how on one hand John is this agent of peace and wisdom, and on the other hand, so weak minded that he was completely controlled by this evil Yoko. This is just a simple song about a rock show, there is no deep message, no hidden code. It was written to be a great show opener! I find it similar in its groove and writing to 'Watch That Man' off David Bowie's Aladdin Sane.
- Liquid Len, Ottawa, Canada
The reference to Jimmy Paige is one of the few times - if not the only time - Paul ever referred to an actual person by their full name in one of his songs.
- Ken, Louisville, KY
This song has to be, in part, a response to Lennon's criticisms of McCartney's music since the Beatles had broken up ("the ring that I wear in my nose" just has to refer to Yoko's stealing of John's soul, right?). This entire album's one of the most underrated of all time, several great songs: Magneto & Titanium Man, Letting Go, Spirits of Ancient Egypt, Medicine Jar; Listen to What the Man Said was the biggest hit from the album, the Venus & Mars intro & reprise reminds me of the Sgt Pepper intro & reprise.
- Eddie, Rome, GA
Mark,please see my comments in Paul McCartney artist facts about how and why Paul has alwats been more of a *musical* genuis than a lyrical one.
- LucyintheSky, Philadelphia, PA
Oh and this is a great fun rock song on a great 1975 Wings rock album,Venus and Mars!
- LucyintheSky, Philadelphia, PA
Hey Bill I agree with you on the Venus & Mars lyrics. The lyrics of Rock Show don't say much IMO though. It's a great song with a fun driving feel, but the lyrics? I can't get nothing out of em.
- mark, worcester, MI
Great imagery in his lyrics, this song (as part of Venus and Mars) kicked off his 1976 shows.
- Bill, Downers Grove, IL
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