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Promo Video on Top of the Pops (UK)


1/1/1971, England

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  • Biography
  • Although Wings was the only actual "permanent" group that any of the former Beatles ever formed, the band itself was far from permanent. In fact, Wings was noted for its perennial personnel changes nearly as much as its impressive and consistent chart success. In its decade of existence, Wings had three different lead guitarists and four different drummers. The core of the band, and the only three lifelong members, were Paul McCartney, his wife Linda McCartney and singer/guitarist Denny Laine. As a founding member of The Moody Blues, Laine was the most recognizable musician in the band who wasn't a former Beatle (or the wife of one). As such, at concerts he often got a solo spot in which he sang songs closely identified with him (most notably the Moody's "Go Now"). In the groups first incarnation, the core trio were joined by drummer Denny Seiwell and, later, lead guitarist Henry McCullough. Seiwell and McCullough, however, departed in anger after the release of Wild Life and Red Rose Speedway, on the eve of the Lagos recording sessions for Band On The Run. Undaunted, the core trio of McCartney, McCartney and Laine continued on alone, resulting in a triple-platinum, Grammy Award-winning masterpiece - the best album the group ever recorded and, arguably, one of McCartney's finest post-Beatles efforts ever. Lead guitarist Jimmy McCulloch was the next to join the band, joined shortly thereafter by drummer Geoff Britton. Britton, however, left after only a brief stint and was replaced on the skins by Joe English. This edition of the group recorded Venus And Mars and Speed Of Sound, both of which went platinum in the U.S. For the big, ambitious Wings Over the World arena tour (1975-1976), the band added a great horns and percussion section consisting of session veterans Tony Dorsey, Howie Casey, Thaddeus Richard, and Steve Howard - resulting in the Wings Over America triple-disc live album which became the band's fifth consecutive Number 1 album in the U.S.A. After the world tour and some limited studio work, Wings reverted to its core trio following the departure of McCulloch and English. Working shorthanded (due to Linda's pregnancy as well as the defections), the band released "Mull Of Kintyre", the first single to ever sell over two million copies in the U.K. (earning the first ever "rhodium disc" designation) and the album London Town (which included tracks initially laid down with McCulloch and English). In addition to "Mull Of Kintyre", Denny Laine co-wrote five of the album's songs with Paul McCartney. Later in 1978, session guitarist Laurence Juber (who began playing guitar the week that "I Want to Hold Your Hand" was released by The Beatles) and drummer Steve Holley joined the band, returning it to full touring strength. In the summer of 1979, this edition of the group released Wings last album, Back To The Egg. That winter, they were again joined by the World Tour horns/percussion section for what turned out to be Wings final concert tour. The brief U.K. tour was to have been but the first leg of another massive worldwide tour which, unfortunately, never materialized. Paul's solo studio work, followed by his January 16, 1980 pot bust in Tokyo and John Lennon's brutal assassination on December 8th of that year, cancelled all future touring and recording plans for the band. With Paul bereaved - and no work - Juber and Holley were forced to abandon ship. Finally, on April 27, 1981, after an abortive attempt at studio work (and arguments over money), it was announced that Denny Laine had also left the band, effectively ending the decade-long, effervescent flight of Wings. Wings 1 (1971-1973) Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney, Denny Laine, Denny Seiwell, Henry McCullough Albums : Wild Life, Red Rose Speedway Wings 2 (1973-1974) Paul, Linda and Denny Album : Band On The Run Wings 3 (1974-1977) Paul, Linda, Denny, Jimmy McCulloch, Geoff Britton, Joe English Albums : Venus And Mars, Speed Of Sound Added for World Tour : Tony Dorsey, Howie Casey, Thaddeus Richard, and Steve Howard Album : Wings Over America Wings 4 (1977-1978) Paul, Linda and Denny Album : London Town Wings 5 (1978-1981) Paul, Linda, Denny, Laurence Juber, Steve Holley Album : Back To The Egg

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    Paul McCartney & Wings

  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (8)

    • Paul McCartney: (on writing "Picasso's Last Words" at the behest of Dustin Hoffman) I happened to have my guitar with me; I'd brought it around, and I said, yeah, sure. I strummed a couple of chords I knew I couldn't go wrong on and started singing, "Drink to me, drink to my health," and he leaps out of his chair and says, "Annie! Annie!" That's his wife. He says, "Annie! Annie! The most incredible thing! He's doing it! He's writing it! It's coming out!" He's leaping up and down, just like in the films, you know. And I'm knocked out because he's so appreciative. I was writing the tune there, and he was well-chuffed.

    • Paul McCartney: (on recording in Africa) Lately we've gone to two different places to record, just for the fun of it. We've been to Lagos and to Paris, and in both of the places they say, "Why did you come here? You've got much better studios in England or America, you must be daft!" And we say, "Well, it's just for the fun, it's just to come somewhere different for a different type of turn-on, that's all." They never really seem to be able to understand it. I think old Fela, when he found us in Lagos, thought, "Hello, why have they come to Lagos?" And the only reason he could think of was that we must be stealing black music, black African music, the Lagos sound; we'd come down there to pick it up. So I said, "Do us a favor, we do okay as it is; we're not pinching your music."

    • Paul McCartney: These stories grow so madly, you know, from just one little line. There weren't any big hatchet jobs. Denny Seiwell left of his own accord. I'm sure I could go through the whole line-up. It's a bit boring really, and a bit of a yawn. With the last Wings line-up we parted in a friendly way. Everyone was a bit disappointed and I was a bit sad because that was it...because it was a bit of a burden. It's like a marriage you've got to keep up. It becomes a very real thing.

    • Paul McCartney: (on "Hi, Hi, Hi" being banned by The BBC) I thought the "Hi, Hi, Hi" thing could easily be taken as a natural high, could be taken as booze high and everything. It doesn't have to be drugs, you know, so I'd kind of get away with it. Well, the first thing they saw was drugs, so I didn't get away with that, and then I just had some line "Lie on the bed and get ready for my polygon." The daft thing about all of that was our publishing company, Northern Songs, owned by Lew Grade, got the lyrics wrong and sent them round to the radio station and it said, "Get ready for my body gun," which is far more suggestive than anything I put. "Get ready for my polygon," watch out baby. I mean it was suggestive, but abstract suggestive, which I thought I'd get away with. Bloody company goes round and makes it much more specific by putting "body gun." Better words, almost.

    • Paul McCartney: (on Wings first album, "Wild Life") I must say you have to like me to like the record. I mean, if it's just taken cold, I think it wasn't that brilliant as a recording. We did it in about two weeks, the whole thing. And it had been done on that kind of a buzz we'd been hearing about how Dylan had come in and done everything in one take. I think in fact often we never gave the engineer a chance to even set up a balance. There's a couple of real big songs on there, that only freaks or connoisseurs know.

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    Trivia (10)

    • “Live and Let Die”, the main theme of the 1973 James Bond film, was the first Bond theme to ever be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song. Written by Paul and Linda, and produced and arranged by George Martin, it was the last McCartney single on Apple Records credited only to "Wings".

    • The basic tracks for the multi-platinum album "Band On The Run" were initially recorded in Lagos, Nigeria at EMI's primitive, out-of-date local studio.

    • In 1979, ""Rockestra Theme", from the Wings album "Back To The Egg", won a Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. Once again, the award was credited to Paul McCartney & Wings.

    • In 1974, Paul McCartney & Wings were awarded a Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Performance By A Duo, Group Or Chorus for the album Band On The Run.

    • "Mull of Kintyre" (1977), an ode to the Scottish coastal region McCartney called home in the early 1970s, became a massive international hit. It dominated the charts in Britain (where it stayed #1 for 7 weeks), Australia and many other countries, ultimately becoming one of the biggest selling U.K. singles of all time.

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