Sunday 28 July 2019

They're Only The Band The Beatles Could've Been

I've mentioned "definitive compilations" before in previous insane outpourings, and I am going to suggest another.

Wings Greatest

12 tracks plucked from the 1970 to 1978 offerings from the band formed by Paul McCartney, his wife Linda and Denny Laine after the demise of The Beatles
Admittedly two tracks here are not actually Wings, being his first solo single "Another Day" and a track from 'Ram' ("Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey").

The tracks were chosen by Paul himself to fulfill the Capitol records contract in the America, hence allowing the band to change label.
It was released in late 1978, so contains nothing from 'Back To The Egg' (the last Wings album before (a) he went back to full-time solo naming, (b) he was detained in Japan on drugs charges, and 9c) the band split/retired/was brought to an end due to a combination of (a) and (b).
  1. "Another Day"
  2. "Silly Love Songs"
  3. "Live and Let Die"
  4. "Junior's Farm"
  5. "With a Little Luck"
  6. "Band on the Run"
  7. "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey"
  8. "Hi, Hi, Hi"
  9. "Let 'Em In"
  10. "My Love"
  11. "Jet"
  12. "Mull of Kintyre"
What is missing from this compilation is Paul's attempt at political comment "Give Ireland Back To The Irish", the 1975 Top 10 single "Listen To What The Man Said", Wings rendition of "The Crossroads Theme", and "Girlschool" - the B Side to "Mull Of Kintyre" (or in truth, the double A Side) added to the single because McCartney wasn't convinced of the commerciality of "Kintyre".
Minor quibbles, because what you have here is the core of Wings singular output.

There was a period of time (probably primarily driven by Paul McCartney's few live performances) when his Beatles and Wings past was rarely re-visited.  The solo album/film venture 'Give My Regards To Broad Street' revisited his Beatles past, but save for "Live And Let Die", Wings were effectively consigned to history.
A Paul McCartney solo compilation ('All The Best') did include a few Wings tracks, but it wasn't until 2001 that the Wings legacy was properly re-appraised with the release of the compilation 'Wingspan: Hits and History' which covers the above tracks and adds the omitted singles of the period, choice album tracks, alongside later solo ventures.

CD1: Hits
  1. "Listen to What the Man Said"
  2. "Band on the Run"
  3. "Another Day"
  4. "Live and Let Die"
  5. "Jet"
  6. "My Love"
  7. "Silly Love Songs"
  8. "Pipes of Peace"
  9. "C Moon"
  10. "Hi, Hi, Hi"
  11. "Let 'Em In"
  12. "Goodnight Tonight"
  13. "Junior's Farm"
  14. "Mull of Kintyre"
  15. "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey"
  16. "With a Little Luck"
  17. "Coming Up"
  18. "No More Lonely Nights"
CD 2: History
  1. "Let Me Roll It"
  2. "The Lovely Linda"
  3. "Daytime Nighttime Suffering"
  4. "Maybe I'm Amazed"
  5. "Helen Wheels"
  6. "Bluebird"
  7. "Heart of the Country"
  8. "Every Night"
  9. "Take It Away"
  10. "Junk"
  11. "Man We Was Lonely"
  12. "Venus and Mars/Rock Show"
  13. "The Back Seat of My Car"
  14. "Rockestra Theme"
  15. "Girlfriend"
  16. "Waterfalls"
  17. "Tomorrow"
  18. "Too Many People"
  19. "Call Me Back Again"
  20. "Tug of War"
  21. "Bip Bop/Hey Diddle"
  22. "No More Lonely Nights"

Wings Legacy?
I think the band will forever be known as "The Mull Of Kintyre Hitmakers", despite it being somewhat unrepresentative of their oeuvre.
OK, so they're never going to stand toe-to-toe with The Beatles, but hey this is Paul McCartney making Paul McCartney sounding music, and there is nothing on there that makes you go "Eh? What is that"

Trivia aside:
The first UK record to sell 1 million copies was The Beatles - She Loves You
The first UK record to sell 2 million copies was Wings - Mull Of Kintyre
The first UK record to sell 3 million copies was Band Aid - Do They Know It's Christmas

The B Side of the Band Aid single featured a spoken message from Paul McCartney, meaning he had been involved with the 3 biggest selling singles of the last 20 years
A designation that remained until Elton John's re-working of "Candle In The Wind" outsold everything before (and probably everything since).
One can't help but wonder if Paul McCartney had been asked to perform at the Princess Diana's Funeral, he could've maintained this record of being on the best selling UK single - although a re-working of "Live And Let Die" may not have gone down too well.

Paul McCartney is often quoted, when asked about The Beatles, saying "they were a great little Rock & Roll band", and on their day so were Wings.
Yes, they may have had the pressure of expectation upon them, been the butt of many jokes (specifically about Linda McCartney's musicianship) and at times fallen back towards the mass appeal MOR ("My Love", "Mull Of Kintyre", "Silly Love Songs") but they could also rock as hard as anyone ("Hi Hi Hi", "Juniors Farm", "Live And Let Die").
And in the words of Paul himself: "what's wrong with that, I'd like to know"

a song it is not easy to listen to without visions of Alan Partridge jumping on his bed in the Lintion Travel Tavern

Hi Hi Hi
The second Wings song banned by the BBC (after "Give Ireland Back ...") for it's "suggestive lyrics"

Rockestra Theme
Credited to Wings, and on the 'Back To The Egg' album, but in truth a "supergroup" featuring Wings, plus David Gilmour, Pete Townshend, Hank Marvin, Tony Ashton, Gary Brooker, Bruce Thomas, Ronnie Lane, John Paul Jones, John Bonham and Kenney Jones.

1 comment:

  1. There are times I'm tempted to agree with Alan Partridge on this. I can do without Mull of Kintyre, but I understand why it was such a big hit. Lose Uncle Albert from that first tracklist and replace it with Listen To What The Man Said and you've got a pretty essential album, I reckon.