My Record Collection 219

Wings – Due to a major filing error, when moving house, I missed out Wings in the W.  How could I ever forget McCartney’s second band (almost as famous – but not really as great as his first).  After the breakup of the Fabs, Paul continued writing and recording, trying hard not to sound like the Beatles.  He decided to form a new band, with his wife Linda and Denny Laine and a couple of others who never seemed to last long on Guitar and Drums.  First up is Wild Life, (1971) a rushed affair, which sound more like a demo than a real album.  Apart from ‘Some People Never Know’ and ‘Dear Friend’ it is a poor album and a poor start to the band.  Slated by the music press Paul carried on regardless and toured the band and recorded a second – the much improved Red Rose Speedway, recorded in ’72 but released in 1973.  Firstly, the production is much better and so are the songs – but the band are now sounding together; maybe Paul should have waited till the band gelled before recording.  Anyway, a fairly good album (I remember sitting up with Joy {my new girlfriend at the time} listening to this and her album of River by Terry Reid until the early hours of the morning).  Best tracks – ‘Lazy Dynamite’ the medley ‘Hold Me Tight to Power Cut’.  The experimental track ‘Loup’ is strangely pointless – but the single ‘My Love’ is a classic in the typical McCartney sentimental style.  Later that same year he released Band On The Run – reckoned by almost everyone as the best thing Wings ever achieved.    Which is incredible given that some original recordings of some of the songs were lost, and Paul and the band decamped to EMI in Lagos, Nigeria to record them again (don’t ask).  Well, they turned out to be fantastic from ‘Jet’ to ‘Band On The Run’; there is an exuberance about the album, as if the band and Paul were finally gelled – though the truth is that the drummer and lead guitarist split just before recording, so Paul assumed those duties.  Fave track is probably ‘1985’ but I also love ‘Let Me Roll It’.  The album was number 1 in America and UK.  Wings toured again and recruiting new members recorded the slightly underwhelming Venus and Mars in 1975.   The songs often seem slight and almost showy with no feeling – ‘You Gave Me The Answer’ revisiting the mood of ‘Honey Pie’ on the White Album.  Better, I suppose are the singles – ‘Letting Go’ and ‘Listen To What The Man Said’ – but best is probably ‘Medicine Jar’.  At The Speed of Sound came out a year later, and was noticeably better.  Recorded during the bands World Tour the group were playing well together.  The songs seem better too, as if Paul was inspired by the success he was achieving for the second time.  Best are ‘Silly Love Songs’ and ‘Let Em In’ but I also like ‘Beware My Love’.  However, things came unstuck after the tour as the two latest recruits left leaving Paul, Linda and Denny Laine again as Wings.  They went on to record my favourite Wings album London Town, released in 1978.  The album didn’t do as well as earlier ones’ however.  But I liked it’s musicality and the songs were great, especially the title track, and ‘With A Little Luck’ – however I like all the songs, especially the crazy rocker ‘Morse Moose’.  I don’t know what happened next, but Paul seemed to lose his Mojo; he recruited 2 new members – the third or fourth to join Wings, and recorded a very sub-standard album – in fact, worse than Wild Life even.  Back To The Egg (1979) was the final album under the Wings name – and despite considerable promotion and touring the album did poorly.  No wonder, it has no theme, no connection to anything at all.  I really don’t like it.  Subsequently, while touring Paul was arrested in Japan, spending 9 days in jail before being released.  While incarcerated he apparently wrote an autobiography (never seen) and decided on a change of course.  The band folded and Paul went solo again.  The rest is History.  Wings made a couple of brilliant albums and a couple of half-decent ones and one superb live album – but really despite huge sales and fan worship, you always felt as if they were in the shadow of the Beatles.  Wings Over America was the live album and was very good – it included a handful of Beatles numbers and ‘Richard Cory’ a Paul Simon song never released by Paul in the studio, also a cracking version of a ‘b’ side ‘Soily’.  In some ways, this was the best Wings album of all.  I also have a Greatest Hits album Wingspan, Hits and History – which actually covers Paul’s first few solo years with or without Wings. Released in  2001.  ‘Hits’ contains nothing new, but great to hear these songs again, though I like the Ram stuff best, and ‘Another Day’ and ‘No More Lonely Nights’. And History is similar though seems to cover his first couple of apres Wings solo stuff too. 

Your Cheating Heart (1990) – was a BBC Scotland mini-series, about a Glasgow Country and Western band; it featured among others Tilda Swinton and Eddi Reader of Fairground Attraction fame, also Ken Stott.  The story was a bit complex, but it was studded with great interpretations of old 50’s songs by Elvis and Hank Williams and the like.  I loved it and bought the CD which has remained a favourite ever since; there is a joyfulness about the whole thing.  Best tracks are hard to choose, but ‘Deep Water’, ‘Quicksilver’ and ‘From A Distance’ stand out.

Wings Perform In Arles