Paul McCartney and Wings – Band On The Run

It took a few tries for Paul McCartney to record a suitable follow-up album for his tenure with The Beatles but with “Band on the Run”, he nailed it. It’s not that McCartney’s first two solo albums or his next two as part of Wings were bad records. They just weren’t in step with what critics or Beatles fans wanted from him.

Expectations were high for McCartney following the Beatles’ split and personally, I think with his first four records, he tried too hard to live up to what was expected rather than make albums that he wanted to make. By the time it came around to write and record “Band on the Run” Paul McCartney had nothing to lose, so he stopped trying to please outside of himself and just did what felt right. Now, this is nothing more than my personal opinion based on nothing more than having listened to all these albums numerous times. In other words, I’m probably totally wrong. But until someone proves I am, I’m claiming that’s the way it was.

The one thing I know to be true though, is that after the break-up of the Beatles, “Band on the Run” was the album where Paul McCartney finally nailed it.

Wings Over America

Okay, I’m breaking an unwritten rule. But it’s my rule, so I can take liberties. I have to admit, it’s not the first time either. I do try to keep it to a minimum though. But sometimes, every now and then, I have to make an exception. This is one of those times.

It’s not like anyone gets hurt if I break the rule. Not even close. Sometimes my friends even enjoy it when I break the rule. Most often, that’s when I choose to break it – when I know a friend wants me to. That is, they would want me to if they knew the rule even existed.

The thing is, I’ve never told anyone of the rule, so no one knows about it. But it’s been in place for years. … no, decades. It’s a rule that every now and then, needs to be broken. Usually, it’s for someone else, but tonight, it’s all about me. Tonight, I make no apologies. I will break the rule and I have no regrets.

I am going to listen to another entire album by the last band I just listened to an entire album by. This morning, it was Wings “At The Speed of Sound”. Tonight, it’s “Wings Over America”. But how can I resist?

A lot of bands can release a successful single live album. Fewer could be successful with a double live album. It’s unheard of to make it a triple. Unless you’re a band as talented as the Wings.

This is the only triple album to take the #1 a spot on the U.S. charts. An incredible accomplishment that may never be broken.

But then again, accomplishments are often hard to break. Breaking rules is easy; especially when the rules are your own.

Wings – At The Speed Of Sound

I remember listening to an interview with Paul McCartney where the former Beatle was very persistent in saying that the band Wings was not an avenue for extending his solo career. He said that he wanted the band to be strictly referred to as Wings, not Paul McCartney and Wings. As if to drive that point home, “At the Speed of Sound” featured the other band members singing lead vocals on its songs more than its four predecessors. There was also more participation in the song writing from the other band members.

“At the Speed of Sound” spawned two singles “Let ’em In” and “Silly Love Songs”. Those singles helped place the album by Wings at the top of the US charts. It also hit number two on the British charts. Like it’s a predecessors, the album contain a solid mix of mid-tempo rock songs That focused on composition and song structure that incorporated a wide range of influences and styles. The album never totally jams out, but it’s not a mellow album either. It’s always a pleasure to listen to it.

The Beatles – Revolver

Americans got ripped off with Beatles’ seventh album. And it wasn’t the first time either – but it wold be the last.

With Revolver, the fab four continued to expand their sound and experiment with different, often unorthodox recording techniques in the studio for the time. (They were expanding and experimenting with other things outside the studio too. But let’s not go there right now.) Backwards recording, post recording speed and pitch variations (varispeeding) and artificial double tracking, which adds a slight delay to a voice or instrument and plays it back with the original, so one voice sounds like two, or four sound like eight, were all used here. 

Although these techniques are now commonplace in modern recording studios, they were truly groundbreaking at the time. The Beatles would continue expanding on what could be done in the studio on their next album,  “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”

I know, all that is really cool (at least if you’re a music nerd like I am) but what you really want to know is right now is just how did American’s get ripped off  by this album? 

Well here it is…

Although The Beatles had started their own record label, Apple Records, their records were still released through major record companies. To the whole world outside of the United States, The Beatle’s albums were released through Parlaphone records. In the U.S., The Beatles were released through Capitol Records. Capitol didn’t like releasing albums with too many songs on them – and apparently 14 was too many. For Revolver, they only wanted theirs to go up to 11. So U.S. record buyers didn’t get “I’m Only Sleeping,” “Doctor Robert,” and “And Your Bird Can Sing ” on their albums.

This wasn’t the first time Capitol had made changes to a Beatles’ album. Most early albums by them had song omissions and/or reordering on the U.S. editions. Fortunately, Revolver would be the last time it would happen. Starting with “Sgt. Pepper’s” Capitol stopped messing with what should be better off left alone.