How do you follow being in The Beatles? That was the dilemma Paul McCartney faced in the early 70s. He solved it by going back to basics, forming Wings, getting out on the road and making a series of superbly crafted records. Here are ten of his best with Wings…
10. Hi Hi HI (1972)
An out and out rocker in the I’m Down/Long Tall Sally mode, Hi Hi Hi provided McCartney and Wings with some much need credibility. The fact it was banned by the BBC due to the rather innocuous line ‘’get you ready for my body gun’’ and the fact it alluded to ‘’getting high’’ added extra kudos at the time.
9. My Love (1973)
McCartney has always knows always had an ear for a good ballad and he scored a massive hit on sides of the Atlantic with this heartfelt love song. Ex Eire Apparent and Joe Cocker/ Grease Band guitarist Henry McCullough contributes a solo of breath-taking finesse.
8. Juniors Farm (1974)
After McCullough’s departure in 1973, McCartney wisely recruited ex Thunderclap Newman and Stone the Crows member Jimmy McCoullogh. ‘’Take me down Jimmy’’ is the cue for the late great wunderkind guitarist to add considerable verve to this bright and breezy rocker that took them into the top 20 in late 1974.
7. Rock Show (1975)
In 1976, Wings undertook a US tour of Zeppelinesque proportions. In Rock Show, McCartney had the perfect opening salvo for the show. The lyrics cleverly describe the pre gig atmosphere of a band on the road - listen out for a name check for Jimmy Page in the opening verse.
6. Listen To What the Man Said (1975)
Beatle like close knit harmonies merge with the soaring sax of Tom Scott for this uplifting rollercoaster paced outing from the Venus And Mars album. Ex Traffic man Dave Mason guests on guitar. It was all over the radio and took McCartney back to the top of the US charts.
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5. Let Me Roll It (1973)
Recorded under difficult circumstances as a three piece with wife Linda and Denny Laine, Macca turned adversity into triumph with the Band On The Run album. This hypnotic track was a something of a homage to his ex songwriting partner – the stark echo drenched arrangement tipping the hat to the sound of Lennon’s own Plastic Ono Band.
4. Jet (1973)
Another Band On The Run winner – this straight ahead rocker bustles with drive and exuberance – aided by an impassioned McCartney vocal performance and uplifting orchestration. The chorus repeats the title in a chant like manner set against a clever synth pattern. Incidentally, Jet was the name of one of the McCartney’s dogs.
3. Maybe I’m Amazed (1977)
Taken from the triple live album Wings Over America set that chronicled the 1976 US tour, this is a stately in concert delivery of the stand out track from the 1970 McCartney debut solo album. Vocally, Macca rings every inch of emotion out of the pleading lyric and Jimmy McCullough wades in with a quite majestic solo.
2. Band On the Run (1973)
The title track from the mega selling and critically acclaimed Band On The Run, this cleverly combines three separate tempos. A slow build up, a rush of acoustic guitars and then an invigorating refrain makes for a brilliantly cohesive end result. Note also Macca’s precise drumming and superlative bass.
1. Live And Let Die (1973)
McCartney wrote this dramatic Bond theme practically to order. It reflects the varying exotic locations of the movie – complete with romantic interlude and a reggae section. It reunited him with legendary Beatles producer George Martin. In 1991, Guns and Roses did justice to the song on their Use Your Illusion I album.