Category: paul mccartney & wings

Paul McCartney & Wings, apparently just back from Junior’s Farm, “Jet / Let Me Roll It” single released February 1974 (France), my edit of original via 45cat


Welcome …to the Wings tour bus in 1972

Paul McCartney & Wings, London’s Osterly Park 1971, for the cover of their debut album Wild Life, via Paul’s official Instagram

Paul McCartney with Wings, 1976, by James Fortune

Paul & Linda McCartney for the debut of Wings, Wild Life, 1971

Paul McCartney, from the cover shoot for Wings’ debut, Wild Life, 1971.

Now HERE’s a treat! Paul McCartney rehearsing “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five”, 1973

Yeah yeah yeah, he’s a Beatle, he’s got skills, whatever. I don’t know that you’ve often got a chance to appreciate just how insanely talented Paul McCartney is, all by himself, which this ragged little clip shines a brilliant spotlight on: the song that serves as the musical and emotional climax of one of his most musically and emotionally complex constructions, Band On The Run.

For a moment though, it’s just Paul. I’ve always been amazed by the many tones Paul can shape his voice into, and his playful growl here is one of my favorites. 

Most of his piano work with The Beatles was direct, not anything like the level of flash or finesse with which he played bass or guitar. Here, he bangs like blazes on an early runthrough of the song that for months had been known simply as “Piano Thing.”

I especially love when he bounces into the first solo at 1:46. The playfulness and energy of that vamp more than compensates for a few missed notes. If The Beatles taught us anything, it’s that perfection is overrated, and is generally not even a goal worth aiming for.

Before the solo ends, we switch to Paul, face on, no edits, as he tracks the vocal over the second half of the song. Some of that too is vamping that doesn’t entirely hit the mark (”Shake it don’t break it” is not one of his eternally shining insights), but the combination of intense concentration and giddy release is exactly how he’s created this kind of magic for over 50 years.

(It’s worth noting as you listen to the instrumental backing behind Paul’s vocal: two members of the band had quit on the eve of the recording sessions, so in addition to piano and bass, Paul played lead guitar and drums on this and the rest of the album, as well as acoustic guitars, percussion, and more.)

There’s a snippet of Paul speaking at the beginning, where he considers the disadvantages of being PAUL MCCARTNEY, carrying his own heritage on his back – especially having been critically savaged for his first two albums with Wings – and decides in the end that these are likely outweighed by the advantages. My favorite thing about today’s version of Paul McCartney is that there may well be nobody on earth as happy being themselves as he is. I hope you get to witness it in person, and I hope you find at least a glimmer of this self-acceptance for yourself.

Yeah yeah yeah, he’s a Beatle, he’s Paul fucking McCartney, loving himself can’t be that hard, can it? Look, at the heart of “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five”, and the reason it HAD to be the climax of the album, is the wonder that ANY of us can find ANY kind of love, even for a moment, much less a love that lasts for any length of time. 

Perhaps in this case you can start with four minutes and forty four seconds of love – one human’s delight in his own performance, our delight in his delight, and the first steps of our own bouncing vamp toward hope and self-embrace.


An unseen picture of Paul, Linda & Mary McCartney taken by Barry Lategan at Osterley Park in London, for the Wild Life photo session. October 1, 1971 👨‍👩‍👧💗

From Paul McCartney’s official Instagram, celebrating the re-release of Wings’ 1971 debut Wild Life

Paul McCartney banging away on Red Rose Speedway, 1973, Linda McCartney photo via Paul’s Instagram