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Discography - Paul McCartney and Wings

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Over the course of ten years (1971-1981) Wings released seven studio albums and one live album. If you measure success by numbers, then Wings were a huge success, especially in America, where five of the eight went to #1 on the charts, and the other three were in the Top 10. Every Wings single released in the U.S. charted in the Top 40, with ten of them in the Top 10, and six that went to #1.

The core of the band, that is, the people who were with the band from beginning to end, were Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney, and Denny Laine. The band's original drummer, Denny Seiwell left in 1973. Henry McCullough was added to the lineup as lead guitarist in 1972, but left the following year at the same time as Seiwell. The turnover continued throughout the rest of the band's life. There were two more lead guitarists -- Jimmy McCulloch (1974-77) and Laurence Juber (1978-81) -- and three more drummers -- Geoff Britton (1974-75), Joe English (1975-77) and Steve Holley (1978-81).

Some critics and fans are of the opinion that McCartney did his best work of his musical career with Wings, especially on their third album, Band on the Run. True or not, the band produced far more memorable albums and songs in ten years than many bands who existed twice as long.

1. 1971 - 'Wild Life'

Wings - Wild Life
EMI/Capitol
Release date 12/7/71
Chart peaks: #10 US / #11 UK

McCartney had observed Bob Dylan's habit of recording studio albums quickly, often recording only one take of a song. McCartney wanted, to the greatest extent possible, to capture the energy and spontaneity of a live performance, so the newly formed Wings spent barely over a week recording their debut album. Some critics felt that Wild Life had been recorded and released in too much of a hurry, but critics often don't reflect the tastes of the audience, and the album made it to the Top 10 in the US and nearly so in the UK.

Watch a live performance of the title song, "Wild Life" in 1972

Original LP Track List
Side 1
1. "Mumbo"
2. "Bip Bop"
3. "Love is Strange"
4. "Wild Life"

Side 2
1. "Some People Never Knew"
2. "I Am Your Singer"
3. "Tomorrow"
4. "Dear Friend"

2. 1973 - 'Red Rose Speedway'

Wings - Red Rose Speedway
EMI/Parlophone
Release date 4/30/73 (US) / 5/4/73 (UK)
Chart peaks: #1 US / #5 UK
Best known song: "My Love" - first #1 single (US)

Whereas their debut album listed only 'Wings' as the artist, on their second, Red Rose Speedway, they were identified as 'Paul McCartney and Wings' which may account, at least in part, for significantly better sales. Some of the album's success also has to be attributed to the single, "My Love" which was released shortly before the album, and almost immediately went to #1 on the US singles chart. Between the first album and this one, an additional guitarist, Henry McCullough, was added to the roster, but just days before recording of the album (in Lagos, Nigeria) were to begin, both McCullough and drummer Denny Seiwell left the band, leaving the McCartneys and Denny Laine to record virtually the entire album, with help from "local" musicians like former Cream drummer Ginger Baker, who was living in Nigeria at the time.

Watch a performance of "My Love" from 1973

Original LP Track List
Side 1
1. "Big Barn Bed"
2. "My Love"
3. "Get on the Right Thing"
4. "One More Kiss"
5. "Little Lamb Dragonfly"

Side 2
1. "Single Pigeon"
2. "When the Night"
3. "Loup (1st Indian on the Moon)"
4. "Medley: Hold Me Tight/Lazy Dynamite/Hands of Love/Power Cut"

3. 1973 - 'Band on the Run'

Wings - Band on the Run
Columbia
Release date 12/5/73 (US) 12/7/73 (UK)
Chart peaks: #1 US & UK
Best known songs: "Band on the Run" / "Jet" / "Helen Wheels"

If you were asked to name the one song for which Wings are best known, it's very possible your answer would be the title song on their third album, Band on the Run. It would be their most successful album, and has more than once been referred to as McCartney's best work. Said Jon Landau in a Rolling Stone review, "with the possible exception of John Lennon's Plastic Ono Band, the finest record yet released by any of the four musicians who were once called The Beatles."

Watch a 1976 performance of "Band On The Run"

Original LP Track List
Side 1
1. "Band on the Run"
2. "Jet"
3. "Bluebird"
4. "Mrs. Vanderbilt"
5. "Let Me Roll It"

Side 2
1. "Mamuina"
2. "No Words"
3. "Picasso's Last Words (Drink To Me)"
4. "Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five"

4. 1975 - 'Venus and Mars'

Wings - Venus and Mars
Capitol Records
Release date 5/27/75 (US) 5/30/75 (UK)
Chart peaks #1 US & UK
Best known song: "Listen to What the Man Said"

Any doubt about whether their fourth album could match the success of Band on the Run were erased pretty quickly. The single, "Listen To What The Man Said" was an instant success, and helped Venus and Mars become Wings' second #1 album. The band's departed lead guitarist and drummer had been replaced, respectively, by Jimmy McCulloch and Geoff Britton, but drummer Britton quit just as the recording sessions began. He was quickly replaced by Joe English, and the album was finished with no further hitches.

Watch a live performance of "Listen to What the Man Said" in 1976

Original LP Track List
Side 1
1. "Venus and Mars"
2. "Rock Show"
3. "Love in Song"
4. "You Gave Me the Answer"
5. "Magneto and Titanium Man"
6. "Letting Go"

Side 2
1. "Venus and Mars (Reprise)"
2. "Spirits of Ancient Egypt"
3. "Medicine Jar"
4. "Call Me Back Again"
5. "Listen to What the Man Said"
6. "Treat Her Gently/Lonely Old People"

5. 1976 - 'Wings at the Speed of Sound'

Wings at the Speed of Sound
Capitol/EMI
Release date 3/25/76 (US) 3/26/76 (UK)
Chart peaks: #1 US / #2 UK
Best known songs: "Silly Love Songs" / "Let 'Em In"

Wings at the Speed of Sound was recorded during a break in the band's year-long 1975-76 world tour following the release of Venus and Mars. The album hit #1 in the US seven times during the summer of 1976, keeping The Beatles' compilation Rock 'n' Roll Music from going higher than #2. It was the only Wings album to feature every member of the band doing lead vocals.

Watch a 1976 performance of "Silly Love Songs"

Original LP Track List
Side 1
1. "Let 'Em In"
2. "The Note You Never Wrote"
3. "She's My Baby"
4. "Beware My Love"
5. "Wino Junko"

Side 2
1. "Silly Love Songs"
2. "Cook of the House"
3. "Time to Hide"
4. "Must Do Something About It"
5. "San Ferry Anne"
6. "Warm and Beautiful"

6. 1976 - 'Wings Over America' (live)

Wings Over America
Hear Music
Release date 12/10/76
Chart peaks: #1 US / #8 UK
Best known song: "Maybe I'm Amazed"

Wings' one and only live album was actually three albums in one -- a 27-track, 3-LP release recorded at a Seattle concert during the band's 1976 US tour. Wings Over America was the first triple album by any artist to reach #1 in the US. Following the quick success of the album, a single, "Maybe I'm Amazed" (which had originally appeared on McCartney's first solo album, McCartney in 1970) was released, reaching #10.

Watch a live performance of "Maybe I'm Amazed" in 1974

Original LP Track List
Disc 1
Side 1
1. "Venus and Mars/Rock Show/Jet"
2. "Let Me Roll It"
3. "Spirits of Ancient Egypt"
4. "Medicine Jar"

Side 2
1. "Maybe I'm Amazed"
2. "Call Me Back Again"
3. "Lady Madonna"
4. "The Long and Winding Road"
5. "Live and Let Die"

Side 3
1. "Picasso's Last Words (Drink to Me)"
5 2. "Richard Cory" (Paul Simon)
3. "Bluebird"
4. "I've Just Seen a Face"
5. "Blackbird"
6. "Yesterday"

Side 4
1. "You Gave Me the Answer"
2. "Magneto and Titanium Man"
3. "Go Now" (Larry Banks/Milton Bennett)
4. "My Love"
5. "Listen to What the Man Said"

Side 5
1. "Let 'Em In"
2. "Time to Hide"
3. "Silly Love Songs"
4. "Beware My Love"
Side 6 1. "Letting Go"
2. "Band on the Run"
3. "Hi, Hi, Hi"
4. "Soily"

7. 1978 - 'London Town'

Wings - London Town
Capitol Records
Release date 3/31/78
Chart peaks: #2 US / #4 UK
Best known song: "With a Little Luck"

Between their previous album and this one, two more band members (Jimmy McCulloch and Joe English) left, and the McCartneys' third child was born. In spite of it all, London Town became a million seller, and peaked at #2. The single, "With a Little Luck" went to #1. Success came in spite of what McCartney felt was a lack of promotional support from Capitol Records, which prompted Wings to sign a new recording deal with Columbia Records.

Watch a 1978 promotional video of "With a Little Luck"

Original LP Track List
Side 1
1. "London Town"
2. "Cafe on the Left Bank"
3. "I'm Carrying"
4. "Backwards Traveller"
5. "Cuff Link"
6. "Children Children"
7. "Girlfriend"
8. "I've Had Enough" – 3:02

Side 2
1. "With a Little Luck"
2. "Famous Groupies"
3. "Deliver Your Children"
4. "Name and Address"
5. "Don't Let It Bring You Down"
6. "Morse Moose and the Grey Goose"

8. 1979 - 'Back to the Egg'

Wings - Back to the Egg
Columbia Records
Release date 6/8/79 (UK) 6/11/79 (US)
Chart peaks: #8 US / #6 UK
Best known song: "Getting Closer"

The seventh Wings studio album was not intended to be their last, but it turned out that way. After the release of Back to the Egg in 1979, McCartney and Laine turned their attention to solo projects, but in 1981 Wings were back in the studio putting together yet another album of new material. In the midst of the recording sessions, Laine decided to call it quits. Since he and the McCartneys had been the core of the band since its beginning, it seemed the right time to end the band's 10 yesr run, while they were still on top.

Watch a live performance of "Getting Closer"

Original LP Track List
Side 1
1. "Reception"
2. "Getting Closer"
3. "We're Open Tonight"
4. "Spin It On"
5. "Again and Again and Again"
6. "Old Siam, Sir"
7. "Arrow Through Me"

Side 2
1. "Reception"
2. Getting Closer"
3. "We're Open Tonight"
4. "Spin It On"
5. "Again and Again and Again"
6. "Old Siam, Sir"
7. "Arrow Through Me"
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