S0-3415 Band On The Run
Produced by Paul McCartney
Released on December 5, 1973
UK CHART POSITION #1 . . . US CHART POSITION #1 . . . GOLD RECORD (12/7/73), 3x PLATINUM (11/27/91)
Find it at GEMM
S0-3415 cover
[high resolution photo]
 

W ings travelled to Nigeria to record Band On The Run. Unlike other McCartney albums, which were recorded in less inhospitable locations where the biggest discussion between bandmembers likely revolved around whose turn it was to be pulled in the inner tube, Wings were basically stuck inside those four studio walls. It forced them to finish what they started, and the resulting record finally sounded like the polished studio product that everyone knew Paul capable of. Many have likened it to The Beatles, and it’s true that Band On The Run is Paul’s best record since leaving that band, but comparing this to Abbey Road or the white album isn’t particularly helpful. However, it is worth noting that the stinging guitar work of Denny Laine sounds so much like George Harrison in spots that it’s almost like George never left. “No Words” and “Mrs Vanderbilt” even sound like George Harrison songs. The likely culprit for this was the sense of social responsibility that stemmed from being in Nigeria. The opening track seems to draws its inspiration from their travels, while “Mamunia” reflects a renewed appreciation for what they left behind. Of course, I have no idea how much time they actually spent among the Nigerian people; the inner sleeve suggests at least enough time for a photo opp (there’s a Meet Wings Free! joke in there for the taking), and it seems unlikely that you could live in Nigeria without being cognizant of the culture. The songs themselves are at their heart no better than before; it’s the attention to detail after the songs were written that make them sparkle. Adding synthesizers to “Band On The Run” to give it atmosphere, ensuring that “Let Me Roll It” has the right presence, and embellishing “Mrs Vanderbilt” with some of the old Beatles magic are what put this album on a pedestal. There are also some very good songs on here: “Jet,” “Bluebird” and “Helen Wheels” (which apparently does not appear on the original UK release) would have worked in any setting. Like all the tracks on Band, they’re played (and sung) with passion, something Paul otherwise invoked only sparingly. Of interest, Paul apparently plays the drums here as well without ill effect, though Ringo he’s not.

S0-3415 back cover S0-3415 lyric sleeve
S0-3415 back cover S0-3415 lyric sleeve

TRACK LISTING

  1. BAND ON THE RUN    5:09
  2. JET    4:08
  3. BLUEBIRD    3:22
  4. MRS VANDERBILT    4:40
  5. LET ME ROLL IT    4:51
  6. MAMUNIA    4:51
  7. NO WORDS    (Paul McCartney/Denny Laine)    2:36
  8. HELEN WHEELS    3:45
  9. PICASSO'S LAST WORDS (DRINK TO ME)    5:48
  10. NINETEEN HUNDRED AND EIGHTY FIVE    5:30

    UK 1993 CD (CDPMCOL5) track listing
  11. BAND ON THE RUN    5:09
  12. JET    4:08
  13. BLUEBIRD    3:22
  14. MRS VANDERBILT    4:40
  15. LET ME ROLL IT    4:51
  16. MAMUNIA    4:51
  17. NO WORDS    (Paul McCartney/Denny Laine)    2:36
  18. PICASSO'S LAST WORDS (DRINK TO ME)    5:48
  19. NINETEEN HUNDRED AND EIGHTY FIVE    5:30
  20. HELEN WHEELS    3:45
  21. COUNTRY DREAMER

    All selections composed by Paul McCartney unless noted

CREDITS

PAUL McCARTNEY --
DENNY LAINE --
LINDA McCARTNEY --
Howie Casey -- sax solos
Geoff Emerick -- engineer
Special Thanx to Clive Arrowsmith, Tony Visconti, Ian and Trevor Gordon House and Storm Thorgerson

return to PAUL McCARTNEY & WINGS discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US December 5, 1973 Apple LP S0-3415 lyric sleeve
UK December 7, 1973 Apple LP/CS PAS/TC-PAS 10007 lyric sleeve, poster
US 1973 Capitol 2LPPRO PRO 2955/6 incl. interview elpee
COL 1973 EMI/Odeon LP 11282  
FRA 1973 EMI/Pathe Marconi LPYEL DC-9 yellow vinyl, poster
GER 1973 Apple LP 1C 062 05503 picture sleeve, lyric insert, poster
NET 1973 Apple LP 5C 062 05503 picture sleeve, lyric insert, poster
BRA 1974 Apple LP SBTL 1029  
URU 1974 Apple LP SAPL-30530  
JPN   Capitol LP EPS-80235 picture sleeve
UK November 1978 Capitol LPPIC SEAX 11901 picture elpee
JPN 1978 Capitol LPPIC EPS-90073 picture elpee, lyric insert
US 1981 Columbia LP HAL-46482 audiophile master
US 1989 Capitol CD/CS 46675  
UK February 1, 1993 DCC CD GZS-1030 gold disc
UK June 8, 1993 EMI/Parlophone CDX CDPMCOL5 w. bonus tracks
UK 1998 MPL Communications 2CD 499176 25th anniversary edition
w. bonus material
US February 25, 1999 Capitol 2CD 99176 25th ann. ed. w. bonus material
JPN 1999 EMI/Toshiba CD TOCP-65504 digital remaster, lyric sleeve
US 2001 Capitol 2LP 99176 w. bonus material

 

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