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How Paul McCartney proved Wings haters wrong with "Band on the Run"

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Last post 17/06/2020

Posted by Kestrel

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      SALON

      How Paul McCartney proved Wings haters wrong with "Band on the Run"

        Wings were literally a band on the run for a while. Funny how great music often comes out of bad circumstances. Paul was at his absolute peak musically and vocally at that time, which is why I'm glad I saw him live then, and not more recently. In my opinion his music has been in steady decline for some time, as has his voice. But that doesn't matter - he long ago stopped having to prove anything to anyone. The best of his music is incredible. I listen to each new album hoping for one more great record - the last two albums unfortunately went in one ear and out of the other - but he's done more great stuff than most musicians, so his reputation is rock solid.

          Thanks  to Ginger Baker's autobiography, 'Hellraiser', new info emerged in 2009. Totally downplayed for obvious reasons was the fact that it was Ginger who managed to sort out all the work visas for Wings to record in Nigeria, via his contacts in the Nigerian government. So in return for Ginger's help, it was agreed that Wings would record at his ARC studios. On arrival in Lagos, all the Wings instruments were taken from the airport to ARC studios. However,when they got there, under pressure from EMI, Wings had to renage on their promise and switch studios,much to Denny Laine's embrassment,who was an old mate of Gingers. And all this despite EMI studios not being ready which meant Wings lost a few days of recording time. Wings did spend one day working  at ARC Studios though as compensation for Ginger, and they also made sure that his studios got a credit on the cover of the BOTR album.

          "I later discovered that EMI had been unable to obtian the band visas for nIgeria and so had used me and booked my studio in order to get McCartney into the country".

          More amusingly:

          "Paul, Linda and Denny were out one day when a large black Merc pulled up beside them containing four Negerians wanting autographs. For some reason ,they thought they were about to be robbed and Linda said,'Don't hurt him, he's an artist!' then they promptly emptied their pockets,giving all their cash to the surprised autograph hunters." 

           

          Quotes taken from 'Ginger Baker Hellraiser' by Ginger Baker with Ginette Baker (John Blake Publishing 2009).

           

            dirkmcquickly wrote:

            Wings were literally a band on the run for a while. Funny how great music often comes out of bad circumstances. Paul was at his absolute peak musically and vocally at that time, which is why I'm glad I saw him live then, and not more recently. In my opinion his music has been in steady decline for some time, as has his voice. But that doesn't matter - he long ago stopped having to prove anything to anyone. The best of his music is incredible. I listen to each new album hoping for one more great record - the last two albums unfortunately went in one ear and out of the other - but he's done more great stuff than most musicians, so his reputation is rock solid.

            To each his own.  To this fan, McCartney's Solo career since Flaming Pie has been stellar.  His music (not necessarily his voice) has been on a steady "incline" in general since Flaming Pie particularly with his more mature lyrics.  

              Kestrel wrote:

              Thanks  to Ginger Baker's autobiography, 'Hellraiser', new info emerged in 2009. Totally downplayed for obvious reasons was the fact that it was Ginger who managed to sort out all the work visas for Wings to record in Nigeria, via his contacts in the Nigerian government. So in return for Ginger's help, it was agreed that Wings would record at his ARC studios. On arrival in Lagos, all the Wings instruments were taken from the airport to ARC studios. However,when they got there, under pressure from EMI, Wings had to renage on their promise and switch studios,much to Denny Laine's embrassment,who was an old mate of Gingers. And all this despite EMI studios not being ready which meant Wings lost a few days of recording time. Wings did spend one day working  at ARC Studios though as compensation for Ginger, and they also made sure that his studios got a credit on the cover of the BOTR album.

              "I later discovered that EMI had been unable to obtian the band visas for nIgeria and so had used me and booked my studio in order to get McCartney into the country".

              More amusingly:

              "Paul, Linda and Denny were out one day when a large black Merc pulled up beside them containing four Negerians wanting autographs. For some reason ,they thought they were about to be robbed and Linda said,'Don't hurt him, he's an artist!' then they promptly emptied their pockets,giving all their cash to the surprised autograph hunters." 

               

              Quotes taken from 'Ginger Baker Hellraiser' by Ginger Baker with Ginette Baker (John Blake Publishing 2009).

               

              What? Were you amused because the story was totally inaccurate? Paul has told the correct story many times. 

                Well, a couple of thoughts. First, IMO "Red Rose Speedway" really began to sway Wing 'haters'. It hit #1 in three weeks, knocking out Led Zeppelin's Houses of the Holy. Wow!  And as the article mentioned, Wings had a string of Top Ten songs in late 1972/early 1973 and then "My Love" exploded on to the music scene.  Secondly,  the last two McCartney albums have entered my ear and basically have stayed in my brain.  

                  Nancy R wrote:

                  What? Were you amused because the story was totally inaccurate? Paul has told the correct story many times. 

                  The story might not be totally inaccurate but it is true that Paul has stuck consistantly with his version of events over the years.

                    wingsoverkc wrote:

                    Well, a couple of thoughts. First, IMO "Red Rose Speedway" really began to sway Wing 'haters'. It hit #1 in three weeks, knocking out Led Zeppelin's Houses of the Holy. Wow!  And as the article mentioned, Wings had a string of Top Ten songs in late 1972/early 1973 and then "My Love" exploded on to the music scene.  Secondly,  the last two McCartney albums have entered my ear and basically have stayed in my brain.  

                    Great points Wingsoverkc especially your 2nd one.  Both NEW and EGYPT STATION are terrific albums imho.

                      Kestrel wrote:

                      Nancy R wrote:

                      What? Were you amused because the story was totally inaccurate? Paul has told the correct story many times. 

                      The story might not be totally inaccurate but it is true that Paul has stuck consistantly with his version of events over the years.

                      Paul's story to me seems much more plausible than "4 Nigerian autograph seekers!" 😂

                        Nancy R wrote:

                        Paul's story to me seems much more plausible than "4 Nigerian autograph seekers!" 😂

                        That's true. 

                          Kestrel wrote:

                          Nancy R wrote:

                          Paul's story to me seems much more plausible than "4 Nigerian autograph seekers!" 😂

                          That's true. 

                          Didn't Paul say these people really did hold them up and stole the original Band on the Run masters from him?

                           

                            SusyLuvsPaul wrote:

                            Kestrel wrote:
                            Nancy R wrote:

                            Paul's story to me seems much more plausible than "4 Nigerian autograph seekers!" 😂

                            That's true. 

                            Didn't Paul say these people really did hold them up and stole the original Band on the Run masters from him?

                             

                            The demos, not the masters. They also stole their cameras, etc. 

                              Nancy R wrote:

                              SusyLuvsPaul wrote:
                              Kestrel wrote:
                              Nancy R wrote:

                              Paul's story to me seems much more plausible than "4 Nigerian autograph seekers!" 😂

                              That's true. 

                              Didn't Paul say these people really did hold them up and stole the original Band on the Run masters from him?

                               

                              The demos, not the masters. They also stole their cameras, etc. 

                              Yes, in a panic, they handed over audio cassettes (of the rehearsals that had taken place in Scotland), cameras  & Paul's wallet. Paul, Linda and Denny then supposedly had to remember how the songs and lyrics went,which takes some believing given that they'd only recently spent a week or two working on the songs. And why not simply ring up Henry McCullough,who still had his copy or Denny Seiwell for that matter? Even though they had recently left under a cloud, I'm sure they could have listened to their copies and told Paul over the phone how the songs went. Like a lot of things Paul says, under scrutiny they don't always make sense.

                                Thanks, Kestrel. What a frightening experience for Paul and them. I can understand how he could have got the story garbled up or forgotten some of what transpired. He must have wished to get that memory out of his head of the robbery that night. Thank hea vens nothing really bad happened to them physically.

                                I like "Back to the Egg" and "Wings Wild Life" and some of the others even more than Band on the Run, in some ways, I think. I heard the latter so much and am much more familiar with it. So the others are more novel  to me. More "new" in a way. Got a bit tired of it. Not of "Bluebird" though. Really love that song

                                  SusyLuvsPaul wrote:

                                  I like "Back to the Egg" and "Wings Wild Life" and some of the others even more than Band on the Run, in some ways, I think. I heard the latter so much and am much more familiar with it. 

                                  I think you've hit the nail firmly on its head, Susy. Although I think Band On The Run is by far Paul's best and most mature work, its become so over familiar over the last 47 years that it can be a bit boring listening to it. So I too can enjoy some of Paul's less than stellar work simply because its less familiar and so feels fresher.

                                    Kestrel wrote:

                                    Nancy R wrote:
                                    SusyLuvsPaul wrote:
                                    Kestrel wrote:
                                    Nancy R wrote:

                                    Paul's story to me seems much more plausible than "4 Nigerian autograph seekers!" 😂

                                    That's true. 

                                    Didn't Paul say these people really did hold them up and stole the original Band on the Run masters from him?

                                     

                                    The demos, not the masters. They also stole their cameras, etc. 

                                    Yes, in a panic, they handed over audio cassettes (of the rehearsals that had taken place in Scotland), cameras  & Paul's wallet. Paul, Linda and Denny then supposedly had to remember how the songs and lyrics went,which takes some believing given that they'd only recently spent a week or two working on the songs. And why not simply ring up Henry McCullough,who still had his copy or Denny Seiwell for that matter? Even though they had recently left under a cloud, I'm sure they could have listened to their copies and told Paul over the phone how the songs went. Like a lot of things Paul says, under scrutiny they don't always make sense.

                                    He sent copies to Henry and Denny S? I never heard that. Where did you read that? If they did have copies, one of them could have simply mailed them back. (after playing them for him over the phone)  Maybe tightwad Paul wouldn't want to pay for that long distance call though! 😂

                                      Nancy R wrote:

                                      He sent copies to Henry and Denny S? I never heard that. Where did you read that? If they did have copies, one of them could have simply mailed them back. (after playing them for him over the phone)  Maybe tightwad Paul wouldn't want to pay for that long distance call though! 😂

                                      Or he didn't want them to know what happened & that he needed the tapes.

                                       

                                        Nancy R wrote:

                                        He sent copies to Henry and Denny S? I never heard that. Where did you read that? If they did have copies, one of them could have simply mailed them back. (after playing them for him over the phone)  Maybe tightwad Paul wouldn't want to pay for that long distance call though! 😂

                                          Nothing would surprise me.

                                        Henry did speak about having a tape of the rehearsals, not that long before he passed away . I'm speculating about Denny S but I would think Denny L would also have had a copy too but no doubt he left his tape at home.

                                          oobu24 wrote:

                                          Nancy R wrote:

                                          He sent copies to Henry and Denny S? I never heard that. Where did you read that? If they did have copies, one of them could have simply mailed them back. (after playing them for him over the phone)  Maybe tightwad Paul wouldn't want to pay for that long distance call though! 😂

                                          Or he didn't want them to know what happened & that he needed the tapes.

                                          That sounds plausable. As far as the robbery iself goes, I'd like to discover its origins of the story in the media. Paul did a big interview with the Rolling Stone magazine in late 1973 (published January 1974) and he never mentioned the incident.