Dad Rock Bi-Weekly: Paul McCartney & Wings – Band on the Run

By Jessica Jones, Staff Writer

[EMI Studios; 1973]

Original Release Date: December 5th, 1973

Three years after the breakup of The Beatles, Band On the Run was the third and most popular studio album to come from Paul McCartney & Wings. Recorded in Lagos, located on the west coast of Africa, this album faced setbacks from the very beginning. From having two band members quit before the trip to Africa and other less than ideal situations, McCartney’s signature style still shines through, making this album feel more like an experimental Beatles album than anything.

Read more: Dad Rock Bi-Weekly: Fleetwood Mac – Rumours

Set to arrive in Lagos in early August, McCartney intended for this album to be a fresh new take for the band, after the mixed reception of the first two albums. Band members Paul and Linda decided they wanted to record the album outside of London, and settled on Lagos, due to the sunny and relaxing vibe. However, it was almost anything but as they arrived at the end of monsoon season. A week before the band’s departure to Africa, Paul and two of his fellow bandmates got into an argument, resulting in guitarist Henry McCullough and drummer Denny Seiwell leaving the band.

Once in Lagos, the band continued to face even more difficulties. Paul and Linda were robbed one evening at knifepoint, losing some valuables and demo tapes that the band had previously recorded. Paul also had to be taken to the hospital for a bronchial spasm triggered by excessive smoking. Despite all the inconveniences, Band On The Run proved itself to be a hit. Singles “Jet” and the title track, “Band On The Run”, both spent time in the Top 10 on charts internationally. “Jet” was inspired by McCartney’s dog, Jet, and is fast paced and electric. “Band On The Run” is a quick 3 movement suite, beginning with an easy going guitar riff pattern, progressing to a funk-inspired transition, and ending with a folk finale. Other popular tracks include the romantic, melodic “Bluebird” and “Let Me Roll It”, which was released as the B side to “Jet”, and features a hypnotic guitar solo throughout, much like “No Words” does as well.

Although this album wasn’t a chart-topping success, it has generally been well received by the public. Some may argue that Band On The Run was more of a Paul McCartney solo album then it was Wings, yet Wings was an ever-changing band, with no two albums sounding the same. Band On The Run is a timeless album that encapsulates the feelings of Paul and company and features a bit of the classic Beatles flair that we know and love.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Band on the Run was one of the first records I ever purchased! Cool idea for a retro column!


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