On this day: 18 February , 1974: “Jet” was issued as a single in the UK.
“Jet” is a song by Paul McCartney and Wings from their album Band on the Run. It was the first British and American single to be released from the album. The song’s title was inspired by McCartney’s jet-black Labrador.
The song peaked at number 7 on both the British and American charts on 30 March 1974, also charting in multiple countries in Europe. It has since been released on numerous compilation albums, and has since become one of the band’s best-known tracks.Reviewers have reported that the song’s title was inspired by McCartney’s Labrador Retriever dog named “Jet”. McCartney has also substantiated this claim.We’ve got a Labrador puppy who is a runt, the runt of a litter. We bought her along a roadside in a little pet shop, out in the country one day. She was a bit of a wild dog, a wild girl who wouldn’t stay in. We have a big wall around our house in London, and she wouldn’t stay in, she always used to jump the wall. She’d go out on the town for the evening, like Lady and the Tramp. She must have met up with some big black Labrador or something. She came back one day pregnant. She proceeded to walk into the garage and have this litter… Seven little black puppies, perfect little black Labradors, and she’s not black, she’s tan. So we worked out it must have been a black Labrador. What we do is if either of the dogs we have has a litter, we try to keep them for the puppy stage, so we get the best bit of them, and then when they get a bit unmanageable we ask people if they want to have a puppy. So Jet was one of the puppies. We give them all names. We’ve had some great names, there was one puppy called Golden Molasses. I rather like that. Then there was one called Brown Megs, named after a Capitol executive. They’ve all gone now. The people change the names if they don’t like them.
However, in a 2010 interview on the UK television channel ITV1 for the programme Wings: Band on the Run (to promote the November 2010 CD/DVD re-release of the album) McCartney explained that Jet was the name of a pony he had owned, although many of the lyrics bore little relation to the subject; indeed, the true meaning of the lyrics has defied all attempts at decryption.
The song’s use of the word “suffragette” was described by McCartney as “crazy” and “silly”, not having any deep inspiration.
Whereas most of the Band on the Run album was recorded in Lagos, Nigeria, “Jet” was recorded entirely at EMI Studios in London after the group’s return (according to engineer Geoff Emerick in his book Here There and Everywhere). Instrumentation used in the song includes electric guitars, bass, Moog, drums, piano, horns and strings. A closer listening reveals the Moog is used for the bass line during the verse and is simply Linda holding the root note.
Release and reception
“Jet” was released as the debut single from Band on the Run in January 1974 (although in some countries, the Non-UK/US single “Mrs. Vandebilt” was released first). The single was a Top 10 hit for Paul McCartney and Wings, peaking at number 7 in both America and Britain. The single was backed with “Let Me Roll It” in Britain. When first released, in America the single’s B-side was “Mamunia”, another track from Band on the Run, but it was soon replaced with the British B-side. The song peaked at number 7 on both the British and American charts on 30 March 1974, also charting in multiple countries in Europe. “Jet” has since been released on multiple compilation albums, including Wings Greatest (1978) and All the Best! (1987).
Prominent music critic Dave Marsh named the song number 793 in his list of the 1001 greatest singles ever made. He referred to it as a “grand pop confection” that represented the only time McCartney approached the “drive and density” of his tenure with the Beatles. Writer Graham Reid has described it as a power pop “gem”.
The Australian rock band Jet drew their name from the song title.
- Paul McCartney – lead vocals, guitar, bass guitar, drums
- Linda McCartney – backing vocals, keyboards
- Denny Laine – backing vocals, guitar
- Howie Casey – saxophone