It is not very often that a piece of this magnitude is offered up for auction. Especially when it is only one of three identical awards made and presented to an original member of the group, Wings. This is a Grammy award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo Or Group With Vocal for the song “Band on the Run,” presented in 1974 and given to Wings’ multi-instrumentalist and singer, Denny Laine.
Paul McCartney: “I was looking around for somewhere exciting to record the next album. So I thought, a good idea would be to get a list from EMI our record company and all the studios they had ’round the world. It turned out they had one in Africa. We just said, ‘Yeah. Let’s go to Africa.’
“The night before we were due to go [drummer] Denny Seiwell and [guitarist] Henry McCullough rang up and said, ‘Um, we’re not coming. We’re not coming to Africa. We’re leaving the band.’ Oh, great, thank you! At first it was like, ‘Oh no, tragedy!’ But then, I just thought, ‘Right, we’re gonna go and we’re gonna show you. We are going make the best album we’ve ever made!”
Wings co-founder Laine said that he had no idea that the pair had quit until he didn’t see them on the plane to Africa: “I didn’t find out until they didn’t turn up, because nobody told me what was going on. I just got the vibe.”
Another challenge was when they arrived, the studio was only half finished. After setting up the equipment they could find, McCartney took over drum duties on the album, and shared the majority of instrumentation with Laine. Laine recalled that the two-man band approach came naturally to him and McCartney. Laine went on to say: “The album’s title song was a perfect example of how he and McCartney laid down the basic tracks for ‘Band On the Run.’ It was just me on acoustic guitar and Paul on drums. Maybe we added those extra guitars afterwards and just mixed the other stuff out.”
Linda McCartney was still learning as a musician, and during this time, became a valuable member of Wings and a key contributor to the sound Paul was trying to create.
Another incident was the night Paul and Linda were mugged by bandits at knifepoint. They took their cash, Linda’s camera, and the tapes with the Band On the Run demos. Paul had to go back and re-record based on memory.
Being in a place with strange and scary things happening, they had to adapt to their circumstances.
Shortly after Band On the Run was released in early December of 1973, McCartney said: “The basic idea about the band on the run is a kind of prison escape. At the beginning of the album the guy is stuck inside four walls, and eventually breaks out.”
The iconic cover was also a unique experience. Paul had mentioned that he wanted to try a different approach and include some of their friends in other professions to be the band on the run and include them in a spotlight photograph. The six non-Wings people in the photo are Kenny Lynch, Michael Parkinson, Clement Freud, James Coburn, John Conteh, and Christopher Lee.
This rare Grammy reads: “National Academy Of Recording Arts & Sciences / Paul McCartney & Wings / Best Pop Performance / By a Duo or Group with Vocal – 1974/ ‘Band On The Run.'”
Measures 4 ¾” squared and 6 ½” tall. In Very Good Plus condition with scratches and some adhesive residue on the back portion of the award. Has scratching, some light tarnishing, and the base pads are worn down.
There were only three made: one for Paul, one for Linda, and one for Denny Laine. This is Laine’s.
Band On The Run is Paul’s best-selling album since the breakup of the Beatles. “Jet” and “Helen Wheels” were both top ten hits and the title track hit number #1 on the Billboard singles chart. It went on to sell over 8 million copies.
This classic recording is etched in history as one of the best of all time.
This Grammy was originally sold by JoJo Laine, former wife of Denny Laine, in 2001. Then by Julien’s in 2003. It’s Only Rock N Roll sold it in 2007 to Charles and Sherry Heard. From 2009 until today, Charles and Sherry Heard. They loaned this Grammy to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland, Ohio where it has been displayed in the museum’s acclaimed Beatles’ exhibit. It has been seen and enjoyed by millions of fans worldwide. Now is the time for a new owner to enjoy seeing it on display.
Denny Laine, in his own hand, has also written the LOA confirming its authenticity and giving his permission to sell.
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