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ON THIS DAY: “JET” WAS ISSUED AS A SINGLE IN THE UK

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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.

Recording

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.[11] Writer Graham Reid has described it as a power pop “gem”.

 

The Australian rock band Jet drew their name from the song title.

Personnel

  • Paul McCartney – lead vocals, guitar, bass guitar, drums
  • Linda McCartney – backing vocals, keyboards
  • Denny Laine – backing vocals, guitar
  • Howie Casey – saxophone


ON THIS DAY: GUITARIST HENRY McCULLOUGH JOINED WINGS

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ON THIS DAY 29 January, 1972 :  guitarist Henry McCullough joined Wings.

Paul McCartney asked McCullough to join his new band, Wings, alongside Denny Laine and Denny Seiwell. Henry, a session musician (Jesus Christ Superstar) and band member (Joe Cocker’s Grease Band) he also frequently referred to himself as the only Irishman to have played Woodstock. Musical differences with McCartney, however, saw McCullough leave on the eve of the Band on the Run sessions. He had spent two years in the band, playing lead guitar on “Hi, Hi, Hi”, “Live and Let Die” as well as “My Love”.

On 24 January 1972, Paul added to the Wings line-up guitarist Henry McCullough, after he had tried out for the band. The new line-up immediately mounted an impromptu tour of UK universities (with the group driving around in a van), followed by a tour of small European venues. Although this was the first tour including an ex-Beatle after the Beatles broke up, Wings played no Beatles numbers during the tour, to show that it was a new band in its own right.

In February 1972, Wings released a single called “Give Ireland Back to the Irish”, a response to the events of Bloody Sunday. The song was banned by the BBC for its anti-Unionist political stance and only mentioned in chart rundowns on BBC Radio 1 as “a record by Wings”. Despite limited airplay, it reached number 16 in the UK, as well as number 1 in both the Republic of Ireland and Spain. Wings released a children’s song, “Mary Had a Little Lamb”, as its next single, which reached the top 10 in the UK. Although some critics interpreted it as a sarcastic reaction to the ban on “Give Ireland Back to the Irish”, it was in fact a serious effort by McCartney to record a song for children. Wings followed it with December 1972’s “Hi, Hi, Hi”, which was again banned by the BBC, this time for its alleged drug and sexual references. The B-side, “C Moon”, was played instead. The single peaked at number 5 in the UK.

The band were renamed “Paul McCartney and Wings” for the 1973 album Red Rose Speedway, which yielded their first US number 1 hit, “My Love”. The album included two tracks left over from the Ram sessions and was originally intended as a two-record set. After producer Glyn Johns had walked out on the project, however, McCartney conceded to EMI’s opinion that the material was “substandard” and cut it down to a single disc. Among the unreleased songs from the seven-month sessions was the Linda composition “Seaside Woman”, which was finally issued in 1977, credited to “Suzy and the Red Stripes”.

Near the end of the Red Rose Speedway sessions, in October 1972, Wings recorded the theme song to the James Bond film Live and Let Die, which reunited McCartney with Beatles producer/arranger George Martin. Issued as a non-album single in mid-1973, “Live and Let Die” became a worldwide hit and has remained a highlight of McCartney’s post-Wings concert performances (often accompanied by pyrotechnics). That same year, McCartney and Wings filmed a TV special, the critically maligned James Paul McCartney, which featured footage of the group performing in outdoor settings and in front of a studio audience.

After a successful British tour in May–June 1973, Wings went into rehearsals for their next album. McCullough and Seiwell abruptly left the band in August, however, at the end of rehearsals. Both musicians were disenchanted with the group’s musical direction and Linda’s inclusion; McCullough also objected to McCartney’s domineering attitude towards him as a guitar player, while Seiwell had long felt aggrieved at the lack of a formalised financial arrangement and his status as a lowly paid sideman.

With the band reduced to a trio, the McCartneys and Laine cut what turned out to be Wings’ most successful album, Band on the Run, at EMI’s primitive eight-track recording studio in Lagos, Nigeria.

STICKING OUT OF MY BACK POCKET: “WITH A LITTLE LUCK”

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From time-to-time the music world has a bit of a reset and it’s out with the old, in with the new. Such a year was 1977 with punk in full tilt and The Sex Pistols releasing their debut album. Bob Marley put out ‘Exodus’ the same year, as did Fleetwood Mac with ‘Rumours’. But electronic music was also turning heads: Bowie was in the middle of his “Berlin Trilogy” and Kraftwerk were just months away from releasing ‘The Man Machine’.

Wings ended 1977 on a high with their ‘Mull of Kintyre’ single going on to sell more than 2 million copies in the UK alone, a feat few songs have done since. But the upheaval in the music world was mirrored in the band with both Jimmy McCulloch and Joe English moving on, returning Wings to a three-piece for the first time since ‘Band on the Run’.
But as with ‘Band on the Run’ – which was recorded in Lagos, Nigeria –  the band chose another interesting location to record the follow up to ‘At The Speed Of Sound’ and their  ‘Wings Over The World’ tour: a yacht!
Anchoring their activities on the ‘Fair Carol’ yacht in the Virgin Islands which had been kitted out with a 24-track mixing desk, the band finished work on the ‘London Town’ album in early 1978 releasing it at the end of March, preceded by a few weeks earlier by the single ‘With A Little Luck’. Paul recently told us that part of him wished he had included ‘Mull of Kintyre’ on ‘London Town’ and it would have fitted perfectly. The album flawlessly combined a melting pot of styles, from upbeat rock to synth pop. It also features the track ‘Girlfriend’, which Michael Jackson covered on his 1979 album ‘Off The Wall’.

‘With A Little Luck’ combines expectant synths (an A major chord with a B in the bass!) intertwined with vocal harmonies, alongside an optimistic lyric that codas with a soulful lead vocal from Paul. The single reached number 1 in the US and is one of twelve tracks that appeared on the 1978 collection ‘Wings Greatest’, which will be reissued on vinyl this May18th.

Fans can PRE-ORDER all four 2018 edition catalogue reissues via MPL/Capitol:

?NEW (VINYL)

(CD)
?CHAOS AND CREATION IN THE BACKYARD (VINYL)

(CD)

?WINGS GREATEST (VINYL)
(CD)
?THRILLINGTON (VINYL)
(CD)

 

THE LONDON TOWN ALBUM – ARTWORK

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London Town is the sixth studio album by Wings, released in 1978. The album had a long and tumultuous gestation which saw the loss of two band members, the birth of James and the release of the then best-selling single in British history.

In February 1977, Wings began recording sessions at Abbey Road Studios, which continued until the end of March. Here, Wings recorded five songs: “Girls’ School”, “Name and Address”, “London Town”, “Children, Children” and Linda McCartney’s “B-Side to Seaside”, later issued as the flip-side of the Wings single “Seaside Woman” (issued under the name “Suzy and the Red Stripes”).The initial plan of touring the US again was thwarted by Linda’s discovery that she was pregnant with her and Paul’s third child. With the knowledge that they were not going to tour and had time at their disposal – and once again looking for different locales to record in – Wings found themselves moored on a yacht called “Fair Carol” in the Virgin Islands during the month of May where several new songs were recorded. Reflecting the nautical locale, the album’s initial working title was Water Wings. As Linda’s pregnancy progressed, the band halted the sessions for the album, save for the recording of a new track called “Mull of Kintyre” that August and the completion of the already begun “Girls’ School”, which would be released as a single – Wings’ one and only release in 1977.

Before the single’s release came two defections from Wings: drummer Joe English had become homesick for America and returned home, and lead guitarist Jimmy McCulloch left to join the Small Faces that September. For the first time since 1973’s Band on the Run, Wings were down to the core three of Paul, Linda and Denny Laine, reflected on the picture sleeve of the single, which showed the three remaining members. In November, two months after the birth of son James, and shortly after sessions for London Town resumed, the Scottish tribute “Mull of Kintyre” was released to enormous commercial success, becoming the UK’s biggest-selling single (outstripping The Beatles’ largest seller “She Loves You”). Although it would be topped in 1984 by Band Aid, “Mull of Kintyre” still ranks as the UK’s fourth biggest selling single and the largest selling non-charity single.

After some final overdubbing in January 1978, London Town was completed and preceded by the US No. 1 “With a Little Luck” that March, while the album was released a week later.

London Town LP artwork

Uncropped photo of the London Town LP cover.

This is the original un-cropped photo that was used for the cover of the London Town album.

Original background used for the cover and labels :

 

The official album:

 

Vinyl :

Personnel

  • Paul McCartney – vocal, guitar, bass, keyboards, drums, percussion, violin, flageolet, recorder
  • Denny Laine – vocal, guitar, bass, flageolet, recorder, percussion
  • Linda McCartney – vocal, keyboards, percussion
  • Jimmy McCulloch – guitar, percussion
  • Joe English – vocal, drums, percussion, harmonica