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Band On The Run
Paul McCartney & Wings
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Paul McCartney approached Band on the Run as an artist with something to prove. Previous Wings albums had met with mixed responses from both public and critics, and to some it seemed McCartney had lost his magic touch. The general confusion was not helped by
Paul McCartney
Song facts
Composer Paul & Linda McCartney
Genre Pop
Album Band On The Run
Released 1973
UK Chart 3
the departure of Wings guitarist Henry McCullough and drummer Denny Seiwell shortly before the group were due to travel to Lagos to record the album.

The sessions were not without their difficulties – Paul and Linda were mugged, losing many of the album’s demo tapes, and Paul collapsed with bronchial spasms. Also, there was some resentment from African musicians that Paul was seeking to appropriate their music. In the end, Paul played much of the music himself, ably assisted by Denny Laine and wife Linda.

The albums centrepiece remains its title track, a song which throws interesting light on Paul’s writing process. Like many of his songs, it began with a chance phrase, picked up from George Harrison at one of the interminable business meetings the Beatles were subjected to in their troubled Apple venture. “If we ever get out of here” sparked Paul’s imagination, making him use a prison break out as a metaphor for establishment persecution of the counterculture.

The songs structure recalls the almost operatic style of the long medley on Abbey Road. The drift of the opening evokes the ennui of prison life, before changing to the more determined strut of the “If we ever get out of here” section. Things transform again when the orchestra arrives – like “a hole being blasted in the wall” according to McCartney – and the inmates escape into the breezy chords and rousing chorus of the main section.

Band on the Run was widely hailed as a return to form for McCartney and gave him his first solo number album in America. It was also praised by his erstwhile collaborator John Lennon, who dubbed it “a great album…good stuff.” Everything about it, from the jailbreak cover concept to the perfectly produced, elegantly arranged and concisely written songs, was a showcased an artist at the top of his game, and certainly stands comparison with the best of his Beatles work. 



Paul McCartney talks about the song
Paul McCartney
Paul reveals how he went about writing the title track from his classic album: "I had a couple of bits of songs... I thought it should start off very kinda moody and quiet...".

 

Other versions
Richie Havens
 Gruff voiced Richie Havens provided a gritty version of Macca's masterpiece on his Mixed Bag II LP from 1974.

Band On The Run proved that there was life after The Beatles...


Alan, Muswell Hill

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Paul McCartney official site
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Band On The Run official site
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