Rewriting history

Rewriting history

The spine just says Paul McCartney and doesn’t mention Wings.

Okay, so people on social media are typically asking this question about the new, 50th anniversary release of the “Band On The Run” album: “What do we think about Paul dropping Wings on the new release?”

They keep referring to Paul McCartney rewriting history. Actually, this is just what the spine said in the U.S. copies of the album from Capitol Records back in 1973. It’s fairly well-known that Capitol Records’ got their way with the release of “Band On The Run”. Paul wanted to release the album as it was, crediting “Paul McCartney & Wings”. And he was not going to include the song “Helen Wheels”, which he had released as a standalone single. But Capitol’s marketing department got their way, “Helen Wheels” was included on the U.S. version of the album, and they probably celebrated their triumph by erasing “& Wings” from the album’s spine. And since the 50th anniversary release is based on the U.S. edition of the album, with “Helen Wheels” included, the spine says Paul McCartney. Had they added “& Wings” to this release, THAT would have been rewriting history.

Of course, in Europe and elsewhere the 1973 album was released as Paul intended, without “Helen Wheels” and the band was credited on the album’s spine.

Wings’ first album was of course “Wings Wild Life” and the band was just called Wings, not Paul McCartney & Wings. The album didn’t sell too well, one thing was not mentioning Paul McCartney on the album cover, actually not even the bands name got mentioned on the front cover! It was just a photo of the band without any lettering, just like “Abbey Road”. So for the next album, “Red Rose Speedway”, I’m pretty sure it was marketing who demanded that the group should be identified as “Paul McCartney & Wings” and not just “Wings”. In order to sell more copies.

This was then carried over to the next album, “Band On The Run”, it was just the U.S. spine which didn’t mention Wings.

With “Band on the run” being the phenomenon that it was, especially regarding sales, which marketing cares a lot about, Paul got his way for the rest of the Wings albums. “Venus and Mars”, “Wings at the Speed of Sound”, “Wings Over America”, “London Town”, “Wings Greatest” and “Back to the Egg” were all credited to just “Wings” – and no longer to “Paul McCartney & Wings”.

So when you are talking about Paul McCartney rewriting history, THIS is not an example of that. For that you’ll have to look into some other stories from him.

So, what did you all think about the so-called “Underdubbed” mixes? Underwhelmed or did you enjoy them? What about that long guitar solo at the end of “Nineteen-hundred-and-eighty-five”? It sounds like Henry to me…


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