It was 42 years ago today (February 9th, 1972), that Paul McCartney, along with his new band Wings, performed his first solo show at Britain's Nottingham University. Although McCartney refused to include any Beatles numbers in the band's set, he couldn't resist performing the group's longtime set-closer, a cover of Little Richard's "Long Tall Sally." Incidentally, the gig was eight years to the day of the Beatles' debut in America on The Ed Sullivan Show.
McCartney's idea of reliving the Beatles' early pre-fame days had actually been his idea for the group the day that John Lennon quit the group in 1969. McCartney thought it a good enough idea to revisit as the launch of Wings' live act: "We decided to go back to square one and not form a, sort of, great big 'supergroup' and come out the level the Beatles were at.
So, it was kinda funny looking back on it. We just stuck everything in a van -- dogs, children, potty -- and just went up the motorway without any bookings, without any hotels. Anyway, we found Nottingham University and went and did a gig there and (then) did a little, kind of, university tour. So from those small beginnings, we gradually formed Wings."
Wings' setlist for it's February 1972 "University Tour" was: "Lucille," "Give Ireland Back To The Irish," "Blue Moon Of Kentucky," "Seaside Woman," "Say Darling," "Some People Never Know," "The Mess, "Bip Bop," "Smile Away," "My Love," "Henry's Blues," "Help Me," "Wild Life," and "Long Tall Sally."
The original road lineup of Wings survived three tours; the early 1972 "University Tour," the summer '72 "Wings Over Europe" trek, and the band's only officially booked UK tour in the spring and summer of 1973.
The original Wings lineup last performed live together on July 10th, 1973 in Newcastle, England. In all, the first touring lineup of Wings performed 58 shows in 11 countries across Europe.
Both Denny Seiwell and Henry McCullough quit the band just prior to Wings leaving for Lagos, Nigeria to record 1973's Band On The Run.
Photo Courtesy of MPL/Robert Ellis