Today (December 5th) marks the 45th anniversary of the release of Paul McCartney & Wings’ Band On The Run album. 1973’s Band On The Run, which reunited McCartney with legendary Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick, included three Top 10 hits — “Helen Wheels,” which peaked at Number 10 and was only included on the U.S. versions of the album, “Jet,” which topped out at Number Seven, and the title track, “Band On The Run,” which hit Number One on June 8th, 1974 and topped the charts for one week.
Band On The Run holds the distinction of being the only McCartney album to top the album charts twice. The album didn’t hit Number One until over four months after its initial release, when it knocked John Denver’s Greatest Hits out of the top spot for four non-consecutive weeks.
Band On The Run, which was McCartney’s fifth solo album, was his biggest post-Beatles critical and commercial success, was mired in trouble before it began production. While Wings was rehearsing the new material in Scotland during the summer of 1973, guitarist Henry McCullough quit the band after an argument with McCartney over how a solo should be played. Then — just prior to the band leaving for Lagos, Nigeria to record the album — drummer Denny Seiwell phoned McCartney saying that he too was quitting.
Paul McCartney recalled the circumstances leading up to Wings’ departure to Lagos to record the album: “I was looking around for somewhere exciting to record the next album. So what I did, I thought, a good idea would be to get a list off EMI — our record company — of 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 Denny and Henry rang up and said, ‘Um, we’re not coming. We’re not coming to Africa. We don’t wanna come. 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’re gonna make the best album we’ve ever made!”
In early 1975, Band On The Run earned Paul McCartney & Wings the Grammy award for Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus. Geoff Emerick was awarded the Grammy for Best Engineered Recording, Non Classical.
IN OTHER McCARTNEY NEWS
Paul McCartney has just announced his first North American stadium shows for his ongoing “Freshen Up” tour. On June 8th, “Macca” will play the Green Bay Packers’ home at Green Bay, Wisconsin’s Lambeau Field. In June 2017, Billy Joel played the stadium for a recorded attendance of 45,602.
The former-Beatle has also just rolled out a June 14th show at the Texas Rangers ballpark Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas.
McCartney will also play two Southern California stadiums, hitting San Diego’s Petco Park on June 22nd and Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on July 13th.
Photo Courtesy of MPL Communications / Robert Ellis