Published On: Fri, Feb 2nd, 2024

Paul McCartney & Wings Band On The Run 50th anniversary review: Macca’s post-Beatles high | Music | Entertainment


Macca had his back against the wall when he made this album in Lagos, Nigeria. His drummer Denny Seiwell and guitarist Henry McCullough had quit unexpectedly, leaving just Paul, wife Linda and multi-instrumentalist Denny Laine (ex-Moody Blues) in the recording studio.

The McCartneys were also robbed at knifepoint. Out of that chaos, Macca made his strongest Wings album, and arguably his greatest post-Beatles record.

Now re-issued for its 50th anniversary, Band On The Run exudes warmth, joy and a sense of jubilant escapism.

The classic title track finds the protagonist “stuck inside these four walls, sent inside forever” and dreaming of escape, over laidback guitar and synth.

“All I need is a pint a day,” sings Paul, before he and the song crash into a spirited jail-break. The soaring pop genius and explosive chorus of Jet follows. The softer Bluebird continues the escape theme: “Fly away through the midnight air – at last we will be free.”

Mrs Vanderbilt reminds us of Macca’s love of variety. Lyrics “Down in the jungle, living in a tent, don’t pay money, don’t pay rent” recycle Charlie Chester whose original line was “better than a prefab, no rent”.

Let Me Roll It showed McCartney could rock as hard as Lennon – the jagged, bluesy guitar riff is very Plastic Ono. Breezy pop, country rock (Helen Wheels) and the romantic ballad No Words, orchestrated by Tony Visconti, followed.

The record is as varied as it is flawless, stuffed full of melodies, and blessed with simple but effective production. Bassist Paul played drums and most of the lead guitar, with Laine and Linda covering the other instruments.

The Grammy-winning album, 1974’s best seller, is available in various forms, including a 2XLP set with the remastered original and unreleased rough mixes.

Paul McCartney & Wings Band On The Run 50th anniversary reissue is out now



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