Wings – Back To The Egg – Full 1979 TV Special, Remastered in HD

Perhaps due for release this year as part of the Archive DeLuxe Edition of Wings’ “Back To The Egg” album, but you never know. So here’s an enthusiastic remaster of the special. Basically a bunch of music videos made for songs from Wings 1979 album “Back To The Egg”. As is the norm for Paul this TV special wasn’t screened in the UK until 1981. Apart from a very cool specially filmed opening and ending, 8 songs are featured.

Having completed the year-long sessions for Back to the Egg in April 1979, the five members of Wings began shooting music videos for the album with film company Keef & Co. in June that year. In addition to serving as promotional clips for their respective songs, the videos were to be compiled into a television special, coinciding with Wings’ UK tour late in 1979 – the first leg of a planned world tour cut short when Paul was arrested in Japan in January 1980 for possession of marihuana.

1979 edition of Wings

The production team hired by band leader Paul McCartney included Keith MacMillan, Phil Davey and Hugh Scott-Symonds. According to author Keith Badman, MacMillan decided on the seven songs chosen for filming. Among these were “Old Siam, Sir”, “Getting Closer” and “Arrow Through Me” – all tracks that would be issued as singles off Back to the Egg. The eighth selection in the TV special would be a clip for “Goodnight Tonight”, a non-album single released in March 1979, to coincide with the airing of the band’s “Wings Over the World” TV film (released on the Archive DeLuxe Edition of “Wings over America”). The “Goodnight Tonight” video was also produced by MacMillan’s company and dated from a 3 April shoot at London’s Hammersmith Palais.

Filming
From May 28 to June 6, 1979, Wings together with director Keith McMillan worked together to create music videos for eight songs. Some of the filming was shot at Lympne Castle in Kent, where Wings had recorded part of the album. The video shot on June 4th that day was for “Old Siam, Sir”, with filming taking place in the hall of the castle.

On 5 June, the production relocated to the inside of an aircraft hangar, situated at a private airfield close to Lympne. Here, the band filmed clips for “Spin It On” and “Getting Closer”. Invited to attend that day, Mark Williams of Melody Maker later wrote of drummer Steve Holly being “dolled up as a First World War fighter pilot”, and commented on the aviation theme: “The Wings logo stands resplendent on the front of a hangar as some sort of loose visual pun; inside the crew are wrestling with draped parachutes and lighting gantries festooned above a sound stage.” During breaks in filming, Williams noted, the band gave impromptu live performances, “entertaining what appears to be half the population of East Kent, who wander in and out of aircraft hangars and fields of kale where the action takes place.

Also on 5 June, the video for “Again and Again and Again” was shot in one of the nearby fields. With the crew working late into the night, further scenes for “Getting Closer” included footage of a car driving on the airstrip.

The production returned to Lympne Castle on 6 June, where Wings filmed the “Winter Rose/Love Awake” video. Two days later, the band drove to Camber Sands in East Sussex, to shoot a clip for “Baby’s Request”, before heading to London for the upcoming Back to the Egg press launch.

Filming resumed on 13 June, now at Keef & Co.’s London studios, where the band shot the opening and closing segments of the TV special, incorporating images from the album’s cover artwork, which was designed by Hipgnosis.

Broadcast
Back to the Egg first aired in America, syndicated nationally on WTBS, during November and December 1979. The first UK broadcast was on BBC1 on 10 June 1981. Although the full special has yet to receive an official release, clips for “Goodnight Tonight” and “Baby’s Request” appeared on disc one of the 2007 DVD box set The McCartney Years.

Archive edition
When asked in November 2019 by Billboard how involved he is with his Grammy-winning “Archival Collection,” McCartney let it slip that a “Back To The Egg” track recently caught his attention: “I go through these songs, and when we remaster, I go to Abbey Road (Studios), and it’s like popping into the office. And I get to hear these songs I haven’t heard forever. ‘Arrow Through Me’ was one I heard recently, and I thought, ‘Geez, that’s a good track, and it’s got a great little brass riff on it.’ Funky little track.”

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8 Responses

  1. rick says:

    I really don’t remember “Back To The Egg” Oh well doesn’t sound like I missed much.

  2. RDS says:

    Not his greatest effort by far, but nice memories nonetheless. Anyone doubt that Keef & Co. is just another stoner alias (a la Superweed) for Macca himself?

  3. Tony Littman says:

    This is really great. However, I wish they hadn’t put on that ridiculous crowd noise at random intervals; it’s clearly not live and the audience sounds nothing like an audience at a rock show anyway.

  4. Darren Holmquist says:

    My first listen to Back To The Egg, was on the radio. Some station played it, in its entirety. And I really liked it. I wasn’t a big fan of the London Town album. So, it was nice to have something I really enjoyed from Wings again.

    This video show, I only ever saw on a VERY poorly copied VHS copy at a record show. Could barely hear the music through the noise. So, this IS a nice thing to see for me.

  5. T Mailer says:

    I remember that Back to the Egg seemed like it was an attempt to counter the criticism of London Town’s softer easy listening style. (How dare an ex-Beatle go soft!) A recent BOE listening did give it a dated feel but the album was one of those that can grow on you.
    It was very fashionable to bash McCartney in the rock press back then, but there were some very listenable cuts on the album like, Getting Closer, Winter Rose, Rockestra, and Arrow Through Me to name some. If London Town and Back to the Egg are released to together the two albums will show a musical contrast and melodic diversity that Macca was a master at producing.

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