Band On The Run turns fifty with new releases
The third Wings LP “Band On The Run” celebrates its 50th anniversary on December 5. Like the previous anniversary albums from Paul McCartney, this one also gets its half-speed master edition on the occasion of the anniversary, but somewhat delayed, it will not be released until 2 February 2024.
But since it is, after all, his most successful album, a bit more than just a half-speed mastered LP hits the market this time around.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of “Band On The Run”, a special 2LP vinyl edition features the original album cut at half speed using a high-resolution transfer of the original master tapes from 1973 by Miles Showell at the legendary Abbey Road Studios, London, and a second LP of previously unreleased “underdubbed” mixes of the songs, housed in a premium slipcase.
So there’s going to be 1 half-speed mastered LP, or 2 LPs (2 CDs) with so-called “underdub versions” of the 9 tracks. Underdubbed is the opposite of overdubbed.
The 2LP vinyl edition features the original US album, remastered at half speed, and a second LP titled “Underdubbed” Mixes Edition, housed in a premium slipcase. The set also includes two Linda McCartney Polaroid posters.
A 2CD format will feature the original US album, “underdubbed” mixes, and a double-sided fold-out Polaroid poster taken by Linda McCartney. “Band on the Run (Underdubbed)” will also be released digitally.
This is Band on the Run in a way you’ve never heard before. When you are making a song and putting on additional parts, like an extra guitar, that’s an overdub. Well, this version of the album is the opposite, underdubbed.
“Band on the Run (Underdubbed)” presents Band on the Run’s nine classic songs for the first time without any orchestral overdubs, available digitally. The previously unreleased rough mixes were created by Geoff Emerick, assisted by Pete Swettenham at AIR Studios, on October 14th, 1973. The tracklist, newly ordered as detailed below, mirrors the original analog tapes discovered in the MPL archives.
Finally, “Band on the Run” will also be available in Dolby ATMOS for the first time, newly mixed by Giles Martin and Steve Orchard.
The masters for LP1/CD1 were made way back before April this year, so the project has probably waited for the reissue of the red and blue double LPs/Now And Then with The Beatles.
By the summer of 1973, Paul had a fresh batch of songs earmarked for a new album. Looking through a list of EMI’s international studios, he chose Lagos, Nigeria, to be the location of its recording, becoming enthralled with the idea of recording in Africa. Just days before departure, lead guitarist Henry McCullough and drummer Denny Seiwell quit the band. Wings were now, suddenly, a trio.
Paul, his wife Linda, and band member Denny Laine (along with recording engineer Geoff Emerick) toiled in the Lagos studio’s relatively rudimentary conditions, working up the new songs over two months. Disaster struck one night when Paul and Linda were robbed at knifepoint while walking home from a friend’s house, the thieves making off with a cassette of home demo recordings of the songs. Paul was able to remember the songs as he’d only recently written them.
Noted for its suite-like structure of three distinct movements, the title track ‘Band on the Run’ was not an obvious pop hit, but it would top the US Billboard Hot 100 and propel its parent album back up the charts, becoming a #1 smash in both the US and UK, returning to the top spot twice more in America, and becoming the best-selling studio album of 1974 in Australia, Canada, and the UK.
Band on the Run has only grown in stature over the years.
After scooping two Grammy Awards in 1975, the Deluxe Edition of Band on the Run was awarded a third in 2012—followed by the album’s induction into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2013. It is considered the definitive Wings album and a firm fan favorite as new generations discover its genius. It took until 2010 for “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five” to be performed live, but now, as Paul’s solo career continues unabated, it is a regular presence in his live sets.
Paul is currently performing songs from “Band on the Run” and across his unparalleled catalog at shows on his acclaimed “Got Back” tour. First launching in February 2022, Paul completed 16 huge gigs across the US before performing what the Times newspaper described as the “best gig ever” with his history-making headline set at Glastonbury in June 2022, a show that also saw Paul team with Dave Grohl for a special duet of “Band on the Run.”
The set of 2 LPs can only be purchased from Universal Music’s own online stores around the world, as well as from Paul McCartney’s own online store.
The album would become Paul McCartney’s most successful album of his solo career and the best-selling album of 1974. The album was also named the 75th best album when Q Magazine named the 100 greatest British albums of all time in 2000.
The track list from the U.S.A. edition of the album has been used, i.e. including what was only a single in other countries, “Helen Wheels”. LP2 will not include the song.
- Band On The Run
- Mrs. Vandebilt
- Let Me Roll It
- No Words
- Helen Wheels
- Picasso’s Last Words (Drink To Me)
- Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five
- Band On The Run (Underdubbed)
- Jet (Underdubbed)
- Bluebird (Underdubbed)
- Mrs. Vandebilt (Underdubbed)
- Let Me Roll It (Underdubbed)
- Mamunia (Underdubbed)
- No Words (Underdubbed)
- Picasso’s Last Words (Drink To Me) (Underdubbed)
- Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five (Underdubbed)
And still no words about the yet unreleased archive editions of “London Town” or “Back To The Egg”, the two Wings titles still missing from Paul’s long-running series.