Band on the run – underdubbed

Paul McCartney has released a taste of the so-called “Underdubbed” version of “Band On The Run”, in the form of the title cut. You can find it on streaming services and YouTube.

The full album will be available on February 2, 2024. “Band On The Run – Underdubbed” is a digitized version of a rough mix that sound engineer Geoff Emerick and his assistant Pete Swettenham made at (George Martin’s) AIR Studios on October 14, 1973. The tapes were taken from Paul McCartney’s archives, digitized and assembled in the same order as the final “Band On The Run” album.

Listening to this title cut, we’re guessing this is the recording Paul & co brought home from Lagos, Nigeria, where the album was recorded. Later, several instruments, choruses and new vocals were overdubbed to make the album and sound smoother and more palatable for the listeners.

Wings returned from Nigeria on 22 September 1973 with seven songs in the can. The ones that remained to be recorded were “Jet”, “Bluebird” and a song tentatively titled “Piano Thing” which ended up being “Nineteen-hundred-and-eighty-five”. These were recorded at Air Studios on 2–5 October, along with “Oriental Nightfish” for a future Linda McCartney project. At the same time, they mixed “Helen Wheels”, which they had recorded in Lagos. On 8 – 12 October, they continued with overdubbing of already recorded songs, as well as remaking “Jet”. This was the status when Geoff Emerick did his rough mixes which now are being released as the “Underdubbed” album.

“Helen Wheels” was probably already finished and intended as a single, which is why it’s not included here. The song was released as a single in Great Britain and other countries as early as October 19, with “Country Dreamer” on the B-side.

Orchestra arrangements were made on 17 October, with Tony Visconti as arranger and conductor. Final mixes were done at Kingsway Studio and later at Abbey Road Studio 3.

10 Responses

  1. G.D. Wilde says:

    I thought Tony Visconti came up with the arrangement for the rhythm- and key-change between section 2 and the main song? The guitars are already playing it in this mix? This is dubious …

    • From an interview I heard with Tony Visconti a while back, my understanding is that the band’s basic tracks were already there and Visconti’s arrangement went on top of what was there. He described how it was tricky to get the timing of the orchestra right given the abrupt and unusual changes in rhythm and meter in the band recording.

  2. Martin says:

    Con las versiones que tengo dw ‘Band on the run’ me basta y me sobra. Mr McCartney, ¿Algún día veremos ‘Back To The Egg’? Nos estamos repitiendo mucho.

  3. debjorgo says:

    I like this but I miss the added guitar parts in the “if we ever get out of here” part and the main choruses.

  4. Glenn says:

    RIP Denny Laine

    • BIrthday girl says:

      Yes, I was missing some kind of reference here to his passing. Don’t get me wrong, I love The Daily Beatle and its priceless service to the community but, how can we talk about Band on the run and not mention thIs MASSIVE elephant in the room?

      • admin says:

        Here’s something I wrote in a forum the other day: After the Japan incident and intent on touring, Denny formed Denny Laine Band with Steve Holley, Denny’s wife Jo Jo Laine, Gordon Sellar, Andy Richards and Mike Piggot. They did three gigs in Norway in August/September 1980 and since I had turned 18 that summer, I could get in at Club 7 in Oslo where they performed on September 2.
        It was a great concert (despite Jo Jo’s vocals), with Denny singing lots of his own songs as well as Wings songs he had a hand in writing. Also, we recognised his guitars from the Wings concerts. In the break, I got to meet the band in the artist room, and I got Denny and Steve’s autographs on the back of my Wings Fun Club membership card.
        It was my first “Beatles related” concert, and the venue was filled with Beatles- and Wings-fans. I met people there who are still my friends. The talk among Norwegian Beatles fans was all about John Lennon preparing to do a comeback with a new album.
        A great moment in such a sad year.
        I briefly met Denny again at the Beatles convention in Hotel Adelphi in 1996. He had a stand where he sold records, photos and gave autoghraphs. He was always nice when he talked with his fans.
        Rest in peace.

  5. Blakey says:

    RIP Denny.

    The rumour at the time was it was John Lennon who did the ‘If we ever get out of here’ vocal before the orchestra crashed in. John himself apparently joked about it being him, but I don’t think it was. And this underdubbed version confirms that, I think.

    • Paul Murphy says:

      The “if we ever get out of here…” lines themselves come from George, Paul recalling him saying it at a particularly fractious Apple meeting. Given the lads’ penchant for having their lawyers on speed-dial at the time, it’s a wonder George didn’t sue for a co-writing credit!

  6. Rusty Bumbper says:

    I can see why the backing vocals were re-done. Very pitchy to say the least.

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