Rewriting history

The spine just says Paul McCartney and doesn’t mention Wings.

Okay, so people on social media are typically asking this question about the new, 50th anniversary release of the “Band On The Run” album: “What do we think about Paul dropping Wings on the new release?”

They keep referring to Paul McCartney rewriting history. Actually, this is just what the spine said in the U.S. copies of the album from Capitol Records back in 1973. It’s fairly well-known that Capitol Records’ got their way with the release of “Band On The Run”. Paul wanted to release the album as it was, crediting “Paul McCartney & Wings”. And he was not going to include the song “Helen Wheels”, which he had released as a standalone single. But Capitol’s marketing department got their way, “Helen Wheels” was included on the U.S. version of the album, and they probably celebrated their triumph by erasing “& Wings” from the album’s spine. And since the 50th anniversary release is based on the U.S. edition of the album, with “Helen Wheels” included, the spine says Paul McCartney. Had they added “& Wings” to this release, THAT would have been rewriting history.

Of course, in Europe and elsewhere the 1973 album was released as Paul intended, without “Helen Wheels” and the band was credited on the album’s spine.

Wings’ first album was of course “Wings Wild Life” and the band was just called Wings, not Paul McCartney & Wings. The album didn’t sell too well, one thing was not mentioning Paul McCartney on the album cover, actually not even the bands name got mentioned on the front cover! It was just a photo of the band without any lettering, just like “Abbey Road”. So for the next album, “Red Rose Speedway”, I’m pretty sure it was marketing who demanded that the group should be identified as “Paul McCartney & Wings” and not just “Wings”. In order to sell more copies.

This was then carried over to the next album, “Band On The Run”, it was just the U.S. spine which didn’t mention Wings.

With “Band on the run” being the phenomenon that it was, especially regarding sales, which marketing cares a lot about, Paul got his way for the rest of the Wings albums. “Venus and Mars”, “Wings at the Speed of Sound”, “Wings Over America”, “London Town”, “Wings Greatest” and “Back to the Egg” were all credited to just “Wings” – and no longer to “Paul McCartney & Wings”.

So when you are talking about Paul McCartney rewriting history, THIS is not an example of that. For that you’ll have to look into some other stories from him.

So, what did you all think about the so-called “Underdubbed” mixes? Underwhelmed or did you enjoy them? What about that long guitar solo at the end of “Nineteen-hundred-and-eighty-five”? It sounds like Henry to me…

9 Responses

  1. Gregor says:

    Poor dead Danny Laine he did not deserve that. Shame on you Macca People.

  2. Jeff Ceragno says:

    Where the heck is London Town and Back To The Egg?

  3. Jim Nagy says:

    I guess PM will continue releasing and releasing the same old stuff, as long as people are willing to keep buying. Underdubbed -unfinished mixes are a joke. Putting only 9 songs on an entired CD is poor value for fans. This album has been remastered many times under the Archive Collection, 25th Anniversary, Deluxe, Archive Collection, others, and now this. I’d rather spend on something new and unheard of. PM has sold his old photos, drawings, music videos, concert audio & video, Linda’s photos, and books. The only thing left to sell is his used toilet paper….laugh.

  4. Rob Geurtsen says:

    This release is a masterpiece in itself. How wonderful to get a glimpse, to hear, art in development. This early mix / ‘underdubbed’ version shows that not all McCartney flourishes are improvements, even though they have been intended from the early minutes. I also like that some of the vocals are not that clear-cut as in the final version.
    Fans complaining about rewriting history have no clue about facts nor the art of history. The winner takes it all… and the complainers are never the winners, because their arguments are mostly a nuisance to themselves.
    Jim Nagy, why complain or joke – you don’t need to buy everything. The best movies and plays are re-released every couple of years, and it is up to you to buy or not to buy. It is quite strange to complain, you have a choice to buy, and to get new fans or keep the name in the spotlight on the market there needs to be product out there. It is good business and quite essential to popular art. So you spend on something unheard, like this underdubbed edition… and hope you can enjoy it, if not, just pass on the album to a fan with little resources and the desire to enjoy.

  5. Douglas Cole says:

    Thanks Rob. I couldn’t have said it any better. Some folk will never be pleased.

  6. FokkeZ says:

    The 2 cd has Paul McCartney & Wings, not on the spine, but on the discs. More important: I quite like these underdubbed mixes, an intersring listen. And I bought them on my own free will.

  7. Rik says:

    Underdubbed? More like underwhelmed!

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