Band on the Run is considered by many to be one of the greatest albums released by any member of The Beatles subsequent to their split in 1970.
Before this album, Paul McCartney hadn't achieved much success in his solo career. His first two solo albums, McCartney and Ram, although containing many extremely fine moments, were not popular with critics or the public at the time, and this lack of 'achievement' continued with his first two Wings' albums - Wild Life and Red Rose Speedway. The singles Paul McCartney had released so far had not done well in the charts, with the exception of 'Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey' and 'My Love'. Since leaving the Beatles, he hadn't had a number one hit, neither in the UK nor in the USA.
Suffering through this 'bad' period, the first signs that things were starting to get better appeared in 1973, when, after writing the brilliant and eponymously-titled theme song for the then current James Bond film, Live And Let Die, Paul decided it was time for a third Wings album. His original plan was to record an album in a studio far away - somewhere new. So he decided on Lagos, Nigeria, in Africa. This initially caused some disturbance as many people felt that Paul McCartney was about to go and 'steal' African music. What made it worse was that two members of the band decided to quit, one literally at the last minute. Denny Seiwell1 and Henry McCullough had had enough. This meant that Wings were left with three members - Paul and Linda McCartney and Denny Laine. As they were without a drummer, Paul decided that for this album he would have a go himself. After the recording was completed, problems still continued. On their way back to England their recording tapes of the album were stolen. Luckily they were recovered, and the album was complete at last.
Band on the Run was released before Christmas 1973 and was a huge success - it was the band's first platinum album, and it got to number one in the album charts in both the UK and the USA. Two singles were released from the album - 'Band On The Run' and 'Jet', both getting to number one in the USA. The album made Wings a major force in the 1970s music scene, and paved the way for later hits.
The album contained nine tracks:
- Band On The Run
- Mrs Vandebilt
- Let Me Roll It
- No Words
- Picasso's Last Words (Drink To Me)
- Nineteen Hundred And Eight Five
On the American version of the album, there were two additional songs -'Helen Wheels' and 'Country Dreamer'. All the songs were written by Paul and Linda McCartney, except 'No Words' which was written by Denny Laine.
This album finally let Paul McCartney and Wings escape from their previously perceived 'failures', and afterwards Paul recaptured some of the success that had served him so very well throughout his career with the Beatles.