Paul McCartney, before this album, had not achieved much success in his solo career. His first two solo albums, "McCartney" and "Ram" were not popular with critics or the public, and this lack of achievement had carried on to 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" in the USA, he had not
had a number one hit since leaving the Beatles, and still had not in the UK, where typical chart positions for him were 16, 9, 5, although he had managed to get to 2 with "Another Day".
Suffering from this bad period, the first signs that things were starting to get better occured in 1973, when, after writing the song to the James Bond film "Live And Let Die", and Paul decided it was time for a third Wings album. His
original plan was to record an album in a studio somewhere, and he decided that it would be interesting to go somewhere new to do it. So he decided on Lagos, Nigeria in Africa, which initially cuased some disturbance as many people felt that Paul McCartney was out to "steal" African music. What made it worse was that two members of the band decided to quit, one litereally at the last minute. Denny Seiwell and Henry McCullough had had enough. Apparently Denny Seiwell had packed and was all ready to go to the airport, yet changed his mind before setting off. 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. After the recording was completed, problems still continued as on their way back to England their recording tapes 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 the UK and the USA. Two singles were released from the album - "Band On The Run" and "Jet", both getting to number one in America. The album made "Wings" into a force in the 1970s Music scene, and paved the way for the bands 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, two additional songs ("Helen Wheels" and "Country Dreamer") were on the album, and that is the version available on the McCartney Collection CD. The 25 Anniversary CD that is also availabe has only the original songs on. All the songs were written by Paul and Linda McCartney, except "No Words" which was written by Denny Laine. One of the more noteworthy features of the album was the brilliant cover, which featured various British celebrities from British
Television, Parliament, Sport and Pop, all appearing to be escaping from a prison. From left to right, they are:
Michael Parkinson, Kenny Lynch (singer/comedian) , Paul McCartney, James Coburn (actor) , Linda McCartney, Clement Freud (politician) , Christopher Lee (actor), Denny Laine, and John Conteh (boxer).
The album was very much Paul McCartney and Wings escaping from the prison of their previous failures, and afterwards Paul recaptured some of the success that had served him very well through his career with the Beatles.