London Town (Wings album)
|Studio album by Wings|
|Released||31 March 1978|
|Recorded||February 1977 – January 1978, Abbey Road Studios, AIR Studios, London; Virgin Islands (aboard a yacht)|
|Singles from London Town|
|Robert Christgau||B |
|Rolling Stone||(Not rated) |
London Town is the sixth studio album by the band Wings, released in 1978.
Recording the album was a long and tumultuous project which saw the loss of two band members, the birth of a baby and the release of the then best-selling single in British history. Wings band member Denny Laine covered "Children Children" and "Deliver Your Children" in 2007 on his album Performs the Hits of Wings.
After the commercial zenith of 1976 with Wings at the Speed of Sound and its well-received Wings Over the World tour, leader Paul McCartney planned on making 1977 a similar year. However, things did not quite work out as planned.
In February 1977, sessions began at Abbey Road Studios and continued until the end of March. Here, Wings recorded five songs: Girls' School, Name and Address, London Town, Children, Children and B-Side to Seaside, later issued on the flip-side of the Linda McCartney's single, Seaside Woman (under the name Suzy and the Red Stripes). Initial plan of touring the US again was thwarted by wife Linda's discovery that she was pregnant with the couple's third child (Mary was born in 1969 and Stella in 1971). With the knowledge that they had time at their disposal - and always looking for different locales to record in - Wings found themselves moored on a yacht called "Fair Carol" in the Virgin Islands during the month of May where several new songs were recorded. Reflecting the nautical locale, the album's initial working title was Water Wings. As Linda's pregnancy progressed, McCartney called a halt to the sessions for the album, save for the recording of a track called "Mull of Kintyre" that August and the completion of an already-begun song entitled "Girls' School", which would be Wings' one and only release in 1977.
Before the single's release came two defections from Wings. Drummer Joe English had become homesick for America and returned home, and lead guitarist Jimmy McCulloch left to join the Small Faces that September. For the first time since 1973's Band on the Run, Wings were down to the core three of Paul, Linda and Denny Laine.
In November, two months after the birth of son James, and shortly after sessions for London Town resumed, the Scottish tribute "Mull of Kintyre" was released to enormous commercial success, becoming the UK's biggest-selling single (even outstripping The Beatles' largest seller "She Loves You"). Although it would be topped in 1984 by Band Aid, "Mull of Kintyre" still ranks as the UK's fourth biggest selling single and the largest selling non-charity single.
After some final overdubbing in January 1978, London Town was completed and preceded by the US #1 "With a Little Luck" that March, while the album was released a week later. The album also features the song "Girlfriend" which was also recorded by American pop star Michael Jackson, who featured it on his 1979 album Off the Wall. London Town generally fared well with the critics and in the charts, reaching #4 in the UK and #2 in the US where it sold over one million copies and went platinum. But after its strong start, it did not have the staying power of Wings' previous releases, with subsequent singles "I've Had Enough" and the title track becoming small hits. Although the advent of punk music (which sent the music industry into a period of change) would certainly have contributed to the slightly smaller sales of London Town, the album is now considered to mark the end of Wings' commercial peak and the beginning of a minor commercial slump for McCartney. On 14 May 1978, Paul and Linda McCartney were interviewed for BBC Radio's The Simon Bates Show, to endorse the album, and "With a Little Luck".
Paul McCartney was reportedly displeased with Capitol Records in the US, where "Mull of Kintyre" flopped (its B-Side, "Girls School," did make a modest dent in the Top 40, reaching #33), and was further dismayed at what he viewed as lacklustre promotion for London Town. With his contract at an end, he promptly signed up with Columbia Records for North America only (remaining with EMI worldwide) and would stay there until 1984, before returning to Capitol in the US.
In 1993, London Town was remastered and reissued on CD as part of "The Paul McCartney Collection" series with "Mull of Kintyre" and its B-Side "Girls School" as bonus tracks.
All songs written by Paul McCartney, except where noted.
- Side one
- "London Town" (Paul McCartney/Denny Laine) – 4:10
- "Cafe on the Left Bank" – 3:25
- "I'm Carrying" – 2:44
- "Backwards Traveller" – 1:09
- "Cuff Link" – 1:59
- "Children Children" (McCartney/Laine) – 2:22
- lead vocal by Denny Laine
- "Girlfriend" – 4:39
- "I've Had Enough" – 3:02
- Side two
- "With a Little Luck" – 5:45
- "Famous Groupies" – 3:36
- "Deliver Your Children" (McCartney/Laine) – 4:17
- lead vocal by Denny Laine
- "Name and Address" – 3:07
- "Don't Let It Bring You Down" (McCartney/Laine) – 4:34
- "Morse Moose and the Grey Goose" (McCartney/Laine) – 6:25
- Bonus tracks
|Bonus tracks on 1993 re-issue|
|16.||"Mull of Kintyre" (McCartney/Laine)||4:42|
- Paul McCartney - bass, vocals, drums, percussion, guitar, violin, keyboards, flageolet
- Linda McCartney - keyboards, percussion, vocals
- Denny Laine - guitar, bass, flageolet, recorder, percussion, vocals
- Jimmy McCulloch - guitar, backing vocals
- Joe English - drums, percussion
- Collage, Cover Design, Cover Art and Photography: Paul McCartney, Denny Laine, Linda McCartney
Certifications & Sales
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