London Town (Wings album)

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London Town
Studio album by Wings
Released 31 March 1978
Recorded February 1977 – January 1978, Abbey Road Studios, AIR Studios, London; Virgin Islands (aboard a yacht)
Genre Rock
Length 51:29
Label Parlophone (UK)
Capitol (US)
Producer Paul McCartney
Wings chronology
Wings over America
(1976)
London Town
(1978)
Wings Greatest
(1978)
Singles from London Town
  1. "With a Little Luck"
    Released: 20 March 1978
  2. "I've Had Enough"
    Released: 16 June 1978
  3. "London Town"
    Released: 26 August 1978
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau B[2]
MusicHound 2/5 stars[3]
Rolling Stone (Not rated)[4]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 2/5 stars[5]

London Town is the sixth studio album by 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.

History[edit]

After the commercial zenith of 1976 with Wings at the Speed of Sound and its well-received Wings Over the World tour, Wings' leader Paul McCartney planned on making 1977 a similar year. However, things did not quite work out as planned.

In February 1977, Wings began recording sessions at Abbey Road Studios, which continued until the end of March. Here, Wings recorded five songs: "Girls' School", "Name and Address", "London Town", "Children, Children" and Linda McCartney's "B-Side to Seaside", later issued as the flip-side of the Wings single "Seaside Woman" (issued under the name "Suzy and the Red Stripes").[6] The initial plan of touring the US again was thwarted by Linda's discovery that she was pregnant with Paul and Linda's third child (Mary was born in 1969 and Stella in 1971). With the knowledge that they were not going to tour and had time at their disposal - and once again 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, the band halted the sessions for the album, save for the recording of a new track called "Mull of Kintyre" that August and the completion of the already-begun "Girls' School", which would be released as a single—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, reflected on the picture sleeve of the single, which just showed the three remaining members.

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".[7]

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.

Wings band member Denny Laine covered "Children Children" and "Deliver Your Children" in 1996 on his album Wings at the Sound of Denny Laine.[8]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Paul McCartney, except where noted.

Side one
  1. "London Town" (Paul McCartney/Denny Laine) – 4:10
  2. "Café on the Left Bank" – 3:25
  3. "I'm Carrying" – 2:44
  4. "Backwards Traveller" – 1:09
  5. "Cuff Link" – 1:59
  6. "Children Children" (McCartney/Laine) – 2:22
    • lead vocal by Denny Laine
  7. "Girlfriend" – 4:39
  8. "I've Had Enough" – 3:02
Side two
  1. "With a Little Luck" – 5:45
  2. "Famous Groupies" – 3:36
  3. "Deliver Your Children" (McCartney/Laine) – 4:17
    • lead vocal by Denny Laine
  4. "Name and Address" – 3:07
  5. "Don't Let It Bring You Down" (McCartney/Laine) – 4:34
  6. "Morse Moose and the Grey Goose" (McCartney/Laine) – 6:25
Additional tracks

Personnel[edit]

Production
  • Cover design and photography: Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney, Denny Laine

Charts[edit]

Certifications & Sales[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
France (SNEP)[31] Gold 265,800[32]
Germany (BVMI)[33] Gold 250,000^
Japan (Oricon Charts) 86,000[15]
Netherlands (NVPI)[34] Platinum 100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[35] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[36] Platinum 1,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. London Town (Wings album) at AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-06-29.
  2. ^ "Robert Christgau: Album: Wings". Retrieved 2011-08-29. 
  3. ^ Gary Graff & Daniel Durchholz, MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide, Visible Ink Press (Farmington Hills, MI, 1999), p. 731.
  4. ^ Maslin, Janet (1978-06-15), "Music Reviews : London Town by Wings", Rolling Stone, archived from the original on 2011-08-29, retrieved 2011-10-17 
  5. ^ "Paul McCartney: Album Guide". rollingstone.com. Retrieved 13 October 2014. 
  6. ^ Luca Perasi, Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013), L.I.L.Y. Publishing, 2013, ISBN 978-88-909122-1-4, pp. 150-153.
  7. ^ Miles, Barry; Badman, Keith, ed. (2001). The Beatles Diary After the Break-Up: 1970-2001 (reprint ed.). London: Music Sales Group. ISBN 9780711983076. 
  8. ^ "Performs the Hits of Wings". Allmusic. Retrieved 28 December 2011. 
  9. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  10. ^ "austriancharts.at Wings - London Town". Hung Medien (in German). Retrieved 2 May 2013. 
  11. ^ "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 29, No. 13" (PHP). RPM. 24 June 1978. Retrieved 3 May 2012. 
  12. ^ "dutchcharts.nl Wings - London Town". Hung Medien, dutchcharts.nl (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved 2 May 2013. 
  13. ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste > Choisir Un Artiste Dans la Liste : Wings". infodisc.fr. Retrieved 2 May 2013. 
  14. ^ a b "Hit Parade Italia - Gli album più venduti del 1978" (in Italian). hitparadeitalia.it. Retrieved 2 May 2013. 
  15. ^ a b Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970-2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9. 
  16. ^ "charts.org.nz - Wings - London Town". Hung Medien, charts.org.nz. Recording Industry Association of New Zea Land. Retrieved 2 May 2013. 
  17. ^ "norwegiancharts.com Wings - London Town". Hung Medien, norwegiancharts.com. VG-lista. Retrieved 2 May 2013. 
  18. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
  19. ^ "swedishcharts.com Wings - London Town". Hung Medien, swedishcharts.com (in Swedish). Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved 2 May 2013. 
  20. ^ "Artist: Paul McCartney". Official Chart Company. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  21. ^ "allmusic London Town: Charts & Awards: Billboard Albums". allmusic.com. Retrieved 2 May 2013. 
  22. ^ a b McGee, Garry (2003). Band on the Run: A History of Paul McCartney and Wings. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 233. ISBN 9780878333042. 
  23. ^ "Album Search: Wings" (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 2 May 2013. 
  24. ^ "Austriancharts.st - Jahreshitparade 1978" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  25. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1978". RPM. 30 December 1978. Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  26. ^ "Dutch charts jaaroverzichten 1978". Dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved 2 April 2014. 
  27. ^ "Les Albums (CD) de 1978 par InfoDisc" (PHP) (in French). infodisc.fr. Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  28. ^ 1978年アルバム年間ヒットチャート "Japanese Year-End Albums Chart 1978" (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  29. ^ "Complete UK Year-End Album Charts". Retrieved 19 September 2011. 
  30. ^ "Top Pop Albums of 1978". billboard.biz. Archived from the original on 31 December 2012. Retrieved 2 May 2013. 
  31. ^ "French album certifications – Wings – London Town" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. 
  32. ^ "Les Albums Or". infodisc.fr. SNEP. Retrieved 2011-08-31. 
  33. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Wings; 'London Town')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  34. ^ "Dutch album certifications – Wings – London Town" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. 
  35. ^ "British album certifications – Wings – London Town". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter London Town in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Click Go
  36. ^ "American album certifications – Wings – London Town". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
Preceded by
The Kick Inside by Kate Bush
Dutch Mega Chart number-one album
22 – 29 April 1978
Succeeded by
Saturday Night Fever (soundtrack) by Various artists