Venus and Mars
|Venus and Mars|
|Studio album by Wings|
|Released||27 May 1975|
|Recorded||January–April 1975 at Sea Saint, New Orleans, Wally Heider's Studio, Los Angeles and Abbey Road, London|
|Singles from Venus and Mars|
Venus and Mars is the fourth album by Wings. Released as the follow-up to the enormously successful Band on the Run, Venus and Mars continued Wings' string of success and would prove a springboard for a year-long worldwide tour. It was Paul McCartney's first post-Beatles release under the Capitol Records label.
Background and recording
After recording Band on the Run (1973) as a three-piece with wife Linda and guitarist Denny Laine, McCartney added Jimmy McCulloch on lead guitar and Geoff Britton on drums to the Wings line-up in 1974. Having written several new songs for the next album, McCartney decided on New Orleans, Louisiana as the recording venue, and Wings headed there in January 1975. Before the departure to New Orleans, Wings had recorded three songs at Abbey Road Studios in London in November 1974: "Letting Go", "Love In Song" and "Medicine Jar", all overdubbed later at Sea Saint Studios between January and February.
As soon as the sessions began, the personality clash that had been evident between McCulloch and Britton during Wings' 1974 sessions in Nashville became more pronounced, and Britton – after a six-month tenure – quit Wings, having only played on three of the new songs. A replacement, American Joe English, was quickly auditioned and hired to finish the album.
The sessions proved to be productive, not only finishing the entire album, but also several additional songs, including two future McCartney B-sides, "Lunch Box/Odd Sox" and "My Carnival". McCartney also decided to link the songs together much like the Beatles had on Abbey Road to give the album a more continuous feel.
John Lennon, often in a nostalgic mood during his Lost Weekend period, had told May Pang (his then girlfriend) that they would visit the McCartneys during the recording sessions for Venus and Mars, and considered writing with him again. Lennon's planned visit never happened due to his reunion with Yoko Ono.
Wings' interpretation of the theme to Crossroads, a British soap opera, was sometimes used to end the show in place of the regular theme tune, usually when there was a cliffhanger ending with a hint of sadness involved.
|Robert Christgau||B+ |
Preceded by the single "Listen to What the Man Said" in May 1975, Venus and Mars appeared two weeks later to decent reviews and brisk sales. The album reached number 1 in the United States, the United Kingdom and worldwide (as did "Listen to What the Man Said" in the US) and sold several million copies during the 1970s, with sales now estimated at over 10 million, even if the reaction was less than what had greeted Band on the Run a year earlier.
In September, Wings began what would be their year-long Wings Over the World tour in the UK, with concerts in Australia, Europe, the US and Canada to follow. Songs from Venus and Mars featured heavily in the concert setlist.
The album was first issued on compact disc by Columbia Records in 1983, although early pressings were pressed in Japan by CSR Compact Disc, which was etched in the inner ring. This CD was one of the first pressed at CBS/Sony's Digital Audio Disc Plant in Terre Haute, Indiana CD pressing plant. The Columbia McCartney Discs are prized by audiophiles for their mastering. In 1993, Venus and Mars was remastered and reissued on CD as part of "The Paul McCartney Collection" series with "Zoo Gang" (a UK television theme that was the UK B-side of "Band on the Run" in 1974), "Lunch Box/Odd Sox" (B-side of "Coming Up" in 1980) and "My Carnival" ("Spies Like Us"' B-side in 1985) as bonus tracks. In 2007, the album was reissued in digital form on iTunes with the same bonus tracks, plus the extended "party mix" of "My Carnival".
All songs written by Paul and Linda McCartney (listed as "McCartney"), except as noted.
- Side one
- "Venus and Mars" – 1:20
- "Rock Show" – 5:31
- "Love in Song" – 3:04
- "You Gave Me the Answer" – 2:15
- "Magneto and Titanium Man" – 3:16
- "Letting Go" – 4:33
- Side two
- "Venus and Mars (Reprise)" – 2:05
- "Spirits of Ancient Egypt" – 3:04
- lead vocals by Denny Laine
- "Medicine Jar" (Jimmy McCulloch, Colin Allen) – 3:37
- lead vocals by Jimmy McCulloch
- "Call Me Back Again" – 4:58
- "Listen to What the Man Said" – 4:01
- "Treat Her Gently - Lonely Old People" – 4:21
- "Crossroads Theme" (Tony Hatch) – 1:00
All songs written and composed by Paul & Linda McCartney.
|Bonus Tracks for 1987 CD edition & 1993 The Paul McCartney Collection edition|
|14.||"Zoo Gang"||Theme from the UK TV series The Zoo Gang||2:01|
|15.||"Lunch Box / Odd Sox"||Previously released as B-side of a single "Coming Up" in 1980||3:50|
|16.||"My Carnival"||Previously released as B-side of "Spies Like Us" in 1985||3:57|
|iTunes exclusive track|
|17.||"My Carnival" (12" Party Mix) (Remixed by Gary Langan)||Previously released on 12" maxi-single of "Spies Like Us"||6:02|
In 2014 the album is set to be re-issued by Hear Music/Concord Music Group as part of the fifth set of releases, alongside Wings at the Speed of Sound, in the Paul McCartney Archive Collection. It was released in multiple formats:
- Standard Edition 2-CD; the original 13-track album on the first disc, plus 14 bonus tracks on a second disc.
- Deluxe Edition 2-CD/1-DVD;
- the original 13-track #1 album remastered at Abbey Road Studios in London;
- a bonus audio disc with 14 tracks including the hit single "Junior's Farm" and rare and previously unreleased songs;
- a 128 page numbered hardbound book featuring new interview with Paul McCartney, rare and previously unpublished photographs by Linda McCartney and Aubrey Powell (entitled "Nashville Diary 1975"), inserts of archive material (including a facsimile of Paul's original handwritten lyric "scroll"), expanded track-by-track annotation and full history of the album, a deck pass "Paul and Linda McCartney - Venus and Mars", a complete illustrated history of the making of Venus and Mars and a poster and a flyer "Wings in concert at Elstree";
- a DVD featuring previously unreleased and exclusive content including the original TV commercial for the album (directed by Karel Reisz), footage of the band in New Orleans ("Recording My Carnival" and "Bon Voyageur") and rehearsing the songs from Venus and Mars at Elstree Studios ("Wings At Elstree");
- an access to downloadable 24bit 96 kHz high-resolution audio versions of the remastered album and bonus audio tracks.
- Remastered vinyl The albums will also be available on special gatefold vinyl editions (vinyl editions include a download card).
- High Resolution Digital album will be made available as both standard and deluxe versions – including Mastered for iTunes and Hi-Res formats.
- Disc 1
The original 13-track album.
- Disc 2 – Bonus Audio
- "Junior’s Farm"
- "Sally G"
- "Walking In The Park With Eloise"
- "Bridge On The River Suite"
- "My Carnival"
- "Going To New Orleans (My Carnival)"
- "Hey Diddle [Ernie Winfrey Mix]"
- "Let’s Love"
- "Soily [from One Hand Clapping]"
- "Baby Face [from One Hand Clapping]"
- "Lunch Box/Odd Sox"
- "4th Of July"
- "Rock Show [Old Version]"
- "Letting Go [Single Edit]"
- Disc 3 – DVD
- "Recording My Carnival"
- "Bon Voyageur"
- "Wings At Elstree"
- "Venus and Mars TV Ad"
- Paul McCartney – vocals, bass, guitars, keyboards, piano
- Linda McCartney – keyboards, backing vocals
- Denny Laine – vocals, guitars, keyboards
- Jimmy McCulloch – guitars, vocals
- Joe English – drums, percussion
- Geoff Britton – drums
Certifications and sales
Worldwide sales according to Paul McCartney's own website in excess of 10 million.
|Canada (Music Canada)||Platinum||100,000^|
|Japan (Oricon Charts)||152,000|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Platinum||300,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||Platinum||1,000,000^|
^shipments figures based on certification alone
- Perasi 2013, pp. 123–125
- Wingspan, 2001
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