Wings at the Speed of Sound

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Wings at the Speed of Sound
Studio album by Wings
Released 25 March 1976
Recorded January–February 1976
Genre Pop rock
Length 46:38
Label MPL Communications, Capitol
Producer Paul McCartney
Wings chronology
Venus and Mars
(1975)
Wings at the Speed of Sound
(1976)
Wings over America
(1976)
Singles from Wings at the Speed of Sound
  1. "Silly Love Songs"
    Released: 1 April 1976
  2. "Let 'Em In"
    Released: 23 July 1976

Wings at the Speed of Sound is the fifth album by Wings and was recorded and issued in 1976 in the midst of a large world tour as the follow-up album to the popular Venus and Mars. It is the band's only album where every member sings lead on at least one song.

History[edit]

After a series of concerts in Australia in November 1975, Wings took a break from the tour to spend the holidays with their families and in January 1976 booked time at Abbey Road Studios in London to record Wings at the Speed of Sound. It was the first time McCartney had recorded an album in England since Red Rose Speedway. Due to the tour commitments, Wings were not afforded the opportunity to record in another locale. By the end of February, the album was complete, and Wings went back on the road.

Around the time of the studio sessions for Wings at the Speed of Sound, McCartney was facing criticism for Wings simply being a vehicle for himself. He encouraged each of the band members to contribute a song during the sessions, though this would become one of the reasons for the criticism of the album. McCartney had previously attempted to create a democratic album in Red Rose Speedway, though it would be rejected by his record label.

Engineer Peter Henderson later commented, "I remember one of my first engineering jobs, working with Paul McCartney on Wings at the Speed of Sound — he'd do two vocal takes and ask, 'Which is the better one?' And when he played guitar, he'd really lean into it and give it everything he got."[1] Two tracks ("The Note You Never Wrote" and "Warm and Beautiful") were arranged by Fiachra Trench.[2]

Recording[edit]

The album was recorded at Abbey Road in two different moments: first sessions took place in August/September and October 1975, with work resuming in January–February 1976. During the playback of "Must Do Something About It", Paul heard drummer Joe English sing the song and decided to have him taking the lead vocal: in "Cook of the House", McCartney handled double-bass, while "Silly Love Songs" was arranged in a disco-style, in a similar fashion to Al Green's "Sha La La".[3]

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 2/5 stars[4]
Robert Christgau B–[5]
MusicHound 2/5 stars[6]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3/5 stars[7]

Wings at the Speed of Sound was released in late March 1976 and received somewhat lukewarm critical reviews. Rolling Stone's reviewer saw this record as something of a concept album, describing it as "A Day with the McCartneys". The introduction, "Let 'Em In", is sometimes perceived as an invitation for the listener to join the McCartneys on this fantasy day, with explanation of their philosophy ("Silly Love Songs"), a lunch break ("Cook of the House"), and a chance to get to know McCartney's friends (Denny Laine in "The Note You Never Wrote", Jimmy McCulloch in "Wino Junko", etc.).[8]

The album went to number 2 in the United Kingdom (and was the 4th best-selling album of 1976). It became McCartney's most successful American chart album, spending seven unconsecutive weeks at number 1 throughout the summer (and blocking the Beatles' then-new compilation Rock 'n' Roll Music, which reached number 2).

Much of the album's success can be attributed to its two smash singles. "Silly Love Songs", a response to his critics and one of McCartney's biggest hits, followed the album in April, and became one of 1976's biggest-selling singles. This was followed in July with "Let 'Em In", which also scaled the singles charts. Amid all this, Wings finally went to North America for the Wings Over America Tour, playing McCartney's first shows there for ten years (after The Beatles' last tour in 1966) to euphoric reaction; a few selections from Speed of Sound were included.

Wings band member Denny Laine covered "Time to Hide" and "The Note You Never Wrote" in 2007 on his album Performs the Hits of Wings.[9]

Further releases[edit]

In 1993, Wings at the Speed of Sound was remastered and reissued on compact disc as part of 'The Paul McCartney Collection' series; added as bonus tracks were "Walking in the Park with Eloise" by the Country Hams, its B-side "Bridge on the River Suite", and the Wings track "Sally G" (the B-side to their single "Junior's Farm") - all were recorded in Nashville in 1974.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Paul and Linda McCartney, except where noted.

Side one
  1. "Let 'Em In" – 5:10
  2. "The Note You Never Wrote" – 4:19
    • lead vocal by Denny Laine
  3. "She's My Baby" – 3:06
  4. "Beware My Love" – 6:27
  5. "Wino Junko" (Jimmy McCulloch/Colin Allen) – 5:19
    • lead vocal by Jimmy McCulloch
Side two
  1. "Silly Love Songs" – 5:53
  2. "Cook of the House" – 2:37
    • lead vocal by Linda McCartney
  3. "Time to Hide" (Denny Laine) – 4:32
    • lead vocal by Laine
  4. "Must Do Something About It" – 3:42
    • lead vocal by Joe English
  5. "San Ferry Anne" – 2:06
  6. "Warm and Beautiful" – 3:12

Additional tracks[edit]

2014 remaster[edit]

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 Venus and Mars, in the Paul McCartney Archive Collection. It was released in multiple formats:[10]

  • Standard Edition 2-CD; the original 11-track album on the first disc, plus 7 bonus tracks on a second disc.
  • Deluxe Edition 2-CD/1-DVD; the original 13-track album, the bonus tracks disc, and hardback book featuring unpublished photographs, new interviews with Paul, material from Paul's archives and expanded track-by-track information. The deluxe version bonus DVD will be comprised of filmed material from around the time of each release, some of which has never been seen before. The DVD features rare and previously unseen footage, including the documentaries "Wings Over Wembley", "Wings In Venice "and the "Silly Love Songs" music video.
  • 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 11-track album.

Disc 2 – Bonus Audio
  1. "Silly Love Songs [Demo]"
  2. "She’s My Baby [Demo]"
  3. "Message To Joe"
  4. "Beware My Love [John Bonham Version]"
  5. "Must Do Something About It [Paul's Version]"
  6. "Let 'Em In [Demo]"
  7. "Warm And Beautiful [Instrumental Demo]"
Disc 3 – DVD
  1. "Silly Love Songs" Music Video
  2. "Wings Over Wembley"
  3. "Wings In Venice"

Personnel[edit]

Additional musicians[edit]

Charts[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Buskin, Richard (July 2005). CLASSIC TRACKS: Supertramp's 'Logical Song', Sound on Sound.
  2. ^ Luca Perasi, Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013), L.I.L.Y. Publishing, 2013, ISBN 978-88-909122-1-4
  3. ^ Luca Perasi, Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013), L.I.L.Y. Publishing, 2013, ISBN 978-88-909122-1-4, pp.137-146.
  4. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. Wings at the Speed of Sound at AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-06-29.
  5. ^ Christgau, Robert (14 June 1976). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice (New York). Retrieved 27 May 2013. 
  6. ^ Gary Graff & Daniel Durcholz, MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide, Visible Ink Press (Farmington Hills, MI, 1999), p. 731.
  7. ^ "Paul McCartney: Album Guide". rollingstone.com. Retrieved 18 March 2014. 
  8. ^ Holden, Stephen (20 May 1976). "Wings at the Speed of Sound". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 12 August 2011. 
  9. ^ "Performs the Hits of Wings". Allmusic. Retrieved 28 December 2011. 
  10. ^ http://www.paulmccartney.com/news-blogs/wings-reissue-venus-and-mars-and-at-the-speed-of-sound
  11. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  12. ^ "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 25, No. 9" (PHP). RPM. 29 May 1976. Retrieved 3 May 2012. 
  13. ^ "dutchcharts.nl Wings - At The Speed Of Sound". dutchcharts.nl (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved 2 May 2012. 
  14. ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste > Choisir Un Artiste Dans la Liste : Wings" (in French). infodisc.fr. Retrieved 2 May 2012. Note: user must select 'Wings' from drop-down.
  15. ^ a b "Hit Parade Italia - Gli album più venduti del 1976" (in Italian). hitparadeitalia.it. Retrieved 2 May 2012. 
  16. ^ a b Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970-2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9. 
  17. ^ "charts.org.nz - Wings - At The Speed Of Sound". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 2 May 2012. 
  18. ^ "norwegiancharts.com Wings - At The Speed Of Sound". Retrieved 2 May 2012. 
  19. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
  20. ^ "swedishcharts.com Wings - At The Speed Of Sound" (in Swedish). Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved 2 May 2012. 
  21. ^ "Artist: Paul McCartney". Official Chart Company. Retrieved 15 March 2014. 
  22. ^ "Allmusic: Wings at the Speed of Sound: Charts & Awards: Billboard Albums". allmusic.com. Retrieved 2 May 2012. 
  23. ^ a b McGee, Garry (2003). Band on the Run: A History of Paul McCartney and Wings. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 233. ISBN 9780878333042. 
  24. ^ "Album Search: Wings - At The Speed Of Sound" (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 2 May 2013. 
  25. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1976". RPM. Retrieved 2 May 2012. 
  26. ^ "Dutch charts jaaroverzichten 1976" (ASP) (in Dutch). Retrieved 2 April 2014. 
  27. ^ "Les Albums (CD) de 1976 par InfoDisc" (PHP) (in French). infodisc.fr. Retrieved 2 May 2012. 
  28. ^ "年間アルバムヒットチャート 1976年(昭和51年)" [Japanese Year-End Albums Chart 1976] (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 2 May 2012. 
  29. ^ "The Official UK Charts Company : ALBUM CHART HISTORY". Archived from the original on 12 July 2010. Retrieved 17 December 2007. 
  30. ^ "Billboard.com - Year End Charts - Year-end Albums - The Billboard 200". Archived from the original on 12 July 2010. Retrieved 11 December 2007. 
  31. ^ "French album certifications – Wings – Wings at the Speed of Sound" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. 
  32. ^ "Les Albums Or". infodisc.fr. SNEP. Retrieved 2011-10-03. 
  33. ^ "British album certifications – Wings – Wings at the Speed of Sound". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Wings at the Speed of Sound in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Click Go
  34. ^ "American album certifications – Wings – Wings at the Speed of Sound". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
Preceded by
Frampton Comes Alive! by Peter Frampton
Billboard 200 number-one album
24–30 April 1976
29 May - 4 June 1976
19 June - 23 July 1976
Succeeded by
Presence by Led Zeppelin
Preceded by
Rock n' Roll Love Letter by Bay City Rollers
Canadian RPM Chart number-one album
29 May – 17 June 1976
Succeeded by
Frampton Comes Alive! by Peter Frampton