German single sleeve
|Single by Paul McCartney and Wings|
|from the album Band on the Run|
|B-side||"Let Me Roll It"
"Mamunia" (first US pressing)
|Released||28 January 1974 (US)
15 February 1974 (UK)
|Genre||Rock, power pop|
|Writer(s)||Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney|
"Jet" is a song by Paul McCartney and Wings from their album Band on the Run. Supposedly written about a jet black Labrador that McCartney owned, the song was the first British and American single to be released from the album. The song peaked at number 7 in both the British and American charts on 30 March 1974, also charting in multiple countries in Europe. It has been released on numerous compilation albums, and has since become one of the band's most well-known tracks.
We've got a Labrador puppy who is a runt, the runt of a litter. We bought her along a roadside in a little pet shop, out in the country one day. She was a bit of a wild dog, a wild girl who wouldn't stay in. We have a big wall around our house in London, and she wouldn't stay in, she always used to jump the wall. She'd go out on the town for the evening, like Lady And The Tramp. She must have met up with some big black Labrador or something. She came back one day pregnant. She proceeded to walk into the garage and have this litter... Seven little black puppies, perfect little black Labradors, and she's not black, she's tan. So we worked out it must have been a black Labrador. What we do is if either of the dogs we have has a litter, we try to keep them for the puppy stage, so we get the best bit of them, and then when they get a bit unmanageable we ask people if they want to have a puppy. So Jet was one of the puppies. We give them all names. We've had some great names, there was one puppy called Golden Molasses. I rather like that. Then there was one called Brown Megs, named after a Capitol executive. They've all gone now. The people change the names if they don't like them.— Paul McCartney, Paul McCartney: In His Own Words
However, in a 2010 interview on the UK television channel ITV1 for the program Wings: Band on the Run (to promote the November 2010 CD/DVD re-release of the album) McCartney explained that Jet was the name of a pony he had owned, although many of the lyrics bore little relation to the subject; indeed, the true meaning of the lyrics has defied all attempts at decryption.
The song's use of the word "suffragette" was described by McCartney as "crazy" and "silly", not having any deep inspiration.
I make up so much stuff. It means something to me when I do it, and it means something to the record buyer, but if I'm asked to analyze it I can't really explain what it is. 'Suffragette' was crazy enough to work. It sounded silly, so I liked it.— Paul McCartney, Paul McCartney: In His Own Words
Whereas most of the Band on the Run album was recorded in Lagos, Nigeria, "Jet" was recorded entirely at EMI Studios in London after the group's return (according to engineer Geoff Emerick in his book Here There and Everywhere). Instrumentation used in the song includes electric guitars, bass, Moog, drums, piano, horns and strings. A closer listening reveals that during the verse the bass simply holds a single root note.
Release and reception
"Jet" was released as the debut single from Band on the Run in January 1974 (although in some countries, the Non-UK/US single "Mrs. Vandebilt" was released first). The single was a Top 10 hit for Paul McCartney and Wings, peaking at number 7 in both America and Britain. The single was backed with "Let Me Roll It" in Britain. When first released, in America the single's B-side was "Mamunia", another track from Band on the Run, but it was soon replaced with the British B-side.
Prominent music critic Dave Marsh named the song number 793 in his list of the 1001 greatest singles ever made. He referred to it as a "grand pop confection" that represented the only time McCartney approached the "drive and density" of his tenure with the Beatles. Writer Graham Reid has described it as a power pop "gem".
Paul McCartney has since said that the soft rock band The Carpenters were fans of "Jet".
I remember Richard and Karen Carpenter ringing me up to tell me about ‘Jet’ – they were like the last people on Earth I thought who’d like ‘Jet’! But they were like, ‘Oh, great record, man!’ So, you know, it was actually resonating with people.— Paul McCartney, Clash
- Paul McCartney – lead vocals, guitar, bass guitar, drums
- Linda McCartney – backing vocals, keyboards
- Denny Laine – backing vocals, guitar
- Howie Casey – saxophone
Weekly singles charts
- Scottish glam rock band Iron Virgin issued a version in 1974 on the Deram label, but it did not chart.
- Boston indie rock band Big Dipper released a cover of this song in 1989 on a split single with The Droogs.
- Early 1990s Californian band Jellyfish cover the song; this is available as a bonus track on a UK limited edition of the album Bellybutton.
- The Foo Fighters recorded a cover in February 2000 that was going to be used on a tribute album to Paul McCartney, but the album was never produced. They have since played the song numerous times live.
- Japanese pop power trio Shonen Knife's cover of this song is the last track on their 2008 album Super Group. Group member Naoko Yamano said that she picked the song since she is a longtime fan of McCartney.
- Robin Zander and Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick cover the song on the 2014 cover album The Art of McCartney.
- The song was covered in Episode 4 Season 1 of the Netflix TV Series Love, by Paul Rust's character Gus and Mark Everett, lead singer of the band Eels.
- "Jet" was sampled in the song "Self Made" on the Maybach Music Group's compilation album Self Made Vol. 1.
- "Jet" was also sampled in the song "He Dont Get a Thing" on the Hostyle Gospel's mixtape album Five Star Generals.
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- Dave Marsh (1999). The heart of rock & soul: the 1001 greatest singles ever made. Da Capo Press. p. 505.
- Harper, Simon. "The Making Of Paul McCartney". Clash.
- Maybe, Brad. "Clear For Takeoff: Jet Gets Ready To Get Born" CMJ New Music Report 8 September 2003: 7
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- J-Pop Royalty Shonen Knife Graces Mango's This Week
- "Sampled". http://www.whosampled.com. Retrieved 1 April 2015. External link in