London Town (Wings album)

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London Town
London Town.jpg
Studio album by Wings
Released31 March 1978
RecordedFebruary 1977 – January 1978
StudioAbbey Road Studios and AIR Studios, London; Waterlemon Cay, Virgin Islands (aboard the yacht Fair Carol)
GenreRock
Length51:29
LabelParlophone (UK)
Capitol (US)
ProducerPaul McCartney
Wings chronology
Thrillington
(1977)
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: 12 June 1978
  3. "London Town"
    Released: 21 August 1978
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4/5 stars[1]
Robert ChristgauB[2]
The Essential Rock Discography5/10[3]
MusicHound2/5[4]
Q2/5 stars[5]
Rolling Stone(favourable)[6]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide2/5 stars[7]

London Town is the sixth studio album by the British–American rock group Wings. It was released in March 1978, two years after its predecessor, Wings at the Speed of Sound. The album had a long and tumultuous gestation during which the band's tour plans for 1977 were cancelled, due to Linda McCartney falling pregnant with her and Paul McCartney's third child, and two members of Wings departed, leaving the band as a trio comprising Paul, Linda and Denny Laine. Recording sessions were held intermittently over a period of a year, mainly at Abbey Road Studios in London and aboard a luxury yacht in the Virgin Islands.

London Town charted in the top five positions in the UK and the US. It failed to repeat the enduring success of Wings' three previous albums, however, and received unfavourable reviews from the majority of music critics. The lead single, "With a Little Luck", was a number 1 hit in the US, but the album's subsequent singles achieved only minor chart success. Also recorded during the sessions was the 1977 non-album single "Mull of Kintyre", which, until 1984, was the best-selling single in UK chart history.

History[edit]

After the commercial success of 1976, with Wings at the Speed of Sound and the well-received Wings Over the World tour, Wings' leader Paul McCartney planned on making 1977 a similar year. In February, Wings began recording sessions at Abbey Road Studios, which continued until the end of March. Wings recorded five songs there: "Girls' School", "Name and Address", "London Town", "Children, Children" and Linda McCartney's "B-Side to Seaside". The latter was issued as the flip-side of the Wings single "Seaside Woman" (issued under the name "Suzy and the Red Stripes").[8] The initial plan that Wings would tour in the US once more was thwarted by Linda's discovery that she was pregnant with her and Paul's third child.[9] 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[10] during the month of May where several new songs were recorded. Reflecting the nautical locale, the album's working title was Water Wings.[11] As Linda's pregnancy progressed, the band halted the sessions for the album, except for the recording of a new track called "Mull of Kintyre" that August and the completion of the already begun "Girls' School". The two songs were released as a single in late 1977 – Wings' only new release that year.[12]

Before the single's release came two defections from Wings: drummer Joe English had become homesick for America[13] and returned home, and lead guitarist Jimmy McCulloch left Wings to join the Small Faces that September. For the first time since 1973's Band on the Run,[14] Wings were down to the core three of Paul, Linda and Denny Laine, as reflected on the picture sleeve of the single.[15]

In November, two months after the birth of the McCartneys' son James, and shortly after sessions for London Town resumed, the Scottish tribute "Mull of Kintyre" was released to enormous commercial success.[16] The song became the UK's biggest-selling single, outstripping the Beatles' largest seller "She Loves You".[17] Although it would be topped in 1984 by Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas?", "Mull of Kintyre" still ranks as the UK's fourth biggest-selling single and the largest selling non-charity single.[18]

Recording for London Town was completed with some final overdubbing in January 1978.[19] Its release was preceded by the single "With a Little Luck", which became a number 1 hit in the US,[20] and took place on 31 March. The album also features the song "Girlfriend", which American pop star Michael Jackson subsequently covered on his 1979 album Off the Wall.[21][22]

London Town received generally unfavourable reviews from music critics.[23][24] In the charts, it peaked at number 4 in the UK and number 2 in the US, where it sold over one million copies and went platinum. After a strong start initially, however, it lacked the staying power of Wings' previous releases. The album's follow-up singles, "I've Had Enough" and the title track, became relatively minor hits.[25] Although the advent of punk music would have had an adverse effect on the sales of London Town, the album marked 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 the single "With a Little Luck".[26]

Paul McCartney was reportedly displeased with Capitol Records in the US, where "Mull of Kintyre" was ignored by radio programmers; its B-side, "Girls School", reached only number 33 on the US charts.[27] He was further dismayed at what he viewed as Capitol's lacklustre promotion for London Town. With his contract at an end, he signed up with Columbia Records for North America (remaining with EMI elsewhere in the world) and would stay there until 1984, before returning to Capitol in the US.[28]

In 1993, London Town was remastered and reissued on CD as part of "The Paul McCartney Collection" series. "Mull of Kintyre" and "Girls School" were added as bonus tracks. Laine included versions of "Children Children" and "Deliver Your Children" on his 1996 album Wings at the Sound of Denny Laine.[29]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Paul McCartney, except where noted.

Side one

  1. "London Town" (Paul McCartney, Denny Laine) – 4:10
  2. "Cafe 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
  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
  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 on 1993 CD reissue

  1. "Girls' School" – 4:38
  2. "Mull of Kintyre" (McCartney, Laine) – 4:42

Personnel[edit]

  • Paul McCartney – lead vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, drums, percussion, violin, flageolet, recorder
  • Denny Laine – vocal (lead vocals on "Children Children" and "Deliver Your Children"), guitar, bass, flageolet, recorder, percussion
  • Linda McCartney – vocal, keyboards, percussion
  • Jimmy McCulloch – guitar, percussion
  • Joe English – vocal, drums, percussion, harmonica

Charts[edit]

Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
France (SNEP)[51] Gold 265,800[52]
Germany (BVMI)[53] Gold 250,000^
Japan (Oricon Charts) 86,000[35]
Netherlands (NVPI)[54] Platinum 100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[55] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[56] Platinum 1,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. London Town at AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-06-29.
  2. ^ "Robert Christgau: Album: Wings". Retrieved 2011-08-29.
  3. ^ Strong, Martin C. (2006). The Essential Rock Discography. Edinburgh, UK: Canongate. p. 696. ISBN 978-1-84195-827-9.
  4. ^ Gary Graff & Daniel Durchholz (eds), MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide, Visible Ink Press (Farmington Hills, MI, 1999), p. 731.
  5. ^ Nicol, Jimmy (October 1993). "Re-releases: Paul McCartney The Paul McCartney Collection". Q. p. 119.
  6. ^ Maslin, Janet (1978-06-15), "Music Reviews : London Town by Wings", Rolling Stone, archived from the original on 2009-11-17, retrieved 2011-10-17
  7. ^ "Paul McCartney: Album Guide". rollingstone.com. Archived from the original on 4 July 2014. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
  8. ^ Luca Perasi, Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969–2013), L.I.L.Y. Publishing, 2013, ISBN 978-88-909122-1-4, pp. 150–153.
  9. ^ McCartney: Songwriter ISBN 0-491-03325-7 pp. 120-121
  10. ^ The Words and Music of Paul McCartney: The Solo Years ISBN 978-6-612-52441-7 p. 79
  11. ^ The Words and Music of Paul McCartney: The Solo Years ISBN 978-6-612-52441-7 p. 79
  12. ^ McCartney: Songwriter ISBN 0-491-03325-7 p. 121
  13. ^ McCartney: Songwriter ISBN 0-491-03325-7 p. 121
  14. ^ McCartney: Songwriter ISBN 0-491-03325-7 p. 112
  15. ^ McCartney: Songwriter ISBN 0-491-03325-7 p. 121
  16. ^ McCartney: Songwriter ISBN 0-491-03325-7 p. 121
  17. ^ McCartney: Songwriter ISBN 0-491-03325-7 p. 121
  18. ^ officialcharts.com
  19. ^ Penny Laine's Anthology ISBN 978-1-105-58230-1 p. 175
  20. ^ McCartney: Songwriter ISBN 0-491-03325-7 p. 122
  21. ^ McCartney: Songwriter ISBN 0-491-03325-7 p. 203
  22. ^ The Words and Music of Paul McCartney: The Solo Years ISBN 978-6-612-52441-7 p. 82
  23. ^ Madinger, Chip; Easter, Mark (2000). Eight Arms to Hold You: The Solo Beatles Compendium. Chesterfield, MO: 44.1 Productions. p. 230. ISBN 0-615-11724-4.
  24. ^ Clayson, Alan (2003). Paul McCartney. London: Sanctuary. p. 191. ISBN 1-86074-482-6.
  25. ^ The Paul McCartney Encyclopedia ISBN 978-0-753-50716-2 p. 444
  26. ^ Miles, Barry; Badman, Keith, eds. (2001). The Beatles Diary After the Break-Up: 1970–2001 (reprint ed.). London: Music Sales Group. ISBN 978-0-7119-8307-6.
  27. ^ "Billboard Hot 100". Billboard Magazine. January 14, 1978. p. 96. Retrieved 2012-09-27.
  28. ^ The Words and Music of Paul McCartney: The Solo Years ISBN 978-6-612-52441-7 p. 180
  29. ^ "Performs the Hits of Wings". AllMusic. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
  30. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  31. ^ "austriancharts.at Wings - London Town". Hung Medien (in German). Retrieved 2 May 2013.
  32. ^ "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 29, No. 13" (PHP). RPM. 24 June 1978. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  33. ^ "dutchcharts.nl Wings - London Town". Hung Medien, dutchcharts.nl (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
  34. ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste > Choisir Un Artiste Dans la Liste : Wings". infodisc.fr. Archived from the original on 7 May 2013. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
  35. ^ a b Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  36. ^ "charts.org.nz - Wings - London Town". Hung Medien, charts.org.nz. Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
  37. ^ "norwegiancharts.com Wings - London Town". Hung Medien, norwegiancharts.com. VG-lista. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
  38. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
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  40. ^ "Artist: Paul McCartney". Official Chart Company. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
  41. ^ London Town at AllMusic
  42. ^ a b McGee, Garry (2003). Band on the Run: A History of Paul McCartney and Wings. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 233. ISBN 978-0-87833-304-2.
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  44. ^ "Austriancharts.st - Jahreshitparade 1978" (in German). Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 29 October 2009. Retrieved 3 May 2013.
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  46. ^ "Dutch charts jaaroverzichten 1978". Dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
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  49. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 January 2012. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
  50. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 31 December 2012. Retrieved 1 March 2011.
  51. ^ "French album certifications – Wings – London Town" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique.
  52. ^ "Les Albums Or". infodisc.fr. SNEP. Archived from the original on 1 September 2012. Retrieved 31 August 2011.
  53. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Wings; 'London Town')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie.
  54. ^ "Dutch album certifications – Wings – London Town" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Enter London Town in the "Artiest of titel" box.
  55. ^ "British album certifications – Wings – London Town". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type London Town in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  56. ^ "American album certifications – Wings – London Town". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.