Red Rose Speedway

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Red Rose Speedway
Red Rose Speedway.jpg
Studio album by Paul McCartney and Wings
Released 30 April 1973 (US)
4 May 1973 (UK)
Recorded March–June, September–October 1972 in Los Angeles, Olympic Studios, London and Abbey Road Studios, London
Genre Rock, pop rock, soft rock
Length 42:13
Label Apple
Producer Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney and Wings chronology
Wild Life
Red Rose Speedway
Band on the Run
Singles from Red Rose Speedway
  1. "My Love"
    Released: 23 March 1973

Red Rose Speedway is the second album by Paul McCartney and Wings, and the fourth by Paul McCartney since leaving the Beatles. The album was released in 1973 after the relatively weak commercial performance of McCartney's previous, Wild Life, which had been credited to the then-unknown Wings. Red Rose Speedway reached number 1 on the Billboard 200.


In early 1972, McCartney decided to expand Wings to a five-piece band, by adding another guitarist, and to begin touring with the group.[1] The group spent many months on the road across Europe, beginning with a tour of British universities.[1] On 28 February 1972, Wings flew to Los Angeles where they would shortly afterwards begin sessions for Red Rose Speedway.[1] The album finished in London that October.

Despite not releasing an album in 1972, Wings managed to release three singles: "Give Ireland Back to the Irish" which was banned by the BBC for political reasons;[2] "Mary Had a Little Lamb"; and "Hi, Hi, Hi" which was banned by the BBC for drug references and sexually suggestive lyrics.[nb 1][1]


Recording for Red Rose Speedway started in March 1972.[4] The album was initially planned as a double album, and McCartney decided to include some unreleased songs that had originally been recorded during the Ram sessions prior to the formation of Wings.[4] Two of those songs, "Get on the Right Thing" and "Little Lamb Dragonfly," eventually appeared on the final album.[5] On 19 March, recording was moved to Olympic Studios, where sessions became sporadic lasting until October.[1] On 20 March, Paul gathered assistance from Glyn Johns, who later left the project on 17 April.[1] Mixing took place on 15 May at Manor Studios.[1] More sessions were held in October and November 1972 at Abbey Road and Olympic Studios.[6]

The album was cut down to a single album by McCartney, according to Henry McCullough, as an attempt to release a more commercial and less expensive record.[4] "Live and Let Die", the title song to the James Bond film of the same name, was recorded during the sessions for this album, but would instead be released on the Live and Let Die soundtrack album.[7] "I Would Only Smile" was released by Laine on a solo album.[1] "Mama's Little Girl" was recorded during the sessions and would later turn up as the B-side of the single "Put It There" in 1990.[1]

Music and lyrics[edit]

Recording began in Los Angeles in March 1972. Wings taped Big Barn Bed, My Love, One More Kiss, Single Pigeon, When The Night, Loup (1st Indian On The Moon) and the medley which closed the album. Big Barn Bed comes from the Ram sessions. The first verse can be heard in Ram On (Reprise) Work continued at Olympic Studios in Barnes, London. Glyn Johns, who had worked on The Beatles' Abbey Road and Let It Be albums, was enlisted as a producer, but walked out of the sessions in April following a series of disagreements.

Two of the songs on Red Rose Speedway, Get On The Right Thing and Little Lamb Dragonfly, were remainders from the Ram sessions. Little Lamb Dragonfly was completed with the addition of extra overdubs, but Get On The Right Thing was left unchanged.

Red Rose Speedway was completed with final overdubs and mixing at EMI Studios in Abbey Road, London, in October 1972, the same month that Wings recorded Live And Let Die at George Martin's AIR Studios in London.

During the sessions a number of unreleased songs were also recorded. These include Mama's Little Girl, Night Out, Jazz Street, Best Friend, Thank You Darling, a studio version of The Mess and a cover version of Thomas Wayne's song Tragedy.

The album is closed by an 11-minute medley, of the songs "Hold Me Tight"/"Lazy Dynamite"/"Hands of Love"/"Power Cut", which was made in a similar style to the Abbey Road medley.[8] "Power Cut" was written during the 1972 miners' strike.[9]

Release and aftermath[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[10]
Robert Christgau D+[11]
The Essential Rock Discography 5/10[12]
MusicHound 2/5[14]
Q 3/5 stars[15]
Rolling Stone (favourable)[13]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 2/5 stars[16]

In March 1973, "My Love" was released as the lead single for the album, and became a UK top 10 hit at number 9,[17] and US number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard Adult Contemporary charts.[18] It raised expectations for the album, which peaked at number 5 in the UK and went to number 1 in the US.[18] It featured a 12-page booklet stapled into the gatefold featuring pictures from the Wings tours. Its cover design – with the cover shot of a Harley-Davidson shovelhead engine by Linda McCartney – was by Eduardo Paolozzi, while the back cover of the album contains a Braille message of "We love ya baby" for Stevie Wonder.

The original compact disc version, released by EMI's Fame label on 5 October 1987,[nb 2] contained three bonus tracks: "I Lie Around", "Country Dreamer" and "The Mess (Live at The Hague)". An LP version of this CD edition was also released on the same day, omitting the bonus tracks.[nb 3] In 1993, Red Rose Speedway was remastered and reissued on CD as part of 'The Paul McCartney Collection' series with "C Moon", "Hi, Hi, Hi", "The Mess (Live at The Hague)" (the B-side to "My Love") and "I Lie Around" (the B-side to "Live and Let Die") as bonus tracks,[9] while "Country Dreamer" was later added to the reissue Band on the Run from the same series.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Paul and Linda McCartney.[20]

Side one
  1. "Big Barn Bed" – 3:48
  2. "My Love" – 4:07
  3. "Get on the Right Thing" – 4:17
  4. "One More Kiss" – 2:28
  5. "Little Lamb Dragonfly" – 6:20
Side two
  1. "Single Pigeon" – 1:52
  2. "When the Night" – 3:38
  3. "Loup (1st Indian on the Moon)" – 4:23
  4. "Medley: Hold Me Tight/Lazy Dynamite/Hands of Love/Power Cut" – 11:14
Additional tracks

Original double album track listing[edit]

Originally planned as a double album,[21] this is the tracklisting from the acetates of the early incarnation of the album dated 13 December 1972.[22] Most tracks left off the released version ended up on B-sides, but some are still officially unreleased.

Other outtakes[edit]

Other songs recorded during this period that did not make the final album include:

  • "Thank You Darling" – A duet featuring Paul and Linda McCartney. This song has yet to have an official release.
  • "Seaside Woman" – Linda McCartney lead vocals. This was later released as a single under the pseudonym Suzy and the Red Stripes in 1977 then later on Linda's posthumous compilation Wide Prairie. The title of this song is featured in the inner sleeve artwork of the LP release of Red Rose Speedway.
  • "Soily" – A live recording was mixed down but did not make the short list of the album. McCartney made other attempts at recording this song in studio including a version recording in his home studio in January 1972,[1] and in McCartney's unreleased "studio performance" film One Hand Clapping. This song was finally granted an official release when a version from McNichols Sports Arena in Denver appeared as a live recording on Wings' 1976 live album Wings over America.[23][24]
  • "Henry's Blues" – A song featuring lead vocals and slide guitar from Wings guitarist Henry McCullough. A live recording was made during Wings' European tour of mid-1972, this has never officially been released
  • "Best Friend" – A live recording was mixed as well as a studio version, but to date this song has not had an official release.
  • "1882" – This song dates back to 1970 when it was first recorded as a demo around the time of the McCartney album. A home studio version was recorded in January 1972.[1] A live recording from the same concert as "The Mess" (at The Hague on 21 August 1972) had studio overdubs added but has still yet to see an official release.
  • "I Would Only Smile" – A song featuring lead vocals from Denny Laine. It was later released on Laine's solo album Japanese Tears.[25]


Additional personnel



Region Certification
Canada (Music Canada)[40] Platinum
United Kingdom (BPI)[41] Gold
United States (RIAA)[42] Gold


  1. ^ The BBC banned the song due to the lyrics "I want to lie you on the bed, get you ready for my body gun", however, the actual lyric of the last words is "polygon". The BBC thought of the former due to incorrect lyric sheets sent by the song's publisher, Northern Songs.[3]
  2. ^ UK Fame CD-FA 3193/CDM 7 52026 2[19]
  3. ^ UK Fame FA 3193
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Miles; Badman 2001
  2. ^ "Entertainment | The seven ages of Paul McCartney". BBC News. 2006-06-17. Retrieved 2013-04-21. 
  3. ^ Benitez 2010, p. 49
  4. ^ a b c Benitez 2010, p. 43
  5. ^ Benitez 2010, p. 45
  6. ^ Perasi 2013, pp. 86–97
  7. ^ Benitez 2010, p. 50
  8. ^ Benitez 2010, p. 47
  9. ^ a b Benitez 2010, p. 48
  10. ^ Red Rose Speedway at AllMusic
  11. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Album: Paul McCartney & Wings: Red Rose Speedway". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  12. ^ Strong, Martin C. (2006). The Essential Rock Discography. Edinburgh, UK: Canongate. p. 696. ISBN 978-184195-827-9. 
  13. ^ Lenny Kaye (5 July 1973). "''Rolling Stone''". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 28 October 2011. 
  14. ^ Graff; Durchholz 1999, p. 730
  15. ^ Nicol, Jimmy (October 1993). "Re-releases: Paul McCartney The Paul McCartney Collection". Q. p. 119. 
  16. ^ "Paul McCartney: Album Guide". Retrieved 18 March 2014. 
  17. ^ Rice; Gambaccini; Rice 1995
  18. ^ a b c "Red Rose Speedway – Paul McCartney, Wings: Awards". Retrieved 9 May 2013. 
  19. ^ "Paul McCartney & Wings* - Red Rose Speedway (CD, Album) at Discogs". Retrieved 21 April 2013. 
  20. ^ " MPL Music Publishing Inc.". MPL Communications. Retrieved 23 December 2010. 
  21. ^ Badman 2002
  22. ^ "The McCartney Recording Sessions - 1972". Retrieved 25 August 2011. 
  23. ^ Madinger; Easter 2000, p. 222
  24. ^ "The McCartney Recording Sessions – 1976". Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  25. ^ Terol, Miguel (16 June 1998). "Denny Laine Biography". Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  26. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970-1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  27. ^ Nielsen Business Media, Inc (30 June 1973). Billboard - 30 June - 1973. Retrieved 12 February 2012. 
  28. ^ "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 19, No. 20" (PHP). RPM. 30 June 1973. Retrieved 3 May 2012. 
  29. ^ a b Nielsen Business Media, Inc (23 June 1973). "Billboard Hits of the World". Billboard. p. 75. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  30. ^ " Paul McCartney & Wings - Red Rose Speedway" (ASP). (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved 9 May 2013. 
  31. ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste > Choisir Un Artiste Dans la Liste" (PHP) (in French). Retrieved 9 May 2013. 
  32. ^ a b "Hit Parade Italia - Gli album più venduti del 1973" (in Italian). Retrieved 9 May 2013. 
  33. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970-2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9. 
  34. ^ " Paul McCartney & Wings - Red Rose Speedway" (ASP). VG-lista. Retrieved 9 May 2013. 
  35. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
  36. ^ "Artist: Paul McCartney". Official Chart Company. Retrieved 5 March 2014. 
  37. ^ "Dutch charts jaaroverzichten 1973" (ASP) (in Dutch). Retrieved 2 April 2014. 
  38. ^ "Les Albums (CD) de 1973 par InfoDisc" (PHP) (in French). Retrieved 9 May 2013. 
  39. ^ "Top Pop Albums of 1973". Retrieved 11 February 2012. 
  40. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Paul McCartney – Red Rose Speedway". Music Canada. 
  41. ^ "British album certifications – Wings – Red Rose Speedway". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Red Rose Speedway in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Gold in the field By Award. Click Search
  42. ^ "American album certifications – Wings – Red Rose Speedway". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  • Badman, Keith (2002). The Beatles – The Dream Is Over – Off the Record 2. London: Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-7119-9199-5. 
  • Benitez, Vincent P. (2010). The Words and Music of Paul McCartney: The Solo Years. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Praeger. ISBN 978-0-313-34969-0. 
  • Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel (eds) (1999). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink Press. ISBN 1-57859-061-2. 
  • Madinger, Chip; Easter, Mark (2000). Eight Arms to Hold You: The Solo Beatles Compendium. Chesterfield, MO: 44.1 Productions, LP. ISBN 0-615-11724-4. 
  • Miles, Barry; Badman, Keith, ed. (2001). The Beatles Diary After the Break-Up: 1970–2001 (reprint ed.). London: Music Sales Group. ISBN 978-0-7119-8307-6. 
  • Mulligan, Kate Siobhan (2010). The Beatles: A Musical Biography. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Greenwood. ISBN 9780313376863. 
  • Perasi, Luca (2013). Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013). [S.l.]: L.I.L.Y. Publishing. ISBN 978-88-909122-1-4. 
  • Rice, Tim; Gambaccini, Paul; Rice, Jo (1995). British Hit Singles. London: Guinness Publishing Ltd. ISBN 0-85112-633-2. 
Preceded by
1967–1970 by The Beatles
Billboard 200 number-one album
2 June 1973 – 22 June 1973
Succeeded by
Living in the Material World by George Harrison
Preceded by
Hot August Night by Neil Diamond
Australian Kent Music Report number-one album
9 July 1973 – 29 July 1973
Succeeded by
Goats Head Soup by The Rolling Stones