Red Rose Speedway
|Red Rose Speedway|
|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|
|Paul McCartney and Wings chronology|
|Singles from Red Rose Speedway|
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. The group spent many months on the road across Europe, beginning with a tour of British universities. On 28 February 1972, Wings flew to Los Angeles where they would shortly afterwards begin sessions for Red Rose Speedway. 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; "Mary Had a Little Lamb"; and "Hi, Hi, Hi" which was banned by the BBC for drug references and sexually suggestive lyrics.[nb 1]
Recording for Red Rose Speedway started in March 1972. 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. Two of those songs, "Get on the Right Thing" and "Little Lamb Dragonfly," eventually appeared on the final album. On 19 March, recording was moved to Olympic Studios, where sessions became sporadic lasting until October. On 20 March, Paul gathered assistance from Glyn Johns, who later left the project on 17 April. Mixing took place on 15 May at Manor Studios. More sessions were held in October and November 1972 at Abbey Road and Olympic Studios.
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. "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. "I Would Only Smile" was released by Laine on a solo album. "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.
Music and lyrics
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. "Power Cut" was written during the 1972 miners' strike.
Release and aftermath
|The Essential Rock Discography||5/10|
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
In March 1973, "My Love" was released as the lead single for the album, and became a UK top 10 hit at number 9, and US number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard Adult Contemporary charts. It raised expectations for the album, which peaked at number 5 in the UK and went to number 1 in the US. 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, while "Country Dreamer" was later added to the reissue Band on the Run from the same series.
- Side one
- "Big Barn Bed" – 3:48
- "My Love" – 4:07
- "Get on the Right Thing" – 4:17
- "One More Kiss" – 2:28
- "Little Lamb Dragonfly" – 6:20
- Side two
- "Single Pigeon" – 1:52
- "When the Night" – 3:38
- "Loup (1st Indian on the Moon)" – 4:23
- "Medley: Hold Me Tight/Lazy Dynamite/Hands of Love/Power Cut" – 11:14
- Additional tracks
|1987 CD bonus tracks|
|1993 The Paul McCartney Collection bonus tracks|
Original double album track listing
Originally planned as a double album, this is the tracklisting from the acetates of the early incarnation of the album dated 13 December 1972. Most tracks left off the released version ended up on B-sides, but some are still officially unreleased.
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, 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.
- "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. 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.
- Paul McCartney – vocals, piano, bass, guitar, electric piano, mellotron, celeste, Moog synthesizer
- Linda McCartney – vocals, piano, organ, electric piano, electric harpsichord, percussion
- Denny Laine – vocals, guitar, bass, harmonica
- Henry McCullough – guitar, backing vocals, percussion
- Denny Seiwell – drums, percussion
- Additional personnel
- Hugh McCracken – electric guitar (track 5)
- David Spinozza – electric guitar (track 3)
- Alan Parsons – recording engineer
- Dixon Van Winkle – recording engineer (track 3 & 5)
|Canada (Music Canada)||Platinum|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Gold|
|United States (RIAA)||Gold|
- 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.
- UK Fame CD-FA 3193/CDM 7 52026 2
- UK Fame FA 3193
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- Benitez 2010, p. 48
- Red Rose Speedway at AllMusic
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