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|Single by Wings|
|from the album Back to the Egg|
|B-side||"Old Siam, Sir"|
|Recorded||3 October 1978|
|Genre||Hard rock, rock and roll, instrumental rock|
|Label||Parlophone/EMI (Europe only)|
|Wings singles chronology|
It was recorded on 3 October 1978 at Abbey Road Studios by an all-star collection of musicians dubbed "Rockestra", although the song is technically credited to Wings. It was recorded as part of Wings' 1979 album Back to the Egg and released as a single in France.
Musicians who performed on this song (and on "So Glad To See You Here", also on Back to the Egg) included: Denny Laine, Laurence Juber, David Gilmour, Hank Marvin, Pete Townshend (guitars), Steve Holley, John Bonham, Kenney Jones (drums), Paul McCartney (piano), John Paul Jones, Ronnie Lane, Bruce Thomas (bass), Gary Brooker, Linda McCartney, Tony Ashton (keyboards), Speedy Acquaye, Tony Carr, Ray Cooper, Morris Pert (percussion), Howie Casey, Tony Dorsey, Steve Howard, Thaddeus Richard (horns).
One person taken out of the Rockestra supergroup was Jeff Beck. After being asked to join by McCartney, Beck wanted to be able to have veto power over his own guitar parts, subsequently, McCartney withdrew his invitation.
In a 2001 interview on VH1, McCartney said Keith Moon was to have taken part in "Rockestra" but died one month before the recording sessions took place. Kenney Jones, who replaced Moon on drums within The Who, appeared instead. In the book Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013) Wings' drummer Steve Holley recalled the session in an interview, saying "it was daunting".
The song was performed again at the Concerts for the People of Kampuchea and released on the album and EP of the same name. This was a series of concerts featuring Queen, The Clash, the Pretenders, The Who, Elvis Costello, Wings, and many more artists which took place at the Hammersmith Odeon in London, England during December 1979 to raise money for the victims of war-torn Cambodia. The event was organized by McCartney and Kurt Waldheim, and it involved older artists such as McCartney and The Who as well as younger new wave acts like The Clash and the Pretenders. The last of the concerts was the last concert of Wings.
Most of the Rockestra wore silver suits for this performance. On the Concerts for Kampuchea home video, McCartney can be heard making a comment about Townshend before playing the song, making reference to Townshend being a "poof" (gay in British slang). "Thank you, Peter. Only lousy sod who wouldn't wear the silver suit. Cuz he's a poof." Townshend made comment about it in several interviews following the performance.
Juber can be seen walking up behind Townshend after McCartney's comment, and placing a silver top hat on his head. Townshend quickly grabs the hat and flings it into the audience.
"Rockestra Theme" won the first Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. The song was used as under the opening credits of the California Go! rad BMX sports show on ESPN. In France it was used as the opening theme of 'Chlorophylle' a pop-rock program on the radio station Europe 1.
- Luca Perasi, Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013), L.I.L.Y. Publishing, 2013, ISBN 978-88-909122-1-4, p.182.