Wild Life (Wings album)

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Wild Life
Wings Wild Life.jpg
Studio album by
Released7 December 1971
Recorded25 July – 2 August 1971
StudioAbbey Road Studios, London
ProducerPaul McCartney
Wings chronology
Wild Life
Red Rose Speedway

Wild Life is the debut studio album by the British–American rock band Wings and the third studio album by Paul McCartney following the breakup of the Beatles. The album was recorded during July–August 1971 at Abbey Road Studios by McCartney and his wife Linda along with session drummer Denny Seiwell, whom they had worked with on the previous album, Ram, and Denny Laine, formerly of the Moody Blues. It was released by Apple Records on 7 December, in both the UK and US, to lukewarm critical and commercial reaction.


In July 1971, with a fresh set of McCartney tunes, the newly formed Wings recorded the album in slightly more than a week with the mindset that it had to be instant and raw in order to capture the freshness and vitality of a live studio recording. Five of the eight songs were recorded in one take. Paul McCartney later cited the quick recording schedule of Bob Dylan as an inspiration for this.[1] The first session was held at Abbey Road Studios on 25 July.[2] McCartney was filmed playing "Bip Bop" and "Hey Diddle", around this time, which would later be included in the made-for-TV film, Wings Over the World.[3]

The album was rehearsed at McCartney's recording studio in Scotland dubbed Rude Studio, which Paul and Linda had used to make demos of songs that would be used in the album, and recorded at Abbey Road with Tony Clark and Alan Parsons engineering. Paul can be heard saying "Take it, Tony" at the beginning of "Mumbo". Paul handled all of the lead vocals, sharing those duties with Linda on "I Am Your Singer" and "Some People Never Know". "Tomorrow" features background vocals from Denny Laine and Linda McCartney.[4]

After the rehearsals at Rude, the recording moved to Abbey Road Studios, where the album was completed in a few weeks. According to drummer Denny Seiwell, five of the eight recorded tracks were done in one take. One almost definite example of this is "Mumbo", the opener on the album. According to Clark, they were just jamming and Clark decided to start recording. McCartney, upon noticing, shouted "Take it, Tony" and started ad-libbing lyrics.[5]

On the promotional album, "The Complete Audio Guide to the Alan Parsons Project", Alan Parsons discusses how he did a rough mix of "I Am Your Singer" that Paul liked so much, he used it for the final mix on the album.

Music and lyrics[edit]

"Dear Friend", recorded during the Ram sessions,[3] was apparently an attempt at reconciliation with John Lennon. It was certainly a timely follow-up to John's attack on Paul in the song "How Do You Sleep?" from the album Imagine,[3][6] which had apparently been in retaliation for Paul's perceived digs at John in "Too Many People" on Ram.[7][8] Music critic Ian MacDonald used "Dear Friend" as a counter-argument to the caricature of McCartney as an emotional lightweight.[9]

Wild Life also included a reggae remake of Mickey & Sylvia's 1957 top 40 hit "Love Is Strange".[4] A promotional single was distributed in the UK by Apple in December 1971 with catalogue No. R5932, but the commercial release was cancelled due to poor album sales.[3]

As covered by David Cassidy, "Tomorrow" became a chart hit in South Africa. It reached number 10 in 1976.[10] The song was also covered by Dutch Prog band Modest Midget front man Lonny Ziblat.

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic2.5/5 stars[11]
Christgau's Record GuideC–[12]
The Essential Rock Discography4/10[13]
Q1/5 stars[15]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide2/5 stars[16]

After announcing to the media the band's formation on 2 August 1971, the group were named "Wings" on 9 October.[3] On 8 November, the group held a press party in London to announce both the group and Wild Life, which was released on 7 December, in both the UK and US,[3] to lukewarm critical and commercial reaction. The album reached number 11 in the UK and number 10 in the US, where it went gold. At the same press party, in an interview with Melody Maker, McCartney said that the group "should be soon", in regards to performing live.[3] John Mendelsohn wrote in Rolling Stone that he wondered whether the album may have been "deliberately second-rate."[17] In The Beatles: An Illustrated Record, Roy Carr and Tony Tyler called the album "rushed, defensive, badly timed, and over-publicized" and wrote that it showed McCartney's songwriting "at an absolute nadir just when he needed a little respect".[18] The liner notes for Wild Life (and on the Thrillington album) were credited to Clint Harrigan, but in 1990 McCartney admitted to journalist Peter Palmiere that he was Harrigan.[19] Lennon claimed to know the identity of Harrigan during their Melody Maker feud in 1972.[citation needed]

In December 1971, a Ram outtake "Breakfast Blues" was mixed by Paul and Linda at A&R Studios.[3] "Breakfast Blues" was played on WCBS-FM, where McCartney promoted Wings and Wild Life, on 15 December.[3] The track was later released as "Great Cock and Seagull Race" on the 2012 special edition of Ram.

The album was first released on CD by EMI's budget Fame label, on 5 October 1987.[nb 1] In addition to naming the previously hidden tracks ("Bip Bop Link" and "Mumbo Link"), this edition added "Oh Woman, Oh Why" (the B-side of "Another Day"), "Mary Had a Little Lamb", and "Little Woman Love" as bonus tracks. In 1993, Wild Life was remastered and reissued on CD as part of 'The Paul McCartney Collection' series with singles "Give Ireland Back to the Irish" and "Mary Had a Little Lamb" as well as B-sides "Little Woman Love" and "Mama's Little Girl" — all recorded in 1972 except for "Little Woman Love", which was a Ram outtake — as bonus tracks, and also two hidden tracks: "Bip Bop Link" (an acoustic guitar piece) between "I Am Your Singer" and "Tomorrow"; and "Mumbo Link" (an instrumental jam) after "Dear Friend". ("Oh Woman, Oh Why" appeared separately as a bonus track on the 1993 reissue of Ram.) A version recorded in the garden of Paul's Scotland home circa June 1971 of the bluegrass-styled "Bip Bop" featured Paul and Linda's daughter Mary giggling in the background, and segued into a riff called "Hey Diddle". This surfaced in 2001 on the compilation Wingspan: Hits and History.

In 2007, Paul McCartney's catalogue was released on iTunes. Wild Life received an instrumental version of "Give Ireland Back to the Irish" (originally released as b-side of the single) as a bonus track.

In 2018, Wild Life was reissued as part of Paul McCartney Archive Collection.[20] The bonus tracks included the single "Give Ireland Back to the Irish" and its instrumental b-side, promo single edit of "Love Is Strange" and a number of home demos and studio outtakes, including unedited home performance of "Bip Bop" and "Hey Diddle", previously released on Wingspan: Hits and History.

Track listing[edit]

Original release[edit]

All tracks written by Paul and Linda McCartney, except where noted.

Side one

  1. "Mumbo" – 3:54
  2. "Bip Bop" – 4:14
  3. "Love Is Strange" (Mickey Baker, Sylvia Vanderpool, Ethel Smith) – 4:50
  4. "Wild Life" – 6:48

Side two

  1. "Some People Never Know" – 6:35
  2. "I Am Your Singer" – 2:15
  3. "Tomorrow" – 3:28
  4. "Dear Friend" – 5:53

1993 The Paul McCartney Collection remaster[edit]

  1. "Mumbo" – 3:54
  2. "Bip Bop" – 4:14
  3. "Love Is Strange" (Baker, Smith) – 4:50
  4. "Wild Life" – 6:48
  5. "Some People Never Know" – 6:35
  6. "I Am Your Singer" – 2:15
  7. "Bip Bop Link" – 0:52
  8. "Tomorrow" – 3:28
  9. "Dear Friend" – 5:53
  10. "Mumbo Link" – 0:45

1993 remaster bonus tracks

  1. "Give Ireland Back to the Irish" – 3:46
    • Wings' debut single; eventually banned by the BBC for political reasons.
  2. "Mary Had a Little Lamb" – 3:34
    • Wings' second single; like "Give Ireland Back to the Irish", this was never released on an album until The Paul McCartney Collection was released.
  3. "Little Woman Love" – 2:11
    • B-side to "Mary Had a Little Lamb".
  4. "Mama's Little Girl" (Paul McCartney) – 3:41
    • First release was in 1990 as the B-side of the "Put It There" single.

2007 iTunes bonus track

  1. "Give Ireland Back to the Irish (version)" - 3:47
    • Non-vocal version; B-side of "Give Ireland Back to the Irish".

2018 remaster[edit]

On 18 October 2018, it was officially announced that the album reissues of Wild Life and Red Rose Speedway would be released on 7 December 2018, as part of the Paul McCartney Archive Collection series. The Wild Life reissues were published in several editions:

  • Special Edition 2-CD; the original 10-track album on the first disc, including previously unreleased demos and non-album singles on a second disc.
  • Deluxe Edition 3-CD/1-DVD; the original 10-track album on the first disc; rough mixes on a second disc; previously unreleased demos and non-album singles on a third disc; DVD including live and rehearsal recordings from Scotland and the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, as well as a rehearsal of "Give Ireland Back to the Irish".
  • Remastered Vinyl 2-LP; includes special edition tracks, as well as a link to download materials.

Disc 1 The original 10-track album.

Disc 2 – Rough Mixes

  1. "Mumbo" (Rough Mix)
  2. "Bip Bop" (Rough Mix)
  3. "Love Is Strange" (Version) (Rough Mix) (Baker, Smith)
  4. "Wild Life" (Rough Mix)
  5. "Some People Never Know" (Rough Mix)
  6. "I Am Your Singer" (Rough Mix)
  7. "Tomorrow" (Rough Mix)
  8. "Dear Friend" (Rough Mix)

Disc 3 – Bonus Tracks

  1. "Good Rockin’ Tonight" (Home Recording) (Roy Brown)
  2. "Bip Bop" (Home Recording)
  3. "Hey Diddle" (Home Recording)
  4. "She Got It Good" (Home Recording)
  5. "I Am Your Singer" (Home Recording)
  6. "Outtake I"
  7. "Dear Friend" (Home Recording I)
  8. "Dear Friend" (Home Recording II)
  9. "Outtake II"
  10. "Indeed I Do"
  11. "When the Wind Is Blowing"
  12. "The Great Cock and Seagull Race" (Rough Mix) (Paul McCartney)
  13. "Outtake III"
  14. "Give Ireland Back to the Irish"
  15. "Give Ireland Back to the Irish" (Version)
  16. "Love Is Strange" (Single Edit) (Baker, Smith)
  17. "African Yeah Yeah"

Disc 4 – DVD

  1. "Scotland, 1971"
  2. "The Ball"
  3. "ICA Rehearsals"
  4. "Give Ireland Back To The Irish" (Rehearsal)

Additional download track via paulmccartney.com[21]

  1. "Dear Friend" (Orchestra Up) - 5:59





  1. ^ UK Fame CD-FA 3101/CDM 7 52017 2


  1. ^ Garbarini 1980
  2. ^ Perasi 2013, p. 66
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Miles; Badman 2001
  4. ^ a b Ingham 2009
  5. ^ Fricke, D. (2018). "Wild Life"128-page essay. MPL.
  6. ^ Perone 2012, p. 143
  7. ^ Brown; Gaines 2002, p. 351
  8. ^ Perone 2012, p. 148
  9. ^ MacDonald 2005, p. 128
  10. ^ "SA Charts 1965–March 1989". Retrieved 2 September 2018.
  11. ^ Wild Life at AllMusic
  12. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: W". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved 9 March 2019 – via robertchristgau.com.
  13. ^ Strong, Martin C. (2006). The Essential Rock Discography. Edinburgh, UK: Canongate. p. 696. ISBN 978-1-84195-827-9.
  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". rollingstone.com. Archived from the original on 4 July 2014. Retrieved 18 March 2014.
  17. ^ Mendelsohn, John (20 January 1972). "Album review". Archived from the original on 17 November 2009. Retrieved 17 November 2009.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link), Rolling Stone.
  18. ^ Carr; Tyler 1975
  19. ^ https://www.beatlesbible.com/people/paul-mccartney/albums/thrillington/
  20. ^ "'Wild Life' and 'Red Rose Speedway' + 'Wings 1971-73' - Out Now!". paulmccartney.com. 7 December 2018. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  21. ^ "Free Downloads: 'Dear Friend (Orchestra Up)' and 'Hands Of Love'". paulmccartney.com. 24 December 2018. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  22. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  23. ^ "Top Albums/CDs – Volume 16, No. 24". RPM. 29 January 1972. Archived from the original on 4 February 2017. Retrieved 20 May 2011.
  24. ^ "dutchcharts.nl Wings – Wild Life". dutchcharts.nl (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved 8 May 2013.
  25. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  26. ^ "norwegiancharts.com Wings – Wild Life". Retrieved 8 May 2013.
  27. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  28. ^ "Swedish Charts 1969–1972 (in PDF-files)" (PDF) (in Swedish). Hitsallertijden. Retrieved 8 May 2013. Note: Kvällstoppen combined sales for albums and singles in the one chart. Wild Life peaked at the number-five on the hit parade on 11 January 1972.
  29. ^ "Artist: Paul McCartney". Official Chart Company. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
  30. ^ "Wild Life: Charts & Awards: Billboard Albums". allmusic.com. Retrieved 14 September 2011.
  31. ^ 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.
  32. ^ "Album Search: Wings: Wild Life" (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
  33. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Wings – Wild Life". Music Canada.
  34. ^ "American album certifications – Wings – Wild Life". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.