Wild Life (Wings album)

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Wild Life
Wings Wild Life.jpg
Studio album by Wings
Released 7 December 1971
Recorded July–August 1971
Abbey Road Studios, London
Genre Rock
Length 39:39
Label Apple
Producer Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney
Wings chronology
Wild Life
Red Rose Speedway

Wild Life is the debut album by Wings, and the third studio album by Paul McCartney since 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, who 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] As well as recording the tracks that would turn up on the album,[3] the group also recorded the unreleased track "Tragedy". 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 Clarke 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]

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][5] which had apparently been in retaliation for Paul's digs at John in "Too Many People" on Ram.[6][7] Music critic Ian MacDonald used "Dear Friend" as a counter-argument to the caricature of McCartney as an emotional lightweight.[8]

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]

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 2.5/5 stars[9]
Robert Christgau C–
The Essential Rock Discography 4/10[10]
MusicHound 2.5/5 stars[11]
Q 1/5 stars[12]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 2/5 stars[13]

After announcing to the media the band's formation on 2 August 1971, the group were titled "Wings" on 9 October 1971.[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."[14] 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".[15] 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.[citation needed] 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 Fame label, on 5 October 1987.[nb 1] In addition to naming the previously hidden tracks, 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 catalog 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.

Track listing[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".




  1. ^ UK Fame CD-FA 3101/CDM 7 52017 2[16]
  1. ^ Garbarini 1980
  2. ^ Perasi 2013, p. 66
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Miles; Badman 2001
  4. ^ a b Ingham 2009
  5. ^ Perone 2012, p. 143
  6. ^ Brown; Gaines 2002, p. 351
  7. ^ Perone 2012, p. 148
  8. ^ MacDonald 2005, p. 128
  9. ^ Wild Life (Wings album) at AllMusic
  10. ^ Strong, Martin C. (2006). The Essential Rock Discography. Edinburgh, UK: Canongate. p. 696. ISBN 978-1-84195-827-9. 
  11. ^ Graff; Durchholz 1999, p. 730
  12. ^ Nicol, Jimmy (October 1993). "Re-releases: Paul McCartney The Paul McCartney Collection". Q. p. 119. 
  13. ^ "Paul McCartney: Album Guide". rollingstone.com. Retrieved 18 March 2014. 
  14. ^ Mendelsohn, John (20 January 1972). Album review at the Wayback Machine (archived November 17, 2009), Rolling Stone.
  15. ^ Carr; Tyler 1975
  16. ^ "Wings (2) – Wild Life (CD, Album) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 21 April 2013. 
  17. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  18. ^ "Top Albums/CDs – Volume 16, No. 24". RPM. 29 January 1972. Retrieved 20 May 2011. 
  19. ^ "dutchcharts.nl Wings – Wild Life". dutchcharts.nl (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved 8 May 2013. 
  20. ^ a b "Hit Parade Italia – Gli album più venduti del 1972" (in Italian). hitparadeitalia.it. Retrieved 3 October 2011. 
  21. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9. 
  22. ^ "norwegiancharts.com Wings – Wild Life". Retrieved 8 May 2013. 
  23. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
  24. ^ "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.
  25. ^ "Artist: Paul McCartney". Official Chart Company. Retrieved 5 March 2014. 
  26. ^ "Wild Life: Charts & Awards: Billboard Albums". allmusic.com. Retrieved 14 September 2011. 
  27. ^ 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. 
  28. ^ "Album Search: Wings: Wild Life" (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 2 May 2013. 
  29. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Wings – Wild Life". Music Canada. 
  30. ^ "American album certifications – Wings – Wild Life". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
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  • Garbarini, Vic (1980). The McCartney Interview (Vinyl LP). Parlophone. CHAT 1. 
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