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Wings Over the World tour

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Wings Over the World tour
Tour by Wings
Jimmy McCulloch (left) and Paul McCartney (right) during the Wings Over the World tour.
Associated albumsBand on the Run
Venus and Mars
Wings at the Speed of Sound
Start date9 September 1975
End date21 October 1976
No. of shows65
Wings concert chronology

The Wings Over the World tour was a series of concerts in 1975 and 1976 by the British–American rock band Wings performed in Britain, Australia, Europe, the United States and Canada. The North American leg constituted band leader Paul McCartney's first live performances there since the Beatles' final tour, in 1966,[1] and the only time Wings would perform live in the US and Canada. The world tour was well-attended and critically acclaimed, and resulted in a triple live album, Wings over America, which Capitol Records released in December 1976. In addition, the tour was documented in the television film Wings Over the World (1979) and a cinema release, Rockshow (1980).

The set list for much of the tour featured material from Wings' bestselling studios albums Band on the Run (1973), Venus and Mars (1975) and Wings at the Speed of Sound (1976), as well as some of McCartney's compositions from the Beatles era, including "Yesterday", "Lady Madonna" and "The Long and Winding Road". The inclusion of the latter songs proved especially popular and marked the first time that McCartney had performed material from the Beatles' catalogue in concert since their break-up, as he had previously vowed against playing any songs from that era. Aside from McCartney, the line-up of Wings included his wife Linda, Denny Laine, Jimmy McCulloch and Joe English, together with a 4-piece horn section led by Howie Casey.


In contrast to Wings' low-profile 1972 tours and a 1973 tour of UK theatres, Wings Over the World was a highly publicised concert tour that took place mostly in arenas and stadiums, and in the American stages of this tour the band's entourage and equipment were transported to each successive venue in five 32-ton trucks.[2] Around 1 million people attended the 66 shows, which were staged in six legs: Britain (September 1975); Australia (November 1975); Europe (March 1976); North America (May–June 1976); a return to Europe (September 1976); and three final concerts in London at Wembley's Empire Pool (October 1976). A tour of Japan was planned, but it was cancelled by that country's authorities due to McCartney's 1972 Swedish marijuana arrest.

We [had] come from very small beginnings after the hugeness of the Beatles. We'd wanted to start something up, just to continue playing music. Then we'd wanted it to be something cool that was us, that allowed us to be free and experiment. Then we'd wanted to practice and get a really good group ... So we'd finally done all those things. Now, here we were poised to take it out and show off a bit.

Paul McCartney, 2001[3]

The world tour followed the release of Wings' bestselling album Venus and Mars (1975), while the follow-up album, Wings at the Speed of Sound (1976), was completed after the band's Australian concerts. Both Venus and Mars and Band on the Run (1973) were well represented in the setlist for the two 1975 legs. Songs from Speed of Sound were then introduced into the set in March 1976, and McCartney is known to have remarked: "Everything I have done since The Beatles split has been leading up to this."[4]

In order to demonstrate that Wings was not merely a McCartney showcase, Denny Laine sang lead vocals on several songs, including "Go Now", reprising his vocal from the Moody Blues' 1965 hit, and Simon & Garfunkel's song "Richard Cory". Jimmy McCulloch also sang lead, on his Venus and Mars composition "Medicine Jar". Of particular interest to fans and music critics, McCartney decided to perform five of his songs from the Beatles, thereby overcoming an earlier disinclination to do any at all. Performances of "Yesterday" and "The Long and Winding Road" used muted horn arrangements in place of their original strings. In the case of the latter song, the new arrangement emphasised McCartney's objections to the version released on Let It Be in 1970, where, according to McCartney, American producer Phil Spector had added orchestral and choral parts to the Beatles' 1969 recording without his approval.[5]

Wings' line-up for this tour was Paul McCartney (vocals, bass, piano, acoustic guitar), Linda McCartney (keyboards, backing vocals), Denny Laine (vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, bass, keyboards, percussion), Jimmy McCulloch (electric and acoustic guitars, bass, vocals) and Joe English (drums, percussion, backing vocals). They were joined by brass and woodwind players Howie Casey, Steve Howard, Thaddeus Richard and Tony Dorsey. A documentary film of the tour, titled Wings Over the World, aired on US television in November 1979.

Wings over America[edit]

More than 600,000 people attended Wings' 31 shows in the United States and Canada, held between 3 May and 23 June 1976. In order to reduce the stress of moving their young family around the country during the course of the tour, the McCartneys rented houses in New York City, Dallas, Chicago and Los Angeles. Each night, they would fly in a specially chartered BAC One-Eleven to the closest of the four properties.

The beginning of the American leg of the tour was delayed for nearly a month because lead guitarist Jimmy McCulloch broke his finger after slipping when getting out of a bathtub in a Paris hotel. At one of the Los Angeles shows, McCartney's former Beatles bandmate Ringo Starr joined him on stage and handed him a bouquet of flowers.

Many of the concerts were professionally recorded. The best performances would later be compiled, after studio overdubs, for release as the triple album Wings over America in December 1976. In addition, a concert film combining footage from the Seattle, New York and Los Angeles shows was released in cinemas in 1980, as Rockshow, by Miramax Films.

Tour setlists[edit]

Average 1976 tour setlist[7]
  1. "Venus and Mars"/"Rock Show"
  2. "Jet"
  3. "Let Me Roll It"
  4. "Spirits of Ancient Egypt"
  5. "Medicine Jar"
  6. "Maybe I'm Amazed"
  7. "Call Me Back Again"
  8. "Lady Madonna"
  9. "The Long and Winding Road"
  10. "Live and Let Die"
  11. "Picasso's Last Words (Drink to Me)" *
  12. "Richard Cory" *
  13. "Bluebird" *
  14. "I've Just Seen a Face" *
  15. "Blackbird" *
  16. "Yesterday" *
  17. "You Gave Me the Answer"
  18. "Magneto and Titanium Man"
  19. "Go Now" (Los Angeles and some shows on the second European leg only)
  20. "My Love"
  21. "Listen to What the Man Said"
  22. "Let 'Em In"
  23. "Time to Hide"
  24. "Silly Love Songs"
  25. "Beware My Love"
  26. "Letting Go"
  27. "Band on the Run"
  28. "Hi, Hi, Hi"
  29. "Soily" (not performed at all shows)
(* acoustic set)

Tour dates[edit]

Date City Country Venue
9 September 1975 Southampton England Gaumont Theatre
10 September 1975 Bristol Bristol Hippodrome
11 September 1975 Cardiff Wales Capitol Theatre
12 September 1975 Manchester England Free Trade Hall
13 September 1975 Birmingham Birmingham Hippodrome
15 September 1975 Liverpool Liverpool Empire Theatre
16 September 1975 Newcastle Newcastle City Hall
17 September 1975 London Hammersmith Odeon
18 September 1975
20 September 1975 Edinburgh Scotland Usher Hall
21 September 1975 Glasgow The Apollo
22 September 1975 Aberdeen Capitol Theatre
23 September 1975 Dundee Caird Hall
1 November 1975 Perth Australia Perth Entertainment Centre
4 November 1975 Adelaide Apollo Stadium
5 November 1975
7 November 1975 Sydney Hordern Pavilion
8 November 1975
10 November 1975 Brisbane Brisbane Festival Hall
11 November 1975
13 November 1975 Melbourne Sidney Myer Music Bowl
14 November 1975
20 March 1976 Copenhagen Denmark Falkoner Teatret
21 March 1976
23 March 1976 West Berlin West Germany Deutschlandhalle
25 March 1976 Rotterdam Netherlands Sportpaleis
26 March 1976 Paris France Pavillon de Paris
North America[8]
3 May 1976 Fort Worth United States Tarrant County Convention Center
4 May 1976 Houston The Summit
7 May 1976 Detroit Detroit Olympia
8 May 1976
9 May 1976 Toronto Canada Maple Leaf Gardens
10 May 1976 Richfield United States Richfield Coliseum
12 May 1976 Philadelphia The Spectrum
14 May 1976
15 May 1976 Landover Capital Centre
16 May 1976
18 May 1976 Atlanta Omni Coliseum
19 May 1976
21 May 1976 Uniondale Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum
22 May 1976 Boston Boston Garden
24 May 1976 New York City Madison Square Garden
25 May 1976
27 May 1976 Cincinnati Riverfront Coliseum
29 May 1976 Kansas City Kemper Arena
31 May 1976 Chicago Chicago Stadium
1 June 1976
2 June 1976
4 June 1976 Saint Paul St. Paul Civic Center
7 June 1976 Denver McNichols Sports Arena
10 June 1976 Seattle Kingdome
13 June 1976 Daly City Cow Palace
14 June 1976
16 June 1976 San Diego San Diego Sports Arena
18 June 1976 Tucson Tucson Community Center
21 June 1976 Inglewood The Forum
22 June 1976
23 June 1976
19 September 1976 Vienna Austria Wiener Stadthalle
21 September 1976 Zagreb Yugoslavia Dom Sportova
25 September 1976 Venice Italy Piazza San Marco
27 September 1976 Munich West Germany Olympiahalle
19 October 1976 London England Empire Pool
20 October 1976
21 October 1976

Box office score data[edit]

List of box office score data with date, city, venue, attendance, gross, references
City Venue Attendance Gross Ref(s)
12 May Philadelphia, United States The Spectrum 37,000 / 37,000 $336,000 [9]
14 May [9]
27 May Cincinnati, United States Riverfront Coliseum 21,360 / 21,360 $178,398 [10]
13 June Daly City, United States Cow Palace 29,000 / 29,000 $246,500 [11]
14 June [11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Sounds: Wings are Flying". 22 April 1976. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  2. ^ McCartney: Songwriter ISBN 0-491-03325-7 p. 119
  3. ^ Paul McCartney: The Biography ISBN 978-2-757-87241-3 p. 183
  4. ^ McCartney: Songwriter ISBN 0-491-03325-7 p. 120
  5. ^ Miles 2007, p. 316.
  6. ^ Wings Average Setlists of year: 1975
  7. ^ Wings Average Setlists of year: 1976
  8. ^ a b c d e McGee, Garry (2003). Band on the Run: A History of Wings (band). New York: Taylor Trade Publishing. pp. 174–179. ISBN 9780878333042.
  9. ^ a b "Top Box Office" (PDF). Billboard. Vol. 88, no. 22. 29 May 1976. p. 37. ISSN 0006-2510.
  10. ^ "Top Box Office" (PDF). Billboard. Vol. 88, no. 24. 12 June 1976. p. 44. ISSN 0006-2510.
  11. ^ a b "Top Box Office" (PDF). Billboard. Vol. 88, no. 26. 26 June 1976. p. 45. ISSN 0006-2510.