Wings at the Speed of Sound
|Wings at the Speed of Sound|
|Studio album by Wings|
|Released||25 March 1976|
|Recorded||5 January–4 February 1976
Abbey Road Studios, London
|Label||MPL Communications, Capitol|
Wings at the Speed of Sound is the fifth studio album by Wings and was recorded and issued in 1976 in the midst of a large world tour as the follow-up album to the popular Venus and Mars. It is the band's only album where every member sings lead on at least one song.
After a series of concerts in Australia in November 1975, Wings took a break from the tour to spend the holidays with their families and in January 1976 booked time at Abbey Road Studios in London to record Wings at the Speed of Sound. It was the first time McCartney had recorded an album in England since Red Rose Speedway. Due to the tour commitments, Wings were not afforded the opportunity to record in another locale. By the end of February, the album was complete, and Wings went back on the road.
Around the time of the studio sessions for Wings at the Speed of Sound, McCartney was facing criticism for Wings simply being a vehicle for himself. He encouraged each of the band members to contribute a song during the sessions, though this would become one of the reasons for the criticism of the album. McCartney had previously attempted to create a democratic album in Red Rose Speedway, though it would be rejected by his record label.
Engineer Peter Henderson later commented, "I remember one of my first engineering jobs, working with Paul McCartney on Wings at the Speed of Sound — he'd do two vocal takes and ask, 'Which is the better one?' And when he played guitar, he'd really lean into it and give it everything he got." Two tracks ("The Note You Never Wrote" and "Warm and Beautiful") were arranged by Fiachra Trench.
The album was recorded at Abbey Road in two different sessions: first sessions took place in August/September and October 1975, with work resuming in January–February 1976. During the playback of "Must Do Something About It", Paul heard drummer Joe English sing the song and decided to have him take the lead vocal. In "Cook of the House", McCartney handled double-bass, while "Silly Love Songs" was arranged in a disco-style, in a similar fashion to Al Green's "Sha La La".
Release and reception
|The Essential Rock Discography||4/10|
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
Wings at the Speed of Sound was released in late March 1976 and received somewhat lukewarm critical reviews. Rolling Stone's reviewer saw this record as something of a concept album, describing it as "A Day with the McCartneys". The introduction, "Let 'Em In", is sometimes perceived as an invitation for the listener to join the McCartneys on this fantasy day, with explanation of their philosophy ("Silly Love Songs"), a lunch break ("Cook of the House"), and a chance to get to know McCartney's friends (Denny Laine in "The Note You Never Wrote", Jimmy McCulloch in "Wino Junko", etc.).
The album went to number 2 in the United Kingdom (and was the 4th best-selling album of 1976). It became McCartney's most successful American chart album, spending seven unconsecutive weeks at number 1 throughout the summer (and blocking the Beatles' then-new compilation Rock 'n' Roll Music, which reached number 2). Wings at the Speed of Sound sold 3.5 million copies worldwide.
Much of the album's success can be attributed to its two smash singles. "Silly Love Songs", a response to his critics and one of McCartney's biggest hits, followed the album in April, and became one of 1976's biggest-selling singles. This was followed in July with "Let 'Em In", which also scaled the singles charts. Amid all this, Wings finally went to North America for the Wings Over America Tour, playing McCartney's first shows there in ten years (after The Beatles' last tour in 1966) to euphoric reaction; a few selections from Speed of Sound were included.
In 1993, Wings at the Speed of Sound was remastered and reissued on compact disc as part of 'The Paul McCartney Collection' series; added as bonus tracks were "Walking in the Park with Eloise" by the Country Hams, its B-side "Bridge on the River Suite", and the Wings track "Sally G" (the B-side to their single "Junior's Farm") - all were recorded in Nashville in 1974.
All songs written by Paul and Linda McCartney, except where noted.
- Side one
- "Let 'Em In" – 5:10
- "The Note You Never Wrote" – 4:19
- lead vocal by Denny Laine
- "She's My Baby" – 3:06
- "Beware My Love" – 6:27
- "Wino Junko" (Jimmy McCulloch/Colin Allen) – 5:19
- lead vocal by Jimmy McCulloch
- Side two
- "Silly Love Songs" – 5:53
- "Cook of the House" – 2:37
- lead vocal by Linda McCartney
- "Time to Hide" (Denny Laine) – 4:32
- lead vocal by Laine
- "Must Do Something About It" – 3:42
- lead vocal by Joe English
- "San Ferry Anne" – 2:06
- "Warm and Beautiful" – 3:12
|1987 & 1993 The Paul McCartney Collection bonus tracks|
In November 2014 the album was re-issued by Hear Music/Concord Music Group as part of the fifth set of releases, alongside Venus and Mars, in the Paul McCartney Archive Collection. It was released in multiple formats:
- Standard Edition 2-CD; the original 11-track album on the first disc, plus 7 bonus tracks on the second disc.
- Deluxe Edition 2-CD/1-DVD; the original 11-track album, the 7 bonus tracks disc, and a hardback book featuring unpublished photographs, new interviews with Paul, material from Paul's archives and expanded track-by-track information. The deluxe version bonus DVD comprises filmed material from around the time of the album release, some of which has never been seen before. The DVD features rare and previously unseen footage, including the documentaries "Wings Over Wembley", "Wings In Venice "and the "Silly Love Songs" music video.
- Remastered vinyl The album is available on a special gatefold vinyl edition (the vinyl edition includes a download card).
- High Resolution Digital album is available as both standard and deluxe versions – including Mastered for iTunes and Hi-Res formats.
- Disc 1
The original 11-track album.
- Disc 2 – Bonus Audio
- "Silly Love Songs [Demo]" – 2:45
- "She’s My Baby [Demo]" – 3:46
- "Message To Joe" – 0:24
- "Beware My Love [John Bonham Version]" – 5:35
- "Must Do Something About It [Paul's Version]" – 3:37
- "Let 'Em In [Demo]" – 4:19
- "Warm And Beautiful [Instrumental Demo]" – 1:29
- Disc 3 – DVD
- "Silly Love Songs" Music Video
- "Wings Over Wembley"
- "Wings In Venice"
- Paul McCartney - vocals, acoustic, electric and bass guitars, keyboards, double bass
- Linda McCartney - vocals, keyboards
- Denny Laine - vocals, acoustic, electric and bass guitars, piano
- Jimmy McCulloch - vocals, acoustic, electric and bass guitars
- Joe English - vocals, drums, percussion
- Additional musicians
- Tony Dorsey - trombone
- Thaddeus Richard - saxophone, clarinet, flute
- Steve Howard - trumpet, flugelhorn
- Howie Casey - saxophone
- George Tidwell - trumpet
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