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Rock Hall Anniversary: Paul McCartney and Wings’ Band on the Run

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By 1973, the Beatles have been disbanded for three years, and some notable works have already occurred from former members including the Plastic Ono Band and Imagine albums from John Lennon, and All Things Must Pass from George Harrison.

Then in December of that year, Paul McCartney and his band Wings released what would be their most acclaimed album Band on the Run. It was the band’s third album, and followed the success of the album Red Rose Speedway (also released in 1973), and the song “Live and Let Die”. It was recorded in a studio in Lagos, Nigeria for seven weeks. According to many sources including Wikipedia, the sessions were stressful at best, as Wings ran into various issues including recording in a underequipped studio, an incident where McCartney and wife Linda were robbed at knifepoint, and a confrontation with Afrobeat star Fela Kuti, who accused Wings of exploitation. The album was completed at London’s Abbey Road Studios.

Band on the Run featured the iconic album cover of Paul and Linda McCartney and Wings member Denny Laine caught in the glares of a prison searchlight, along with other well-known people including actors James Coburn and Christopher Lee. Among the key tracks on the album, were the title track (which topped the US charts), “Jet” (another top ten hit), “Mrs. Vandebilt”, and “Bluebird”. It sold over three million copies, becoming the band’s second number one album. It received mostly positive reviews upon its release, and is still acclaimed to this day, enjoying numerous reissues including a 25th Anniversary Edition in 1999.

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