Wings (also known as Paul McCartney and Wings) were an English rock band formed in 1971 by Paul McCartney with his wife Linda McCartney, session drummer Denny Seiwell and former Moody Blues guitarist Denny Laine. Wings were noted for frequent personnel changes as well as commercial success, going through three lead guitarists and four drummers. However, the core trio of the McCartneys and Laine remained intact throughout the group's tenure.
HistoryAfter the Beatles' break-up in 1970, McCartney recorded two albums: McCartney (1970), credited to himself, and Ram (1971), with wife Linda. McCartney had insisted from the beginning of their marriage that his wife should be involved in his musical projects, so that they did not have to be apart when he was on tour. Ram was recorded in New York City, where McCartney auditioned a number of drummers and guitarists, selecting Seiwell and guitarist David Spinozza. When Spinozza became unavailable due to other session commitments, Hugh McCracken was enlisted to take his place.
1971-73: First line-upAfter the release of Ram, McCartney decided to form a new group and asked Seiwell, who had played on the album, to join. Seiwell accepted, and McCartney invited Denny Laine, whom he had known since the early 1960s, to join. Laine, who was working on a solo album at the time, got a phone call from McCartney inquiring if he would like to work with him, as McCartney said: "I'd known him in the past and I just rang him and asked him, 'What are you doing?' He said, 'Nothing', so I said, 'Right. Come on then!'". Laine then dropped plans for his album there and then. In August 1971, Seiwell and Laine joined Paul and Linda McCartney to record Paul's third post-Beatles album for Apple. The result was Wild Life, released 7 December. It was the first project to credit Wings as the artist. The band name is said to have come to McCartney as he was praying in the hospital while Linda was giving birth to their second child together, Stella, on 13 September 1971. Paul McCartney recalled in the film Wingspan that the birth of Stella was "a bit of a drama"; there were complications at the birth and that both Linda and the baby almost died. He was praying fervently and the image of wings came to his mind. He decided to name his new band "Wings".
In an attempt to capture the spontaneity of live performances, five of Wild Life's eight songs were first takes by the band. Wild Life also included a cover of Mickey & Sylvia's "Love Is Strange". Wild Life left music critics cold. For example, John Mendelsohn wrote in Rolling Stone that he wondered whether the album may have been "deliberately second-rate." 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." On 24 January 1972, McCartney added to the Wings line-up guitarist Henry McCullough, after McCullough had tried out for the band. followed by a tour of small European venues. Although this was the first tour including an ex-Beatle after the Beatles broke up, Wings played no Beatles numbers during the tour, to show that it was a new band in its own right.
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