Red Rose Speedway (1973)

Album Cover


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In 1972, Paul McCartney & Wings focus their activity on two main tasks: the first Wings European tour, Wings Over Europe, which happens during the summer, and the recording of a new album, Red Rose Speedway, which takes place from March to October.

At the end of the year, Wings release a new single which had been recorded in October (but which will not be included in Red Rose Speedway, the new album to come): on December 1st, Hi Hi Hi / C Moon, the third Wings' single comes out and is immediatly banned, like Give Ireland Back To The Irish ten months before.
The reason of this ban given by the censor is that
Hi Hi Hi includes allusions to drugs and sex; this will be denied by Paul McCartney.
  Wings in 1972.
    The band in 1972.

Anyway, the ban makes the single sell very well and the song reaches #3 in the UK charts and #10 in the US. Hi Hi Hi is a good little catchy rock, and C Moon, the B-side, is another fine composition by Paul that really could have got the A-side. With C Moon, McCartney shows us all his skill in writting reggae music.

Then comes 1973... This is going to be the year of the Wings !

Paul covers My Love on TV   Before releasing his new album, Paul issues another single on March 24th: My Love / The Mess. These two songs had already been played on stage by Wings during the Wings Over Europe tour in 1972.

My Love rapidly becomes the first big Wings' standard. Two millions records are sold and the title reaches n1 in the charts. 

The song has been recorded at Abbey Road studios with a complete orchestra. It's a beautiful love song with a nice guitar solo in the middle. This solo is an original composition of Irish guitarist Henry McCullough who has joined Wings for the recording of Give Ireland Back To The Irish and for the European tour.

My Love will be played on TV by Wings during the James Paul McCartney show in April.

Paul covers My Love on TV, 1973.    

The B-side of the single, The Mess, is a song which was recorded live at The Hague, Netherlands, in August 1972. It's really one of the most powerfull rock song written by Paul.

Red Rose Speedway is finally released on April 30th. This time, unlike the Wild Life album, the cover mentions the names of Paul McCartney and Wings. The album's booklet includes twelve pages full of snapshots taken by Linda during the European tour in 1972. At the back of the cover is a relief printed message in braille dedicated to Stevie Wonder: We love you.

All the songs on this album are written by McCartney and until that date, no album had been so completely unlightened by Paul's wonderfull bass playing.
Despite of critics going on bashing the Macs,
Red Rose Speedway becomes the first Wings' album reaching n1 in the UK charts. It also reaches n1 in the US charts on May 12th and it stays there at the top during three weeks.

The album starts with Big Barn Bed, originally worked out during the Ram sessions. A few bars from this song can be heard on the Ram album itself. Next title is big hit My Love, already released as a single a month before.

Get On The Right Thing, a fast rock song, and Little Lamb Dragonfly, a nice acoustic ballad, are two other compositions which had originally been worked out for the Ram album.

  Wings in 1972.
  Wings in 1972.

One More Kiss is a simple love song with country influences, a nice electric guitar line and Paul's unique voice.
Single Pigeon is another ballad played by Paul at the piano: a short song, but one of the best from this album. When The Night also starts like a ballad at the piano, with Linda making the backing vocals, but then it ends like a rock song with Paul's shouting voice.
Loup (1st Indian On The Moon) is an instrumental track with Paul, Linda and Denny Laine harmonizing.

The albums ends with a medley built around Hold Me Tight, Lazy Dynamite, Hands Of Love and Power Cut. These are all unfinished songs by Paul. The medley is pleasant, but it gives the feeling that the album itself might be unfinished.

Red Rose Speedway will be remastered in 1987 as a CD with the 3 following bonus tracks:

After the release of Red Rose Speedway and the Wings tour in May, Paul will issue two singles before the end of the year.

Wings on stage, 1972.   The first one comes out on June 1st and, once again, it will become one of the biggest Wings standard: it's called Live And Let Die / I Lie Around

Paul has been asked for writting the credit titles music of the James Bond movie Live And Let Die. In order to produce this music, Paul associates to George Martin (for the first time since the Beatles broke up), and as ever, this association is a full success.
In fact, the song had been recorded in October 1972. 
Live And Let Die  mixes slow moments at the piano with fast and ascending movements played by a classic orchestra. In the middle of the song, the rhythm changes into some fine reggae tempo.

The B-side, I Lie Around, is sung by Denny Laine with Paul and Linda for the harmonies.
The single reaches n2 in the US charts and Paul will cover
Live And Let Die on stage in almost every live concert that he will perform later on.

Wings on stage in 1972.    

The last released single in 1973 is Helen Wheels / Country Dreamer, issued on October 26th. Helen Wheels has been recorded a month before and is targeted for the American audience. Country Dreamer comes from the recording sessions that happened in October 1972. It's a beautifull acoustic ballad (even a better song than the A-side, Helen Wheels) and it reminds of Heart Of The Country produced for the Ram album. The Helen Wheels single will only reach n10 in the US charts.

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