Wings (band)

Core members of Wings, Linda McCartney, Paul McCartney and Denny Laine.

Wings was a pop-rock band led by Paul McCartney, formed after the dissolution of the Beatles.

Before Wings

See Paul McCartney.

The Wings years

Late in 1971, drummer Denny Seiwell, and ex-Moody Blues guitarist and singer Denny Laine, joined Paul McCartney and wife Linda McCartney to record Paul's third post-Beatles project. The result was Wild Life, the first project to credit "Wings". (The band name is said to have come to McCartney as he was praying in the hospital while Linda was giving birth to their eldest child Stella McCartney.)

In 1972 McCartney returned to touring, mounting an impromptu tour of UK universities and small European venues (with the group literally driving around in a van), playing no Beatles numbers. He scored hits with the relatively light singles "Mary Had A Little Lamb" and "Hi Hi Hi" (the latter getting in trouble with the BBC for alleged drug references).

In early 1973, McCartney repeated this pattern, adding ex-Spooky Tooth guitarist Henry McCullough, and re-christening the band "Paul McCartney and Wings" for the album Red Rose Speedway which yielded the first big Wings hit, the romantic ballad "My Love". That same year, McCartney filmed his first American TV special James Paul McCartney, which was savagely criticised by noted rock journalist Lillian Roxon. Wings also recorded the hit theme song to the James Bond film Live and Let Die, which reunited McCartney with producer George Martin. Over the years this has remained one of the most memorable of all Bond songs, and is always an exciting part of McCartney's concert performances (often played to fireworks).

Following the release of Speedway, Denny Seiwell and Henry McCullough left the band, leaving the McCartneys and Denny Laine to cut their next album at EMI's recording studio in Lagos, Nigeria, recording what turned out to be their breakthrough album, Band on the Run.

The album went to #1 and spawned a half-dozen hit singles including the rockers "Jet" and "Helen Wheels", the acoustic ballad "Bluebird", the title track -- a suite of movements recalling side 2 of Abbey Road -- and the rocky non-album single "Junior's Farm". Moreover Band on the Run enjoyed a very positive critical reception, and did much to restore McCartney's somewhat damaged post-Beatles image. It also included two songs, "Let Me Roll It" and "Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five", thought to be answer songs to "How Do You Sleep?", John Lennon's earlier scathing attack on McCartney.

Band on the Run was followed by similarly successful albums Venus and Mars (1975), which was recorded in New Orleans, and Wings at the Speed of Sound (1976), recorded in Nashville, both of which took top chart positions. Also during this period, Wings embarked on a hugely successful and theatrical world tour, documented in the triple-live LP set Wings Over America, which included a late 1975 tour of Australia, McCartney's first visit there since the Beatles' epoch-making Antipodean tour in June, 1964. McCartney still mostly shied away from the Beatles catalogue; only five such numbers were typically included in the American shows. One of the Seattle concerts from the American leg of the '75-'76 world tour was filmed and later released as the concert feature Rockshow (1980). Further hits followed with the singles "Silly Love Songs" and "Let 'Em In".

Also in 1976, McCartney inaugurated Buddy Holly Week in London, founded on what would have been Holly's 40th birthday and marked with an annual celebrity party; his lifelong passion for the music of this rock'n'roll pioneer was also reflected in his aquisition of Holly's publishing catalogue. Ever the astute businessman, McCartney also cannily bought the rights to an off-Broadway musical he had seen in America, and this investment reaped huge returns when the musical was adapted into the smash-hit feature film Grease.

After the world tour McCartney took a break, but this period produced both the most obscure and the most successful records he has made. During 1977 he released the peculiar, unpromoted and little-known album Thrillington -- an orchestral re-make of the earlier Ram album, issued under the pseudonym 'Percy "Thrills" Thrillington', followed by single version of a live recording of "Maybe I'm Amazed". Later in the year the band recorded their next album in the Virgin Islands.

At the end of 1977 McCartney released the ballad "Mull of Kintyre", an ode to the Scottish coastal region he had made his home in the early Seventies. Its broad appeal was maximised by a pre-Christmas release and it became a massive international hit, dominating the charts in Britain, Australia and many other countries over the Christmas/New Year period and becoming one of the biggest selling UK singles of all time.

McCartney released the album London Town in 1978. During the recording of the album in May, 1977, both Joe English and Jimmy McCullough parted ways with Wings (McCulloch died of a heroin overdose in 1979.)

Though still released as a Wings album, the band was now reduced to Paul, Linda, Laine, and a host of studio players. The album was a major commercial success, reaching #2 on the charts, but featured a markedly softer-rock, synth-based sound and yielded only minor UK hits in "With a Little Luck" and "Girlfriend" (the former was a big hit in the US).

In 1979 Wings released the singles "Goodnight Tonight", "Getting Closer" and "Wonderful Christmastime" and the album Back to the Egg, a critical and commercial failure and the last McCartney project released under the Wings moniker, with McCartney returning to solo billing on future recordings.

During that year, Wings joined Buddy Holly's band, The Crickets onstage in London at the annual Buddy Holly Week party. McCartney was also honoured by The Guinness Book Of Records with a unique rhodium disc, recognising his achievement as the most successful popular music composer of all time.

In November and December of 1979 Wings performed their final tour of the UK, climaxing with a massive 'Rockestra' all-star collection of musicians in London in aid of UNICEF and Kampuchean refugees. This final version of the band included guitarist Lawrence Juber and drummer Steve Holly, who had joined the group in 1978. During this tour the live version of "Coming Up" was recodred, this being their final US number one the following year.

Wings continued to demo some more tunes during 1980/1981 but following a disastrous aborted Japanese tour they fell apart.

The longevity and success of Wings can be seen as something of a vindication for McCartney, whose early home-grown solo output, which frequently featured simplistic nursery-rhyme styled lyrics and sketchy arrangements and production, sometimes led to critical dismissal of his work as "lightweight" next to the more serious nature of his former bandmates' solo output. Though McCartney was the first Beatle to release a solo album after the official break-up of the band, it was John Lennon's early solo output which initially gained the lead in both critical opinion and commercial success, and George Harrison had scored a huge success with his 1971 triple-album solo debut All Things Must Pass. But by the mid-Seventies Lennon's solo career had run out of steam and he had stopped recording; Harrison too was fading from view by this time as by 1976 he had all but retired from recording and performing. As leader of Wings, McCartney however was rising to a new peak of success and he became the only one of the four Beatles who continued to tour and record regularly in the years after their split.

Wings' 1977 single, "Mull of Kintyre"/"Girls School" is still the biggest-selling non-charity single in the UK (although Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" sold more, its sales include a reissue in aid of the Terence Higgins Trust) and it ranked fourth in the official list of best selling singles in the UK issued in 2002.

Line-ups

Wings was ostensibly a true band, and in fact several members besides McCartney contributed songs and occasional vocals, but McCartney was unquestionably the group's leader and star. However, during its lifespan, Wings underwent numerous personnel changes.

Discography

  • Wild Life (1971)
  • Red Rose Speedway (1973)
  • Band on the Run (1973)
  • Venus and Mars (1975)
  • Wings at the Speed of Sound (1976)
  • Wings Over America (1976)
  • London Town (1978)
  • Back to the Egg (1979)

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However, during its lifespan, Wings underwent numerous personnel changes. Twenty-five of Stevie Wonder's singles, listed below, reached the Top Ten in either the United States or the United Kingdom. Wings was ostensibly a true band, and in fact several members besides McCartney contributed songs and occasional vocals, but McCartney was unquestionably the group's leader and star. The Official Stevie Wonder website (http://www.stevie-wonder.com/albums.html) features a discography with sound clips of his most significant material.. Wings' 1977 single, "Mull of Kintyre"/"Girls School" is still the biggest-selling non-charity single in the UK (although Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" sold more, its sales include a reissue in aid of the Terence Higgins Trust) and it ranked fourth in the official list of best selling singles in the UK issued in 2002. In accepting an honorary doctor of music degree at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 1996, Wonder said: "Many years ago, but not so long ago, there were those who said, 'Well, you have three strikes against you: You're Black, you're blind and you're poor.' But God said to me, 'I will make you rich in the spirit of inspiration, to inspire others as well as create music to encourage the world to a place of oneness and hope and positivity.' I believed Him and not them.". As leader of Wings, McCartney however was rising to a new peak of success and he became the only one of the four Beatles who continued to tour and record regularly in the years after their split. Stevie has received 22 Grammy Awards over the course of his career. Wonder also received Kennedy Center Honors in 1999, and was awarded the Billboard Music Awards Century Award in 2004.

But by the mid-Seventies Lennon's solo career had run out of steam and he had stopped recording; Harrison too was fading from view by this time as by 1976 he had all but retired from recording and performing. Among the musicians and performers who list Wonder as one of their major influences are India.Arie, Musiq Soulchild, Alicia Keys, John Legend, and the members of Jodeci and Dru Hill. Though McCartney was the first Beatle to release a solo album after the official break-up of the band, it was John Lennon's early solo output which initially gained the lead in both critical opinion and commercial success, and George Harrison had scored a huge success with his 1971 triple-album solo debut All Things Must Pass. Stevie Wonder's success as a multi-instrumentalist and socially conscious musical performer was significantly influential to both R&B and pop music. The longevity and success of Wings can be seen as something of a vindication for McCartney, whose early home-grown solo output, which frequently featured simplistic nursery-rhyme styled lyrics and sketchy arrangements and production, sometimes led to critical dismissal of his work as "lightweight" next to the more serious nature of his former bandmates' solo output. King, The Supremes, The Temptations, Dionne Warwick, Julio Iglesias, and former Musical Youth lead singer Dennis Seaton. Wings continued to demo some more tunes during 1980/1981 but following a disastrous aborted Japanese tour they fell apart. He has also collaborated with Quincy Jones, Barbara Streisand, B.B.

During this tour the live version of "Coming Up" was recodred, this being their final US number one the following year. Among his most significant compositions or co-compositions are "The Tears of a Clown" by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, "It's a Shame" by The Spinners, and "You Are My Heaven" by Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway. In November and December of 1979 Wings performed their final tour of the UK, climaxing with a massive 'Rockestra' all-star collection of musicians in London in aid of UNICEF and Kampuchean refugees. This final version of the band included guitarist Lawrence Juber and drummer Steve Holly, who had joined the group in 1978. Besides creating his own material, Stevie Wonder has written and produced a number of songs for other artists. McCartney was also honoured by The Guinness Book Of Records with a unique rhodium disc, recognising his achievement as the most successful popular music composer of all time. Wonder's first new album in 9 years, A Time 2 Love was scheduled to be released on July 27, 2004, but was delayed for release in 2005. During that year, Wings joined Buddy Holly's band, The Crickets onstage in London at the annual Buddy Holly Week party. [1] (http://archives.cnn.com/1999/SHOWBIZ/Music/12/03/stevie.wonder/).

In 1979 Wings released the singles "Goodnight Tonight", "Getting Closer" and "Wonderful Christmastime" and the album Back to the Egg, a critical and commercial failure and the last McCartney project released under the Wings moniker, with McCartney returning to solo billing on future recordings. In December 1999, Wonder announced that he was interested in pursuing an intraocular retinal prosthesis to partially restore his sight. The album was a major commercial success, reaching #2 on the charts, but featured a markedly softer-rock, synth-based sound and yielded only minor UK hits in "With a Little Luck" and "Girlfriend" (the former was a big hit in the US). He recorded a soundtrack album for Spike Lee's film Jungle Fever in 1991, and released both Conversation Peace and the live album Natural Wonder during the same decade. Though still released as a Wings album, the band was now reduced to Paul, Linda, Laine, and a host of studio players. After 1987's Characters LP, Wonder continued to release new material, albeit at a slower pace. During the recording of the album in May, 1977, both Joe English and Jimmy McCullough parted ways with Wings (McCulloch died of a heroin overdose in 1979.). The following year's In Square Circle featured the #1 pop hit "Part-Time Lover".

McCartney released the album London Town in 1978. It was placed 13th in the all-time list of best-selling singles in the UK issued in 2002. Its broad appeal was maximised by a pre-Christmas release and it became a massive international hit, dominating the charts in Britain, Australia and many other countries over the Christmas/New Year period and becoming one of the biggest selling UK singles of all time. The lead single, "I Just Called to Say I Love You", was a #1 pop and R&B hit in the US, and is Motown's biggest-selling single ever in the United Kingdom. At the end of 1977 McCartney released the ballad "Mull of Kintyre", an ode to the Scottish coastal region he had made his home in the early Seventies. 1984 saw the release of Wonder's soundtrack album for The Lady in Red. Later in the year the band recorded their next album in the Virgin Islands. The album also included "Master Blaster (Jammin')", his tribute to Bob Marley, and "Ribbon in the Sky", one of his most often-covered compositions.

During 1977 he released the peculiar, unpromoted and little-known album Thrillington -- an orchestral re-make of the earlier Ram album, issued under the pseudonym 'Percy "Thrills" Thrillington', followed by single version of a live recording of "Maybe I'm Amazed". Martin Luther King's birthday as a national holiday. After the world tour McCartney took a break, but this period produced both the most obscure and the most successful records he has made. Hotter Than July (1980) become Wonder's first platinum selling album, and its single "Happy Birthday" was a successful vehicle for his campaign to establish Dr. Ever the astute businessman, McCartney also cannily bought the rights to an off-Broadway musical he had seen in America, and this investment reaped huge returns when the musical was adapted into the smash-hit feature film Grease. The album was panned at the time of its release but has come to be regarded as a classic album. Also in 1976, McCartney inaugurated Buddy Holly Week in London, founded on what would have been Holly's 40th birthday and marked with an annual celebrity party; his lifelong passion for the music of this rock'n'roll pioneer was also reflected in his aquisition of Holly's publishing catalogue. Wonder's next album was a soundtrack album for the film Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants.

Further hits followed with the singles "Silly Love Songs" and "Let 'Em In". (Wonder performed "Superstition" on the children's show Sesame Street in 1973.) Wonder's artistic growth continued on Fulfillingness' First Finale (1974) and his magnum opus, Songs in the Key of Life (1976). One of the Seattle concerts from the American leg of the '75-'76 world tour was filmed and later released as the concert feature Rockshow (1980). Talking Book featured the #1 pop and R&B hit "Superstition", which is one of the most distinctive examples of the sound of the clavinet. McCartney still mostly shied away from the Beatles catalogue; only five such numbers were typically included in the American shows. The critical and commercial successes Talking Book and Innervisions continued Wonder's critical and popular acclaim, addressing more and more political issues as his music progressed. Also during this period, Wings embarked on a hugely successful and theatrical world tour, documented in the triple-live LP set Wings Over America, which included a late 1975 tour of Australia, McCartney's first visit there since the Beatles' epoch-making Antipodean tour in June, 1964. Unlike most previous artist LPs on Motown, which usually consisted of a collection singles, b-sides, and covers, Music on My Mind was an actual LP, full-length artistic statement.

Band on the Run was followed by similarly successful albums Venus and Mars (1975), which was recorded in New Orleans, and Wings at the Speed of Sound (1976), recorded in Nashville, both of which took top chart positions. He independently recorded and released two albums, which he used as a bargaining tool while negotiating with Motown. Eventually, the label agreed to his demands for full creative control and the rights to his own songs, and Wonder returned to Motown in 1972 with Music of My Mind, an album which is considered a classic of the era. It also included two songs, "Let Me Roll It" and "Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five", thought to be answer songs to "How Do You Sleep?", John Lennon's earlier scathing attack on McCartney. His final album before his departure was Where I'm Coming From, which Gordy had strongly fought against releasing. Moreover Band on the Run enjoyed a very positive critical reception, and did much to restore McCartney's somewhat damaged post-Beatles image. After a number of arguments with Berry Gordy over allowing Wonder to have his own creative control, Wonder allowed his Motown contract to expire, and left the label on his twenty-first birthday in 1971. The album went to #1 and spawned a half-dozen hit singles including the rockers "Jet" and "Helen Wheels", the acoustic ballad "Bluebird", the title track -- a suite of movements recalling side 2 of Abbey Road -- and the rocky non-album single "Junior's Farm". Stevie Wonder, along with Marvin Gaye, was one of the few Motown stars to contest the label's factory-like operation methods: artists, songwriters, and producers were usually specialized fields with little or no overlap, and artists had no creative control.

Following the release of Speedway, Denny Seiwell and Henry McCullough left the band, leaving the McCartneys and Denny Laine to cut their next album at EMI's recording studio in Lagos, Nigeria, recording what turned out to be their breakthrough album, Band on the Run. Wonder and Wright divorced eighteen months later, but continued to collaborate on musical projects. Over the years this has remained one of the most memorable of all Bond songs, and is always an exciting part of McCartney's concert performances (often played to fireworks). Besides being one of the first songs on which Wonder serves as both songwriter and producer, "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" is one of the main showcases for his backup group Wonderlove, a trio which included at various times Minnie Riperton, Deniece Williams, Lynda Laurence, and Syreeta Wright, whom Wonder married on September 14, 1970. Wings also recorded the hit theme song to the James Bond film Live and Let Die, which reunited McCartney with producer George Martin. By 1970, Wonder had scored more major hits, including "My Cherie Amour" and "Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)". That same year, McCartney filmed his first American TV special James Paul McCartney, which was savagely criticised by noted rock journalist Lillian Roxon. He also began to work in the Motown songwriting department, composing songs both for himself and his labelmates.

In early 1973, McCartney repeated this pattern, adding ex-Spooky Tooth guitarist Henry McCullough, and re-christening the band "Paul McCartney and Wings" for the album Red Rose Speedway which yielded the first big Wings hit, the romantic ballad "My Love". Dropping the "Little" from his moniker, Wonder went on to have a number of other hits during the mid-1960s, including "Uptight (Everything's Alright)", "With a Child's Heart", and "Blowin' in the Wind", a Bob Dylan cover which was one of the first songs to reflect Wonder's social consciousness. He scored hits with the relatively light singles "Mary Had A Little Lamb" and "Hi Hi Hi" (the latter getting in trouble with the BBC for alleged drug references). The song, featuring Wonder on vocals, congas, and harmonica, was a #1 hit on the US pop charts and launched him into the public consciousness. In 1972 McCartney returned to touring, mounting an impromptu tour of UK universities and small European venues (with the group literally driving around in a van), playing no Beatles numbers. 2)", a live recording from a Motortown Revue performance. (The band name is said to have come to McCartney as he was praying in the hospital while Linda was giving birth to their eldest child Stella McCartney.). Little Stevie Wonder's first major hit came in 1963 with "Fingertips (Pt.

The result was Wild Life, the first project to credit "Wings". In 1962, at the age of eleven, he was signed by Berry Gordy to the Motown label as Little Stevie Wonder. Late in 1971, drummer Denny Seiwell, and ex-Moody Blues guitarist and singer Denny Laine, joined Paul McCartney and wife Linda McCartney to record Paul's third post-Beatles project. He learned to play a number of instruments, most notably the piano, congas, and harmonica, at an early age, and was proclaimed a child prodigy. See Paul McCartney. Steveland Judkins was born prematurely, and became blind after being exposed to excessive oxygen levels in his incubator. Wings was a pop-rock band led by Paul McCartney, formed after the dissolution of the Beatles. A multi-instrumentalist, Wonder plays the drums, guitar, harmonica, congas, and most famously the piano and the keyboard.

Back to the Egg (1979). He has recorded several critically acclaimed albums and hit singles, and writing and producing songs for many of his labelmates and outside artists as well. London Town (1978). Blind nearly from birth, Wonder became one of the most successful and well-known artists on the Motown label, with seven #1 hits to his name. Wings Over America (1976). Stevie Wonder (real name: Steveland Hardaway Judkins, born on May 13, 1950 in Saginaw, Michigan) is an African American singer, songwriter, producer, musician, humanitarian and social activist. Wings at the Speed of Sound (1976). of Stevie Wonder's cover of Bob Marley's "Redemption Song".

Venus and Mars (1975). 2005: A Time 2 Love. Band on the Run (1973). 1995: Conversation Peace. Red Rose Speedway (1973). 1991: Jungle Fever Soundtrack. Wild Life (1971). 1987: Characters.

1985: In Square Circle. 1984: The Woman in Red Soundtrack. 1980: Hotter than July. 1978: Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants Soundtrack.

1976: Songs in the Key of Life. 1974: Fulfillingness' First Finale. 1973: Innervisions. 1972: Talking Book.

1972: Music of My Mind. 1971: Where I'm Coming From. 1970: Signed, Sealed, and Delivered. 1969: My Cherie Amour.

1968: For Once in My Life. 1967: I Was Made to Love Her. 1965: Down to Earth. 1963: The 12 Year Old Genius.

1985: "Part-Time Lover" (US #1). 1985: "Go Home" (US #10). 1984: "I Just Called to Say I Love You" (US #1, UK #1). 1982: "That Girl" (US #4).

1982: "Ebony and Ivory" (duet with Paul McCartney) (US #1). 1980: "Master Blaster (Jammin)" (US #5). 1979: "Send One Your Love" (US #4). 1977: "Sir Duke" (US #1).

1977: "I Wish" (US #1). 1974: "You Haven't Done Nothin'" (US #1). 1974: "Living for the City" (US #9). 1973: "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" (US #1).

1973: "Higher Ground" (US #4). 1972: "Superstition" (US #1). 1971: "If You Really Love Me" (US #8). 1970: "Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)" (US #3).

1970: "Heaven Help Us All" (US #9). 1969: "Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday" (US #7). 1969: "My Cherie Amour" (US #4). 1968: "Shoo-Be-Doo-Be-Doo-Da-Day" (US #9).

1967: "I Was Made to Love Her" (US #2). 1966: "A Place in the Sun" (US #9). 1966: "Blowin' in the Wind" (US #9). 1965: "Uptight (Everything's Alright)" (US #3).

2)" (US #1). 1963: "Fingertips (Pt.

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