Paul McCartney’s next band took flight on Wings Over Europe tour
Paul McCartney had big plans for his first real tour with Wings. They would begin the 26 leg dates of Wings Over Europe on July 9, 1972 in Châteauvallon, France, with the intention of recording shows to be paired with a future studio project.
These gigs weren’t as informal as the early appearances of Wings, which took McCartney to unsuspecting college campuses. However, they were still decidedly low-key, as Wings traveled from town to town in a custom-painted double-decker bus.
“I wanted a way to feel comfortable reappearing live,” McCartney said. melody maker in 1973. “It was very difficult after the Beatles because at the time they weren’t interested in going live except for really big gigs. I was more interested in playing a little bit of little stuff and to get closer to the public again. It was like the pub- It was really selfish reasons. I just wanted to play live!”
Wings was apparently promoting a couple of the early singles, “Give Ireland Back to the Irish” and “Mary Had a Little Lamb”. The larger purpose of the ride, however, really seemed to be to get to know each other as sessions approached for their second LP, Circuit of the Red Rose. A lineup that also included Denny Laine, Linda McCartney and Denny Seiwell had quickly assembled 1971’s Wildlife, before McCartney added lead guitarist Henry McCullough. As they built a more personal camaraderie, Wings gigs began to boast an impressive new fluidity. “The time we spent together, on the road, meant we didn’t have to work on it,” McCullough said in 2011.
Listen to “Best Friend” from the Wings Over Europe Tour
They notably stayed away from Beatles songs, unless fans count covers of Little Richard’s “Long Tall Sally” and Carl Perkins’ “Matchbox.” Instead, Wings focused on newer songs from Wildlife (“Mumbo”, “Beep Bop”), 1971 RAM (“Smile Away”) and the 1970s McCartney (“I may be amazed”). They also debuted a pair of future singles in “Hi Hi Hi” and “My Love”, the latter topping the charts in 1973 with an eruptive one-take solo from McCullough.
At the end of the day, Circuit of the Red Rose arrived as a single disc without the promised live content. Instead, the Wings Over Europe tour would initially become best known for an August 10, 1972 drug bust in Sweden, where Paul and Linda posted bail equivalent to $14,684 at the modern exchange rate.
Gothenburg authorities searched the bus while Wings was still on stage, then the band and everyone around them were questioned as fans still demanded an encore in front. Suspicions were raised by an intercepted package destined for Seiwell, according to The Daily Telegraph.
“Unfortunately, they take hashish and marijuana way too seriously,” McCartney told the Telegraph after their release. International headlines followed, though the Wings certainly seemed to be taking it all head on: “This is just good publicity for us,” they said in a statement released by the Miami Herald.
The Wings then toured the UK, but then fell apart as a result of Circuit of the Red Roseleaving the McCartneys and Laines to complete the 1973 blockbuster Runaway group trio project. “It just wasn’t going to work for the rest of us in the Wings,” McCullough said in 2011, before quickly adding, “Unless, of course, you have an apron, if you See what I mean.”
Listen to ‘The Mess’ from the Wings Over Europe Tour
Yet McCartney’s main goal had been to slip away from behind the Beatles’ shadow, and he felt he had done it. “You start off with all this ‘We’re coming to see a legend’ kind of stuff, and it turns into ‘We’re coming to see a band’, and it’s a lot nicer. By the time we did our UK tour with Wings was just like a task force,” McCartney said. melody maker. “We loved the college tour we did because it was really local. So we accomplished what we set out to do, and now we’re putting Wings Mark II together.”
The live recordings of the Wings Over Europe dates finally aired – slowly at first, then all at once.
The single “My Love” featured Wings’ performance of “The Mess” from The Hague, Netherlands. McCartney released “Eat at Home” and “Smile Away” from Groningen, the Netherlands as iTunes exclusives during his 2012 re-release campaign for RAM. “Best Friend” from Antwerp, Belgium, and “1882” from Berlin were part of the 2018 reissue of Circuit of the Red Rose. An entire disc of songs from Europe finally followed later in 2018 in a limited edition Wings 1971-73 box set as part of the Paul McCartney Archival Collection.
By then, Seiwell had long since returned to his first musical love. He entered those dates as a respected jazz drummer and ended up working with everyone from James Brown to Billy Joel to Zoot Sims. Seiwell remained most associated, however, with his seminal stint alongside McCartney – which also included working sessions on RAM and Wildlife.
“I was a jazz musician until I met Paul McCartney”, Seiwell said in 2013, laughing. “You’re playing with a Beatle, and it’s really screwing up your jazz career.”
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