Jet (as made famous by Paul McCartney and Wings)

“Jet” is a song by Paul McCartney and Wings from their album Band on the Run. It was the first British and American single to be released from the album. The song’s title was inspired by McCartney’s jet black Labrador.

The song peaked at number 7 on both the British and American charts on 30 March 1974, also charting in multiple countries in Europe. It has since been released on numerous compilation albums, and has since become one of the band’s best-known tracks.

Reviewers have reported that the song’s title was inspired by McCartney’s Labrador Retriever dog named “Jet”.[3][1][4] McCartney has also substantiated this claim.

We’ve got a Labrador puppy who is a runt, the runt of a litter. We bought her along a roadside in a little pet shop, out in the country one day. She was a bit of a wild dog, a wild girl who wouldn’t stay in. We have a big wall around our house in London, and she wouldn’t stay in, she always used to jump the wall. She’d go out on the town for the evening, like Lady and the Tramp. She must have met up with some big black Labrador or something. She came back one day pregnant. She proceeded to walk into the garage and have this litter… Seven little black puppies, perfect little black Labradors, and she’s not black, she’s tan. So we worked out it must have been a black Labrador. What we do is if either of the dogs we have has a litter, we try to keep them for the puppy stage, so we get the best bit of them, and then when they get a bit unmanageable we ask people if they want to have a puppy. So Jet was one of the puppies. We give them all names. We’ve had some great names, there was one puppy called Golden Molasses. I rather like that. Then there was one called Brown Megs, named after a Capitol executive. They’ve all gone now. The people change the names if they don’t like them.

— Paul McCartney, Paul McCartney: In His Own Words[5]
However, in a 2010 interview on the UK television channel ITV1 for the programme Wings: Band on the Run (to promote the November 2010 CD/DVD re-release of the album) McCartney explained that Jet was the name of a pony he had owned, although many of the lyrics bore little relation to the subject; indeed, the true meaning of the lyrics has defied all attempts at decryption.[6]

The song’s use of the word “suffragette” was described by McCartney as “crazy” and “silly”, not having any deep inspiration.

I make up so much stuff. It means something to me when I do it, and it means something to the record buyer, but if I’m asked to analyze it I can’t really explain what it is. ‘Suffragette’ was crazy enough to work. It sounded silly, so I liked it.

— Paul McCartney, Paul McCartney: In His Own Words[5]
In a 2017 interview on Australian radio station Triple J for the segment Take 5, McCartney explained that the song was actually about his experience meeting Linda’s father.

There’s no telling where you’ll get ideas from and we happened to name this little black puppy Jet. Again I was noodling around, looking for an idea and thought that’s a good word ‘Jet’. So, I wrote the song about that. Not about the puppy, just using the name. And now it’s transformed into a sort of girl. It was kind of — a little bit about the experiences I’d had in marrying Linda. Her dad was a little old fashioned and I thought I was a little bit intimidated, as a lot of young guys can be meeting the father figure. And if the dad’s really easy-going, it makes it easy. It wasn’t bad but I was a bit intimidated, probably my fault as much as his. Anyway, the song starts to be about the sergeant major and it was basically my experience, roughly translated. I never do a song with the actual words that actually happen, because then that’s like a news story. Oh Linda, I was going to see your dad and he was intimidating. A bit boring. So, I mask it and mould it into a song, something you can sing reasonably.

— Paul Mccartney, Take 5[7]

Whereas most of the Band on the Run album was recorded in Lagos, Nigeria, “Jet” was recorded entirely at EMI Studios in London after the group’s return (according to engineer Geoff Emerick in his book Here There and Everywhere). Instrumentation used in the song includes electric guitars, bass, Moog, drums, piano, horns and strings. A closer listening reveals the Moog is used for the bass line during the verse and is simply Linda holding the root note.[8]

“Jet” was released as the debut single from Band on the Run in January 1974 (although in some countries, the Non-UK/US single “Mrs. Vandebilt” was released first). The single was a Top 10 hit for Paul McCartney and Wings, peaking at number 7 in both America and Britain. The single was backed with “Let Me Roll It” in Britain. When first released, in America the single’s B-side was “Mamunia”, another track from Band on the Run, but it was soon replaced with the British B-side.

The song peaked at number 7 on both the British and American charts on 30 March 1974, also charting in multiple countries in Europe.[9][10] “Jet” has since been released on multiple compilation albums, including Wings Greatest (1978) and All the Best! (1987).

Prominent music critic Dave Marsh named the song number 793 in his list of the 1001 greatest singles ever made. He referred to it as a “grand pop confection” that represented the only time McCartney approached the “drive and density” of his tenure with the Beatles.[11] Writer Graham Reid has described it as a power pop “gem”.[2]

Paul McCartney has since said that the soft rock band The Carpenters were fans of “Jet”.

I remember Richard and Karen Carpenter ringing me up to tell me about ‘Jet’ – they were like the last people on Earth I thought who’d like ‘Jet’! But they were like, ‘Oh, great record, man!’ So, you know, it was actually resonating with people.

— Paul McCartney, Clash[12]
The Australian rock band Jet drew their name from the song title.[13]

Paul McCartney – lead vocals, guitar, bass guitar, drums
Linda McCartney – backing vocals, keyboards
Denny Laine – backing vocals, guitar
Howie Casey – saxophone

Let Me Roll It (as made famous by Paul McCartney and Wings)

“Let Me Roll It” is a song by Wings released on the 1973 album Band on the Run. The song was also released as the B-side to “Jet” in early 1974, and has remained a staple of McCartney’s live concerts since it was first released.

Some critics, such as Rolling Stone’s Jon Landau[1], saw the song as a pastiche of John Lennon’s sound, particularly the riff and the use of tape echo on the vocals. McCartney, however, didn’t intend the song to be a pastiche of Lennon. He did say the vocal “does sound like John… I hadn’t realised I’d sung it like John.”[2][3]

The song’s title was inspired by a quote from George Harrison’s “I’d Have You Anytime”, the opening track from his critically acclaimed All Things Must Pass.[3]

“Let Me Roll It” was performed regularly by Wings’ during their Over the World tour.[4] McCartney performed the song again during his New World Tour, and it has been a part of every tour since.[3] He has also included live versions of the song on several live albums, including Wings over America, Paul Is Live, Back in the U.S. (and Back in the World), and Good Evening New York City.[5]

Paul McCartney – lead vocals, guitar, bass guitar, drums
Linda McCartney – backing vocals, Hammond organ
Denny Laine – backing vocals, guitar

With A Little Luck (as made famous by Paul McCartney and Wings)

“With a Little Luck” is a single by the band Wings from their 1978 album London Town.

Written in Scotland, “With a Little Luck” would become Wings’ follow-up single to the then best-selling UK Single of all time, “Mull of Kintyre.”

Recorded in May 1977 aboard the boat Fair Carol, which had been fitted with a 24-track studio, in the Virgin Islands for the proposed album, working title Water Wings,[1] which was released in 1978 as the band’s seventh album, London Town. During these recordings, Wings’ lead guitarist Jimmy McCulloch and drummer Joe English had recorded tracks but had left, returning the band to the three-piece line-up which had recorded Band on the Run in 1973. McCartney played electric piano, bass and synthesizer in the song; probably English was on drums, while Denny Laine and Linda McCartney helped with some keyboards.[2]

Released in March 1978, the first single from the album, “With a Little Luck” hit No.1 in the United States[3] and No.5 in the UK.[3][4] While it was at the top of the charts in the USA, McCartney announced the new Wings line up featuring lead guitarist Laurence Juber and drummer Steve Holley.

The single’s b-side consists of the segue of two short tracks, “Backward Traveller”/”Cuff Link”, also on the album, the first of which is a song and the second an instrumental that features a heavily synthesized guitar theme.

Author Chris Ingham praised the song as one of the best on the album, stating it was “full of the most sensitive pop synthesizer touches.”[5] Tom Waseleski of the Beaver County Times regarded “With a Little Luck” as having “more substance” than other of McCartney’s soft rock tracks.[6]

The song’s music video, directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, aired in the UK on 9 May 1978, as part of Granada Television’s Paul TV show.[7]

Paul McCartney — vocals, bass guitar, synthesizer, keyboards
Linda McCartney — keyboards, backing vocals
Denny Laine — keyboards, backing vocals
Joe English — drums

Mull Of Kintyre (as made famous by Wings)

“Mull of Kintyre” is a song by the British-American rock band Wings written by Paul McCartney and Denny Laine. The song was written in tribute to the picturesque Kintyre peninsula in Scotland and its headland, the Mull of Kintyre, where McCartney has owned High Park Farm since 1966. The song was Wings’s biggest hit in Britain where it became the 1977 Christmas number one, and was the first single to sell over two million copies nationwide.[1][2][3]

The lyrics of the first verse, also used as the repeating chorus, are an ode to the area’s natural beauty and sense of home:

Mull of Kintyre
Oh mist rolling in from the sea,
My desire
Is always to be here
Oh Mull of Kintyre

McCartney explained how the song came into being:

I certainly loved Scotland enough, so I came up with a song about where we were living: an area called Mull of Kintyre. It was a love song really, about how I enjoyed being there and imagining I was travelling away and wanting to get back there.[4]

“Mull of Kintyre” was recorded on 9 August 1977 at Spirit of Ranachan Studio at High Park Farm in Scotland, during a break in recording the London Town album caused by Linda McCartney’s advanced pregnancy. The song featured bagpipes played by the Campbeltown Pipe Band from nearby Campbeltown. Paul’s vocals and acoustic guitar were recorded outdoors.[5] “Mull of Kintyre” and “Girls’ School” (a rocker that had been previously recorded for London Town) were released as a double A-sided single on 11 November 1977, independently of the album. It was included on the Wings compilation Wings Greatest in 1978,[6] the UK/Canada version of McCartney’s 1987 compilation album All the Best![7], the 2001 compilation Wingspan: Hits and History and the 2016 compilation Pure McCartney.

The song’s broad appeal was maximised by its pre-Christmas release and it became a Christmas number one single in the UK, spending nine weeks at the top of the charts. It also became an international hit, charting high in Australia and many other countries over the holiday period. It went on to become the first single to sell over two million copies in the UK and became the UK’s best-selling single of all-time (eclipsing the Beatles’ own “She Loves You”) until overtaken by Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” in 1984 (which also featured McCartney on the B-side).[8] The song remains the UK’s best-selling completely non-charity single, having sold 2.08 million copies.[9] (Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” has sold more in its two releases, but the profits of the 1991 release went to charity.)[2]

The millionth copy of the disc sold in the UK included a special certificate. It was sold to David Ackroyd, who was presented with a gold disc of the single by Laine.[10]

Despite its international appeal, the song was not a major hit in North America, where the flipside “Girls’ School” received more airplay and reached #33 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #34 on the Canadian RPM charts. “Mull of Kintyre” was not a pop hit at all in the US, but did manage to reach #45 on the Easy Listening chart.[11][12]

Meanwhile, in Canada, “Girls’ School”/”Mull of Kintyre” was initially tracked as a double A-side, and reached #44 on the pop charts before “Mull of Kintyre” was dropped from the chart listings as of 21 January 1978. “Girls’ School” continued its chart climb for a few more weeks, reaching #34 in Canada. After the single fell out of the top 40, it was once again tracked as a double A-side (with “Mull of Kintyre” getting first billing) for one week in April, but it did not better its previous #44 chart peak. “Mull of Kintyre” alone (without “Girls’ School”) did reach #30 on Canada’s Adult Contemporary chart.[13][14]

McCartney has played “Mull of Kintyre” only occasionally in concert since Wings’ 1979 British tour, and, significantly, has never played it in the United States, Asia, or South America. Performances include 23 June 1990 in Glasgow, Scotland. He played it in Australia and New Zealand and also Canada in 1993, 2002, 2005, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2017. He began playing the song again in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. On 11 July 2009, at a concert at the Halifax Common, he played the song accompanied by the 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel) Pipe Band. He played the song at the O2 Arena in London on 22 December 2009, accompanied by the 18-piece Balmoral Highlanders Pipe Band.

The following year, on 20 June 2010 McCartney performed “Mull of Kintyre” at Hampden Park in Glasgow accompanied by the Pipes and Drums of Loretto School. He played the song at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, on the 8 and 9 August 2010 with the Paris Port Dover Pipe Band.[15] On 20 December 2011, Loretto School played with him again in the final concert of his On The Run tour at the Echo Arena in Liverpool. On 25 November 2012 performed “Mull of Kintyre” at the On The Run Tour in Vancouver, British Columbia with the Delta Police Pipe Band, and in Edmonton, Alberta with the Edmonton Police Service Pipes and Drums on 28–29 November. On 7 July 2013, McCartney performed “Mull of Kintyre” on his “Out There” tour to a sell-out crowd at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, Canada accompanied by the Ottawa Police Service Pipe Band.[16] On 19 and 20 April 2016, he performed “Mull of Kintyre” during the One on One tour in the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, again, with the Delta Police Pipe Band. As part of that same tour, on 2 December 2017 he played the song in Perth, Western Australia with the Western Australian Police Force Pipe Band, in Melbourne Victoria 5-6 December 2017 with the Scotch College pipe band,in Brisbane Queensland on the 9th of December 2017 with the Brisbane Combined Pipe Band, in Sydney on the 11th and 12th December with the Governor Macquarie Memorial Pipe Band and in Auckland New Zealand on the 16th of December 2017 with the Auckland and Districts Pipe Band.

Glen Campbell covered the song on his 1982 album Old Home Town. In concert Campbell would play the bagpipes himself.[17]

Cheyenne Kimball covered the song on the album “Let Us In” Nashville – A Tribute to Linda McCartney, consisting of country-themed covers of Sir Paul McCartney songs by various artists, released on 21 November 2011, a benefit album for The Women and Cancer Fund.[18]

Wings band member Denny Laine covered “Mull of Kintyre” in 2007 on his album Performs the Hits of Wings.[19]

Irish singing group and stage show Celtic Thunder originally performed the song in their first concert DVD “Celtic Thunder: The Show.” It and the companion CD “Celtic Thunder” were released on 18 March 2008. Their CD “Act Two,” on which “Mull of Kintyre” appears, was released on 16 September that same year.

Charlie Gracie and the group Clutch Cargo covered the song as a benefit single in 2012 to help raise funds for the Philadelphia Police and Fire, Pipes & Drums Band. Their version of the single also featured the R&B vocal group The Orlons on backing vocals.[20]

French arranger & composer Franck Pourcel recorded an orchestral version of this song in 1977, which included a vocal chorus backing. It received airplay on easy listening radio stations.

Susan Boyle performed the song to welcome The Queen to the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow on 23 July 2014.

Paul McCartney – lead vocal, acoustic bass guitar, acoustic guitar
Linda McCartney – backing vocal, percussion
Denny Laine – backing vocal, acoustic and electric guitars
Campbeltown Pipe Band – bagpipes and drums

Silly Love Songs (as made famous by Wings)

“Silly Love Songs” is a song written by Paul McCartney and Linda McCartney and performed by Wings. The song appears on the 1976 album Wings at the Speed of Sound. It was also released as a single in 1976, backed with “Cook of the House”. The song, written in response to music critics accusing him of writing only “silly love songs”, also features disco overtones.

Silly Love Songs” was written as a rebuttal to music critics who criticized McCartney for writing lightweight love songs.[1] Author Tim Riley suggests that in the song, McCartney is inviting “his audience to have a laugh on him,” as Elvis Presley had sometimes done.[2]

But over the years people have said, “Aw, he sings love songs, he writes love songs, he’s so soppy at times.” I thought, Well, I know what they mean, but, people have been doing love songs forever. I like ’em, other people like ’em, and there’s a lot of people I love — I’m lucky enough to have that in my life. So the idea was that “you” may call them silly, but what’s wrong with that?

The song was, in a way, to answer people who just accuse me of being soppy. The nice payoff now is that a lot of the people I meet who are at the age where they’ve just got a couple of kids and have grown up a bit, settling down, they’ll say to me, “I thought you were really soppy for years, but I get it now! I see what you were doing!”

By the way, “Silly Love Songs” also had a good bassline and worked well live.

— Paul McCartney, Billboard[3]
McCartney allowed the horn section to create their own parts for the song.[4]

The US single was released on 1 April 1976[5] and spent five non-consecutive weeks at number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.[6][7] “Silly Love Songs” was the number 1 pop song in Billboard’s Year-End Charts of 1976. It was also the group’s second of three number ones on the Easy Listening chart.[8] The single was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America for sales of over one million copies.[9] Billboard listed “Silly Love Songs” as Paul McCartney’s all-time biggest Hot 100 single.[10] In 2008, the song was listed at No. 31 on Billboard’s Greatest Songs of All Time, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Billboard Hot 100 chart.[1] The UK single was released on 30 April 1976[5] and reached number 2 on the UK Singles Chart.[11][12]

The song was McCartney’s 27th number one as a songwriter, the all-time record for most number one hits by a songwriter. (see List of Billboard Hot 100 chart achievements and milestones) With this song, McCartney became the first person to have a year-end No. 1 song as a member of two distinct acts. He previously hit No. 1 in the year-end Billboard chart with “I Want to Hold Your Hand” in 1964 and “Hey Jude” in 1968.[13][14]

“Silly Love Songs” has since appeared on multiple of McCartney’s greatest hits compilations, including Wings Greatest and All the Best!. It also appeared on the “Hits” half of the compilation Wingspan: Hits and History.

In 1976, Wings recorded “Silly Love Songs” live for their triple live album Wings Over America. In 1984, three years after the dissolution of Wings, Paul McCartney re-recorded “Silly Love Songs” for the soundtrack to the critically panned motion picture Give My Regards to Broad Street.

“Silly Love Songs” has generally received positive reviews from critics, despite the common criticism of the song lacking substance. AllMusic’s Stephen Thomas Erlewine described the song, as well as its follow-up single, “Let ‘Em In”, as “so lightweight that their lack of substance seems nearly defiant.”[15] Music critic Robert Christgau called the two tracks “charming if lightweight singles”, while Rolling Stone critic Stephen Holden said “Silly Love Songs” was “a clever retort whose point is well taken.”[16][17] John Bergstrom of PopMatters called the song “an exemplary piece of mid-‘70s pop production and a pure pleasure.”[18]

Paul McCartney – lead vocals, bass
Linda McCartney – backing vocals, keyboards
Jimmy McCulloch – lead guitar
Denny Laine – backing vocals, rhythm guitar
Joe English – drums
Tony Dorsey – trombone
Thaddeus Richard – saxophone
Steve Howard – trumpet
Howie Casey – saxophone