Wings for the rest of your life. No escape. Just when you thought it was safe you'll hear a Wings song
Oh shit I'm gonna get sued. I'll keep this brief and change my identity, or give up eating meat (that'll please Macca, I can't see him suing a veggie).
But it needs to be said. A fall from grace comparable to Lenin's I reckon. A man who was in arguably the greatest band ever, (actually, it's not even arguable). A Beatle who bridged the gap from show tunes to pop, he was the true all round entertainer in the band; grannies liked him as well as screaming kids. And that is something not to be sniffed at. No one else could do it (or did, it, or has done it since, or, bearing in mind post split sales of Beatles records, still does it).
This is a man who whilst trying to broaden pop music's appeal (strings on Yesterday etc, etc, etc), was a major influence in the real psychedelic underground, funding and helping Indica, IT, OZ, UFO (he was the Beatle hanging round the loonies and digging the Barrett 'Floyd, not John), The Roundhouse, The Arts Lab; I could go on. He tried to innovate and soldier on when the wheels were coming off the Beatles; Apple, and the original Let it Be (a noble venture destroyed by the bands' Yoko hang ups), spring to mind.
He was the first with decent solo albums, (Ram is pretty darned good in the cold light of day). He was the first to truly live an alternative life with the farming and the veggie stuff, and to give him and Linda Mac enormous credit, he stuck at it, and believes it. Fair enough. You can see I like him. If I met him I suppose I'd like him.
And, but. You know where I'm going now, don't you? First there was Wings, producing silage like Mull of Kintyre and Band On the Run (no, no arguments, its wank). Luckily I was four years old at the time so I was too young to feel betrayed. But, by a terrible quirk of fate, they are played ad nauseum on Dutch radio. So now I feel betrayed too. Realizing I have little chance of escaping the factory tannoy, I have taken sublime revenge. Wings win my official worst band ever award, (and that's always a hotly contested prize, kids). Just imagine if you heard Wings first in 1972 when they kick off, thirty odd years hearing that bile on the radio AND knowing that you'll have to suffer a Wings track being played on a radio near you sometime in your future. The chances of this are much greater than being blown up by Al Quaeida, that's for sure. Wings for the rest of your life. No escape. Just when you thought it was safe you'll hear a Wings song.
Anyway, back to the story kids...Mercifully, Wings split. Maybe it's time for a reappraisal? No. It's not time at all.
Out comes Macca the entertainer, shorn of his edge, bland Macca, Macca with or without Wings, beloved of Simon Bates and Peter Powell. He was held in such reverence by the music establishment in the early to mid eighties, guaranteed air time by the hour load. I remember listening to a round table record review on Wunnerful Radio 1 hosted by Mr. Reasonable, Peter Powell, and a panel that consisted of teenagers plucked from throughout the land (to give it that "youth of today say" cred). A Macca single was played. It was 1983 so I presume it was No More Lonely Nights. I shall always remember the irascible Scotch lad on the panel berating Macca for releasing this pile of slurry, in light of his glories in the Beatles.
I hope he called for Macca to retire, (I can't remember in all honesty, but my emotional memory remembers something like that). A shocked silence prevailed. Mr. Powell, stunned, quietly asked the Scotch lad to come to his senses (maybe the studio experience was all too much for him); after all this was Paul McCartney he was slagging off. Scotch lad refused. Powell, clearly rattled, went on this "important artist" spiel. I then knew that Radio 1 was akin to the Kremlin. Around this time I bought my first Cocteau Twins album and Porcupine by Echo & the Bunnymen.
Anyway, think about it. It's RIDICULOUS. How can you defend Pipes of Peace (the video of which sees Macca engagingly clad in First War uniform, re-enacting the 1914 Xmas Truce; with the hindsight afforded us twenty years on, we all know if Macca was there, his healing songs would have prevented another 4 years of slaughter and chaos). Or, come to think of it, the Frog Chorus (the video still gives me appalling flash backs to mid eighties Accrington, a gloomy, rain sodden hell, though I find it more comforting to talk about this, rather than the song), or Ebony and Ivory or The Girl is Mine (a song with a certain comic respite, considering who he duetted with) or Live & Let Die or the Beatles reunion (why use Geoff Lynne as producer? WHY?); or his shit paintings (I know they are shit, I am a painter myself, and you can't fool other painters, sorry), or his classical dabblings....
WHY CAN'T HE BE CONTENT WITH JUST BEING A MUTE ICON? (Like Lenin)...
Words and Illustration : Richard Foster