The Wings Album Paul McCartney Wanted to Make as Quick as Bob Dylan

After releasing McCartney on the heels of The Beatles’ split, followed by Ram, Paul McCartney formed Wings in 1971. Wings was Paul’s first band since leaving one of the biggest groups in the world. So, there was no pressure. He had to soar, literally.

He couldn’t think like a Beatle anymore, but he did have his influences, including Bob Dylan. If Dylan could record an album fast, Paul wanted to do the same. However, looking back, Paul probably shouldn’t have rushed an album that became his first critical and commercial failure.

Paul McCartney and his wife Linda with their band Wings at Abbey Road Studios in 1974.
Paul McCartney and Wings | Michael Putland/Getty Images

Paul McCartney wanted to record his first album with Wings as fast as Bob Dylan

Dec. 2021 marked 50 years since Paul formed Wings, and they released their debut album, Wild Life. To celebrate the milestone, Paul’s website recently revisited a conversation they had with Paul about the album in 2018. Paul revealed that he wanted to record Wild Life as fast as Dylan.

Paul said, “Well, I wanted to make an album just like that! [Clicks his fingers.] And Bob Dylan had just done an album in a few days, kind of thing. So I thought, ‘Yeah,’ you know. ‘That’d be good. Give it a freshness.’ That was the approach for putting ‘Wild Life’ together.”

Wings were able to record the album fast. They finished it in eight days. However, that didn’t do the album any favors. In The Beatles: An Illustrated Record, Roy Carr, and Tony Tyler called Wild Life “rushed, defensive, badly timed, and over-publicized.” It only reached No. 11 on the U.K. charts and No. 10 in the U.S.

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Paul doesn’t listen to his old albums so he forgot he wrote embarrassing songs like ‘Mumbo’

The ex-Beatle said he hardly looks back at his older albums. Maybe records like Band on the Run, but definitely not Wild Life, which many forget about, including Paul himself. When he was remastering the album in 2018, he forgot he’d recorded songs like “Mumbo.”

“Well, to tell you the truth, I don’t listen to my old albums much, you know,” Paul said. “I just don’t. So, I mean, to me it’s very strange that I would dare to do a track like ‘Mumbo.’ To open an album with a track that hasn’t got any lyrics! It’s like, ‘Whoah!’ I mean, I think it’s kind of cool now. Like, ‘Wow, okay…!'”

Even though Paul wanted to make a record at the snap of his finger, he admits he didn’t really try that hard on Wild Life. “This was following The Beatles,” he said. “I’m not trying very hard, you know! [Jokingly sings the opening line of ‘Mumbo,’ ‘Welllllllllllllllll….!!!’]

“It was just a kind of rebellious attitude that maybe it’s time to be a bit experimental and try some new ideas. So this is just, you know, a romp. Just a rocking, romping thing. It was really a jam… But I think that’s one of the sort of first things that came to mind. And then followed it up with ‘Bip Bop,’ another little thing that’s not really got a lot of lyrical strength!”

Paul said he’s embarrassed by the lyrics to “Bip Bop.” But lyrical strength was missing from the entire record. It’s what gave Wild Life bad reviews. Critics aside, fans expected more of a Beatle-like record, or at least something as good as Paul’s first two solo albums.

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Fans wanted a Beatle-like record

After The Beatles split, each of the Fab Four recorded what they couldn’t with the band. They were finally free to experiment and make whatever they wanted. That’s what Paul did on Wild Life.

However, fans still wanted Beatle-like tunes. If they couldn’t have The Beatles anymore, they wanted each of the Fab Four to produce Beatle-sounding records to satisfy them. So, they weren’t exactly happy about Wings’ debut.

“I mean, you know, we didn’t get good reviews for this because I think people were expecting something more sort of Beatle-like and I was purposefully digging my heels in saying, ‘We’re not gonna do that.’ Just like an imitation of The Beatles. I didn’t feel like that was a good way to go,” Paul said.

Paul “wanted to do something different to what music fans and critics would expect from a Beatle.” He continued, “You know, let’s just do what we want. It was important to do that. But I probably should have realised that critics and people looking at it would go, ‘Well, that’s not as good as what he used to do with The Beatles!’

“I now like that we did this. I like this because, you know, I’ve always said we could have put some very professional group together and gone and done things very much like The Beatles, and just sort of carried on. But I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to try and relearn what it is to be in a band.

“So yeah, we just kind of threw it together… But it was: whatever we do, we’re not going to do what The Beatles did… Well, we followed what the early Beatles did which was form a band of people who couldn’t play very well, couldn’t write very well, and just do it a lot until it gets good!”

Fortunately, Wings did get good. Two years later, they released Band on the Run.

RELATED: What Do Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr Think About Peter Jackson’s ‘The Beatles: Get Back’?

Read the original article from The Cheat Sheet

The Wings Album Paul McCartney Wanted to Make as Quick as Bob Dylan
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