Wings – Band on the Run: #543 of best 1,000 albums ever!

Wings - Band on the Run

So why is Wings’ Band on the Run on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?

The Beatles have been in my life for as long as I can remember. One memory that pops to mind from my early childhood is hearing a radio program, while in the car with my parents, called Breakfast With The Beatles.

At some point I became aware that there was a time period when The Beatles produced music, and then there was a post-Beatles period where the members went off and did solo projects. Band on the Run was the first of these albums that I became aware of, along with an understanding that Paul McCartney had gone onto form this other band called Wings in the 1970s.

Many years later, I became obsessed with a Wings song, and it took me some time to track down the name of it. Through machinations too complex to get into, an mp3 file landed on my music hard drive simply labeled “#4.” Eventually, I figured out that this song is “Mrs. Vandebilt,” the fourth track on Band on the Run.

It seems that for most, “Mrs. Vandebilt” is a relatively deep cut, but to this day it remains my favorite Wings song and one of my most favorite McCartney post-Beatles efforts. It’s got a rolling, driving beat and catchy verses that slide wonderfully into a repeated section of vocals shouting, “oh, hey ho!” Overall, it has the feel of a great road song, with multiple interesting changes and great jangling acoustic guitar chords throughout.

“No Words” has the feel of Revolver-era Beatles (which is high praise, indeed) updated for the 1970s. Really groovy and pretty at the same time.

And “Let Me Roll It” reminds me much of McCartney’s peak creative period near the end of the Beatles era captured in the phenomenal Get Back documentary. It’s really good and compelling and moving, but it also causes me a pang of angst because I wonder what John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr might also have contributed to this one.

Personal stuff that has something to do with Wings’ Band on the Run

I have another oddball memory that ties to the post-Beatles period and my childhood. I was very young, I want to say eight or nine-years old, and at someone’s house on Long Island, New York. Either the people who owned the place or perhaps their teenage kids were into The Beatles and, specifically, John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

To cut to the chase, I recall that they had two photos – framed if memory serves and slotted between a bunch of other framed items leaning against a wall – of John and Yoko. One features them shot from the front, and the other from the back. And they are… naked in both pictures. Anyway, that kind of thing will tend to leave an impression on a young lad and future Beatles superfan.

Some stats & info about Wings – Band on the Run

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rock Music, British Bands, Album Rock, Soft Rock
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
  • All Music’s rating4.5 out of 5 stars
  • When was Band on the Run released? 1973
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #543 out of 1,000

Wings’ Band on the Run on Spotify

A lyrical snippet from Wings’ Band on the Run that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe

Well, the night was falling as the desert world began to settle down. In the town they’re searching for us everywhere but we never will be found.

What’s the most interesting thing about Wings’ Band on the Run that most people don’t know?

Band on the Run was recorded in Lagos, Nigeria, in order to escape the media scrutiny and distractions of London. The exotic location and unique recording conditions added to the creativity and collaborative spirit.

I recently learned, by way of the extraordinary Beatles documentary Get Back, that the producers at that time were keen on getting The Beatles to perform live in Libya (the band instead performed on the rooftop of the Apple offices in London in what was to be the band’s final live performance). So it’s interesting that McCartney got his next band down to Africa to record an entire album.

What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?

Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.

But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.