Writer: Paul McCartney
Producer: Paul McCartney
Recorded: August 1973 at EMI Studios in Lagos, Nigeria
Released: October 26, 1973
|Players:||Paul McCartney–vocals, bass, guitar, keyboards, drums
Linda McCartney–vocals, keyboards, percussion
Denny Laine–vocals, guitar
|Album:||Band On The Run (Apple)|
The first single from Band On The Run, released a month prior to the album, “Helen Wheels” is the name Paul McCartney gave to his Land Rover, and the song tells of a drive from his farm in Scotland to London.
The song got Band On The Run off to a good start, hitting Number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Number 12 on the British chart.
The single’s B-side, “Country Dreamer,” was a non-LP track recorded in October 1972 by the original Wings lineup, which included guitarist Henry McCullough and drummer Denny Seiwell.
The Lagos sojourn to record Band On The Run was one of the most eventful in the history of McCartney and Wings. Shortly before departing for Lagos, McCullough and Seiwell left the band. McCartney, his wife Linda, and singer-guitarist Denny Laine decided to make the trip anyway and piece the album together themselves, with help from local musicians.
Former Cream and Blind Faith drummer Ginger Baker owned ARC Studios, one of the two used to record Band On The Run.
The sessions were eventful, and so was the time Wings spent in Lagos. At one point the trio was accosted by threatening street toughs. Linda McCartney is convinced that she saved their lives by pointing out that the man with her was “Beatle Paul.”
McCartney also liked to swim in the mornings, so a temporary membership at a private country club was arranged. The price: a McCartney signature on a Beatles photograph that hung on one of the walls.
The Band On The Run album cover, designed by Hipgnosis, features six celebrities enacting a jailbreak. They are: actors Christopher Lee and James Coburn; singer Kelly Lynch; British TV personalities Michael Parkinson and Clement Freud; and boxer John Conteh.
The Band On The Run album hit Number One in both the U.S. and the U.K. and has sold more than six million copies worldwide.
The album (and song) title was inspired by a George Harrison philosophical remark, “If we ever get out of here,” referring to the idea that we’re all prisoners on earth in one form or another.