Classic Rock n Roll Web Site
PAUL McCARTNEY & WINGS
BAND ON THE RUN
Released - December, 1973 on Capital Records. Produced by Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney - Lead & Backing Vocals, Bass, Drums, Lead & Rhythm Guitars (Electric & Acoustic), Piano, Organ
Denny Lane - Rhythm Guitars (Electric & Acoustic), Keyboards
and Backing Vocals
Howie Casey - Saxophone on "Bluebird" &
All songs written by Paul & Linda McCartney except "No Words", written by Paul McCartney & Denny Lane
Let's face it, this album might have been recorded as a "Wings" album, but it's really nothing more than a Paul McCartney solo album, with Denny Lane helping out in his usual role, and Linda McCartney along for another ride (at Paul's insistence). But still, what a great album this one turned out to be!
No question, Paul is the main musician on this album, playing not only his customary bass guitar, but most of the lead guitar parts, all of the main drumming, most of the keyboards - including all of the piano work, and of course, all the lead vocals. That's not to take anything away from Lane, who did a great job on rhythm guitar, and played an occasional lead riff too. Linda's backing vocals fit in fine here too, even if it is questionable as to just how much keyboards she really plays on the album.
The album starts off with a bang with its title cut "Band On The Run". A bit on the slow side at first, but then the song picks up tempo and it turns out to be a true hit. "Jet" follows, perhaps the best song on the album, with the title being the name of the McCartneys' dog; the second time Paul would name a song after a dog of his, although unlike his Beatle song "Martha My Dear", which was about his sheepdog Martha, this one, other than the title, isn't about a dog.
"Bluebird" is a nice, warm, mellow ballad that most McCartney freaks love to death. I might be a fan of Paul's, but I'm no freak, and though I've always liked, even loved this little number, it's never been a favorite of mine either. Next up is "Mrs. Vandebilt", a better than average song with a nice flow to it.
"Let Me Roll It To You" is my favorite song on the album. It starts off with a cool organ, and then a great guitar riff, but it's what this song is about and how Paul delivers the vocals, that I love the most. In part written to John Lennon, this was perhaps Paul's way of saying he was sorry to John for that other song he wrote about him, "Too Many People", which in turn lead to Lennon writing "How Do You Sleep" about Paul, and the deep riff in their friendship that developed from all of that. Yet it's the way Paul sings this song that is most interesting, he sounds like John on this song! Paul has always said he didn't mean to sound that way, but on the bonus CD that now comes with Band On The Run, he not only admits that he does sound like his late friend on the song, but he seems pleased that he does.
There are two more good songs on this album to note. I've always loved car songs, and "Helen Wheels" is one of those, this song just makes you wanna jump into your car and drive away! Then the album's closer, "Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five" is another fine song, it has silly, simple lyrics, but it's still a fun song. The same can't be said for the remaining songs: "Mamunia" - ZZZZZZZ, "No Words" - truly a forgetful number, and "Picasso's Last Words (Drink to Me)" - written after actor Dustin Hoffman challenged Paul to write a song on the spot one day. After the way this one turned out, guess that wasn't a great idea.
All in all, this is either Paul's best solo album, or if you insist, Wing's best album.
- Keno, 2005