- Album name: Wings over America
- Group name: Wings
- Year: 1976
- Number of discs: three
- Label: Capitol Records
- Collection: Selman
- Buy it on Amazon: $49.96
Level of familiarity before listening
I am not familiar with this live Wings record, but it will be the eighth post-Beatles McCartney record that I’ve reviewed. The previous seven were:
- McCartney by Paul McCartney (1970): 3/5
- Ram by Paul and Linda McCartney (1971): 3/5
- Wild Life by Wings (1971): 3/5
- Band on the Run by Paul McCartney and Wings (1973): 3/5
- Venus and Mars by Wings (1975): 3/5
- Wings at the Speed of Sound by Wings (1976): 2/5
- Tug of War by Paul McCartney (1982): 2/5
What I expected
Because this is a live record and because it has some Beatles songs on it, I’m optimistic that it might be pretty good, and may break the streak of McCartney making ok (but not really good) records in the early 1970s, but not doing anything worthwhile after 1975.
What it was actually like
This was a really, really long record. Three LPs (six sides) was about three times the amount of material that would actually have been necessary to get their point across.
Despite that, I thought the concerts sounded fun, and that the harder rock sound on most of the songs was generally good (other songs had more of an acoustic sound, and they weren’t necessarily worse).
I liked the electric blues sound of parts of Spirits of Ancient Egypt, but did not like the awful chorus.
Medicine Jar was pretty good, and I enjoyed the strong bass line and loved the guitar.
Bluebird was not a particularly good song, but I would not have minded listening to it if the saxophone solo had been left out. I also hated the saxophone on Silly Love Songs.
You Gave Me the Answer was the most goofily Oompa Loompa song on the record, and My Love was unusually boring and slow, but neither of these was representative of the overall record.
I wrote recently about The Long and Winding Road that it was “certainly one of the worst Beatles songs,” and it was a low point of this record, too.
The up tempo version of Lady Madonna was quite strong, however.
I’ve Just Seen a Face was the record’s best song, but of course I would have loved a song from Help! (as long as it was not Yesterday; in fact, Yesterday on Wings over America was just as bad as every other version of it).
Blackbird, for that matter, was fine, but nothing special.
3/5: interesting, but not for me
Tom Vee says
I couldn’t disagree more with his review. As a teenager, I was so excited to get a live album from Wings. The best song on there is Maybe I’m Amazed. To hear 5 Beatles songs mixed in made my day. The intro songs- Venus & Mars, Rockshow , & Jet were terrific. I love Listen to What the Man Said, Live and Let Die, & Silly Love Songs.
I tried to get tickets to see Wings, but when I tried to buy them at Bambergers (remember that store? Lol), there were only seats by the speakers. I knew, back then, I didn’t want to go deaf, lol.
I definitely would rate this 10/10.
Natan Gesher says
I don’t remember Bambergers – I was born in 1981, but it looks like they went out of business in the mid 1980s. The main department store chain I remember from then was Woodies (Woodward & Lothrop).
Anyway, I would say that Wings Over America was probably the best post-Beatles record by any former Beatle that I’ve heard so far, but that I have to stand by my conviction that McCartney and Lennon were meant to create music together, and neither of them was much good at writing songs without the other.