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The Harrowing Story Behind Paul McCartney's Band On The Run

05/08/2013
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(Gibson) Making an album even a classic album sometimes can be an exercise in overcoming adversity. Still, the monumental troubles that Paul McCartney and Wings had to surmount to record Band on the Run, easily McCartney's best post-Beatles album, easily could have served as fodder for an epic Hollywood film.

It all began with McCartney's desire to work in a locale that was off the beaten path. Fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately, as it turned out), his record company, EMI, had an international presence, with recording facilities based in Bombay, Rio de Janeiro, Peking and aha! Lagos. Enchanted by visions of sunning on the beach by day, and recording by night, McCartney decided to gather his Wings bandmates and head for the Nigerian city, nestled on the west coast of Africa. Nevermind the fact that pre-trip inoculations to prevent cholera, typhoid, polio and a host of other potential diseases were required.

One week prior to heading for Africa, McCartney corralled his fellow Wings members to rehearse some new songs. Disputes ensued, and guitarist Henry McCullough and drummer Denny Seiwell left the band. All of a sudden, Wings was a trio consisting of McCartney, wife Linda and guitarist Denny Laine. Off the three went, upbeat and confident despite the unforeseen defection of their drummer and lead guitarist.

The studio in Lagos was decidedly ramshackle. Microphones were discovered tucked away in a cupboard, the control desk was faulty and acoustic baffles used for sound separation were nowhere to be found. Heroically, however, engineer Geoff Emerick pulled together the equipment necessary to forge onwards.

A regular daily pattern ensued. Weekday mornings were spent swimming at a local country club. In mid-afternoon, the band would make the hour-long drive to the studio, where the work sometimes went on until 4 or 5 a.m. Weekends were reserved for rest and recreation, in keeping with McCartney's reasons for choosing Lagos in the first place. more.

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