Henry McCullough joins Wings

Thursday, January 20, 1972

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From January 17 to 28, 1972, Wings – composed of Paul and Linda McCartney, Denny Laine and Denny Seiwell – rehearsed in anticipation of future live performances and to start working on their second album.

On January 18, guitarist Henry McCullough was invited to the rehearsals.

On this day, January 20, he joined the rehearsals again and Paul asked him to join the band. Music magazines dated January 29 (Disc And Music Echo, New Musical Express, Melody Maker) covered the news.

Henry McCullough would stay with Wings till August 1973.

Our roadies happened to know Henry McCullough, who had been in Joe Cocker’s Grease Band. They said he was really good so we invited him along to a rehearsal and we all got along well. He became Wings’ lead guitarist, and so now we had a complete five-piece band ready to rock.

Paul McCartney, in Wingspan, 2002

In fact it was Paul’s roadie who rang, saying do you fancy sitting in? After the Grease Band, I didn’t know what the hell was going on so I went down and had a play. That was Tuesday and afterwards, things were left at that – nothing was said. Then I had another call on Thursday to go down again and afterwards, Paul said, ‘Do you want to join our group?’”

“Although I knew Denny Laine I’d never met McCartney before. Once I got used to seeing him there in person, he turned out to be a great bloke. I guess I was a bit nervous but I had a couple of pints of Guinness before I went along the first time. That helped.”

Henry McCullough – From interview for New Musical Express, January 29, 1972

Originally Denny Laine was going to be lead guitarist, and vocalist as well. Then there was Linda on keyboards. Denny Seiwell on drums and Paul was on bass and vocals. They’d been rehearsing with this line-up to do some live appearances but I think Denny Laine felt a bit restricted playing guitar and singing at the same time. He probably felt he couldn’t do both well. I mean, I used to feel the same in the Grease Band. Now with Wings, I’ll be playing lead guitar leaving Denny to concentrate on second guitar and vocals.

Henry McCullough – From interview for New Musical Express, January 29, 1972

[Ian Horne, Paul McCartney’s roadie] called and asked me to go along to a rehearsal the next day. It was a wee room. The equipment was set up and Paul asked me to play and said that the rest of them would fit in.

Henry McCullough – From Disc And Music Echo, January 29, 1972

I WAS IN THE GREASE BAND, AND WE were hanging around London not doing very much. Denny Laine used to hang out with us and he said to me one day, “McCartney’s looking for a guitar player – he wants to know if you’d come down and have a bit of a play.” And I said, “Well, Jesus, no bother!” and went down, I think, to the Revolution Club, I played Long Tall Sally and a few things like that. It wasn’t really an audition, more a play – but it was an audition really, to make sure I wasn’t into hard drugs and stuff. Anyway, we played, had a chat and he said, “Can you come back tomorrow?” and I said, “Of course.” By the third day we were on a stage, at the ICA. We went through a lot of stuff over that period and on the third day he asked me did I want to join – and who wouldn’t!

Henry McCullough – From interview with MOJO, September 1997
From NME – January 29, 1972

Last updated on August 5, 2023

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