Wings audition for its new drummer

April 29-30, 1974

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During those two days, Paul McCartney held the first auditions for a new drummer for Wings (as Denny Seiwell had left the band in August 1973 before the “Band On The Run” sessions in Lagos). This selection process would lead to the choice of Geoff Britton.

Recently Radio 1 and the ‘Daily Mirror’ stated Paul was looking for a drummer to augment Wings, within minutes the switchboards of both the BBC and McCartney Productions were jammed with 400 calls from eager musicians. Auditions for the selected 25 were held on the 29th and 30th April at the Albert Theatre, London. Final auditions from 8th May. As the band isn’t yet complete, the biographies and group history to be sent out with this newsletter are postponed.

From Wings Fun Club newsletter N°1, 1974

You should have seen the people there. It was like a Who’s Who of the music industry. But I was a bit disappointed actually because I thought it would be a chance to play with McCartney, but they’d hired session men to play with us instead. Wings just sat out in front of the audience and watched. I wasn’t really nervous. I’m never nervous, although I might be a bit apprehensive. We had to play about four numbers-some of it quite advanced stuff for an ordinary rock and roll number. Anyway, I got up there and did my stuff … A few days later I got this phone call and they said I was on the short-list of five, and this time it would be Paul and the group playing. That time I had a 20 per cent chance, yet I felt it was more hopeless than ever. I met Paul and the group and they were really nice. After that I got a phone call saying they’d narrowed it down to two geezers. Each of us spent a whole day with the group and had dinner with them. Then one day the phone rang. It was Paul. He said, ‘Well, we’ve decided’ and he was mucking about, geeing me up … In the end I said: ‘Well, who’s it gonna be?’ and he said: ‘You got the job.”

Geoff Britton – From “The Beatles Diary Volume 2: After The Break-Up 1970-2001” by Keith Badman

You were on a short list of five at the auditions, how did you feel at the time?

Very excited, I had a 20% chance, then the office rang to say they’d like me to come back, I was on a shortlist of two. My chances had come to 50/50, and all the time the gig seemed to be getting further away. Anyway, I went along on the Monday and spent all day with them and the other guy went on Tuesday. They didn’t give anything away, you know. They were very nice; we went out to dinner, had a nice day. We played all day and they taped it and there was no way of knowing if I’d cut any ice or not. Paul rang me on the Thursday, and just said: “Yeh, well …we’ve listened to the tapes and you’ve got the job. Take it easy, go to the office and have a chat, and then we’ll go to Nashville.” Actually once I was short listed to two, I thought I’d leave my other group no matter what. I had some money in the bank so I thought I’II either go to America, or go to Japan and see some of my Karate friends. I’ll do one or the other, and have a complete break, blow the money and start again. If I was number two for Wings, I’d be number one for somebody eIse. As it happened I got the job, and went to the States.

Geoff Britton – From Wings Fun Club newsletter N°3, 1974

Of course Geoff was really excited when he got the drum berth but the weeks leading up to that were a butterfly’s paradise.

“l was with a friend and he mentioned that Wings were looking for a drummer and auditions were being held,” he explained. “So I got on the list to go along to the Albrey Theatre in the West End (on his bike and in leathers of course), where all of Wings were in the seats listening to the drummers play with session men.”

The shortlist of five who were invited back a few days later included Geoff.

“l was keen on the job but I wasn’t going to bank on it, I thought it was just to meet McCartney. But then I made it to the third interview, just me and another drummer, and we all went out to dinner and then played with the group.”

After two days of nail-biting tension, the running in the fields with the dog phone-call came, and that was that.

From Record Mirror, November 2, 1974

Last updated on August 3, 2022

Going further

The Beatles Diary Volume 2: After The Break-Up 1970-2001

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We owe a lot to Keith Badman for the creation of those pages, but you really have to buy this book to get all the details - a day to day chronology of what happened to the four Beatles after the break-up and how their stories intertwined together!

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The Beatles - The Dream is Over: Off The Record 2

This edition of the book compiles more outrageous opinions and unrehearsed interviews from the former Beatles and the people who surrounded them. Keith Badman unearths a treasury of Beatles sound bites and points-of-view, taken from the post break up years. Includes insights from Yoko Ono, Linda McCartney, Barbara Bach and many more.

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