Wings Fun Club newsletter N°3, 1974 published

Circa January 1975

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About

The Paul McCartney and Wings Fun Club was formed in late 1972. Between 1973 and 1976, the club issued some newsletters which would later evolve into the Club Sandwich newspaper. These early newsletters were either in the form of typed foolscap folio (20.3cm x 33cm) sheets or A5 (14.8cm x 21cm) booklets. Most of these were quite amateurishly done and sent out irregularly. Various MPL employees compiled them, Lucy then Nicky then Sue Cavanaugh, without forgetting Claire who launched the idea of an unofficial Wings fan club, wrote a first unofficial newsletter and contributed to the very first official ones.

My sincere thanks to Andy Weal, one of the early members of the Wings Fun Club, who helped us put together the club’s history and provided copies of some artefacts.


From Record Collector – June 1997:

[…] Club Sandwich grew out of the plain, typewritten newsletters issued by the Wings Fun Club in the early 70s, which itself developed from an unofficial fan club run by a long-forgotten McCartney devotee known only as Lucy. A girl called Claire took over the Wings newsletter in 1973, and with the blessing of McCartney’s MPL company, she launched the Paul McCartney and Wings Fan Club via MPL’s Soho Square address that year. The inaugural issue coincided with the release of “Red Rose Speedway”, and the initial membership fee was just 50p, for which fans were promised a newsletter every four to six weeks.

The first despatches were foolscap-sized, mimeographed affairs. Back in ’73, the innovation of photographs had yet to be adopted, but members were kept informed about such subjects as the James Paul McCartney TV special (the report on which suggested that “The Long And Winding Road” was edited from the final version), the recording of “Red Rose Speedway”, Wings’ first tour, the group’s visit to Marrakesh, plus a candid report on Paul’s bust for growing marijuana plants for which, revealed Claire, the ex-Beatie was fined £100. Early club offers included an exclusive Wings badge, which featured a red bird on a white background. Yours for just 12p.

For the second issue of the newsletter, MPL’s address was replaced with a more discreet P.O. box number, and the title of the organisation was amended on McCartney’s recommendation to Wings Fun Club. Official news was bolstered by fans’ letters and comments, plus a personal ads section in which eager readers requested back issues of The Beatles Book (“will pay 8p per copy”), and McCartney’s soundtrack LP for The Family Way (“will give £1”). Bootleg tapes of Wings’ 1972 university tour were also avidly sought after, and adverts soliciting them were frequently published.

By issue five, the newsletter had become an A5-sized magazine, edited by a surname-free girl called Nicky. It was still produced on the cheap, and although photographs had started to creep in, the magazine remained black-and-white. The editorial content too continued to be frank: after the unexpected departure of Wings’ members, Denny Seiwell and Henry McCulloch, Linda McCartney revealed that there had been “no row” between them and the rest of the group. “We didn’t really know Henry,” she observed, “and he didn’t know us.” The mag proved its point by reporting with some dignity on the deserters’ post-Wings activities. Among the new Club offers was a selection of Wings biros available in red, green, blue, mauve and pink – priced at 6p each.

In 1974, the Fun Club magazine turned more professional-looking, with a glossy, black-and-white cover, and generous offers to buy 10″ x 8″s of Wings’ floating line-up. At this stage, editor Nicky was joined by American MPL employee, Sue Cavanaugh, and to this day, Sue remains – notionally at least – in charge of Club Sandwich.

The last A5 Wings magazine was produced in December 1976, and was stuffed with reports of that year’s American tour, plus a multitude of club offers including a “Helen Wheels” poster at 55p, T-shirts at £1.70, and a trio of tour programmes: Europe 1972 at 30p (now worth £10), U.K. 1975 at 50p (now £25) and U.S.A. 1976 at £1.50 (£30). […]

From Record Collector – June 1997

Circa December 1974, the following newsletter (labelled as “No. 3. 1974“) was sent to members of the “Wings Official Fun Club“. It features an interview with Geoff Britton, who had recently been chosen as the new drummer for Wings, and some various news.

The newsletter makes reference to the following events:

  • WINGS recorded three tracks for their new album last November. In November 1974, Wings was at EMI Studios, London, to record “Letting Go“, “Love In Song” and “Medicine Jar“, which were released on the “Venus And Mars” album.
  • The album is expected for release in early spring, when Wings will undertake a major world tour. “Venus And Mars” was released in May 1975, and the “Wings Over The World” tour started in September 1975.
  • ‘WALKING IN THE PARK WITH ELOISE’ by the Country Hams is released through EMI.” Released in October 1974.
  • PAUL AND LINDA were guests at The Faces Lewisham gig, where they joined Rod on stage to sing ‘Mine For Me’“. This concert was held on November 27, 1974.

NEWS IN BRIEF

‘JUNIOR’S FARM’ the new Wings single was composed by Paul and Linda on their farm in Scotland. Released on the 25th October, it is the first single to feature the new members, drummer Geoff Britton and guitarist Jimmy McCulloch ….WINGS recorded three tracks for their new album last November; they return to the studios to complete it in January and February. The album is expected for release in early spring, when Wings will undertake a major world tour …. PAUL AND LINDA fly to the States in early December for a short holiday, returning to England for Christmas … ‘WALKING IN THE PARK WITH ELOISE’ by the Country Hams is released through EMI. Record No. EMI 2220. The single was composed by Paul’s father, over twenty years ago. The b side ‘Bridge on the River Suite’ was composed by Paul and Linda. DENNY LAINE is currently preparing material for another solo album. ‘BAND ON THE RUN’ still in the British charts a whole year after its release last November. A lyric book featuring the songs of ‘BOTR’ and ‘Red Rose Speedway’ is now on sale from Chappels, 50 New Bond Street, London W.1…. ‘BAND ON THE RUN’ has been chosen as the theme song for the New York Yankees baseball team …. PAUL AND LINDA were guests at The Faces Lewisham gig, where they joined Rod on stage to sing ‘Mine For Me’, a track composed by Paul and Linda, for Rod’s solo album ‘Smiler’…. GEOFF represented Britain in a Karate competition against Japan held last Saturday, the 30th November. He fought in two bouts, in which he lost the first but won the second. England just managed to beat the strong Japanese team. […]

GEOFF BRITTON

Geoff Britton served his apprenticeship in the music business in bands like East of Eden and The WiId Angels. His wide scope as a drummer secured him a job with Wings. He’s as comfortable playing Country and Western, as he is playing raw Rock ‘n Roll. At the audition over fifty-two drummers were set through their paces, they were expected to cover a spectrum of music, which varied from a Kansas City Shuffle, Duke Ellington’s ‘Caravan’, a Herbie Mann tune, to a blues twelve eight number. This test sorted out the men from the boys, as far as music was concerned. We interviewed Geoff, shortly before the band were due to record Top of the Pops. To start, he told us a little about his major musical influences.

Geoff: “There were a load of them really. If you take progressive Jazz … I had lessons from Billy Joe Jones once; he’s out of the bop era, played with Miles Davis, etc. But I really dig people like Buddy Rich and guys like that and then in the pop or rock world you’ve got so many good people – in America you’ve got Jim Keltner and Billy Cotton jnr. and then in England you’ve got Ian Paice and Ringo. Really every big band at the moment has a good drummer. Take Kenny Jones of The Faces who I saw last night. I listen to them all, you know. As a kid I was infatuated with drumming, I used to play on biscuit tins in the garden. If I went to bed at night and there would be a clip from ‘The Benny Goodman Story’ or something, my parents would give me a quick shout and I’d come racing down. I begged them for a drum kit, as I was convinced that I was going to be a drummer, but because the family didn’t have any musical interests, they didn’t take me seriously.”

Question: “Were your parents just unperceptive about music or did they want you to do something else?”

Geoff: “They wanted me to do something else. The music business had a lot of adverse publicity in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s; jazz had the drug problem, and Rock ‘n Roll was pretty anti-social – the riots, the long hair etc. – so I think parents in those days weren’t quite as enlightened as they are today, and joining a group was almost like joining a band of desperados!”

Question: “But you seem more jazz orientated, which was surely more respectable?”

Geoff: ‘‘No, it wasn’t at that time. You had the real finger-throbbing, gumchewing, smoking hash image, against the pop image of booze and punch-ups. All the major figures – Charlie Parker, Billie Holliday, Gene Kruppa were viIIans as far as the social world was concerned. When I first started out, I joined a Country and Western circuit group called The King Pins, working every night in a different pub all around the London area. Then East of Eden, which was the first of the road groups I’d been in; getting into transits, getting out at Newcastle, playing a gig, getting back in and on to the next place. The real apprenticeship, you know, the rest, by comparison, is easy. It was a real cult, underground type of band. We moved on the same circuit as Free and Yes. From there I joined another band which I haven’t previously talked about. I did a year’s stint with a group called Gun, which had a hit record, ‘Race with the Devil’. When I had enough of that, I had the choice of joining either Uriah Heap or The Wild Angels. Well at this stage I was so involved In my Karate that the Angels seemed a better bet because the music was fun, the guys were fun, and I liked the leather jacket idea. It appealed to me, I fancied a really heavy band, as I’d been in progressive bands. Anyway, by the time they made it, there were hardly any original members left, so I thought I’d blow it, Karate was more important now, Karate’s more personal to me. I’m reliable to myself in Karate.

“How did you get involved with Karate?”

“Through East of Eden actually, about five years ago. We’d just finished a gig in Hamburg. It was a nice night, so I decided to walk home and some guys set about me. You see, in those days long hair was just becoming tolerable in England, but they were still behind on the Continent, so when you turned up there with long hair, the local lads thought: Hullo, we’ll have a bit of fun here! I just knew they were going to pick on me, it’s just one of those things. There was the language problem – I couldn’t sort of say anything- but I got off that, and ran across the road nearly getting run down because of the German traffic. It was such a bad experience that I thought, Blimey, I’m not going to let that happen again.”

“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.”

“To what degree is the forthcoming Wings album influenced by NashviIle?”

“Probably, not much, but the b side of the single, ‘Sally G’ was a direct influence. But the album as such, was already in conception before we went, so there’s probably very Iittle influence there, but then, everything influences everything in life. With making an album, you go in with this idea and that idea, and on plastic it doesn’t work as it did in your head, so you revamp it or whatever and then you come across something by accident and it’s great. Recently in the studio I was playing a drum part, and afterwards they had kept the tape running, I’d been fooling about on milk bottles. Paul thought it was great. But really it was a pure accident, and this happens all the time when you’re recording.”

“Is the album more of a direct progression of ‘Band on the Run?'”

“Yeh, the whole things going to flow, so it’ll be more of a concept album.”

“To end, could you tell us what Wings are planning for the immediate future?”

“The plan is for a world tour, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Hawaii, then America, the Continent and Britain. Perhaps we’ll do some sort of charity gig in England before we go, and play somewhere Iike Yugoslavia to loosen the band up.”

Last updated on August 1, 2022

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