Wings Fun Club newsletter August 1976 published

August 1976

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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

At an elegantly sophisticated party held at Harold Lloyd’s Beverly Hills mansion on 24th June, Wings celebrated the culmination of their outstandingly successful tour of the United States. The invitations asked guests to wear white, which not only provided an ethereal, fairy-like quality to the figures moving about from tent to tent on the lawn of the great house, but also provided unique backgrounds for the artistry of the Hawaiian painters who Paul and Linda had asked to spray the clothes of the guests.

Altogether it was a painterly scene: with white tablecloths and flowers reflecting the dress of the guests, among whom were Jack Nicholson, Rod Stewart, Warren Beatty, Tony Curtis, David Cassidy and the Beach Boys, to name only a few. The party began at eight o’clock, with food at ten, followed by a disco at the poolside. Nelson Riddle’s Orchestra provided the music, and other entertainment included a variety show as well as two ballets and the performance of a brass quintet. It was a leisurely and fitting finale to what was the most extensive and significant tour that Wings have made so far.

After having to re-arrange the tour because of Jimmy’s injury to his hand, sustained after the final Paris concert in March, Wings opened their tour on 3rd May in Fort Worth, Texas, to a sell-out crowd of 14,000 at the TCCC, where the audience delivered a fifteen minute standing ovation before a single note had been played!

Clearly Americans had waited a long time for this moment, and before Wings had finished, they had played 34 concerts in 21 cities to an estimated 600,000 persons. The newspapers were ecstatic in their praise the following day, with John Rockwell of the prestigious New York Times declaring “… (It) was an impressively polished yet vital performance. Wings is a good band”. They had gone to America to underline that fact.

As they crossed America, adulation and acclamation met them wherever they appeared. The band travelled to and from their four base establishments – Dallas, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles – in a private jet, which was almost like doing a nightly commuter trek into and back from each city. It also ensured that a degree of normality could be achieved for the families and children of the band members involved in the tour, by providing relatively stable base establishments. As in previous tours, Wings brought along a video machine and tapes of such films as “Moses”, “Dog Day Afternoon”, “Next Stop” and “Greenwich Village” for post concert relaxation.

City followed city: Washington, D.C. where, with festival seating, over 22,000 fans screamed for Wings. Among the audience were members of the Eagles and Linda Rondstadt; Atlanta, where Peaches Record Store, who sport a pavement of stars’ hand and footprints outside their store (similar to that of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood) invited band members to add theirs to the collection. However the police thought that if they went downtown to do it, it would cause such a terrible traffic jam that they decided to bring the pavement to them! A truck arrived with blue cement, they climbed into it and left their prints, which were returned to the pavement, when dry, outside the store; Toronto – before a crowd of 18.000; Boston Garden with a capacity crowd of 15,509. And on to Madison Square Garden in New York City, for two concerts on 24th and 25th May, where traffic was blocked after the radio announced that tickets were available. Disappointed fans had to be dispersed by mounted police. […]

I myself travelled to see these two concerts in New York with other British members of the Fun Club, on a chartered plane organised by the Daily Mirror Pop Club. Having attended concerts recently in England where there is simply no comparison in venue size with those in the U.S., I was struck at the outset by the electric atmosphere generated in a crowd numbering 20,000, thronging in to see an event they had so long awaited. When the lights finally dimmed, and the thousands of bubbles began pouring onstage for the opening number, “Venus and Mars”, the crowd’s energy erupted, as it was to do almost constantly throughout the evening, expressed, however, in an entirely different manner from the hysteria of the 1960s. The crowd was completely captivated by the music on stage, which lost nothing of its vitality by being so tight and polished musically, and showed their respect for it. Only when the applause burst out did the power from such a number of people become really felt. “They don’t scream like they used to…”, said Paul to a newsman, but that was because they were listening, which was the way he wanted it.

As perhaps with most crowds of that size, there was a general movement of people going on throughout the concerts (unusual at smaller concerts in this country), although a large part of it was caused by the enthusiasm of people trying to capture the moment with their Nikons and Pentaxes. The array of photographic equipment trained on that stage was staggering to say the least!

The crowd was bowled over by the ensuing numbers, “Rock Show”, “Jet”, “Let Me Roll It”, “Spirits of Ancient Egypt”, “Medicine Jar” to “Live and Let Die”, but the perfection of the acoustic section (culminating in Paul’s solo rendition of “Blackbird” and “Yesterday”) sent the crowd into ecstacy.

The lighting and staging mirrored and complemented the music onstage. It was simple but dazzling. Along with bubbles and strobes, Wings added dramatic green laser beams which shot out at the huge Garden through smoke during “live and Let Die” and “Hi, Hi, Hi”, which was a joint encore with “Soily” (more unknown in the U.S. than in Europe where it has been performed more frequently on tour.)

After the thunderous applause for the last number, “Band on the Run”, had died down, the vast Garden became eerily silent waiting for the first encore and, following the custom at U.S. concerts, thousands of small white lights from matches, candles and cigarette lighters suddenly appeared, flickering through the tiers of the arena. It was a most moving homage to a truly marvellous performance. Firecrackers added to the enthusiasm after the final encore. When the Garden had finally cleared, the members of the band came down into the audience to be photographed with the Daily Mirror Pop Club fans from home.

The second show I saw seemed to surpass even the first in its sheer brilliance. The band so obviously enjoy themselves onstage, which is, of course, one of the components of their rapport with the audience. Spectators once again got a full two hours and forty minutes of solid, brilliant music, without a backup band or intermission. As on ‘Wings at the Speed of Sound’, the concerts reflected each band member’s talents within the unity of the group. Linda’s keyboards and vocals were very solid, in a programme where harmonies are so much a feature. Denny’s versatility from guitar to keyboard to vocals and drumming (on “Let ‘Em ln”) were simply flawless, as were Jimmy’s very laid-back solos (such as on “Spirits of Ancient Egypt”) and Joe’s drumming was outstanding all the way. As on previous tours, Wings were accompanied by their fantastic horn section: Tony Dorsey (trombone); Howie Casey (tenor sax); Steve Howard, Jr. (trumpet); and Thaddeus Richa rd (sax-flute). Steve Howard had a particularly beautiful solo in “Long and Winding Road”, and Tony Dorsey introduced a little Motown-style choreography into what was then the number one U.S. single, “Silly Love Songs”, which was very winning. The horn section was re-staged slightly from their U.K. and European tours, and were more effectively lit up.

So the band rolled on … to Seattle, the largest of the venues, where the queue began forming early the day before Wings were to appear at the Kingdome Stadium. The audience was recorded at 67,100 being 1100 over the fixed-seat capacity of the Kingdome, and creating a new world record for a single act, single performance. An enormous screen projected the onstage activities simultaneously during the concert.

At Los Angeles the Ticketron headquarters sold 2,000 seats in the first nine minutes, and at the L.A. Forum, where they did two shows, 40,000 tickets went in less than four hours. A planeload of Japanese “Wingers” flew to L.A. for the concerts on 21st and 22nd June.

An outstanding feature of the tour itself was the technical smoothness and expertise which lay behind such a venture, for which the Dallas-based Showco Inc. concert production company must share in the credit. Jack Maxon, their chief of production, told the Seattle Post Intelligence that the Seattle show presented different problems from the others for Showco, as they had to construct a huge scaffold for the equipment, whose output was estimated to be about 3,000 amps at 120 volts, “…which is about enough to run a small town!” It was a much larger PA system than was used anywhere previously, larger than either Woodstock or California Jam. The crew of 27 people comes from Dallas, and they travel in two old Continental Silver Eagle buses they rent from a company in Nashville, which are converted like Pullman cars, with bunks inside and TV, cassette players and refrigerators. The Showco people started off in England, and then went on to Australia and Europe with Wings, so that by the time they reached America, it was a well-tried, smooth running system, to which they just added more equipment to meet the increase in scale of the venues. They used five ‘semi’s’ (seven for Seattle) full of equipment. (A ‘semi’ is a 32 ton articulated truck). They had hundreds and hundreds of speakers, all designed to work together, enabling them to double easily the entire sound system. lt obviously paid off, as reviewer after reviewer commented on the excellence of the sound quality.

Undoubtedly “Wings Over America” was the outstanding band tour of many a year, which only just whetted the appetites of the American audiences. For many of those who attended, it will remain a treasured experience. After all, there are few bands about who surpass the quality of their recorded sound! American fans consider that the message left behind was, “WINGS RULE AMERICA!”

BEHIND THE SCENES

Paul was so pleased with the work of cameraman Gordon Bennett during his tour of Australia last year, that he asked him to accompany Wings on their tour of America, to produce a composite film of the Wings U.S. Tour. Gordon, who was a former head cameraman for the Australian Channel Seven TV Station, now runs, with his wife, a small film production company, Gordon Susan Bennett Associates.

Another interesting personality who accompanied Wings on the tour is Humphrey Ocean, a painter/illustratior, who had painted the inner sleeve illustration for ‘Wings at the Speed of Sound’. His brief was completely open and free: to do an artistic impression of the “Wings Over America” tour. While still at art college, Humphrey Changed direction and became bass-player with Kilburn and the High Roads, where he remained for eight months, before returning once again to his art. Before the Wings album, Humphrey’s album cover-art included that for Leo Sayer’s ‘Just a Boy’
and 10cc’s ‘Original Soundtrack’. The results of his work with Wings will probably be appearing as a book.

NEWS IN BRIEF

“Let ‘Em In” backed with “Beware My Love” released in U.K. as a single on 23rd July and has rushed into the charts (R. 6015) … There is a possibility of a Live Album from the World Tour … The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) awarded a “Platinum” for one million copies of ‘Wings at the Speed of Sound’ sold in the U.S. (A “Platinum” can also be given for two million copies of a single.) The records, which are gold or platinum plated, actually are one of the so-called “mothers” – metal discs made of nickel and silver used in the production of the record. The only snag is, that they can’t be played! … Paul was given a surprise Mexican birthday party in Tucson on 18th June … No Wings admirers – or anyone interested in the workings of a band today – should miss the superb book, The Facts About A Pop Group, featuring Wings, by David Gelly and photographed by Homer Sykes, with an introduction by Paul McCartney, which is published on 23rd September by G. Whizzard. Costing £1.95 and distributed by Andre Deutsch, it will be sold through U.K. record and book stores. It is a unique examination of all facets of a pop group, both on tour and during recording, illustrated by some great photographs. There’s not much left to tell about Wings which isn’t on record in this book! … Linda is planning another of her desk diaries for 1977.

Last updated on July 31, 2022

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