The Paul McCartney Project

Red Rose Speedway

Timeline See what happened in May 1973
UK release date:
May 04, 1973
US release date:
Apr 30, 1973
Sessions This album has been recorded during the following sessions

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Track list

Disc 1


1.

Big Barn Bed

Written by Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney

3:49 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Piano, Producer, Vocals
Linda McCartney:
Backing vocals, Producer
Denny Laine:
Acoustic guitar, Backing vocals
Henry McCullough:
Backing vocals, Electric guitar
Denny Seiwell:
Drums
Dixon Van Winkle:
Recording
Glyn Johns:
Recording
Richard Lush:
Recording
Alan Parsons:
Mixing, Recording
Tim Geeland:
Recording
David Hentschel:
Recording

Session Recording:
March 1972
Studio:
Olympic Sound Studios, London

Session Mixing:
Jan 09, 1973
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Credits & recording details courtesy of Luca Perasi • Buy Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013) on Amazon


2.

My Love

Written by Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney

4:12 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Electric piano, Producer, Vocals
Linda McCartney:
Backing vocals
Denny Laine:
Backing vocals, Bass
Henry McCullough:
Electric guitar
Denny Seiwell:
Drums

Session Recording:
Jan 26, 1973
Studio:
AIR Studios, London, UK

Session Overdubs:
Jan 27, 1973
Studio:
AIR Studios, London, UK

Session Mixing:
Jan 27, 1973
Studio:
AIR Studios, London, UK

Credits & recording details courtesy of Luca Perasi • Buy Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013) on Amazon


3.

Get On The Right Thing

Written by Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney

4:18 • Studio versionA

Session Recording:
Oct 14, 1970
Studio:
CBS Studios, New York City

Credits & recording details courtesy of Luca Perasi • Buy Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013) on Amazon


4.

One More Kiss

Written by Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney

2:32 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitar, Vocals
Linda McCartney:
Electric harpsichord
Denny Laine:
Bass
Henry McCullough:
Electric guitar
Denny Seiwell:
Drums

Session Mixing:
Dec 12, 1972
Studio:
EMI Studios, Room 4, Abbey Road

Credits & recording details courtesy of Luca Perasi • Buy Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013) on Amazon


5.

Little Lamb Dragonfly

Written by Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney

6:20 • Studio versionA

Session Recording:
Nov 19, 1970
Studio:
CBS Studios, New York City

Credits & recording details courtesy of Luca Perasi • Buy Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013) on Amazon


6.

Single Pigeon

Written by Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney

1:53 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Backing vocals, Piano, Producer, Vocals
Linda McCartney:
Backing vocals
Denny Laine:
Bass (?), Drums (?)
Henry McCullough:
Acoustic guitar
Denny Seiwell:
Bass (?), Drums (?), Trumpet (?)

Session Recording:
March 1972
Studio:
Olympic Sound Studios, London

Credits & recording details courtesy of Luca Perasi • Buy Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013) on Amazon


7.

When The Night

Written by Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney

3:41 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Piano, Producer, Vocals
Linda McCartney:
Backing vocals, Electric piano
Denny Laine:
Acoustic guitar, Backing vocals
Henry McCullough:
Acoustic guitar, Backing vocals
Denny Seiwell:
Backing vocals, Drums

Session Recording:
March 1972
Studio:
Olympic Sound Studios, London

Session Mixing:
Jan 09, 1973
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Credits & recording details courtesy of Luca Perasi • Buy Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013) on Amazon


8.

Loup (1st Indian On The Moon)

Written by Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney

4:23 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitar, Backing vocals, Bass, Moog, Producer
Linda McCartney:
Backing vocals, Organ
Denny Laine:
Backing vocals, Electric guitar
Henry McCullough:
Backing vocals, Electric guitar
Denny Seiwell:
Backing vocals, Drums, Percussion

Session Recording:
March 1972
Studio:
Olympic Sound Studios, London

Session Mixing:
Jan 10, 1973
Studio:
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Credits & recording details courtesy of Luca Perasi • Buy Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013) on Amazon


9.

Medley


1.

Hold Me Tight

Written by Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney

11:25 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Backing vocals, Bass, Piano, Producer, Vocals
Linda McCartney:
Backing vocals
Denny Laine:
Acoustic guitar (?), Backing vocals, Electric guitar
Henry McCullough:
Acoustic guitar (?), Backing vocals, Electric guitar
Denny Seiwell:
Backing vocals, Drums

Session Recording:
Sep 15, 1972
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Credits & recording details courtesy of Luca Perasi • Buy Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013) on Amazon


2.

Lazy Dynamite

Written by Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney

0:00 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Backing vocals, Bass, Mellotron, Piano, Producer, Vocals
Denny Laine:
Harmonica
Henry McCullough:
Electric guitar
Denny Seiwell:
Drums, Percussion

Session Recording:
Sep 16, 1972
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Credits & recording details courtesy of Luca Perasi • Buy Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013) on Amazon


3.

Hands Of Love

Written by Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney

0:00 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitar, Ocarina, Producer, Vocals
Linda McCartney:
Backing vocals
Denny Laine:
Electric guitar
Henry McCullough:
Percussion
Denny Seiwell:
Congas, Drums, Percussion

Session Recording:
Oct 01, 1972
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Credits & recording details courtesy of Luca Perasi • Buy Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013) on Amazon


4.

Power Cut

Written by Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney

0:00 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Backing vocals, Bass, Celeste, Mellotron, Piano, Producer, Vocals
Linda McCartney:
Backing vocals, Electric piano
Denny Laine:
Backing vocals, Electric guitar
Henry McCullough:
Backing vocals, Electric guitar
Denny Seiwell:
Drums

Credits & recording details courtesy of Luca Perasi • Buy Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013) on Amazon

About

Red Rose Speedway was such a non-confident record … There was “My Love” but something was missing. We needed a heavier sound … It was a terribly unsure period.

Linda McCartney to Sounds magazine, 1976

From Wikipedia:

Red Rose Speedway is the second studio album by Paul McCartney and Wings. The album was released in 1973 after the relatively weak commercial performance of Wings’ previous album, Wild Life. Red Rose Speedway reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart in the United States and “My Love” was a No. 1 single in the US and the most popular track from the album.

Background

In early 1972, McCartney decided to expand Wings to a five-piece band, by adding another guitarist, and to begin touring with the group. The group spent several months on the road across Europe, beginning with a tour of British universities.

Despite not releasing an album in 1972, Wings managed to release three singles: “Give Ireland Back to the Irish” which was banned by the BBC for political reasons; “Mary Had a Little Lamb“; and “Hi, Hi, Hi“, which was banned by the BBC for drug references and sexually suggestive lyrics.

Recording

Recording for Red Rose Speedway began in March 1972. It was initially planned as a double album, and McCartney decided to include some unreleased songs that had originally been recorded during the Ram sessions prior to the formation of Wings. Two of those songs, “Get on the Right Thing” and “Little Lamb Dragonfly“, appeared on the final album. Beginning on 19 March, sessions were held at Olympic Studios in London, after which recording continued sporadically throughout the year. Glyn Johns was invited to produce the Olympic sessions, but left after only a few weeks due to disagreements with McCartney. At the start of the sessions McCartney asked Johns to not think of him as Paul McCartney but rather just as “the bass player in the band” but then wasn’t receptive to Johns’ input. Johns was also unimpressed with the quality of the material, reading the newspaper in the control room while the band smoked marijuana and jammed aimlessly in the studio. More recording took place over October and November 1972 at Abbey Road Studios and Olympic. Morgan, Trident and Island were the other London studios where the band recorded that year.

The album was cut down to a single disc by McCartney – according to Henry McCullough, in an attempt to release a more commercial and less expensive record. The decision came about through EMI, however; in addition to believing that the material was not of a sufficiently high standard, the record company were mindful of the modest commercial performance of Wild Life and Wings’ early singles. The album ends with an 11-minute medley of the songs “Hold Me Tight“, “Lazy Dynamite“, “Hands of Love” and “Power Cut“, which was made in a similar style to the Beatles’ Abbey Road medley. “Power Cut” was written during the 1972 miners’ strike. Laine later expressed his disappointment that only a single album was issued, saying that in its original form, Red Rose Speedway was “more of a showcase for the band“. Among the omissions were his composition “I Would Only Smile“, and “I Lie Around“, on which Laine also sung the lead vocal. McCullough was similarly disappointed that several of McCartney’s rock-oriented tracks were cut from the album, which focused instead on the more lightweight material.

Live and Let Die“, the title song to the James Bond film of the same name, was recorded during the sessions for Red Rose Speedway, but would instead be released on the Live and Let Die soundtrack album. Laine included “I Would Only Smile” on his 1980 solo album Japanese Tears. “Mama’s Little Girl” was recorded during the sessions and would later turn up as the B-side of McCartney’s “Put It There” single in 1990. Among the other discarded tracks were “Night Out“, “Jazz Street“, “Best Friend“, “Thank You Darling“, “The Mess” and a cover version of Thomas Wayne’s song “Tragedy“.

Release

The album was preceded by the March 1973 release of its lead single, “My Love” backed with “The Mess“. The latter song was recorded live during the band’s summer 1972 European tour. With Apple Records giving precedence to two Beatles compilation albums – 1962–1966 and 1967–1970Red Rose Speedway was not issued until 30 April 1973, in the United States, with the UK release following on 4 May. The album’s packaging included a 12-page booklet stapled into the gatefold sleeve, featuring pictures from Wings’ live shows as well as montage art that included numerous semi-nude images of women from previous eras. Its cover design – with the cover shot of a Harley-Davidson shovelhead engine by Linda McCartney – was by Eduardo Paolozzi, while the back cover contains a Braille message of “We love ya baby” for Stevie Wonder.

My Love” peaked at number 9 on the UK singles chart, and topped the US Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard Adult Contemporary charts. It raised expectations for the album, which peaked at number 5 in the UK and went to number 1 in the US.

The original compact disc version, released by EMI’s Fame label on 5 October 1987, contained three bonus tracks: “I Lie Around“, “Country Dreamer” and “The Mess (Live at The Hague)”. An LP version of this CD edition was also released on the same day, omitting the bonus tracks. In 1993, Red Rose Speedway was remastered and reissued on CD as part of ‘The Paul McCartney Collection’ series, with “C Moon“, “Hi, Hi, Hi“, “The Mess (Live at The Hague)” (the B-side to “My Love”) and “I Lie Around” (the B-side to “Live and Let Die”) as bonus tracks. “Country Dreamer” was later added to the reissue Band on the Run from the same series.

Critical reception

Red Rose Speedway received a mixed response from contemporary music critics, many of whom dismissed its songs as mediocre. According to author and critic Bob Woffinden, writing in 1981, the album was an example of McCartney “continu[ing] to exasperate his audience” before he and Wings would finally win full respect with the late 1973 release of Band on the Run. John Pidgeon of Let It Rock found the side-two medley typical of McCartney’s “lazy” attitude to songwriting and said: “Red Rose Speedway sounds as if it was written after a big tea in front of the fire with carpet-slippered feet up; listening to it takes about as much as going ten rounds with a marshmallow fairy.” Pidgeon concluded by likening the album to The Emperor’s New Clothes, ruing that McCartney appeared to have no one to challenge his judgment or “kick his arse”. Village Voice critic Robert Christgau derided McCartney’s reliance on “aimless whimsy” and described the work as “Quite possibly the worst album ever made by a rock and roller of the first rank”. McCartney himself later dismissed the album, saying “After I heard Wild Life, which was Wings’ first album, I thought: “Hell. We have really blown it here.” And the next one after that, Red Rose Speedway, I couldn’t stand.”

According to author Michael Frontani, however, a generally favourable review in Rolling Stone, written by musician Lenny Kaye, signified a turnaround from a publication that had been openly hostile towards McCartney since 1970. Frontani adds: “While McCartney’s music would continue to be criticized by some commentators as vacuous and facile, Kaye’s review appears to mark the point where art of consequence was no longer required of McCartney by rock critics …” Ian Dove of The New York Times noted that McCartney’s work continued to pale beside that of his former bandmates John Lennon and George Harrison but deemed Red Rose Speedway his best album yet. Writing in the NME, Tony Tyler acknowledged that the album was “lightweight” and lacking in “intellectual posture” but added: “with all the current heaviness and after-me-the-apocalypse brainstuds around, I for one am bloody pleased to discover a lightweight record that not only fails to alienate, but actually succeeds in impressing via good melodic structure, excellent playing and fine production.”

Like the NME, Rolling Stone soon changed its opinion of Red Rose Speedway. Writing in The Rolling Stone Record Guide (1979), John Swenson said that the album displayed “the worst aspects of McCartney as solo artist and band-leader” and was “rife with weak and sentimental drivel”. In his 1977 book The Beatles Forever, Nicholas Schaffner described it as “pleasingly plump music – charming, harmless, entertaining fluff … a perfect background to lazy afternoons in the sun”.

AllMusic editor Stephen Thomas Erlewine considers Red Rose Speedway to be McCartney’s “most disjointed album” and “deliberately slight … in the way a snapshot album is important to a family yet glazes the eyes of any outside observer”, but he adds: “Work your way into the inner circle, and McCartney’s little flourishes are intoxicating – not just the melodies, but the facile production and offhand invention.” Beatles biographer Robert Rodriguez views it as “a wildly uneven assortment of songs”, of which the selections comprising the Abbey Road-style medley “aren’t merely half-finished – they’re half-assed”. While describing Glyn Johns’ disparaging comments about the finished album as “harsh”, Howard Sounes writes: “but in a record review one couldn’t award it more than three out of five stars.” […]

Original double album track listing

Originally planned as a double album, this is the track listing from the acetates of the early incarnation of the album dated 13 December 1972. Most tracks left off the released version ended up on B-sides, but some are still officially unreleased.

McCartney will be releasing the double album officially in December 2018 as ‘Red Rose Speedway: Reconstructed’ as a bonus CD in the Super Deluxe configuration of ‘Red Rose Speedway’, and separately on 2 LP vinyl. […]

Last updated on November 25, 2018


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