The Paul McCartney Project

Having a ‘Wonderful Christmastime’ with passionate Paul McCartney lead guitarist Laurence

Interview of Laurence Juber • Dec 23rd, 2017
Published by:
Medium
By:
Jeremy Roberts
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Interview

[…] Did Wings celebrate Christmas together?

Oh sure — there was always some recognition of the holiday. Paul’s office at MPL [McCartney Productions Ltd.] would always have a Christmas lunch. You know, just eating around a table with a certain kind of seasonal conviviality to it. On Christmas Day, obviously everybody was with their own family.

No one would get up and sing any songs. The time when there was cool performance stuff going on was, for example, when we were doing videos. I distinctly remember when we did the video for “Goodnight Tonight” [a No. 5 pop hit on both sides of the Atlantic].

In between takes, we were jamming all kinds of stuff. A lot of fun, kind of a Wings jam session when the cameras weren’t rolling. That would often happen when we were in a situation where we had instruments and there was some time to kill.

Although “Wonderful Christmastime” was a solo McCartney single, Wings appeared in the official music video and performed the song during their final tour.

When we did the video, it was our way of celebrating the Christmas season with everybody else. The band was only in the video — Paul played all the instruments on the studio version.

Wings performed the song during our November — December 1979 UK tour, since it was Paul’s new single. During that tour we also recorded our own version of “Coming Up,” which was quite different than the studio version Paul put on McCartney II [Wings’ live version became a No. 1 record in the USA].

The line between what Paul was doing solo and the band was not hard and fast. We were aware of the fact he was doing his solo project, so it wasn’t really much of an issue. That was right around the time I was working on my first solo project, Standard Time, so I was also busy doing my own thing.

It was a little crazy the first time Wings did “Wonderful Christmastime” live. They hadn’t told me there was going to be fake snow falling down. So I opened my mouth to sing the “choir of angels” backing vocals, and I got a mouthful of fake snow [laughs]. I don’t think any of my band mates noticed, but I’m sure some of the audience did.

I did notice on the Wikipedia page for “Wonderful Christmastime” that Paul has apparently said he doesn’t much like it. I couldn’t tell you how he currently feels about it.

“Wonderful Christmastime” is, I think, a better song than Paul gives himself credit for. Given the fact that last time I looked, it was in the Top 25 Christmas songs of all-time, that is something certainly to be proud of.

I can’t say that I was much of a fan of it to begin with. It’s not one of my favorite Christmas songs. I like the song better than I like the actual record. In terms of the kind of record making that it was, the fact that there’s a fun video for it, and it still gets played on the radio, you can’t argue with that.

“Wonderful Christmastime” is going on my Christmas list of songs to arrange and record someday — it definitely has possibilities. I’ll have to come up with a solo guitar arrangement for it, since I’ve never done an arrangement of it to perform at one of my solo shows. […]


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