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PaulMcCartney.com: Wings Over America was released after the band’s huge Wings Over The World 1975-76 tour. Are there any stand-out memories from the tour and album?
Paul: Well, this was the first time we started playing The Beatles songs again. So, I think, from the tours before it had been mostly Wings songs. Wings had been becoming Wings. And then on this tour, everything sort of exploded. Previously all of the efforts had been to establish Wings and to make something that wasn’t like a Beatles tribute band. But once we had a few hits with Wings – and ‘Band on the Run’ was a really big hit album – we had some of these hits in our repertoire, and it did feel like, ‘Oh, it’s okay, now we can do Beatles stuff!’ And It was quite a relief in a way because I’m always sort of conscious of what the audience wants, because my audience isn’t a narrow audience, it’s quite a wide group of people. There’s a very good chance that they want to hear hits that they’ve heard you do in your career. So, if you don’t do ‘Hey Jude’ they’re probably a bit disappointed, you know. And we hadn’t done anything like that at that point. So, it was kind of nice to be able to loosen up a bit and start playing songs that you thought the audience had come to hear.
PM.com: So, you felt you were able to pull from your whole catalogue?
Paul: Yeah, that was nice and kind of opened up to what I do nowadays. Which is quite a lot of Beatles stuff, then sort of quite a bit of Wings and solo stuff. So yeah, that was the beginning of allowing myself to do Beatles songs again because before that I thought I’d never get Wings together. I’d just fall back on The Beatles, and that would be very difficult for Wings to establish an identity. But once we got to ’75-76, we had enough of an identity with the Wings stuff. So putting the two together was the winning formula, you know!
And also, another thing, by that time the band was good. With Wings, I always knew we would have to take a few years of trials and tribulations. That was the same with The Beatles. We had gone to Hamburg, played around all the clubs in Liverpool before anyone had really heard us. You know, only the local audiences knew us before we had even made a record. We’d done a lot of work getting our skills together, so now I had to do this all again with Wings. But by Wings Over America, and by the world tours, we’d pretty much done that. We now knew what Wings were.
PM.com: Wings had their own identity at this point?
Paul: Yeah! We flew around the world cause we had Wings! [Laughs]