Recording the live section of "James Paul McCartney" TV special

Sunday, March 18, 1973 • For Paul McCartney

Part of

"James Paul McCartney" sessions

February - March 1973

Elstree Film Studios, Borehamwood, UK

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[…] The film includes a pub sequence with friends and relatives in Liverpool and a live sequence which took place on Sunday 18th March at the ATV Elstree Studios in Boreham Wood.

The band arrived on stage at about a 1/4 to 8, mirrors and everybody seated on the floor in a very crowded studio helped the atmosphere tremendously. – A surprise beforehand when Henry and Denny L. wandered down past the crowds waiting to get in. Nobody batted an eyelid, cool reaction? or did the potential audience know only one member of the band they were about to see? – Paul was wearing a white battle jacket top, suit and black shirt. Linda with her new short hairstyle was dressed in yellow wearing suit and boots and plaits in her hair. Around her neck was a wide choker of beads similar to some Paul was wearing, – perhaps ones they bought in Marrakesh? Henry wore a sequined ‘Pearly Kid’ waistcoat and Denny L. wore a silk jacket and green pants, – let us not forget Denny Seiwell, dress in beige, in fact they all looked mighty fine.

The first number was quite a surprise: Long and Winding Road. Incomparable with the version on Let It Be, – perhaps it was the live feel, more probably because this time it was Paul’s song interpreted Paul’s way instead of Phil Spector’s way. Denny Laine was on bass as he was whenever Paul was on piano. Linda did not take part in this number, but moved around taking her own personal shots of the band. Straight into ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’ and the audience certainly were. Listening to the track as performed on ‘McCartney’ does not portray half the excellence of this number as performed live now. Paul puts so very much into it – as he did for every number in the show – he really stretches his vocal energy to a peak, in that well-known fashion of his. APPLAUSE!!

‘When the Night’, a song from Red Rose Speedway, is just beautiful with excellent harmonies from Denny L., Henry and Linda. Most of you will have heard ‘The Mess’ by the time you read this. It’s the rock B-side to the new single, the beautiful ballad that received much acclaim on the tour, – ‘My Love’. ‘My Love’ is on the album but ‘The Mess’ will not be, and this is the first time Paul has ever released a ‘preview’ single – a number off an album, previous to the release of the album. Release date March 23rd. This single release emphasises still further Wings’ versatility, compare: Ireland:Mary:Little Woman Love:C Moon:Hi Hi Hi:My Love:The Mess! Both tracks are Paul and Linda comps, and produced by Paul. With ‘The Mess’ Paul invites us to get up and dance Wild Life another number where Paul really stretches his vocals to the full extreme and one cannot doubt his feelings for the words he sings.

Denny L. takes over with ‘Go Now’ the track he wrote and made No.1 when he was with the Moody Blues, and the track which made Paul an admirer of his. The rock sound of Hi Hi Hi and everybody really starts to get in and enjoy themselves.

With Long Tall Sally some people get up but as always when things seem to be getting really under way, it’s over; – thankfully not completely, and in 1/4 of an hour they return. Paul announces that the set must be repeated cos of the ATV filming, evidently response wasn’t really acceptable. There’s a better reaction to all numbers this time but one feels it’s slightly ‘arranged’. But considering it was a TV filming there was as much spontaneity as could possibly be expected. With everyone on their feet Hi Hi Hi is played twice this time, the second being at a different tempo. A quick exit is made at a good point when everyone was on their feet and moving to Mr. McCartney and the band. The variety of the numbers had obviously been chosen to ‘cater for everyone’ and so they did. […]

From Wings Fun Club newsletter #1

Fans comments on ATV filming (some of the fans were able to attend this, the rest of you will have read the write up last time and seen the finished result as part of the ATV special).

”I took a friend of mine along who wasn’t particularly interested in Wings at the time. Anyway after the first half when Wings had just left the stage she turned to me and said ’How many LPs did you say Paul’s made since the Beatles split, ’cos I’ll have to get them all after that, won’t I? And now she’s a devout fan like me. But who wouldn’t be after a concert like that?” – Jane Hill

’’Sunday 18th was tremendous, I brought my friend down who was mad keen on Slade, but now I hear nothing from him about them, all he talks about is Sunday 18th and WINGS. It was good to hear McCartney do ’The Long and Winding Road’, without the strings and also good to hear again, was ‘Go Now’, a brilliant song… looking forward to the tour. – Phil

From Wings Fun Club newsletter #2

In the evening, Wings played their first-ever live performance in London at the Hard Rock Cafe.

Too bad, there is no song listed for this session. Help us fill the track list for this session by writing a comment!

Going further

Paul McCartney: Music Is Ideas. The Stories Behind the Songs (Vol. 1) 1970-1989

With 25 albums of pop music, 5 of classical – a total of around 500 songs – released over the course of more than half a century, Paul McCartney's career, on his own and with Wings, boasts an incredible catalogue that's always striving to free itself from the shadow of The Beatles. The stories behind the songs, demos and studio recordings, unreleased tracks, recording dates, musicians, live performances and tours, covers, events: Music Is Ideas Volume 1 traces McCartney's post-Beatles output from 1970 to 1989 in the form of 346 song sheets, filled with details of the recordings and stories behind the sessions. Accompanied by photos, and drawing on interviews and contemporary reviews, this reference book draws the portrait of a musical craftsman who has elevated popular song to an art-form.

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Eight Arms to Hold You: The Solo Beatles Compendium

We owe a lot to Chip Madinger and Mark Easter for the creation of those session pages, but you really have to buy this book to get all the details!

Eight Arms To Hold You: The Solo Beatles Compendium is the ultimate look at the careers of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr beyond the Beatles. Every aspect of their professional careers as solo artists is explored, from recording sessions, record releases and tours, to television, film and music videos, including everything in between. From their early film soundtrack work to the officially released retrospectives, all solo efforts by the four men are exhaustively examined.

As the paperback version is out of print, you can buy a PDF version on the authors' website

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