Recording the "Wild Life" album

Jul 24 - Oct 17, 1971 • For Wings

Album Songs recorded during this session officially appear on the Wild Life LP.
Studio:
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Master release


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About

In May / June 1971, Paul and Linda McCartney were at their farm in Scotland, and Paul started forming the idea of creating a new band.

Sometime in June 1971, Paul McCartney called Denny Seiwell and Hugh McCracken, the players who participated in the recording of the album “RAM“, and invited them and their wives for some holidays in Scotland. Denny accepted Paul’s offer to join his new band, but Hugh refused.

In mid-July, Paul contacted Denny Laine and asked him to come and join the band as well.

From July 20 to 22, Paul, Linda and the two Dennys spent three days rehearsing at Paul’s farm in Scotland, in a small barn equipped with a four-track machine and named Rude Studio. At the end of those rehearsals, Paul decided the band should go into a recording studio. On July 23, they took a private flight to London, and start the recording of their first album, “Wild Life“.

The sessions were booked under the pseudonym Sam Browne. The recording engineer was Tony Clark, who last worked with Paul on the “Thrillington” project, in June 1971. Alan Parsons was one of the assistant engineers (he was assistant engineer during the “Abbey Road” sessions in 1969, and more recently on “Thrillington” as well); Chris Blair was the other one.


From Wikipedia:

[…] In July 1971, with a fresh set of McCartney tunes, the newly formed Wings recorded the album in slightly more than a week with the mindset that it had to be instant and raw in order to capture the freshness and vitality of a live studio recording. Five of the eight songs were recorded in one take. Paul McCartney later cited the quick recording schedule of Bob Dylan as an inspiration for this. The first session was held at Abbey Road Studios on 24 July. Footage of McCartney playing “Bip Bop” and “Hey Diddle” from around this time was later included in the made-for-TV film Wings Over the World.

The album was rehearsed at McCartney’s recording studio in Scotland dubbed Rude Studio, which Paul and Linda had used to make demos of songs that would be used in the album, and recorded at Abbey Road with Tony Clark and Alan Parsons engineering. Paul had lead vocal parts on all tracks, sharing those duties with Linda on “I Am Your Singer” and “Some People Never Know”. “Tomorrow” features background vocals from Denny Laine and Linda McCartney.

After the rehearsals at Rude, the recording moved to Abbey Road Studios, where the album was completed in a few weeks. According to drummer Denny Seiwell, five of the eight recorded tracks were done in one take. One almost definite example of this is “Mumbo”, the opener on the album. According to Clark, they were just jamming and Clark decided to start recording. McCartney, upon noticing, shouted “Take it, Tony” and started ad-libbing lyrics.

On the promotional album The Complete Audio Guide to the Alan Parsons Project, Parsons discusses how he did a rough mix of “I Am Your Singer” that Paul liked so much, he used it for the final mix on the album.


Dylan inspired “Wild Life” because we heard he had been in the studio and done an album in just a week. So we thought of doing it like that, putting down the spontaneous stuff and not being too careful. So it came out a bit like that. We wrote the tracks in the summer, Linda and I, we wrote them in Scotland in the summer while the lambs we gambolling. We spent two weeks on the “Wild Life” album all together. At that time, it was just when I had rung Denny Laine up a few days before and he came up to where we were to rehearse for one or two days.

Paul McCartney – Quoted from How Bob Dylan inspired the Wings album ‘Wild Life’ (faroutmagazine.co.uk)

Our first album was recorded in just two weeks. I’d read that Bob Dylan had just made a quick album, and I really liked the idea, because we tended to take longer and longer to make records. The early albums by the Beatles hadn’t taken long and it seemed to me that Dylan was getting back to that. I was a great admirer of his – and still am to this day – so I thought ‘Well, if it’s good enough for him, let’s do it.’ So I got the band together and said that we should make it quickly, doing it almost live.

Linda was heavily pregnant with Stella while we were recording the band’s first album. The family thing was already intertwining: we were starting a family and we were making an album. If she’d have wanted to stop the sessions we would have done, but it just didn’t arise. A lot of women work until two weeks before the baby is due and that’s what Linda did. Even though it was a rock band, it was still a job.

Paul McCartney – From “Wingspan: Paul McCartney’s Band on the Run“, 2002

After the criticism of McCartney, I put so much into Ram to try and please myself and the critics. With Wings’ Wild Life, I don’t care if people don’t like it… I like it… I didn’t write anything consciously. Sometimes when I’m pissed off with John over the Apple business, a line might creep in. I suppose when I wrote ‘Too many people preaching practices / Don’t let them tell you what you want to be,’ that was at him. If there’s anything on this album, ‘Dear Friend’ is the nearest thing to that.”

Paul McCartney – From “The Beatles: Off The Record 2 – The Dream is Over: Dream Is Over Vol 2” by Keith Badman

What was doing the “Wild Life” album like?

That was a fun record to make. That was our way of giving the world a first impression of a new band. I think five of the eight tracks on that album were first takes; we didn’t want to go in there and just make a studio version that was every trick in the recording industry books. We just wanted to give the world a really truthful, honest, fair look at a new band and what it was gonna be. We made that record in very little time, maybe a weekend of three, four days of recording, and then some overdubs and mix. That album was a lot of fun to make.

Denny Seiwell – Interview from Beatlefan, July-August 2001

That was a lot of what Wings was about, kicking over the traces. ‘Okay, we’ve done that. We’ve been The Beatles. We’ve been highly complex – ‘A Day In The Life.’ Now I won’t do that for awhile.’

Paul McCartney – From “Wild Life – Archive Collection“, 2018

The whole atmosphere was the band playing off each other – Paul bringing the song to them, agreeing together on an arrangement, it feeling good, then a take.

Tony Clark – Engineer – From “Wild Life – Archive Collection“, 2018

Paul, Linda, Laine and Seiwell were set up in Abbey Road’s Studio Two – The Beatles’ old haunt – in a circle “so everybody could see each other,” Clark says. Seiwell was “at the back with a few screens around his drums“. McCartney played bass guitar on the live, basic tracks – usually a Rickenbacker with a Fender on standby – and overdubbed his lead guitar breakouts. Clark thinks Linda used an RMI electric piano. “It wasn’t a Fender Rhodes,” he says. The RMI, closer in timbre and attack to a Sixties garage-combo organ, “is quite a different sounding keyboard. It makes the tonality of that album interesting.

From “Wild Life – Archive Collection“, 2018

Last updated on May 2, 2022

Related sessions


Wild Life mixing #6

Oct 17, 1971 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Wild Life


Recording & mixing "Dear Friend"

Oct 16, 1971 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Wild Life


Wild Life mixing #5

Oct 15, 1971 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Wild Life


Wild Life mixing #4

Oct 10, 1971 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Wild Life


Wild Life mixing #3

Oct 08, 1971 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Wild Life


Wild Life mixing #2

Oct 05, 1971 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Wild Life


"Love Is Strange" session

Oct 03, 1971 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Wild Life


Wild Life session #5

Oct 02, 1971 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Wild Life


Wild Life mixing #1

Aug 06, 1971 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Wild Life


Wild Life session #4

Jul 29, 1971 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Wild Life


Recording "Wild Life", "Tomorrow", "Mumbo"

Jul 26, 1971 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Wild Life


Recording "Some People Never Know"

Jul 25, 1971 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Wild Life


Recording "Bip Bop", "Love Is Strange", "I Am Your Singer", "Dear Friend"

Jul 24, 1971 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Wild Life

Songs recorded











10.

Bip Bop

Aug 06, 1971Wild Life mixing #1


11.



13.


14.

Mumbo

Aug 06, 1971Wild Life mixing #1



16.

Tomorrow

Aug 06, 1971Wild Life mixing #1


17.

Wild Life

Aug 06, 1971Wild Life mixing #1


18.



20.


21.


22.

Mumbo

Oct 08, 1971Wild Life mixing #3


23.


24.

Tomorrow

Oct 08, 1971Wild Life mixing #3



26.

Bip Bop

Oct 15, 1971Wild Life mixing #5


27.

Wild Life

Oct 15, 1971Wild Life mixing #5



29.

Staff

Musicians

Paul McCartney:
Performed by
Linda McCartney:
Performed by
Denny Laine:
Performed by
Denny Seiwell:
Performed by

Going further


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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Maccazine - Volume 40, Issue 3 - RAM Part 1 - Timeline

This very special RAM special is the first in a series. This is a Timeline for 1970 – 1971 when McCartney started writing and planning RAM in the summer of 1970 and ending with the release of the first Wings album WILD LIFE in December 1971. [...] One thing I noted when exploring the material inside the deluxe RAM remaster is that the book contains many mistakes. A couple of dates are completely inaccurate and the story is far from complete. For this reason, I started to compile a Timeline for the 1970/1971 period filling the gaps and correcting the mistakes. The result is this Maccazine special. As the Timeline was way too long for one special, we decided to do a double issue (issue 3, 2012 and issue 1, 2013).


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"Maccazine is a hard copy magazine (a bound paperback) about Paul McCartney. It is published twice a year. Due to the fact that the Internet has taken over the world and the fact that the latest Paul McCartney news is to be found on hundreds of websites, we have decided to focus on creating an informative paper magazine about Paul McCartney."

"In this issue we take you back to the early days of Paul McCartney’s solo career when he decided to form a new group. With Wings he proved there was life after The Beatles. This Maccazine features a detailed timeline of ‘the birth’ of the band with interesting entries including many new facts and unpublished photos. Follow-up timelines will be published in the upcoming years."

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