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January 17-28, 1972

Rehearsals at The Scotch of St James club

For Wings

Last updated on May 31, 2022


  • Recording studio: The Scotch of St James, London, UK


From January 17 to 28, 1972, Wings – composed of Paul and Linda McCartney, Denny Laine and Denny Seiwell – rehearsed at The Scotch of St James club, in anticipation of future live performances and to start working on their second album.

On January 18, guitarist Henry McCullough joined Wings for rehearsal. He joined again on January 20, when Paul McCartney asked him to join the band.

They are getting a show together and doing material for the next album. They are getting ready for live appearances, but it won’t be before April.

Shelley Turner, Paul McCartney’s assistant – From “The Beatles Diary Volume 2: After The Break-Up 1970-2001” by Keith Badman

Our roadies happened to know Henry McCullough, who had been in Joe Cocker’s Grease Band. They said he was really good so we invited him along to a rehearsal and we all got along well. He became Wings’ lead guitarist, and so now we had a complete five-piece band ready to rock.

Paul McCartney, in Wingspan, 2002

In fact it was Paul’s roadie who rang, saying do you fancy sitting in? After the Grease Band, I didn’t know what the hell was going on so I went down and had a play. That was Tuesday and afterwards, things were left at that – nothing was said. Then I had another call on Thursday to go down again and afterwards, Paul said, ‘Do you want to join our group?’”

“Although I knew Denny Laine I’d never met McCartney before. Once I got used to seeing him there in person, he turned out to be a great bloke. I guess I was a bit nervous but I had a couple of pints of Guinness before I went along the first time. That helped.”

Henry McCullough – From interview for New Musical Express, January 29, 1972

What kind of material were they playing at the rehearsals?

There was a lot of rock things like “Lucille” and “Blue Moon of Kentucky”, plus some things off the ‘Wild Life’ album. Also there were a couple of new ones he’d written. On one song, he was kinda playing away on a tune I hadn’t heard before so I asked him what to do. He said, ‘We’re all just trying it out,’ and just continued playing. We all joined in, it went on a bit further and in no time at all a song was written. It was written on the spot and we all contributed.

Henry McCullough – From interview for New Musical Express, January 29, 1972

During those rehearsals, Paul was also interviewed by BBC Radio 1:

We’re just trying things in Wings at the moment. But there’s nothing too set with Henry McCullough… he might come in. All we really want is to get a good band to go round play with. I don’t care if we’re three, or five. So Iong as it sounds like a good band.

What we’re doing is working up to going out. Musically, well, I like all sorts. I like modern music, and I like old-fashioned music. I like all the different kinds of sounds I’ve heard since I was a kid, from ‘Blue Moon Of Kentucky’ to anything else.

It’s been a long time since I played live. That’s why I want to get back. I’ve really decided I miss just playing to people.

Paul McCartney – From interview with BBC Radio 1, January 22, 1972

The first people Paul took on seemed to think that they ought to be millionaires overnight, because they were working with Paul McCartney and that he should give them each a mansion in the country or something. But Paul wasn’t even earning anything then because all the money was tied up in The Beatles’ litigation.

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

Wingin’ away

It’s strongly rumoured that the famous debut of Wings will not take place in this country after all, but in South America. McCartney has been rehearsing the band for the past week and a half at London’s Scotch Of St. James (12 to six, prompt). He intends to put them through their paces for another three weeks and then hey ho, south of the border. His reason is that all those nasty elitist rock critics won’t be able to get at him.

Meanwhile he’s been boogyjng all over the stage at the Scotch apparently laying down some real old rock and roll.

From Melody Maker, January 29, 1972
From Melody Maker, January 29, 1972

Wings continued rehearsing in early February at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), before embarking on their university tour, which debuted on February 9, 1972.

Session activities

  1. Lucille

    Written by Richard Penniman / Little Richard, Albert Collins


  2. Blue Moon Of Kentucky

    Written by Bill Monroe


  3. Freight Train

    Written by Elizabeth Cotten


  4. She Said Yeah

    Written by Larry Williams


  5. Tomorrow

    Written by Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney


  6. Bip Bop

    Written by Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney


  7. Mumbo

    Written by Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney


  8. Wild Life

    Written by Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney


  9. Smile Away

    Written by Paul McCartney


  10. Thank You Darling

    Written by Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney


  11. Blackpool

    Written by Paul McCartney


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.

Shop on Amazon

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

Shop on Amazon

Maccazine - Volume 47, Issue 1 - The birth of Wings

"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."

Paul McCartney writing

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