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Wings Greatest
McCartney & Wings

Capitol 11905
Released: December 1978
Chart Peak: #29
Weeks Charted: 18
Certified Platinum: 12/6/78

Wings"Another Day," a pleasant but inconsequential ditty that told the tale of a lonely, frustrated secretary (sort of a pedestrian "Eleanor Rigby"), was released in late February 1971. Many rock critics, out for McCartney's blood, dismissed the song as more of "Paulie picking his nose." More charitable observers trilled along with the chorus: "It's just another song." The song spent a total of nine weeks on the Billboard chart, reaching #2.

Released in the late autumn of 1971, "Hi, Hi, Hi" was swiftly banned by the BBC, which assumed the "hi"'s celebrated in this chunky rocker were of the chemically-induced variety, and found the taste of those "sweet bananas" equally questionable. Released on December 16, 1972, "Hi Hi Hi" spent a total of 11 weeks on the Billboard chart and reached #10.

A chart-topping triumph, "Live and Let Die" coincided with the release of the James Bond film of the same name in July 1973. Paul enlisted the help of old friend George Martin for the production duties, who devised the record's explosive orchestration. A deft collage of ominous spy motifs, reggae, and McCartney popcorn, "Live and Let Die" is one of McCartney's most inventive tunes. A few months later it earned Paul an Oscar nomination for best movie theme of the year, but was beat out by "The Way We Were." "Live and Let Die" first appeared on the Billboard charts on July 7, 1973, reaching #2 and spending a total of 14 weeks.

Reminiscent of the Beatles' "Get Back," "Junior's Farm" appeared on October 1974 and offered some of the most uncompromising rock 'n' roll McCartney had dished out in years. The record reached #3 and spent 17 weeks on the chart, the last five due to the second wind of the flipside, "Sally G." Both sides of the single were recorded on a working vacation Wings had spent in Nashville the previous June.

"Silly Love Songs" was a #1 smash from Wings At the Speed of Sound in which Paul warbled "some people want to fill the world....," and "what's wrong with that?" -- a manifesto that many critics assumed was directed at themselves. First appearing on April 10, 1976, the song stayed on Billboard's chart for 19 weeks, and was followed by a second single from the album three months later, "Let 'Em In," which stayed for 16 weeks and reached #3.

1977 saw the release of the McCartney-Laine "Mull of Kintyre," based on a Scottish folk song, which became the first single ever to sell two million copies in Britain, and was a minor hit in the U.S. as well. It was McCartney's first #1 single since leaving the Beatles.

London Town yielded "With a Little Luck," which reached #1 in April 1978 and stayed on the Billboard chart for 12 weeks.

Wings has the distinction of being the only permanent working band to be formed by an ex-Beatle. The group officially disbanded in April of 1981.

- Nicholas Schaffner, The Beatles Forever.

Bonus Reviews!

While many acts use padding and filler to make one greatest hits disk into two, Wings has done just the opposite: squeezing eight years of hits onto one disk, and omitting 11 Top 40 titles in the process, induding such major hits as "Listen To What The Man Said," "Maybe I'm Amazed" and "Helen Wheels." The emphasis instead is on songs that haven't previously appeared on a Wings LP, which should ensure sales of this album even to those fans who have the Wings catalog. The five songs never before featured on a Wings studio album are "Another Day," "Hi, Hi, Hi," "Live And Let Die," "Junior's Farm" and "Mull Of Kintyre." Musically the songs range from soft romantic ballads like "My Love" (Wings' surest shot at a standard) to frenetic rockers like "Live And Let Die" (co-produced with George Martin).

- Billboard, 1978.

Twelve songs, five of them hits not on any previous Wings album, running 54:11 in all, replete with rhythm shifts and subthemes and counterplots and flights of fancy and forays into abject nonsense. In short, pop for potheads. All I could ask for is a stylus-width scratch across "My Love." B+

- Robert Christgau, Christgau's Record Guide, 1981.

Most of McCartney & Wings's biggest hits, 1971-1978, among them the singles "Another Day," "Live and Let Die," "Junior's Farm," "Hi, Hi, Hi" and "Mull of Kintyre," which had not previously appeared on an album. * * * *

- William Ruhlmann, The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.

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