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"Listen to What the Man Said"
Wings
Capitol 4091
July 1975
Billboard: #1    Lyrics Icon Videos Icon

Wingseil Sedaka, whose "Love Will Keep Us Together" was knocked out of number one by Paul McCartney and Wings' "Listen to What the Man Said," had gracious praise for his chart successor. "A pop hit has to have certain hooks you can hang your hat on," Sedaka explained to Time magazine. "The hooks can be either musical or lyrical, but the best is a marriage of both words and music. McCartney does this. 'Listen to What the Man Said' is terrific."

Wings - 'Venus and Mars'
"Listen to What the Man Said" was Paul McCartney's fourth post-Beatles No. 1 and thirteenth Top 40 single. It was the first of three singles from Wings' Venus and Mars LP, which was McCartney's sixth post-Beatles album. First charting on June 14, 1975, Venus and Mars peaked at No. 1, and spent 77 weeks on the Hot 200 album chart. It was certified gold by the R.I.A.A. on June 2, 1975.
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The public agreed. The single entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number 65 on May 31, 1975. Seven weeks later, this teaser from the forthcoming Venus and Mars album became McCartney's fourth post-Beatles chart-topper. It was the first single by the group to appear on the Capitol label. Their previous single, "Junior's Farm" backed with "Sally G," had been the last McCartney 45 on Apple.

The artist credit on "Listen to What the Man Said" listed only the group name "Wings," as the band's first two singles had done. In Paul McCartney and Wings, author Jeremy Pascall quotes McCartney saying that giving the group supporting credit was "an embarrassment to me. It was never Paul McCartney and the Beatles, Paul McCartney and the Quarrymen or Paul McCartney and the Moondogs. Wings is quicker and easier to say and everybody knows I'm in the group anyway."

It was the Wings Mark Five lineup that recorded "Listen to What the Man Said." Reduced to a trio for the Band on the Run album, Wings expanded again when Paul went to Nashville to record some material for himself and produce an album for Peggy Lee, Let's Love. He asked 21-year-old guitarist Jimmy McCulloch to come to the States for the sessions. McCulloch had proven himself while making an album for Paul's brother, Mike McGear. A native of Glasgow, Scotland, he had been playing professionally since he was 13. His credits included John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Stone the Crows with Maggie Bell and a group called Blue, managed by Robert Stigwood. Invited to join Wings, a grateful McCulloch said, "I'm sick and tired of being in and out of bands. I want to get something down on record that 's going to be appreciated instead of always being in new bands that so few people hear."

To find a drummer, Paul held auditions in London. The fifty applicants were narrowed down to five and then to two. The survivor was Geoff Britton, a Cockney lad who was also a karate expert. His tenure in Wings proved to be short -- three songs into the Venus and Mars album, McCartney was looking for a replacement.

Joe English, born in Rochester, New York, was living in Georgia and getting ready to tour with Bonnie Bramlett when he was asked to come to Sea-Saint studios in New Orleans to work on the Venus and Mars sessions. While doing the final mixing in Los Angeles, Paul formally invited Joe to be a member of Wings.

- Fred Bronson, The Billboard Book of Number One Hits, Billboard, 1988.






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