Paul McCartney & Wings: Band on the Run – Deluxe Edition

RIYL: Paul freaking McCartney

It has been said that, once upon a time, Paul McCartney and Wings were so huge that befuddled youngsters would actually ask their parents, “Hey, did you know Paul McCartney used to be in a band before Wings?” Even as a kid, it always struck me as one of those apocryphal tales that sounded great but that you only ever heard from a friend who heard it from another friend who swore it was true, cross his heart. And now…? Geez, do the kids even know that Wings existed? Given that McCartney formally disbanded the group almost 30 years ago, I’d say the odds are pretty slim. If you’re looking to give them an education, though, there’s simply no better place to start…and, some would say, finish…than 1973’s Band on the Run, the reissue of which serves as the kickoff for Concord Music’s grand reintroduction of McCartney’s back catalog to the marketplace.

This is hardly the first time Band on the Run has been reissued, of course, but as much as you may want to blast Macca for offering this material to the masses yet again, you have to give the old man credit: he’s offering it up in enough different formats and with enough hard-to-find or previously-unavailable music and video that just about everyone is going to curse and say, “Dammit, he’s gotten me again.” They’ll be smiling as they do it, though, especially if they’re buying the deluxe edition, which, in addition to being housed in a gorgeous, photograph-filled hardcover coffee table book, contains 3 CDs – a remastered version of the album, a disc of bonus tracks, and an audio documentary – and a DVD which features videos for “Band on the Run,” “Mamunio,” and “Helen Wheels,” album promos, and “One Hand Clapping,” a rarely-seen live performance by the band from Abbey Road Studios.

As for the actual album…well, there’s a reason why it’s taken pole position in the reissue campaign: it’s the jewel in McCartney’s crown that never loses its luster, the one that even John Lennon admitted was great. Few albums of any decade start off with songs as spectacular as “Band on the Run” and “Jet,” but then you’ve got “Bluebird” and “Mrs. Vanderbilt,” followed by “Let Me Roll It” and “Mamunia.” There’s no point in reeling off the rest of the tracks. All you really need to know about Band on the Run is that it’s the only Paul McCartney album that you absolutely, positively must own…which is why you probably already do. Unfortunately, there’s no way the presentation of your copy is as impressive as this new Deluxe Edition. Sorry, fans: you’re just going to have to buy it again. (Concord 2010)

Paul McCartney official website


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