Paul McCartney: Wingspan


ON THIS DATE (11 YEARS AGO)
May 7, 2001 – Paul McCartney: Wingspan: Hits and History is released.
# ALL THINGS MUSIC PLUS+ 5/5
# allmusic 4.5/5
Wingspan: Hits and History is a greatest hits compilation album by Paul McCartney featuring material spanning his first solo album McCartney in 1970 to the 1984 Give My Regards To Broad Street movie soundtrack. This set is officially credited to Paul McCartney, although the bulk of the music included was performed by McCartney’s former band Wings.
Released in 2001 in conjunction with a prime time TV documentary simply called Wingspan, the associated soundtrack was a commercial success. In the United States, it went straight to #2 on the Billboard 200 with sales of 221,000 copies in the first week of its release. The album entered the U.S. chart for 14 weeks, selling approximately 970,000 units as of 2005. The album has been certified Double Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, and also reached Gold status in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.
McCartney was involved in 15 albums during this period: five solo albums; one album with his wife Linda; and nine albums with Wings (including a greatest hits compilation). Wingspan features songs from each of those albums, as well as a few singles that had not been included on Wings Greatest.
Wings was active from 1971 to 1980, but this set also includes material from McCartney’s albums from earlier (1970–71) and later (1980–84) years. It does not, however, include any of McCartney’s well-known collaborations with Stevie Wonder or Michael Jackson, which took place during the latter period.
The album is separated into two distinct sets: a “Hits” component which highlights commercially successful material, while “History” showcases less generally known McCartney fan favourites from the same period. On the US release, 14 of the 18 songs on “Hits” were performed by Wings, but only 9 of the 22 songs on “History” are by Wings.
American and British editions of the album vary slightly, as the UK edition contains the studio version of “Coming Up,” while the US edition contains “Coming Up (Live at Glasgow),” which had reached number one on the Billboard singles chart. The Japanese version of the album also includes “Eat at Home,” which had been issued as a 1971 single in the non-English-speaking world, as a bonus cut on the “Hits” disc.
REVIEW
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine, allmusic
Paul McCartney always got the short end of the stick when he was in the Beatles and again in the ’70s, as he and his erstwhile partner John Lennon pursued solo careers. McCartney was attacked for his virtues — for his melodicism and his domesticity, along with his desire to form a real touring band following the Beatles. None of these were celebrated at the time, but he moved many, many records and sold countless concert tickets, which only hardened opposition toward him. But, in retrospect, McCartney’s albums make for the most fascinating body of work among any of the ex-Beatles, and really among any of his peers. Yes, there were pitfalls among the heights, but that’s part of what makes his career so fascinating — each record is distinctive, and even if the songs themselves are shallow, at least lyrically, the melodic skill and studio savvy behind each are hard not to admire. This may require a bit of conversion, and if you’re not up to trudging through his individual works, even such masterworks as Ram (truly the roots of homemade pop), the double-disc set Wingspan is ideal. McCartney has had a number of career overviews before, including such seemingly comprehensive discs as All the Best, but those were plagued by vaguely haphazard sequencing. This is nearly perfectly executed, dividing McCartney’s career between the “hits” and “history,” with the latter being devoted to album tracks that are acknowledged classics, yet never were singles. Now, it’s true that this isn’t completely comprehensive — some will notice that superstar duets with Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson are missing, and others will wonder where such terrific latter-day singles as “Press” are or why such charting hits as “So Bad” are bypassed, or why album tracks like “Ballroom Dancing” are absent — but nothing has come as close to capturing the quirky brilliance of McCartney’s solo career, how it balanced whimsical pop with unabashedly sentimental romantic ballads, piledriving rockers, and anything in between. And what makes Wingspan so impressive is how the “History” disc fills in the gaps that “Hits” leaves, whether it’s on the tremendous “Maybe I’m Amazed” (one of the very best songs he ever wrote), the charming “Junk,” the clever “Take It Away,” or such absolutely stunning miniatures as “Heart of the Country,” an effortless folk-pop tune that ranks among his very best songs. That’s why Wingspan isn’t just a good hits collection — it’s a convincing argument that McCartney’s solo recordings are a rich, idiosyncratic body of work of their own merits. Ram, Red Rose Speedway, and London Town all have their merits, but if you need to be converted, this is where to start.
TRACKS:
HITS
1. Listen To What The Man Said
2. Band On The Run
3. Another Day
4. Live & Let Die
5. Jet
6. My Love
7. Silly Love Songs
8. Pipes of Peace
9. C Moon
10. Hi Hi Hi
11. Let ’em In
12. Goodnight Tonight
13. Junior’s Farm (DJ Edit)
14. Mull Of Kintyre
15. Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey
16. With A Little Luck (DJ Edit)
17. Coming Up
18. No More Lonely Nights
HISTORY
1. Let Me Roll It
2. The Lovely Linda
3. Daytime Nightime Suffering
4. Maybe I’m Amazed
5. Helen Wheels
6. Bluebird
7. Heart Of The Country
8. Every Night
9. Take It Away
10. Junk
11. Man We Was Lonely
12. Venus And Mars/Rockshow (Single Edit)
13. Back Seat Of My Car
14. Rockestra Theme
15. Girlfriend
16. Waterfalls (DJ Edit)
17. Tommorrow
18. Too Many People
19. Call Me Back Again
20. Tug Of War
21. Bip Bop/Hey Diddle
22. No More Lonely Nights
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Filed under Linda McCartney, Paul McCartney, The Beatles, Wings, Wingspan

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