Monday, October 6, 2014

Flashback: Wings Over the World Tour

Here Comes Wings!

Wings! Would you mistake this group as the greatest band in the world?

Here is a classic shot of Wings en route to rehearsals at Elstree Studios by Barry Morgan. Roadie Trevor Jones is in the background carrying the bags with the bellcap, waiting patiently as the band gets in a nice promo shot.

We have Linda and Paul, Thaddeus Richard, Steve Howard, Jimmy McCulloch, and Tony Dorsey outside the Holiday Inn, London. Not sure who is cut off there on the right. Notice that Jimmy is holding a newspaper with the headline "Banned." Joe English and Howie Casey are not in the shot, though they were around somewhere.

Not sure about the exact day (though it's no secret, I'm sure it is on file somewhere and perhaps you reading this know it). The lineup is from the Wings Over the World tour, which lasted from autumn 1975 through autumn 1976. It was the high point of Wings.

Since these are rehearsals, we shall take a guess and say this is September 1975. They all have jackets on, so we shall go a step further and say the middle/latter part of month. It appears they may be checking out. That they are all together suggests a bit of togetherness of the group - perhaps they all just had breakfast downstairs or something. Or, maybe Paul had a bus to take them to the studio so nobody, you know, got lost along the way.

The horn section for the tour was: Tony Dorsey, Howie Casey, Thaddeus Richard, and Steve Howard on saxes, brass, and percussion. Howard got in those great trumpet licks.

One gets an idea of the importance of Linda in this very masculine crowd. She is often degraded for her lack of musical skills, which is undeniable, but her presence was quite important, especially to Paul. Look at the shot - who has the pretty woman on his arm? Also, note that, as a photographer herself, Linda instinctively realized that to make the shot work requires just an ounce of creativity - thus the leap into Paul's arms. That did not happen by accident, and it helps make Paul stand out even further as The Man while the others sort of stand around like doofuses. That is what makes this a classic shot - it is all Linda.

It's the little things that matter.

Jones is an interesting character in Beatles lore. He was Wings' original roadie and was with Paul all through the 70s and 80s. He somehow accumulated a collection of tapes that went up for auction after he died in 1998.

The tapes are demos, outtakes, band rehearsals, etc. Apparently, the band would go through various versions of songs and only really cared about the final cuts. Jones kept whatever he could grab rather than see it go in the bin. He wound up with 45 cassettes of material, which is an awful lot of top-quality music.

The Jones estate has been dribbling the material out as bootlegs. Three CDs were leaked to the auction house in 2010, causing MPL to accelerate Paul's own archive releases in order to head them off (what they were waiting for otherwise is difficult to fathom).

Paul himself didn't bid on that tape material (CDs) when they were up for auction because he supposedly did not know about them. Even if he did, his attitude likely would have been, "Well, we didn't care enough about them then to keep them, why should I pay through the nose for them now?"

Naturally, there is a conspiracy theory because this is, after all, the 21st Century. There's idle speculation that someone from MPL leaked them since they were irritated at how long the archive release project was taking. The prospect of bootleg material undercutting Paul's own project was sure to light a fire under the accountants at MPL, and it did, so it's a clever thought. Of course, if someone at MPL had the tapes or some kind of control over them, then technically Paul would have owned them, and that's not the case.

There also is a 4CD/2DVD set called 'Trevor Jones Classified Part II,' and for all I know there may be other Jones material out there.

Here's what they might have played after they got to the studio. Not bad for a throw-away rehearsal. "Junior's Farm" always has been on my "underappreciated Macca" tunes list.








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