November 4 – Desert Island Album Draft, Round 12 (Compilations): Paul McCartney & Wings – Wings Greatest

I’m participating in an album draft with nine other bloggers, organized by Hanspostcard. There were ten initial rounds, and now we’re into the second of three four bonus rounds which will cover soundtracks, compilations, music related movies, and box sets, with draft order determined randomly by round.

Wings | Discography | Discogs
Wings core from beginning to end: Paul, Linda, and Denny Laine

Reviewing my Desert Island list up to this point, I’m surprised that only a couple of the first eleven have a heavy element of personal nostalgia attached to them. Some of my chosen titles go back forty-fifty-plus years, but I didn’t start listening to a few of them until I reached adult age in the early 1990’s. My compilation selection, however, is almost a purely nostalgic one. Not that I don’t listen to Wings anymore, but I’m pretty much a regular release fan as opposed to hits collections these days. And for those occasions when I want to hear a cross section of McCartney’s music, Wingspan eclipsed Wings Greatest in 2001. Actually, 1987’s All the Best! did that before, but I digress. While my older brothers had the individual albums downstairs, Wings Greatest, released in 1978 just before the final Wings album with yet another lineup, was my singular Paul McCartney record for a few years, and I wore it out on my hand-me-down record player as a kid.

When Paul McCartney Introduced Wings With 'Wild Life'
Early incarnation of Wings with Denny Seiwell (left) on drums

I have a similar relationship with hits comps almost across the board. When I was young, it was mostly a matter of finance – I had to get the most bang for my (or my mom’s) buck. Hits comps were albums unto themselves. This was true with greatest hits releases by The Byrds, Simon & Garfunkel, Cat Stevens, Jim Croce, James Taylor, the Eagles, and others. As I got older and wanted to explore a band or individual artist I was unfamiliar with, compilations were a logical place to start. That’s how I got into Bobs Dylan and Marley, Jethro Tull, Steely Dan, Leonard Cohen, Fairport Convention, and others.

centerfield maz: Looking Back At Paul McCartney's Wings Over America Tour  (Sept.1975- Oct.1976)
The “classic” mid-70’s Wings lineup (Venus & Mars/At the Speed of Sound/Wings Over America) including drummer Joe English (far left) and lead guitarist Jimmy McCulloch (second from left)

Looking at the Wings Greatest track listing, it’s still a good album. I don’t care if I ever hear Band on the Run or Jet again – thankfully they’re the first two tracks on the Band on the Run album and I can easily skip them – but I still enjoy the rest of it, even Silly Love Songs and Let ‘Em In. Five of the songs were initially issued as singles only: Junior’s Farm, Hi, Hi, Hi, Live & Let Die, Another Day, and Mull of Kintyre, so in a way it almost was a “new” album. And, those are still among my favorite McCartney songs. Paul shows no sign of slowing down, and hopefully the upcoming McCartney III release will produce a few more great ones. As for his back catalog, Wings Greatest represents comfort and familiarity with a simpler time in my life. It’s been years since I actually owned this album, but I even culled its tracks from Wingspan into a “Wings Greatest” playlist. Because I’m a nerd like that.

Tracklist

Side One:

  1. Another Day
  2. Silly Love Songs
  3. Live and Let Die
  4. Junior’s Farm
  5. With a Little Luck
  6. Band on the Run

Side Two:

  1. Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey
  2. Hi, Hi, Hi
  3. Let ‘Em In
  4. My Love
  5. Jet
  6. Mull of Kintyre

-Stephen

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