Paul McCartney’s “Back To The Egg!” The All-Star “Rockestra” Band! A Musical Farewell To Wings!

Paul McCartney Back To The Egg

“Back To The WHAT?”

If you aren’t familiar with Paul McCartney’s last Wings album, you aren’t alone! “Back To The Egg” was one of McCartney’s least successful albums ever, and led to the demise of Wings once and for all…too bad, because wait until you hear what the title meant!

Paul McCartney Back To The Egg music

I wanted to take a look at this “forgotten” Wings album and see if history has been kind to it, but first, here is the promo for the album, pushing “12 new songs~”

Now, Macca fans know that there are FOURTEEN songs on the album, and the remastered version swelled to seventeen! That may just have been one of the many reasons the album was doomed – no one at the record label was even counting the tunes right!

Wings-Back-To-The-Egg

“Back to the Egg” was the seventh and final studio album by Wings, released in 1979…and it was the only Wings album for new band members Laurence Juber and Steve Holley.

Paul McCartney music

According to wikipedia, “Back To The Egg” was a concept album! Authors Chip Madinger and Mark Easter write this about it in their book “Eight Arms to Hold You”:

Wings-Back-To-The-Egg graphic

“The idea was to have a theme of a working band, getting back on the road … or ‘back to the egg’ (or protective shell) of touring.”

yes, McCartney was trying to tell an ambitious tale of a “band on the run!”

Paul McCartney Wings band

The Critically Cracked “Egg!”

“Back to the Egg” got terrible reviews when it came out.

Rolling Stone magazine actually called it:

“The sorriest grab bag of dreck in recent memory”!

Wings last album

The album hit the top ten, but McCartney had a history of debuting at the top of the charts, and the album faded quickly from the charts…

Wings-Back-To-The-Egg

The record company released three singles: “Old Siam, Sir”, “Getting Closer” and “Arrow Through Me” – but none became hits…and most McCartney fans don’t even think about these songs…

Wings-Back-To-The-Egg-175677

Paul’s “Rockestra!”

There was one silver lining – the song “Rockestra Theme”, recorded with a cast of guest musicians from The Who, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd!

Here is Paul’s live version from the “Concert for the people of Kampuchea” in 1979 – with a very energetic Pete Townsend!

The song even won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance in 1980.

The long-planned Wings tour of the world ended in January 1980, when McCartney was arrested in Japan for possession of drugs.

And that was the end of Wings…so just how good or bad is “Back To The Egg?” I for one had no idea it was a concept album, but here is a medley of songs from he album:

worst paul mccartney albums

There’s a bunch of catchy stuff here, and it plays in many ways like side two of “Abbey Road”: many of the songs are short, some fragments that segue into each other…and it has one gorgeous ballad – check out the music video for “Arrow Through Me”:

Abbey Road Rockestra Paul McCartney

“After the Ball / Million Miles” is a perfect example, two very catchy songs put together in a montage on the album, followed by “Winter Rose / Love Awake” – and I really like the song “So Glad To See You Here”…but nothing popped on the album, and Paul has never really looked back at it…

wings-back-to-the-egg-paul-mccartney-john-bonham-rockestra

But let’s not forget the “Rockestra Theme!” Look at that lineup! David Gilmour, Pete Townsend and many others joined in on that terrific song…here is a look at the entire “Concert For Kampuchea” – including the all-star band that joined Paul and Wings for this rocking instrumental:

https://johnrieber.com/2016/11/02/paul-mccartneys-rockestra-the-last-wings-single-first-new-grammy-macca-rocks-kampuchea/

“Back To The Egg” has become a little-remembered piece of Macca history…you never hear any of the songs played…

Paul McCartney christmas song

On the remastered version of the album, Paul included his “Wonderful Christmastime” single, which wasn’t on the original album…

So Paul’s “Egg” flopped, Wings was no more, and the 80’s lay ahead…more on that in a later post…let me know what you think of “Back To The Egg”!

Paul+McCartney+&+Wings+-+Rockshow+6+1976+MPL+Communications+Ltd++Photographer+Robert+Ellis

The Magic Of The 70’s!

The 70’s may have ended on a sour note for Paul, but it was quite a decade of amazing music for him! Remember this one – his historic tour of America in the 70’s!


https://johnrieber.com/2014/07/12/paul-mccartney-wings-over-seattle-the-kingdome-implosion-seattle-sports-history/

I saw Wings at Seattle’s Kingdome, and the show was amazing, as “Wings Over America” proves – Macca was on such a creative role at the time, but my favorite is:

paul-mccartney-ram

RAM On!

Here is a look at Paul’s masterpiece “RAM”, and his epic battle with John Lennon!

https://johnrieber.com/2012/08/20/macca-ram-on-paul-mccartneys-masterpiece-john-lennons-fury-a-beatles-c-c-c-catfight/

Can you imagine the music if they had continued to collaborate?

That may be more than 40 years old, but it still plays fresh today…and Macca just keeps rocking!

paul-mccartney-new

I continue to enjoy his latest work, the terrific “NEW!” Songs such as “Queen Eye” and “Everybody Out There” are among his best…see the great music video here:


https://johnrieber.com/2013/10/30/paul-mccartneys-terrific-new-music-great-new-cd/

And take some time to let “Egg” back into your life!

Paul McCartney Back To The Egg



Categories: 70's Cinema, 70's Music, Art, Awards, Books / Media, Classic Rock, documentary films, Exotic Travel, London, Memoirs, Music, Obscure Music, Politics, Talent/Celebrities, The Beatles, Uncategorized

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29 replies

  1. Hey, just wanted to chime in. So, the sad thing is that so few people feel free to simply declare McCartney a genius and Wings great… most every McCartney piece contains some form of apologetic… it’s almost required that we not quite take him or Wings or any of his solo work seriously. Well, I think that’s rubbish, so I’ll just say all those thing… Paul McCartney’s a genius, Wings was my favorite seventies band, and I think he is not only a serious and brilliant artist, but I think Back To the Egg is a masterpiece. I mean, perhaps it’s time we look at McCartney for what he is rather than for what we’d like him to be… and what he is is pretty damn miraculous!

    It’s encouraging to see things out there like this where so many people are finally treating his work with respect and so many comments doing so without being backhanded or dismissive of his other work.

    Me… my life would be a lot poorer if not for his vision and his voice.

    Peace love and McCartney!

  2. Back To The Egg was strong on variety, a Beatles trademark as well!!! The Rockestra tunes were some of the weakest material on it, and Juber’s and Holley’s contributions shined bright too!!! The bust signaled the end of the band, but it needn’t have. I have a bootleg of their show in Glasgow Scotland, and it’s very enjoyable, and again has a good variety of McCartney’s tunes. It will always be one of my favorite McCartney albums, and I have many!!!!

  3. I love back to the egg. And getting closer did make it on the chart. I also love spin it on, After the ball. Old Siam sir. So I don’t know why rag on it? It made the top 10, most bands count that as a good thing. McCartney never made a bad album. Even press to play has some great tracks. I was posses that getting closer was not on wingspan or the newly released Pure McCARTNEY.

  4. It’s true that it was not much loved by the critics at the time but it’s feeding the myth to say it’s his least liked album by fans or that it wasn’t a success. The album peaked at no.8 in the US so it was still a top 10 album. Not many McCartney albums have charted that well from the mid-80s onwards. I think McCartney’s judgement is clouded by the events in Japan because if he really tried to remember it is a fact that the period between September 78 to January 80 was probably one of the busiest and most creative times of his career which hailed Goodnight Tonight as a very successful single throughout the world, a top 10 album and a sold out UK tour as well as probably a sold out world tour if he had not made a fool of himself in Japan that January, not forgetting that he recorded McCartney in the summer of 79 between the release of Back to The Egg and the autumn UK tour, introducing Coming Up as a new unreleased song in the band’s set list… These are all facts so why rewrite History…

    • Not sure if you are suggesting I’m rewriting history, I pointed out all of the stats for the album, I’m referring to how it is remembered and discussed in music press…I am a huge fan of the album and that is why I posted the story…thanks of your comment1

      • The rewriting history was more directed to McCartney, by trying to make this period of his life as if it never really happened… Right now it’s like the 76 world tour took place then he released Mull of Kintyre, then Mccartney II and Tug of War but no London Town, no Back to the Egg. Although he did add Goodnight Tonight and Arrow Through Me to Pure McCartney so maybe there is hope!

    • I Agree: with You: I Know Little Of The Back 2 The EGG:..Album:!! Know Some of the Songs
      & are Super Good: ^^Goodnight 2 Nite^^..Etc..
      As 4 ^^JAPAN EPISODE^^ don’t get why that..
      Ended ^^WINGS^^..??..Loved MACCA & WINGS
      BAND: 2 Me Was Fantastic:..I neve understood why Paul Disbanded ^^WINGS^^ ..
      ^^WINGS TOUR OVER AMERICA ^^…Absoutley
      Astounding & Successfully..Popular:..GoFigure
      I Can’t: Love Always SIR Paul McCartney 2 You From Me Jassy Gail::!!💙🤵💙

    • I Agree: with You: I Know Little Of The Back 2 The EGG:..Album:!! Know Some of the Songs
      & are Super Good: ^^Goodnight 2 Nite^^..Etc..
      As 4 ^^JAPAN EPISODE^^ don’t get why that..
      Ended ^^WINGS^^..??..Loved MACCA & WINGS
      BAND: 2 Me Was Fantastic:..I neve understood why Paul Disbanded ^^WINGS^^ ..
      ^^WINGS TOUR OVER AMERICA ^^…Absoutley
      Astounding & Successfully..Popular:..GoFigure
      I Can’t: Love Always SIR Paul McCartney 2 You From Me Jassy Gail::!!💙🤵💙

  5. It was a Good Rock Album. at 20byes old I enjoyed it. Arrow thru me, Getting Closer and Babys Request are Still Favorites. Not a Masterpiece, but still a good album.

  6. Back to thr Egg has been my favorite Wings album of all time since it came out. I would give anything to tell Paul how great it is.

    • Trey, I was curious how people felt as it’s softer than previous Wings material…it has two of his best non-album tracks – added on the special edition years later: “Girls School” and “Mull of Kintyre”

      • I was a Senior in High School when it came out. It was all over the radio in North Texas and I’m pretty sure it sold over a million copies. I’ve never been on board with that weaker material analysis. Album also has my fav McCartney lyric “Cattle beware of snipers.” Spin it on” is also a great crank it up tune off this album.

      • I am a huge fan of the album, and my story was written to highlight how under-appreciated it was at the time…thanks for the comment!

  7. For me, back to the egg is really great. Tons of interesting details I hardly find in London town or McCartney II albums.

  8. Don’t forget Laurence Juber’s brilliant solo on “Let it Be” during the Kampuchea concert. Pete Townsend (his idol!) made a point of complimenting Laurence on it.

  9. It’s a great album, with a lot of heavy rockers and ballads. I can’t understand why it didn’t top the charts…. ! I’m waiting for the de luxe verion, with hopefully a great & interesting dvd

  10. A strange timing, it may have been. But the fact is that I discovered Wings through this album. Already a Beatles-fan for three years, I bought “Back To The Egg” for my pocket money as a young teenager (I was 13 in 79), and took it in with all senses. I played it constantly throughout the year. A little later on, I read a very positive review of the album in a leading Norwegian pop magazine, which sort of confirmed what I felt about the album. Some time later though, when I learned about the bad reviews it received from prominent music papers in Britain and the U.S., I got confused and disappointed. I have never really agreed in those reviews, and I always thought the album was very unfairly underrated. Looking back, I now see several factors contributing to this. 1) 1979 itself, an incredibly rich year for rock music in general, with so many brilliant albums being released, albums which simply out-hipped “Back To The Egg”. In a post-punk environment in full flower, BTTE was punished for trying to sound hard and at the same time being relatively traditional and professional in its production. 2) No hit-singles on it, and the album itself not making it to no. 1 (it peaked at no. 8), was considered bad for an artist used to topping the charts – so that didn’t help. 3) Bad times ahead, the drug bust in Japan, an aborted world tour, which eventually led to the demise of Wings, certainly all have contributed to and maintained a negative vibe surrounding “Back To The Egg”. 4) A long overdue TV-special doc, “Wings Over The World”(1979), and a likewise motion picture concert film, “Rock Show”(1980). Both documenting the highly successful world tour of 1975-76, these films only added to the feeling that the star line-up of Wings, featuring the late Jimmy McCullogh, was sorely missed. Which again put a stigma on the BTTE-line-up for not being the real thing. In short, all these factors have contributed to that album’s bad reputation. But “Back To The Egg” really deserves to be judged on its own terms. It is way, way better than you might think. Juber and Holley were really good players, to quote McCartney. There’s a lot of work put down during the year it took producing it, and that comes through the more you listen to it.
    Never underestimate a 13 year old!

    • Thank you for the great analysis! Your insight is right on – I have always loved this album, because as a Macca fan I don’t give it the critical eye that critics do, especially in a world turning to punk – and your points on the “negative vibe” is so true! Thanks for your comment!

  11. I thought the album better than the critics were willing to admit. “Getting Closer,” “To You,” “So Glad to See You Here,” “Spin It On” and especially “Old Siam Sir” (Great groove, GREAT vocal!) all credible McCartney rockers. Named my band after the “Rockestra Theme” and “Baby’s Request” is a classic, sweet McCartney ballad that he re-cut for the “Kisses On the Bottom” CD as a bonus track. Far from my least favorite Wings album, but that’s just me.

    • Yes, it had a free-form style ala Abey Road’s second side…snippets of music, nice hooks and catchy tunes…but they couldn’t get a single to chart and it faded away…thanks as always for your comments!

Trackbacks

  1. Paul McCartney’s “Press To Play” Disaster! A Critical Re-examination! | johnrieber
  2. “McCartney II!” Paul McCartney’s Experimental Masterpiece! The Secret Stories Of “McCartney II”!! | johnrieber
  3. Paul McCartney’s Submerged “Off The Ground!” A Neglected Macca Gem! – johnrieber
  4. Paul McCartney’s “Rockestra!” The Last “Wings” Single! First New Grammy! Macca Rocks Kampuchea! – johnrieber
  5. “Daytime Nighttime Suffering!” Paul McCartney’s Toss-Off Gem! Don’t Say “Goodnight Tonight!” – johnrieber

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