The first three Paul McCartney & Wings albums Wild Life, Red Rose Speedway, and Band On The Run featured only songs written and sung by Paul McCartney. However, Denny Laine was given co-writing credit for the song “No Words,” on the Band on the Run LP. On the band’s fourth LP Venus and Mars, Denny Laine sang lead vocals on “Spirits of Ancient Egypt” and Jimmy McCulloch sang lead vocals on his own song “Medicine Jar.”
With the release of Speed of Sound in 1976, the band dropped the name Paul McCartney & Wings altogether in favor of just being called Wings. The Speed of Sound Album featured five tracks sung by members of the band instead of Paul McCartney. Denny Laine would sing two lead vocals on the follow-up album London Town in 1979. Laine would also share songwriting credit for five of the album’s fourteen tracks. On the final Wings album, Back To The Egg, Denny Laine was only listed for songwriting credit on the song “Again and Again and Again.”
While there may be a debate on just how much of a band Wings really were, there is no debate that Paul McCartney released some of his greatest solo material during the Wings years, especially during the period between 1973 and 1976.
# 10 – Bluebird
After the rocking one-two punch opening of “Band on the Run,” and “Jet,” on the Band On The Run LP, Paul McCartney settled down to deliver the beautiful ballad “Bluebird.” The song featured Howard Casey on saxophone. “Bluebird,” was never released as a single, but has become a concert favorite among Paul McCartney fans. The Band On The Run LP was McCartney’s solo career masterpiece and is the album that is most represented on this top 10 Paul McCartney & Wings Songs List.
# 9 – Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five
One of the highlights of Paul McCartney’s most recent tours in 2016 and 2022 was the band’s performance of the great track “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five.” The song appeared on the Band On The Run album which was released in 1973. Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five was perfectly placed as the album’s closing track. It was easily one of the most exciting songs on the record. Paul’s great alternative rock voice and piano playing left us mesmerized on this one. Paul McCartney current band seems to really enjoy playing this song live
# 8 – Beware My Love
“Beware My Love,” was released on the 1976 album Wings at the Speed of Sound. The album featured two smash hits. The first single “Silly Love Songs,” hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles charts. The second single released from the album was entitled “Let ‘Em In.” The song reached the No.3 position on the Billboard Hot 100. Although it did hit No 1 on the Cash Box music charts in 1976. Regardless of the enormous success of those two singles, our favorite song from the album has always been “Beware My Love.” Take a listen and you will understand.
# 7 – Rock Show
Not many artists could follow up an album like Band On The Run. However, we are talking Paul McCartney here and the man did a pretty good job at following up the Band On The Run album with the wonderful Venus and Mars LP. The album’s opening track “Rock Show,” is McCartney at his rocking melodic best. Additionally, how could you not love the song’s great coda at the end.
# 6 – Jet
“Jet,” was the perfect song to follow the perfect song. In 1973, if you had not been blown away upon hearing “Band on the Run,” for the first time, then hearing “Jet,” follow it up was the closing punch that would have instantly floored you. This is easily the best two-song opening of any album in rock history. The flow between the two songs was amazing. WOW! It’s difficult to write about these songs because they are just so good. Most people assume that “Band on the Run,” was the first single released for the LP. However, it was the song “Jet,” that was issued as the first single. The song reached the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts peaking at No.7.
# 5 – Juniors Farm
The Beatles loved to released singles in between their studio albums that would never appear on their original UK releases. That was until Capitol would just throw them on the US albums or they would appear on all those Beatles compilations. Paul McCartney’s “Juniors Farm,” was a stand-alone single released in 1974. The first album the song would appear on would be Wings Greatest Hits album released in 1978.
# 4 – My Love
“My Love,” is the oldest song on our Top 10 Paul McCartney & Wings Songs list. The song was released on the Red Rose Speedway album in 1973. The song reached No 1 on the Billboard Top 100 music charts in 1973. The song’s beautiful melody and soaring string line helped define it as one of Paul McCartney’s most heartfelt ballads of his career.
# 3 – Listen To What The Man Said
“Listen to What The Man Said,” has to be one of the most original melodic lines that Paul McCartney ever wrote. Only geniuses can compose music like this. The song’s creative melody line and sweet rocking soulful groove crowned its place on AM and FM radio in dominating fashion back in 1975. You could not go anywhere without hearing this song played on the radio in the mid-seventies.
The song was the lead-off single from the Venus and Mars LP released in 1975. “Listen To What The Man Said” easily hit the No.1 spot n the Billboard Hot 100 music charts in 75. The song also featured the legendary Dave Mason on guitar, and jazz master Tom Scott on soprano saxophone
# 2 – Band On The Run
This was a tough fight for the No. 1 position on our Top 10 Paul McCartney & Wings Songs List. If we had composed this list just a few months ago, we would have listed “Band On The Run,” in the No.1 position. However, after seeing Paul McCartney perform “Live and Let Die,” live on the 2016 tour, we had a change of heart. Nonetheless, “Band on the Run,” was a mind-blowing experience for Paul McCartney fans back in 1973.
The production value alone on the song easily won Paul McCartney a Grammy for the song back in 1973. The song reached the No 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 band in 1973. While so many of McCartney’s Beatles songs were tagged at two minutes, McCartney’s “Band on the Run,” single was released with over a five-minute run time. The song is pure cinema in every fashion. With its soft acoustic opening lines, soaring mid-section, unforgettable chorus, and climactic ending, the song defined the brilliance of Paul McCartney.
# 1 – Live and Let Die
Who would have ever thought that a song composed for the soundtrack of a James Bond Film would become such a huge hit for Paul McCartney. Sure, many of the Bond films had major hits singles like Carly Simon’s “Nobody Does It Better,” or Shirley Bassey’s “Goldfinger.” However, “Live and Let Die,” was over the top. What is interesting is how the song has grown in popularity over the years. That my friends can be easily attributed to Paul McCartney’s performance of the songs on all his recent tours. It is easily the highlight of every Paul McCartney show. Between the fireworks display and the band’s own on-fire performance of the song, fans old and new have come to fall in love with the song.
Paul McCartney & Wings discography
Wild Life (1971)
Red Rose Speedway (1973)
Band on the Run (1973)
Venus and Mars (1975)
Wings at the Speed of Sound (1976)
London Town (1978)
Back to the Egg (1979)
By Jim Summaria [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Top 10 Paul McCartney & Wings Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
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