“Band on the Run” by Paul McCartney and Wings
As the title depicts, the singer appears to be singing about a band that breaks out of jail. In actual sense however, Paul was singing about the events surrounding the breakup of The Beatles.
In the first verse, the band members talk about the things they would focus on when they are released from their ‘prison’. He uses jail in this context to represent the court proceedings that took place during their disbandment. The titular phrase, on the other hand, represents how the members of the band were running from a past where they were bound through companionship, and their passion for making music together.
The final verse which details how everyone was searching for them to no avail affirms how the writer believes The Beatles will never regroup despite how much their fans would love a reunion.
Release Date of “Band on the Run”
December 5, 1973 was the date this song was released. It is the title song and third single from the third album by Paul McCartney and Wings, a band Macca and his wife Linda put together shortly after the Beatles disbanded. At first the group did not do too well (being compared to the Beatles after all), but this track and album overall is considered to be amongst their greatest successes.
Writing and Recording
This track was recorded partly in Nigeria and partly in London. And as an interesting side note, while the band was in Lagos the original demo to this song, as well as others on the album, was stolen. Macca even reportedly alludes to this incident in the song’s lyrics.
As the story goes, said demos were actually jacked from the band at knife-point. So they had to re-do “Band on the Run”, as well as the other tunes from memory.
There were further challenges to this song and the album in general. For instance, right before the band had set off to Africa to begin recording it, two members of Wings, Henry McCullough and Danny Seiwell, had quit the group.
McCartney wrote this song with his first wife and bandmate at the time, Linda McCartney (1941-1998). And one of the engineers of the track is Geoff Emerick, who also worked regularly alongside the Beatles. In fact Emerick helped save the project so to speak, after it was discovered that the Nigerian branch of EMI Studios which Macca and co. decided to record in was a subpar facility.
According to Danny Seiwell, the title of the song (and the album) may have come from an incident when the band had to literally flee from the police after Macca got into an altercation with a hotel owner.
The lyrics of this song are a cohesive narrative throughout. However the instrumental is a medley consisting of a ballad, funk and then country-music style section.
The part of this song that was recorded in London was with Tony Visconti conducting an orchestra consisting of 60 musicians. However, he was not credited with the arrangement until the 25th anniversary edition of “Band on the Run”.
More Interesting Facts about “Band on the Run”
The radio version of this song, as issued in the United States, was notably shorter than the original.
An official music video to this classic didn’t really come out until 2014. And it was put together by a music-centered graphic designer named Ben Ib.
This track topped the Billboard Hot 100, Canada’s RPM 100 Top Singles and reached an impressive number 3 on the UK Singles Chart. It has also been certified gold by the RIAA, which in the early 1970s meant it sold at least 1,000,000 copies.
McCartney’s former Beatles’ bandmate, George Harrison, partly inspired the creation of this song. And he did so while beefing at the executives of Apple Records, the same label that put out “Band on the Run”.
Band on the Run illustrates the story of an incarcerated band who find a way to escape from prison. It mainly references the events surrounding the breakup of legendary band, The Beatles.