“Jet” by Paul McCartney and Wings

There are different explanations available as to who exactly the titular “Jet” is supposed to be, in large part due to the fact that Macca himself is on record as providing varying backgrounds to the character. For instance, it has been noted that in 2010 that the singer/songwriter put forth that “Jet” was a pony he and his wife, the late Linda McCartney (who co-wrote this song) once owned. That explanation has been accepted by some analysts, and there is at least one lyrical clue which supports it. And that’s how Jet is depicted in the third verse “with the wind in (his) hair of a thousand laces”, which sounds more like the physical description of a pony than a dog.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Paul McCartney and Wings's Jet at Lyrics.org.

The reason we’re pointing that out is because Macca’s previous explanation of this piece, i.e. the more generally accepted one, rather confirmed that “Jet” is actually the name of a puppy, part of a litter of black Labradors he owned and had grown fond of. So for example in the second verse, where the vocalist is pondering on the nature of Jet’s father, that’s because the members of the household did not actually know the dog that impregnated the puppy’s mother. 

But that said, this song is an exercise in misdirection anyway. In other words, it is never specified that “Jet” is an animal. Indeed based solely on the wording, a listener is more likely to conclude that the subject is a younger female friend of the vocalist – his “little lady”, as Macca terms it. Moreover, it can be ascertained that he is fascinated by her past as well as the prospects of her future.

And it should also be noted that even with such foreknowledge in mind, the lyrics are still pretty confusing, this being one of McCartney’s more symbolic pieces, if you will. And what it all is ultimately meant to point to, theoretically, is the vocalist admiring the sense of freedom that Jet enjoys.

When was “Jet” released?

“Jet” was released on January 28 of 1974 as the debut single from the album, “Band on the Run” by Paul McCartney and Wings, a British-American band. The band was formed by Paul McCartney, a former member of English rock band, The Beatles together with his wife, Linda McCartney.

Aside from “Band on the Run” the song has been featured on the following compilation albums:

  • “Wings Greatest” by Wings (released in 1978)
  • “All the Best!” by Paul McCartney (released in 1987)
  • “Wingspan: Hits and History” by Paul McCartney (released in 2001)
  • “Pure McCartney” by Paul McCartney (released in 2016)

The song peaked at No. 7 in the United States as well as the United Kingdom. It also fared well in many other places. For example, it achieved a top-10 hit standing in the following regions:

  • South Africa (#8)
  • Canada (#5)
  • Germany (#6)
  • Netherlands (#10)
  • New Zealand (#2)


Paul McCartney, regarded as one of the most successful songwriters ever, teamed up with Linda in penning this song while Paul solely took charge of the song’s production.


Since Jet‘s official release, a number of acts have released their own remakes of the song. The following are some, worthy of notice:

  • Shonen Knife (2008)
  • Leo Luoto (1974)
  • Jellyfish (2002)
  • La Taberna Del Piano (2015)
  • Blacklight Posterboys (2000)
  • L.A. Sounds (1979)
  • Laurence Juber (2005)
  • Shonen Knife (2008)

Notable Live Performances of “Jet”

On 19th November, 1987, McCartney & Wings performed “Jet” and “Listen To What The Man Said” on British TV talk show, “Wogan” which was hosted by Terry Wogan.

They performed it at UK’s Glastonbury Festival 2004 on 26th June, 2004. Other big acts that performed at the said festival included Muse, Oasis, James Brown and Joss Stone.

On 29th October, 2010, British TV talk show “Later…with Jools Holland” hosted McCartney as he celebrated the reissue of album, “Band on the Run”. “Jet” was again performed on that show.

McCartney performed at Hollywood Boulevard on the “Jimmy Kimmel Live” show on 23rd September, 2013. The set list consisted of hits such as “Jet”, “Magical Mystery Tour”, “Back in the U.S.S.R”, “Let It Be” and “Hey Jude”.

The “Band on the Run” Album

“Band on the Run” was released as Paul McCartney and Wings official third studio album.

Recording took place in three major studios around the world, namely:

  • EMI and ARC in Lagos, Nigeria
  • AIR, London.
  • Kingsway Recorders, London

The album was produced by Paul himself and released through Apple Records, a record label founded by his band, The Beatles.

Paul McCartney and Wings  had to deal with an altered line-up prior to the commencement of recording. Soon before the trip to Lagos for recording at EMI, drummer Henry McCullough and guitarist Denny Seiwell, quit the band. The situation left Paul with no choice but to commence recording with Linda alone. He played the drums, the guitar as well as other instruments himself.

In all, this album was accompanied by three singles, including “Jet” (which was the second single). The others are:

Success of Album

Despite the challenges the band faced prior to its recording, the album was a success. It got inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2013. In 2000, the album was placed at No. 75 on the list, “100 Greatest British Albums Ever” by Q magazine of the UK.

On Rolling Stone’s “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time” list, published in 2012, the album was placed at No. 418.

“Band on the Run” earned three Grammy Award nominations. It won two out of the three awards. At the Grammys in 1975, the album won the award for “Best Engineered Non-Classical Album” and lost the “Album of the Year” award to Stevie Wonder’s “Fulfillingness’ First Finale”.

Close to four decades after its release, it was awarded with the “Best Historical Album” award at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards.

The album peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart in the US as well as other countries including, UK, Norway, Canada, Australia and Spain.

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