1970s
12 Albums

4 Tours

138 Gigs

1 NEW BAND

  • 1970
  • 1971
  • 1972
  • 1973
  • 1975
  • 1976
  • 1977
  • 1978
  • 1979

The 1970s

Paul’s solo career began in 1970 with his US number one album McCartney. This decade saw Paul redefining himself in the wake of the Beatles’ split, writing every song and playing every instrument on McCartney, collaborating with Linda McCartney on RAM, and going on to form the critically acclaimed and commercially successful rock band Wings. The 1970s represented a creative rebirth for Paul, bursting with new ideas, experiments, playfulness and freedom, as he enjoyed both the contentment of family life and the excitement of getting back out on the road.

1970

17.04.1970

McCartney

Album PAUL McCARTNEY

Released in 1970, a month before The Beatles' swansong Let It Be, McCartney was Paul's first solo album. Notable for the fact that he performed all instruments and vocals himself, aside from some backing vocals performed by Linda McCartney, it's an album rich in experimentation, and the original home of ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’.

The 'McCartney' album was good fun because I got a machine from EMI, only a four-track, and I just had it in my living room where I lived in London at the time. I’d just go in for the day like Monsieur Magritte. Go in and do a little bit of stuff and make something up, and knock off in the evenings. It was very interesting to do and it had a certain kind of rawness, because I was breaking loose after The Beatles, we all got a feeling of that, I think.
Paul
Photo of Paul and Mary McCartney
Paul with his daughter Mary at home in Campbeltown, Scotland. Photos by Linda McCartney
Photo of Paul playing piano at home.
Paul at home in London, April 1969
Photo of a bowl of cherries
Cover photo of 'McCartney'. Cherries, Antigua, 1969
Photo of Paul sipping from a straw
Paul on holiday in 1969

1971

17.05.1971
Album sleeve for 'RAM'

RAM

Album PAUL & LINDA McCARTNEY

The only album credited to both Paul and Linda McCartney, RAM reached Number 1 in the UK and stayed in the US Top 10 for five months. Recorded after Paul had left The Beatles and before the formation of Wings, today RAM is held in high regard by many music critics and is often ranked as one of Paul's best solo albums. It has also been recognised as an early indie pop album.

When we went to Scotland, we had a very free, sort of hippie lifestyle. It meant I could sit around in the kitchen in the little farmhouse we lived in, with the kids running around and me just with my guitar, making up anything I fancied.
Paul

From You Gave Me The Answer - RAM Special!

Paul singing into a studio microphone
Paul during the recording of RAM at Columbia Studios, New York, 1970. Photos by Linda McCartney
Paul holding a ram by its horns
Paul on his farm in Scotland. Photograph used on the original 'RAM' album cover
Linda and Paul McCartney leaning on each other and recording music
Original photo used as the single cover for 'Another Day'
Paul and Linda McCartney singing into a studio microphone
Paul and Linda recording 'RAM' at CBS Studios, New York, 1971. Photo by Linda McCartney
Photo of Wings with their instruments
20.07.1971

Paul forms a new band: Wings

Following the release of RAM, Paul set about persuading Linda and some of the musicians who worked on the record to form a new group. Denny Laine and Denny Seiwell joined Paul and Linda at Rude Studios in Scotland, and began work on their debut album as Wings.

07.12.1971

Wild Life

Album WINGS

Like many debut albums, Wings' Wild Life wasn't a real reflection of what was to come, its guiding ethos being Paul’s intention to record the entire piece quickly. Taking just two weeks, Wild Life was about spontaneity: the opening track ‘Mumbo’ was recorded in one take.

Bob Dylan had just done an album in a few days, kind of thing. So I thought, ‘Yeah,’ you know. ‘That’d be good. Give it a freshness.’ That was the approach for putting 'Wild Life' together.
Paul

From You Gave Me The Answer - Celebrating 50 years of Wings and ‘Wild Life’

Photo of Wings sat in the shade of a tree
Outtake from the 'Wild Life' album cover shoot at Osterley Park, London, 1971
Wings band members sat on the floor at Abbey Road
Wings interview with Mike Hennessey, EMI Studios, Abbey Road.

1972

Wings University Tour
09.02.1972

Wings University Tour

Tour

In 1972 Paul went on tour for the first time since The Beatles' gruelling US leg in 1966. For Paul, it was a way of starting afresh, connecting with a new set of fans and going back-to-basics. The well-established college circuit seemed the best bet for impromptu gigs, and so it was that Nottingham University entered the history books as the venue for Wings’ first performance on 9th February 1972.

We literally took off in a van up the M1, got to Ashby-de-la-Zouch, liked that name, 'Great! Turn off here'. But there wasn’t a gig, there was just a little village and nothing else there. It was a signpost. Anyway we kept going until we got to Nottingham University, and then it suddenly hit, 'Ah, that’s it – let’s do universities.'
Paul
Wings Over Europe Tour
09.07.1972

Wings Over Europe Tour

Tour

In the summer of 1972, Wings set out on their first concert tour of Europe. The Wings over Europe Tour was undertaken in a brightly-coloured double-decker bus, which included the McCartney children and the full road crew.

[The McCartney children] joke about it now, saying they were hippy commune kids! But it was great for us, and I think it was great for them. It meant that we didn’t have to worry about them, because they were right there with us. And we figured if you want to know geography, actually going to all these places was helpful - it was part of their education.
Paul

From You Gave Me The Answer - What was it like raising a family on tour?

1973

Paul dancing with cabaret dancers dressed up as half man and half woman.
16.04.1973

'James Paul McCartney' TV special airs

James Paul McCartney was Paul's first TV special since The Beatles' 1967 film Magical Mystery Tour. Much of the show was filmed at ATV Elstree Studios in front of a live audience, with segments of film from Paul's studio and a Liverpool pub.

04.05.1973
Red Rose Speedway Album Sleeve

Red Rose Speedway

Album WINGS

With the addition of Irish guitarist Henry McCullough, Wings plugged away on their second album Red Rose Speedway through most of 1972, a year in which they issued no album (a first for Paul since The Beatles’ debut). By December they'd accumulated a vast amount of songs, though the idea of releasing a double-album was eventually rejected. The album did, however, include the global hit, ‘My Love’, a song that's since been covered by the likes of Cher, Corinne Bailey Rae and Brenda Lee.

I’m very proud of ‘My Love’. This was early days for me and Linda, so it’s a love song to her really. One of the things I was proud of, funnily enough, was that it charted. It sort of did very well.
Paul
Paul posing with a motorbike helmet and pointing at the camera
Out-take from the album cover shoot
Wings band members sat on barrels
Wings in Morocco, 1973. Photo by Linda McCartney
UK Tour
11.05.1973

UK Tour

Tour

In support of the recently released Red Rose Speedway album and the James Bond soundtrack anthem, ‘Live And Let Die’, Wings embarked on a 19-date UK tour, including three sold out shows at London's Hammersmith Odeon.

07.12.1973
'Band On The Run' Album Sleeve

Band on the Run

Album WINGS

Band on the Run was recorded in Lagos, Nigeria, shortly after Denny Seiwell and Henry McCullough left the band. With Wings helmed by Paul, Linda and Denny Laine, Band on the Run – complete with its famous celebrity-packed cover art – proved a triumph. The album topped the US chart three separate times; in the UK, it was the biggest selling studio album of 1974 and spent a miraculous 124 weeks on the chart.

The word 'band' in the title of this song refers mostly to the idea of a group of people who've escaped prison. A band of desperados. Certain aspects of it remind me of 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid'.
Paul
Polaroid photo of Paul playing guitar in the studio
Paul during the recording sessions for 'Band On The Run' in Lagos, Nigeria. Polaroid by Linda McCartney

1975

30.05.1975

Venus And Mars

Album WINGS

Venus And Mars was the first of two albums to feature what many regard as the perfect Wings line-up, with the McCartneys and Denny Laine now joined by guitarist Jimmy McCulloch and drummer Joe English. Recording was done in New Orleans and Los Angeles.

A lot of people who were into concerts were into alternate thinking. They'd want to know what your sign was, and they'd place some relevance on that. I was never like that. As far as I was concerned, Venus and Mars were just two random planets. But when we released the record, I realised they were also characters.
Paul
Paul wearing a striped Mexican poncho holding yellow and red balls.
Paul in the Mojave Desert during a promo photo shoot for the 'Venus and Mars' album. Photos by Linda McCartney
Paul crouching in the desert wearing a poncho
Wings band members stand apart in the desert
Wings Over The World
09.09.1975

Wings Over The World

Tour

Shortly after dawn on Tuesday 9th September 1975, Wings embarked on one of the biggest roadshows in rock music history: the Wings tour of 1975-76, which was to take in ten countries and play to two million people. The US leg of the tour was the most extensive, with Wings playing 21 cities, performing 34 shows and entertaining an estimated audience of nearly 600,000 people.

With Wings, I always knew we would have to take a few years of trials and tribulations. That was the same with The Beatles. [...] We'd done a lot of work getting our skills together, so now I had to do this all again with Wings. But by Wings Over America, and by the world tours, we'd pretty much done that. We now knew what Wings were.
Paul

From You Gave Me The Answer - 'Wings Over America'

1976

26.03.1976

At The Speed Of Sound

Album WINGS

Reinforced by months on the road, the cohesion of a settled line-up was much in evidence on Wings' At The Speed Of Sound, the band's fifth album. So much so, that each band member had at least one lead vocal performance, including Linda's ‘Cook Of The House’ and Denny Laine’s ‘Time To Hide’. Made at Abbey Road Studios, it was Paul’s first album to be recorded in Britain since Red Rose Speedway.

Members of Wings hold up a banner which reads 'SILLY LOVE SONGS'
Paul, Denny Laine, Jimmy McCulloch, Linda McCartney and Joe English at the 'Silly Love Songs' photo shoot
10.12.1976
Album sleeve for 'Wings Over America'

Wings Over America

Album WINGS

Selected from 90 hours of recordings, Wings Over America is a faithful account of the 1975-76 world tour that captures the band at its peak. It was taped at several of the US shows, but mixed as if it were a single performance.

Wings band members and McCartney children play music on an airplane
Wings Over The World Tour, 1976
Young Mary McCartney sits on Paul's lap on an aiplane
Paul and Mary McCartney on tour with Wings, 1975. Photo by Linda McCartney

1977

29.04.1977
Thrillington Album Sleeve

Thrillington

Album PERCY THRILLINGTON

The mysterious Thrillington was an instrumental cover version of Wings’ 1971 album RAM, recorded that same year at Abbey Road Studios, under the pseudonym of Percy "Thrills" Thrillington. Paul produced the album while Richard Hewson (who had previously worked on The Beatles’ Let It Be) arranged and conducted. Thrillington was shelved following the formation of Wings and finally appeared, after a teaser ad campaign in the press, in 1977.

1978

31.03.1978
Album sleeve for Wings' album 'London Town'

London Town

Album WINGS

London Town – Wings' seventh album – saw the departure of both Jimmy McCulloch and Joe English from the line-up, Linda’s pregnancy (with James), a song written for Michael Jackson (‘Girlfriend’) and the recording of one of the biggest-selling singles of all time, ‘Mull of Kintyre’. Despite its title, the album was recorded in the Virgin Islands.

One of three photos that were stitched together to create the 'London Town' cover. Photos by Linda McCartney
Linda, Paul, and Denny Laine during the 'London Town' promo shoot
01.12.1978
Wings Greatest album cover

Wings Greatest

Album WINGS

Wings Greatest was the first official retrospective of Paul’s post-Beatles career and included many of his single-only releases since 1970 including ‘Live And Let Die’, ‘Hi Hi Hi’ and ‘Mull Of Kintyre’.

1979

08.06.1979
Album cover for Wings' album 'Back To The Egg'

Back To The Egg

Album WINGS

Back To The Egg was the ninth and final studio album by Wings, the band having acquired two new members in guitarist Laurence Juber and drummer Steve Holly. The album saw Paul work alongside producer Chris Thomas, who had trained as a producer during recording of The Beatles' 1968 eponymous classic (The White Album).

The rather fancy-sounding Spirit of Ranachan Studio was basically a barn with a control room window at one end of it. Wackiness was the order of the day during this period - graish outfits and the punk and disco era - and they don't come much wackier than 'Old Siam, Sir'
Paul
Wings huddled together looking through a window
Wings during the 'Winter Rose/Love Awake' video shoot
Paul during the video shoot for 'Old Siam, Sir'
Paul, Linda, and Denny Laine playing instruments
Paul, Linda, and Denny Laine during the 'Back To The Egg' recording sessions
Paul and Linda pose with a Guinness World Record
24.10.1979

Paul is awarded the Guinness World Record for 'Most Successful Songwriter'

Paul holds a number of Guiness World Records - including 20+ records with The Beatles - and in 1979 he was awarded 'Most Successful Songwriter' on account of 129 of the songs he had written or co-written charting in the UK.

Green poster featuring Paul wearing a Santa hat
16.11.1979

'Wonderful Christmastime' single is released

Now a staple of every holiday playlist, Paul's 'Wonderful Christmastime' was his first solo single since 'Another Day', recorded during the McCartney II sessions but not appearing on the album until its Archive Collection reissue in 2011

Wings UK Tour
23.11.1979

Wings UK Tour

Tour

Wings began a 19-date concert tour of the United Kingdom to promote their album Back To The Egg. The shows were massively successful and even produced a Number 1 hit in the US with a live recording of ‘Coming Up’ from a Glasgow date. By this stage in their career, Wings didn’t have to prove anything – on this tour, it was time to go out and play simply for the pleasure of the thing.

Wings backstage at the Concert For The People Of Kampuchea
29.12.1979

Concert For The People Of Kampuchea

Concert

Organised by Paul along with politician Kurt Waldheim, The Concert For The People Of Kampuchea was actually a series of shows held in December 1979 to raise money for the victims of war-torn Cambodia. It was also a personal landmark for Paul as the show on the 29th December marked the last-ever concert performed by Wings.