Spreading Your Wings (GTLIYWI) 4

Fred, Velma, Daphne… Can you name one of the ‘Big 5’ African animals?

– Rhino

– I’m sure you do, Scooby, but you and Shaggy have to wait your turn.

There are reasons why bands release triple live albums: some bands have really long songs that showcase their talents (hello Yes), some bands are better represented by a full concert rather than highlights (hello Grateful Dead) and other bands just want to devise new ways to circumnavigate the Geneva Convention (FU ELP!). Today’s triple album has none of those reasons and only came about by necessity (plus I wanted to get that dig in at ELP’s expense!)

Wings Over America is a triple live album by “the band the Beatles could have been” Wings, featuring ex-Beatle Paul McCartney, and was recorded during the American leg of their 1975-76 World tour. Originally, WOA was to be a two-record set of highlight performances but this was rethought due to the success of a bootleg called Wings from the Wings, which was released as a triple record set on red, white, and blue vinyl, and contained the entire 23 June 1976 concert recorded at The Forum in Los Angeles. This caused McCartney to release the album as a three-record set, compiled from various shows from the band.

The Bootleg that launched a triple live album!

The Beatles mystique was still very much attached to record and artist alike – at the time, John Lennon had seemingly burnt out a major chunk of his talent, George Harrison was losing his popular edge and had done a disastrous 1974 American tour, and Thomas The Tank Engine hadn’t been made for TV yet, so Ringo Starr was  replying to the backlog of fan mail and fan paintings which had built up ever since the band came back from India in the late 60’s – it seemed like McCartney represented the part of the group’s legacy that came closest to living up to fans’ expectations. Thus the album ended up selling in numbers, rivaling the likes of Frampton Comes Alive! and other mega-hits of the period.

Whilst I was never the biggest Wings fan, I had heard a few of their albums and they do have some great songs, but as an album band Wings never captured my interest so I approached this album with a little trepidation.

Whilst it’s not the greatest live album I’ve heard, WOA is a really good live album for the most part. The first two sides are great, the live recordings and audience cheers help to enhance the energy of the songs. The slower songs on sides 3 and 4 pulls the momentum back and it’s not until Listen To What The Man Said, before the band kicks back into high gear and this tempo is maintained over the last two sides of the album.

Despite it being a triple album (28 tracks), none of them are over 10 minutes so it’s not very excessive. There are a couple of strange cover choices on here: Simon and Garfunkel’s Richard Cory doesn’t work and the cover of Go Now (by the Moody Blues) has a passable guitar solo but not much else. If the album had left out sides 3 and 4 and it was just released as a double, it would get quite high marks but the slower, acoustic numbers don’t really work for me. Wings Over America is a good live album, not great but it’s quite entertaining to hear some Beatles tracks that they never played live (Lady Madonna is a lot of fun). I’d recommend this album and would have no problem listening to it again, ‘cept maybe side 3. A very respectable 7/10.

Up on deck next, I’ll be playing the fool with a gentle Giant. TTFN.

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Published by labarbaazul8067

I'm just a creature from the heap so excuse my savage ignorance.

5 thoughts on “Spreading Your Wings (GTLIYWI) 4

  1. 7/10 is high praise from you! I was a bit nervous to read this one, as Wings Over America is one of my all time fav live albums. Too young to go to the concert, this album was the next best thing. Your art, as always, is stellar 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I decided to blog about the double and triple live classic rock albums released in the 70’s. Whilst I’ve discovered some delightful albums (hello Humble Pie and Allman Brothers) the ELP album was definitely one of the least enjoyable listening experiences I’ve ever had!

      Like

      1. Hmm, interesting. I saw them live in about 1976 in St. Petersburg, Florida. It was a good show. I listened to them a lot in high school. Thanks fir answering. You obviously love music. I appreciate that.

        Liked by 1 person

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