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LISTEN TO WHAT THE FANS SAID
• FAR HAVE I TRAVELLED
An individual's power of memory is a fascinating aspect of human nature. My earliest memory of all is a painful one -breaking a leg at the age of two in 1961. This catastrophe did provide one moment of classic humour, however. During my time in plaster my brother was given a toy carpenter's set. You guessed it - off came the cast with the mallet and saw.
I have many vivid childhood memories and when I close my eyes I can re-live many incidents. One evening in 1962, I remember crouching in front of the television with my brother, in the warmth and comfort of our perfect home. We were oblivious to the big bad world outside. On the screen, as the Granada TV presenter announced, were four young men from Liverpool called the Beatles singing their first release 'Love Me Do'. The seed was well and truly sown. This lovely black and white memory was frozen in a time capsule in a compartment of my mind. I can re-live the experience as and when desired.
Subsequent memories are not so clear. I remember somebody buying me a Booties book one Christmas, probably 1965. To a little boy of six the words were far too big to read, unlike my beloved Rupert annuals! I also remember watching the film 'Help' as an end of term treat on the school projector, but at that age it left me a little bewildered.
Between 1967 and 1971 Paul experienced many significant occurances. Rather surprisingly, bearing in mind the accuracy of my earlier memories, I was virtually oblivious to his very existence. Through the multicoloured days of Sgt. Pepper to the grey days of disharmony, my memory is clouded. I was later aware of one or two of Paul's early solo singles, but it was only an awareness. The seed sewn in 1962 did not germinate until early in 1973 with the screening of JAMES PAUL MCCARTNEY television spectacular. Since that time I have been completely entranced by the McCartney magic.
In the summer of 1975 when I discovered that Wings were 'on the road' as the headline screamed, I was like a (young) man possessed by the devil in an effort to obtain a ticket. Gold dust is not easy to acquire, especially if this is your first venture into the 'every man for himself scramble for tickets. Like so many other fans I was disappointed at the box office and I resigned myself to following the amazing world tour via the media. The announcement of the conclusive Wembley concerts of '76 re-awakened the devil in me, but I simply could not lay my hands on that elusive piece of paper that meant so much.
It was then however, that I enjoyed an amazing stroke of good fortune. Against very high odds indeed I was very lucky to win a ticket for the final night of the world tour on 21st October, 1976 thanks to a contest run by the Daily Express. Quite unbelievably, I had been presented with an 11th hour opportunity of witnessing the final chapter of Wings triumphant journey.
I shall never forget that October night as long as I live. It is an experience that words alone cannot hope to describe; it really DOES have to be witnessed first hand. When I close my eyes and reflect on the experience I have a vivid memory of the lights going down and feeling an electrifying tingle of expectation. From out of the black pour the opening notes of Venus and Mars then cutting through the darkness like a razor, the arena is filled with THAT voice. The arena explodes as Wings burst into Rockshow. They are now in full thrust, musically solid and visually emulating an explosion in a fireworks factory as the darkness is shattered and the senses are hit with tremendous force. An unbelievable experience, rivalled only by Paul sitting alone in a single spotlight singing a beautiful version of Yesterday. 1962 seemed light years away.
Wings live are like a drug. Once experienced, the mind craves for more. It is a rather sad situation that no matter how much a performance gives, the greater the quality the fans will want. Following that unforgettable night in 1976 I, like so many fans worldwide waited impatiently for the next tour. News broke on 5th November, 1979. By now I had become a little wiser in the ticket race and within the first hour of hearing of the tour, I had been given verbal assurance of two tickets. I did not jump any queues or pay over the odds, I simply applied the golden rule: once the announcement is out - MOVEI
Having fond memories of Wembley, I was over the moon to receive two tickets for 8-12-79 at the arena. This time I would be accompanied by my girlfriend Eirlys (a sort of Welsh Hayley, shortened for convenience to Ale - as in ginger) whom, I am pleased to say is now my better half and also a dedicated fan. Wembley '79 was Wings back to their roots, Paul turning up after a day with his horses and sending 8,000 fans into raptures with a classic performance. For a long time after the concert I reflected upon Paul’s ability with disbelief. Gone where the lasers and smokebombs, but the breathtaking power of ’76 remained. When one also considers that this was only the band’s eleventh live performance together, compared with a highly polished sixtieth in ’76, one can only marvel at the wealth of talent. Strongest memories of that night are the are the magnificent 'Got You nto My Life', 'Yesterday', as unforgettable as in ‘76, and Paul and Linda walking off stage arm in arm, victorious with 8,000 mesmerised fans delivering an ovation that said it all.
It is now 1982 and I am grateful to have such wonderful memories. Many things have happened lo me during the years I have been a fan of Paul's music. During our formative years, no matter how good our parents are, we all tend to adopt a rebellious streak to some degree. During this time we are inclined to listen to our idols rather than to the people who love us so much. If the idols to whom we choose to listen to set a bad example then maybe, just maybe there is a chance that we too may go off the rails. I believe that having the best parents in the world has kept me on the right track, but I am equally sure that the influence of Paul's music and lifestyle has been a dominent factor upon the way I live today. Ale and I love the quiet life, the country-side, share Paul and Linda's love of horses, and beautiful music provided by the greatest composer of all time.
One day, Ale and I should love to meet Paul and Linda, not in the plastic role of 'fans meet superstar idol' but down to earth people wishing to have a chat, a cup of tea and a chance to say 'thanks mate, we loved your records and are grateful to you for helping to keep us from screwing our lives up'.
In conclusion to this masterpiece, I had a very enjoyable experience watching Top of The Pops the other evening. As I crouched in front of the television in the warmth and comfort of our perfect home, the four young lads from Liverpool were on our screens again singing Love Me Do from '62, reawakening a beautiful memory.
TIM AND ALE JONES
• Dear Fun Club,
Hi! I have to write to let everyone know that the exhibition of Linda's photographs which is being held currently in a New York art gallery is just amazing!
I've always admired Linda's talent, but after seeing her photography on display at the show, I realise the extent of her remarkable ability to capture any image with sensitivity, perception and her own unique style. I can't wait for her new book to be published, as I'm sure it will be another winner.
Keep up the great work Linda! 'Tug of War' is a masterpiece, Paul - any chance of a U.S. tour in the future?
Much love from a Paul and Linda lover.
Mt. Vernon, N.Y.
• Dear Alan,
Thank you very much for your letter and the Buddy Holly souvenirs that you sont me.
From your recent letter about my comments about our holiday, I could write a book, but I will try to keep my comments as short as possible. Well here goes!
From the moment when the private car called for me to take me to the airport, I then realised that it was a fairy tale starting to come true, and that's what it was for me.
What a fantastic welcome I received when I got off of the plane at Dallas, Texas. Maria Holly was one hell of a person, and to meet her is to appreciate what a lovely person she is; she just couldn't do enough for us to make sure we had a perfect holiday.
And 'WOW' the sight of those three white convertable Cadillacs with bull horns on their bonnets. I was willing to put my overalls on and get at those engines.
As we toured Dallas (J.R. Country) I realised that I had seen this place before on television and that I would never criticise my mum for watching 'Dallas' again.
All the hotels that we stayed in were absolute luxury in themselves, and I have never eaten so many one and a half pound T Bone' steaks in my life, and I don't suppose I ever will again.
To Paul McCartney I owe so much thanks when he does something he ' certainly does it in style, so much so that the only money I spent was on souvenirs to bring back home.
It was a privilege to meet Buddy Holly's family when we flew to Lubbock and to see his home town.
The rodeo, Six Flags Amusement Park and Alamo in San Antonio were really enjoyable and will be part of the experience that I will never forget. And added to this we had V.I.P. treatment throughout the holiday.
The company we were in were electric, laughs all the way and very well organised.
Thank you Alan and everybody for all you have done to make my prize so special.
• Dear Paul and Linda,
This is the first time I write to 'Listen to what fans said'. I joined in yours club the last month, and I'm very happy!
I want to congratulate you for the issue 'Club Sandwich', is very beautiful!
And Linda is really a great photographer! Your photo on the cover of the no. 26 of 'Club Sandwich', is adorable! Give my compliments to Linda, please!
Now, on the Italian television there is a program in honour of the Beatles (the title is 'A bridge on the Channel'), and it's very beautiful.
I continued to listen your 'Tug of war' album, and every time it is much beautiful! And for that I thank you very much!
My regards to you with many, many love
P.S. I'll wait with impatience the next number of 'Club Sandwich'! (And please, excuse me for my school english!)
• Dear Sue,
I just thought I'd like to tell you about something that happened last Sunday. It was celebrating 20 years since LOVE ME DO was released. It was sponsored by Capital Radio and held at the Dominion Theatre, London. 'Help', the new stereo version of 'Hard Day's Night', and 'Let It Be' were shown, along with many newsreels of the time.
I had a really good time and everyone was really friendly. Did any other Wings Fun Club members go?
• Dear Sue,
Thank you for recently renewing my membership.
I thought you might like to see the enclosed photograph of Paul, myself (extreme right), and Kevin Burton (left) which was taken at the Take It Away' video.
Let me thank you Sue for giving us a great day out.
I was, and still am, amazed at Paul's modesty and kindness in allowing us to be photographed with him. We had a brief conversation with Paul. He was very understanding and was very humerous; he must have liked our northern accents!
If at all possible please forward the photograph to him and express our gratitude, as he has made me realise a life long ambition to meet him.
Keighley, W. Yorks.