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            In the beginning Wings consisted of just two people - Paul and Linda McCartney. James Paul McCartney was born June 18, 1942 (which, for those who place credence on such things, makes him a Gemini) at Walton Hospital, Liverpool, to Mary and Jim McCartney. His arrival was followed in January, 1944 by the birth of his brother, Michael.
            His was a close, affectionate family. His mother was a midwife and his father, from whom he most obviously inherited his musical talent, had been a pianist and one-time leader of Jim Mac's Band. They weren't wealthy but, thanks to a working mother, lived comfortably enough in the years of austerity following the war.
            Both Paul and Michael were bright boys with quick, alert minds. But Paul soon became bored with lessons and set out on a course of mild delinquency. He was sexually precocious - already very attractive to women by his early teens - and ambitious for the best things in life, Perhaps his drive away from the academic and towards the rebellious was accelerated by the untimely death of his mother. This was in 1956 when she was in her mid-forties; Paul was barely 14.
            As compensation for the loss Paul started taking an interest in music, a subject for which he had evinced no enthusiasm previously. He obtained a cheap guitar - strongly influenced by the skiffle boom which showed young people that they could make music on the cheapest of instruments.
            His musical ambitions were modest. however, until one summer day in 1956 when he was taken by a friend to a church fete in Woolton, Liverpool, to see a group play. There he met John Lennon -16 and drunk - who was impressed by his knowledge of and ability to play classic rock & roll numbers like 20 Flight Rock. John saw that this 'kid' could be a valuable asset to his group - who were marked by enthusiasm rather than musical accomplishment - and invited him to join the Quarrymen. Very soon, having exhausted their repertoire of rock & roll standards, the two started writing their own songs.
            The Lennon and McCartney partnership was forged and tempered through many years and several groups. The personnel of these bands seemed to change constantly - around the John and Paul nucleus - with particular difficulty experienced in finding a competent, reliable drummer affluent enough to own a kit. On the way, however, they did manage to pick up a promising guitarist in George Harrison. By 1960, the group had more or less stabilized with these three plus Stuart Sutcliffe on bass and Pete Best on drums. The group was known as the Silver Beatles and then, simply, the Beatles.
            The full and extraordinary story of the Beatles' rise to rock pre-eminence is too familiar and well-chronicled to need detailed retelling. After gruelling but valuable experience playing eight hours daily in Hamburg clubs, some minor recording work in Germany backing Tony Sheridan and a growing popularity in their native Merseyside, the Beatles felt they were ready to break nationally in Britain.
            Sutcliffe left the band to settle in Hamburg (where he died tragically young of a brain tumor) and McCartney switched to bass playing. They met local store owner Brian Epstein in 1961. He spotted their potential, signed them and used his considerable energy to groom them and push them towards stardom.
            After many disappointments, they were signed by producer George Martin to EMI's Parlophone label but Best was regarded as unsuitable, sacked and replaced by Richard Starkey, professionally known as Ringo Starr. The particular chemistry of the Beatles had now found its perfect blend and, after one respectable hit with Love Me Do in 1962, the group achieved rapid and alarmingly hysterical British success in 1963. From this point until Epstein's death in 1967, the story is one of continuing and growing achievement. After conquering the States in 1964 the Beatles became the most popular, successful and influential group in the history of rock and, individually, Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starr were four of the most famous people in the world.
            The impact of the Beatles on the young of the '60s is almost impossible to calculate. They affected every area of youth interest - music, fashion, hair, lifestyle, slang - and impressed their collective personality on a decade in a way that no-one else has ever managed. Perhaps the one quality that made the Beatles outstanding was their tireless pursuit of excellence. Everything they said, sang, wrote or wore, the films and records they made, were different and, invariably, better than anything anyone else had done.
            Amid this, they had one great - arguably their greatest - asset; the songwriting genius of Lennon and McCartney. Together or separately John Lennon and Paul McCartney are among the best songwriters in rock. It has been claimed-rashly-that "they are the best songwriters since Schubert." Indisputably, they can, at their peak, be compared with the best composers of popular music like Cole Porter and George Gershwin.
            This enviable facility for writing songs that were not only artistically satisfying but also commercially successful made Lennon and McCartney extremely wealthy and, deservedly, gained them admiration and acclaim from critics not normally noted for their approval of popular music. Furthermore, it was allied. in both of them, to fine voices, commanding personalities and inquiring musical minds that led them to experiment in recording and production. Such talents and skills, however, are frequently married to considerable egos. This was true of John and Paul and was partly responsible for the inevitable clash of opinions and wills and subsequent split. There's no doubt they both regretted the manner in which it had to be done, even if they welcomed the freedom that it eventually afforded them both. Out of the ashes came not just a once-great group, now irrevocably smashed, but four new superstars.
            Five superstars if you include Linda McCartney.

Ah, she sings it so
I want to put her on the radio...
Ladies and Gentlemen -
a brand new Star

            So Paul wrote in Letting Go (on Venus And Mars) and, consciously or not, it reflects his own actions regarding Linda. He not only married her, but also turned her into a star. The story of Linda McCartney's trip from wealthy American suburbia to hit records and the concert halls of the world is an intriguing one.
            It can be said that McCartney was born to music and, by extension, to fame. Linda was not. She was not even born to be - or harbored any ambition to become - a photographer. It was a career - like rock - that she drifted into and succeeded at without having any burning ambition.
            Linda Louise Eastman was born three months after her husband on September 24 (making her birth sign Libra), 1942 into a very wealthy family of lawyers. Her father Lee's practice specialized in show business clients and she became blase about the movie and singing stars who regularly visited their home in Scarsdale.
            Scarsdale is a preserve of the well-heeled and successful professional classes in Westchester County, in upstate New York, about 20 miles outside Manhattan. Even by Scarsdale's high standards, the Eastmans wore financially very well off, although the story that was constantly repeated in the press that they were part of the Eastman-Kodak photography family has been denied by Linda time and again. She attended Scarsdale High School, said to be one of the best state schools in America, where - for six months or so - Liza Minelli studied.
            She shared with Paul a certain youthful rebelliousness. This was later ascribed to a reaction against the high-pressure, go-getting nature of her family's business ethic. Someone who was at school with Linda remembers her as a "quite unhappy kid" who used to like slumming and breaking away from her privileged background. But there's no indication that this took the form of McCartney's petty delinquency,
            Although used to entertainers, she showed no early inclination to earn a living from public performance. She shied away from piano lessons - as many children do - and deserted practice sessions for more beguiling activities. On becoming Mrs McCartney and a group member, she regretted this abandonment of musical tuition.
            She enjoyed her music at second hand, via radio and records, and quickly became an enthusiastic and knowledgeable pop fan. She later remembered these days saying: "All my teen years were spent with an ear to the radio." Soon she started slipping off, sometimes cutting schoolwork, to see shows at the Brooklyn Paramount. "They'd have 20 acts on 24 hours a day. Alan Freed [the disc jockey described by some rock historians as the Father Of Rock & Roll] was the MС but sometimes they'd get Fabian or Bobby Darin to MC. I remember seeing Chuck Berry sing School Days for the first time."
            She never thought of taking her Interest any further. She entertained no dreams of being a pop singer. "If I'd been a boy I might have thought 'Yeah, I'll be a singer.' But I was a girl and liked Buddy Holly. I was never into Brenda Lee. She had a great voice and so did Connie Francis but I loved the Everly Brothers and Buddy and Chuck Berry."
            Despite a tendency to play hookey in favor of rock & roll, Linda graduated from high school as a pretty average middle-class kid of the late '50s. Her high school yearbook shows her looking serious and big-eyed with a neat pageboy haircut. This demureness is contrasted by a description of her as a "strawberry blonde" with a "yen for men"!
            Paul and Linda share an unhappy coincidence in that they both lost their mothers; Paul's to cancer and Linda's in an airplane crash. Paul's loss drove him towards music. Linda's towards a premature marriage. Both Linda and her first husband were at university - she studying history and art - and he geology at Princeton. She seldom speaks of it in detail to the press. She once said quite simply: " My mother died in a plane crash and I got married. It was a mistake."
            They were undoubtedly too young, as she later acknowledged, and she saw quite quickly that It was never going to work. "When he graduated he wanted to go to Africa. I said 'Look, if I don't get on with you here I'm not going to Africa with you. I won't get on with you there.' So he went. While he was there I really thanked God. I'd met somebody I liked better. So I wrote and said I was getting a divorce. I got a letter back saying 'Let's not.' I said 'Yeh, come on, let's get a divorce.' Luckily he agreed."
            It sounds bluntly matter-of-fact but that is almost certainly just her natural reticence about giving too much of herself away to the press. Her philosophy about marriage and divorce was clearly expressed in the same interview. "I really think it comes down to either you're happy or you're not. If you're not you should split and get happy as individuals. If you are happy together, try and keep it."
            The marriage finished, she took herself off to Tucson, Arizona where she started taking photographs and found herself mixing with a bohemian bunch of artists. Her approach to photography was always intuitive, relying on her own creative sense of how a picture should be rather than slavishly following technique and the mechanics of using a camera. Her early hit-and-miss efforts whetted her interest in using photography to earn a living. Eventually, she headed back to New York to look for gainful employment for she now had the responsibility of her baby daughter, Heather.
            She landed a job as receptionist on Town And Country Magazine and was looking for the chance to make her mark. When the break came, she seized it with a bold stroke of opportunism. Invitations flooded into the magazine's off ice and one caught Linda's eye. It was from the Rolling Stones who invited Town And Country to send a reporter along to meet them at a reception held on a boat on the Hudson River. Linda, already knowledgeable and enthusiastic about British groups, was determined that she should go but, lacking seniority or position, had to resort to subterfuge. She phoned the office that had issued the invitation and accepted on her own behalf, without telling anyone else on the magazine.
            When the day came she grabbed her camera and light-heartedly went along to the boat. Although she was still no more than an inexperienced and haphazard amateur, she managed to get aboard and shoot the Stones while all photographers were barred. This stroke of luck meant that her shots were in demand from newspapers that had been denied access. Suddenly, Linda was pitchforked from being a receptionist to professional photographer and found that it was avocation much to her liking.
            She showed an aptitude for working with rock people (she became unpaid official photographer for the Fillmore East concert hall) due as much to her ability to establish a rapport with musicians as her eye for the telling image. She quickly landed commissions from Mademoiselle magazine and specialized in visiting British stars who were so much in vogue at the time. She soon gained an entree to their elite circle.
            She worked hard at the job, showing a lot of grit in getting to the people she wanted to shoot. Over the years she had built up an inner toughness that was not evident when she first set out. For instance, she was an early fan of the Moody Blues, "I really wanted to photograph them," she later reminisced, "but I never got up the nerve." (A pleasant irony since she was later to play in a group with Denny Laine!) By the mid-'60s that had changed and someone who knew her in those days told the press: "Few girls in New York had that sort of determination and application as Linda had in 1966." And added, "She's a great photographer, too."
            Her attitude to photography was very relaxed and informal. She liked to shoot stars to whose music she could personally relate, preferably outside the rigidity of the studio. Her sessions were frequently day-long events during which she and her subject would wander around locations in New York. She didn't like posing the stars, arranging them this way and that in artificial positions. She liked to employ a sort of camera verite technique, snapping off pictures of the subject's natural reactions. This gave her shots a candid, intimate touch, frequently revealing the private personality behind the public face.
            Although she was a good and, ultimately, successful photographer, it was never her ambition to hustle her way into the big league. She loved shooting rock stars, mingling with them and attending concerts and would willingly have done it all for free. As it happens, she was getting well paid for having great fun.
            Although she met and photographed most of the celebrated British musicians in New York during those hectic years, she did not encounter Paul there. That meeting came in 1967 in London. Linda was in Britain to shoot material on Traffic and went to one of rock's meeting places, the Bag O'Nails Club, in the company of Chas Chandler (ex-Animals, then Jimi Hendrix's manager). Paul was with a group of friends - including members of the Who and the Stones at another table.
            They became aware of each other's presence and started, as Paul termed it, "giving each other the eye." What started that evening was continued 12 months later in New York when Lennon and McCartney visited briefly to promote the newly-formed Apple. The visit was followed by another, private one that included a vacation In California. By now a relationship of some depth was forming and, after he had returned home, Paul telephoned Linda to ask her to visit England.
            In an interview with the British rock paper Sounds, Linda chronicled the rest of the story, "I came over and we lived together for a while, neither of us talked about marriage. We just loved each other and lived together. We liked each other a lot, so being conventional people one day I thought 'OK let's get married - we love each other, let's make it definite.' It was just like that, and that surprised so many people."
            It also angered quite a few. A natural backlash from hard-line female fans might be expected. After all, for years they had cherished a secret dream, an impossible hope that one day the most attractive and only bachelor Beatle might be theirs. There was bound to be disappointment and some resentment towards both Paul and Linda, Paul was quite aware that marriage to anybody could be harmful to his career. But, as he told writer Paul Gambaccini (in Paul McCartney In His Own Words, Omnibus Press), it was a risk he was prepared to take. "I know a lot of rock & roll stars ... who will regulate their life to their image. It can mess you up a lot, I know a lot of guys from the old days who wouldn't get married, even if they wanted to. Wouldn't get married because it might affect their careers… But the thing is, in a couple of years, his career is over anyway. And he didn't get married, and he went and blew it. So I didn't . . . Although I didn't wish to blow my career, I thought it more important to get on with living."
            While both Paul and Linda were probably prepared for the frustrated antipathy of fans, neither could have foreseen the vilification and downright slander that was whispered around the rock world. These calumnies were almost all directed towards Linda.
            Both the McCartneys came in for hurtful and often unfair barbs. Occasionally they would be provoked so much that they felt their critics needed answering. After being needled by a journalist from one of Britain's more sensational Sunday newspapers, Linda snapped: "To hear some people talk you would think I flew from America to London... just to get hold of Paul. They are so wrong. It was John who interested me at the start. He was my Beatle hero. But when I met him the fascination faded fast and I found it was Paul I liked."
            Paul McCartney married Linda Eastman at Marylebone Register Office on March 12. 1969. His brother Michael (who adopted the surname McGear and was one-third of the comedy / poetry / singing group Scaffold) was best man and very late due to a delayed train. Heather was bridesmaid and Beatle aides Peter Brown and Mal Evans were in attendance. (The latter had been assistant, friend and confidant to the Beatles from the earliest days. He died in peculiar circumstances during a police shoot-out on the West Coast in 1976, one of the most tragic casualties of the madness that grew out of the group's unprecedented fame.)
            Although the marriage was arranged on the spur of the moment, there may have been two factors contributing to its timing. Linda was pregnant (their first daughter Mary was born on August 28, 1969) and never before had Paul needed someone to help and support him as now. His long, hard, destructive battle for independence was just about to start and Linda would be a constant source of help, sympathy and encouragement over the coming difficult months.
            Almost as if to presage the approaching turmoil, only hours after Paul and Linda were wed George and Patti Harrison were raided by police and arrested for possession of cannabis resin. They later pleaded guilty to the charge and were fined.
            All too soon after being married, the couple were launched into the first of the several legal hassles that were to beset them all in the next two years. As they went on, it became increasingly clear to Paul that he had to get out and make his own music. But things were so arranged that he couldn't play with the Beatles because of their personal disputes and he couldn't play without them because of their contractual ties. He felt depressed and useless.
            "The job folded beneath me," he told the London Sunday Times. "Suddenly I didn't have a career any more. I wasn't earning anything and all my money was in Apple and I couldn't get it out because I'd signed it all away."
            He took the family and fled up to the peace of his sheep farm in Scotland. He kept so low on the horizon that the 'Paul is Dead' rumors circulated. It was a very bad time for him; he was isolated from his oldest friends and colleagues and was being alternately hounded and abused by Beatle fans. He turned inevitably to Linda and, increasingly, in on himself. "I stayed up all night, went on the booze, hit the ciggies," he said in the same interview. "I'd lost all my security. I'd no idea what I was going to do. There seemed no point in joining another group.... I was out of work."
            The depression couldn't dampen his naturally exuberant spirit for long, however. And it certainly couldn't stifle his need to make music. Soon he had to get back to the thing he did best. As he once explained: "My main thing I like doing is singing. I'm a man who sings. A man who sings every day is a man who sings every day. That man is a singer." And that man cannot long be divorced from recording.
            Gradually, through the last months of 1969 he started playing around with scraps of songs, tinkering in his home studio and slowly working towards an albumful of material. Now there were no Beatles to help him and so he fell back on his own resources. There was no particular intention to create an album initially. He started experimenting with the newly installed equipment, using half-completed songs or even just snatches to test its capabilities.
            The finished result was a fragmented collection that fell into four categories. There were the recently-written complete songs like Maybe I'm Amazed that were transitional, linking work intended for the Beatles and songs tailored specifically for McCartney. In addition there were those composed for the group like Junk and Teddy Boy (both written while with the Maharishi in India and intended for Abbey Road and Let It Be respectively) and Hot As Sun which was from way back in the late'50s. There were several impromptu songs that were improvized on the spot or written in stages as and when needed. These included Valentine Day, Man We Was Lonely and OO You. The last category comprised oddities like Glasses ("Wineglasses played at random and over-dubbed on top of each other...") and The Lovely Linda which Paul described as "the first song I recorded, to test the machine ... a trailer to the full song which will be recorded in the future."
            Because he was working alone (except for the occasional help of a recording engineer) he naturally called on Linda for musical and moral support. He summarized her contribution thus: "Strictly speaking she harmonizes, but of course it's more than that because she is a shoulder to lean on, a second opinion, and a photographer of renown. (She shot the album sleeve.) More than all this, she believes in me - constantly."
            Right from the start of his 'solo' career, Paul was publicly crediting Linda, pulling her towards the limelight with him and making it known that they were a partnership not just in marriage but also in music. This was further confirmed by the fact that the first track on his first album was dedicated to his wife - The Lovely Linda.
            This meant that the McCartneys were putting themselves up to be knocked down, critically. It also seemed to confirm McCartney's pivotal role in the destruction of the Beatles to the uninformed fan. They became rather unpopular even though McCartney reportedly sold a million copies in a month. (However, Let It Be broke all previous records for advance orders in the States and Long And Winding Road, the single from it, sold more than a million copies in a matter of days. This was a McCartney song which had been given a lush string backing by Phil Spector - much to Paul's disgust.)
            Despite the success of McCartney, Paul and Linda did nothing in 1970 to follow it up. They didn't even issue Maybe I'm Amazed - regarded as the stand-out track by most observers - as a single. (The song had to wait until 1977 for that honor. This was a live version taken from the Wings Over America triple set.) It's possible that they were too involved in the legal arguments and too unsure of Paul's exact contractual position to record and release further discs.
            Legalities notwithstanding, both Ringo - Beaucoup Of Blues - and George - All Things Must Pass - issued albums subsequent to McCartney. John released John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band in December, 1970. It was one of the most agonized and pain-filled records ever made, reflecting John's struggle to come to terms with both the distant and recent past. It is haunted by his loneliness (Isolation), the spectres of his acutely unhappy child hood (Mother and My Mummy's Dead), his difficulty in facing up to his fame (Working Class Hero) and his fight to maintain his balance (Hold On). The most obviously telling track was God in which he lists all the things he no longer believes in, ending with "I don't believe in Beatles" and declares "The dream is over." The songs are cries of despair.
            That album heralded the most distressing consequences of the Beatles split - John Lennon's bitter attacks on Paul McCartney in both print and on record. In interviews published during January and February, 1971, in Rolling Stone he spoke disparagingly of Paul's role in the break-up and said McCartney was "rubbish. I think he'll make a better one when frightened into it." Elsewhere, he compared Paul's work to that of EngelbertHumperdinck (the middle-of-the-road ballad singer, not the composer of the opera Hansel Und Cretel!).
            Perhaps the most wounding and certainly the most vitriolic and scathing blast was contained in Lennon's 1971 Imagine album. It appeared in the US in September (UK release in October), about four months after McCartney's Ram LP. Lennon parodies the cover photo of Paul's RAM album on IMAGINE The first jibe was relatively good-humored; Paul's sleeve had carried a photograph of him grappling with the horns of a ram, inside Imagine was slipped a postcard of John grasping the ears of a large pig.
            One track on the album was less jocular in tone. It was entitled How Do You Sleep? and it dismissed Paul as a pretty-faced pop star. It maintained that Sgt. Pepper had come as a surprise to McCartney, asserted that "those freaks was right when they said you were dead," implied that he was surrounded by flatterers and bitingly condemned: "the sound you make is muzak to my ears." It was clearly designed to humiliate Paul and heap scorn on his work, especially his melodic ballads. One couplet (reproduced here exactly as it appeared on the album's inner sleeve) attacked two of his songs, one of which had appeared as a single earlier in the year:

the only thing you done was yesterday
and since you've gone you're just
another day

            These verbal assaults undoubtedly came out of John's own pain and confusion. They were said or written in the depths of a profound depression following Paul's departure. Even though Paul realized, a couple of years later, that Lennon didn't mean every detail of the insults he aimed at his former partner, the barbs still hurt cruelly at the time. He quite reasonably hated reading each new quote and admitted being deeply wounded by them. Under such a relentless barrage he started entertaining self-doubts, he began to wonder whether l he things that John said were true. During this traumatic period Linda had to be ever reassuring, to boost his morale and stop him dwelling too long on his own imagined inadequacies. It was a difficult and unpleasant interlude.
            That year had, in contrast, started very well for Paul. His first single, Another Day, reached the Top 5 in both Britain and the States and helped further to establish his professional relationship with Linda in the public mind as the writing credit read "Mr & Mrs Paul McCartney." In May the second album, Ram, was issued, this time bearing the credit "Paul & Linda McCartney" and Paul confirmed the billing by stating : "Linda was present all the way through. We've been writing many more songs and we're developing as a harmony team..."
also marked the start of a bigger team and the gradual formation of what was to be Wings Mark 1. Although Paul had enjoyed working entirely solo (with a little help from Linda) on McCartney, he gradually realized that he missed having other people to bounce his ideas off. After all, he had always worked within a group, with a producer and while he could write alone with ease, he found playing and recording in a vacuum more difficult. By the time he was ready to lay down Ram he started looking around for help.
            He turned first to Linda and introduced her to the keyboard instruments. The first efforts were simple, just getting her to hold the keys down and play basic chords. It was, as Linda later remembered, occasionally rather fraught. "We had a few rows as he tried to teach me. He really put me through it. When everything went wrong I used to say, "I thought you knew how to make a group?' I never realized how hard it all was."
            The easiest course for McCartney was to call in sessionmen, knowing that the very best in Britain and America would willingly drop other projects just for the chance to play with him. But that wasn't his way. Already ideas about a group were percolating through his mind, and he had a conception of the sound. "I wanted… our sound. I wanted the amateur approach, something we could make ourselves and then work on."
            The one area in which he felt he needed assistance was drumming. He's an excellent drummer and has earned praise from Keith Moon of the Who, but it was becoming increasingly difficult to fulfil all the functions. He set up some auditions in New York and, because his standards are so high, he arranged for them to be held under the most trying acoustic conditions. He wanted to find a drummer so good that he could play well whatever the difficulties.
            He eventually found his man in Denny Seiwell, a much-in-demand New York sessionman of long and wide-ranging experience. The auditions were held in an unsympathetic, seedy basement that would be any musician's nightmare. Not all those asked to play were very happy about the conditions. "A lot of the boys were really put out at being asked to audition," Seiwell later reported. "Paul just asked me to play, he didn't have a guitar, so I just sat and played. He had a certain look in his eye... he was looking for more than a drummer, he was looking for a certain attitude, too. I just played... I always say that if you can't get it on by yourself, you can't get it on with anyone."
            Denny Seiwell got the job and swiftly found himself playing drums on the Ram sessions through January and March, 1971. These led to the release of the album in May. If it was greeted rather coolly by some of the critics, its reception from the public was excellent; it rapidly made number 1 in Britain and 2 in the States. Furthermore, Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey was taken off it and released as a single in America and shot to number 1. (The track wasn't released in Britain where The Back Seat Of My Car - a weaker number - was put out and failed to make the Top 20.)
            As a result of his work on Ram McCartney asked Seiwell if he'd be interested in working as part of a group that he was hoping to form. Seiwell jumped at the offer although both McCartney's music and a group framework were in sharp contrast to his previous experience. Nevertheless, he and his French wife Monique left New York without qualms, moved to a house near the McCartney farm at Campbeltown, Scotland and he became the first recruit to what would eventually be Wings.

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