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1973

Mixing of the proposed RED ROSE SPEEDWAY took place throughout the month of January, stopping only to properly record “My Love,” which they had been doing live in the ‘Wings over Europe’ 1972 tour.

Then during February and March the band recorded the music and scenes for the upcoming “James Paul McCartney” Television special. Paul McCartney agreed to star in the television special for the British ATV network in order to settle his two-year legal dispute with Sir Lew Grade.

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Still from James Paul McCartney TV Special

As the owner of the network and its music publishing division – and, by extension, the Beatles’ Northern Songs catalogue – Grade had objected to McCartney crediting his wife Linda as his co-writer since 1971, citing her lack of professional experience as a songwriter and musician. McCartney’s commitment to the television project allowed him to retain the second composer’s publishing royalties, which otherwise would have been assigned to Grade’s company.

“James Paul McCartney” was intended to showcase his versatility as an artist and entertainer. Many of the portions featured Wings; in others he would perform alone. It was first broadcast on 16 April 1973 in the United States on the ABC network, and was later broadcast in the United Kingdom on 10 May 1973.

RED ROSE SPEEDWAY was initially produced by Glyn Johns, but he quit in a huff after a few weeks due to what he felt was too much weed smoking and the bands aimless time then spent unfocused in the studio. After Paul’s previous three albums had disappointed the critics and sales were not at the level expected the record labels “suits” made Paul cut the proposed double album into a more “commercial” single disc.

Paul did this but lost most of the edge the live and unreleased cut studio tracks had added.

When the “2015 archive editions” came out they featured the initial proposed double album. In retrospect it should have come out that way. Wings II reputation would have benefited greatly.

Another idea started in late 1972 was filming live and concert recreations for the proposed animated film, The Bruce McMouse Show. The band would play in concert and interact with various cartoon mice that lived below the stage.

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Bruce McMouse Show

The band was forced to interact with “air” and the animation added later. I read about this coming out at the time and got very excited. It would not see the light of day until added as a bonus blu-ray disc as part of the Archive edition, released finally in 2015, 42 years later.

It’s a shame, while the acting sequences are odd, it is great to see the band in the live sequences. The outfits are beautiful and of their time and the band was as tight as they would get.

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When RED ROSE SPEEDWAY was released on April 30th in the USA, Paul took the band out for their FINAL tour as this unit on May 11th until July 10th, performing 21 shows throughout the U.K.

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1973 Tour Booklet

Besides promoting the new album, they also released “My Love” as a single on April 9th (in the USA).

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“My Love” video still

We watched the TV special as a family and my mother correctly predicted that the “Whoa Whoa Song (My Love)” would be a hit. When the album came out I quickly bought it, and we used to play it quite often on the family stereo. It was very tame after the cut tracks, and was a very easy listen for my mother.

The album jacket was a beautiful gatefold, featuring an elaborate booklet that included information, band and individual photos, lots of naked and semi-naked women, illustrations, with most done in 1960’s pop art or art deco style.

The back cover showed a bag of “leafy substances” next to the drummers high hat. Embossed at the bottom was a braille message to Stevie Wonder, “Stevie, we love you.” It also featured an address to join the Wings fan club.

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The front cover shows Paul with a rose in his mouth, in front of a motorcycle. It was a delight to read and look through while listening, but again, the music didn’t live up to the hype.

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Paul and Linda said they were not at all confident at the time and it showed on the record. Too much weed???

The reviews were not good, though the record and single sold very well. Next, the songs of the released RED ROSE SPEEDWAY and tracks that fell through the cracks.

art deco from booklet

Alternate Cover

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Inner Booklet
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Inner Booklet
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