We can look back on the very FIRST post of this page, which showed how Paul had gone from The Beatles to his first solo album, McCARTNEY.
Playing live had always been on Paul’s radar, as a child on up. He and brother Mike, as young teens performed Everly brother songs in a talent contest while on holiday in The Butlins.
When he was asked to join The Quarrymen, their main intent on performing was to “shag” girls.
When The Beatles formed, they played constantly in every form of venue, honing their sound in Germany, and even further in small clubs in Great Britain.
When the band broke worldwide they would come on and play roughly 20 minutes, eventually as quick as possible, due to the inability to be heard due to poor equipment and out of control screaming fans.
They toured the world from 1963-66, with very few days off, of which were usually spent in studios of some sort.
The motivation would be to make money now. But by the last show in S.F. in August of 1966 they had had enough. The world had changed and it had changed them as well. It had become a grind and their music was becoming too complex to duplicate with 1966 equipment.
Paul always missed this live aspect of his career, and when the band hit its rough patch from 1968 onward, he always thought that getting back on the road, would help bring them back together as a unit.
The GET BACK film, showed how great an act they still were, and how they could have had a similar career as bands like The Rolling Stones and The Who, but there was much more than lack of wanting to tour by John and George. By the end, George’s resentments and need to explore a solo career and John’s personal troubles, his relationship with Yoko and MOSTLY, the money issues related to Apple/Allen Klein etc.. was the cause of the split.
But rather than a long break, or allowing each other to explore solo projects while still keeping the band alive, the tensions/lawsuits of the years 1970-1973 made this impossible.
Paul recorded his first solo album, while still in The Beatles. His second was done as a duo with his wife, Linda. He found such comfort in this, that he quickly assembled Wings, and they recorded their debut album even quicker.
The four person Wings then toured out of little vans, driving up and down Britain’s motorways and showing up at University’s and offering to play for a few quid. He had indeed gone back to the very basics.
The next venture was a much more organized tour of Europe in 1972. He hired a second guitarist and bought and fixed up a double deck bus, and loaded band and family and pets inside, and drove from venue to venue, filled by a van of equipment and crew.
It was the height of his hippie period.
The band slowly grew tighter as they played more gigs. Even Linda’s playing and singing improved to acceptable. They started working on songs for the second Wings album as they went out on this modest tour.
We see on the set list, songs that never officially saw the light of day, but the band was working on in the studio.
We can see from the set list as well that Paul completely distanced himself from all his Beatles songs he had either written or co-written. Wings final encore was a cover that The Beatles had done early in their careers.
WINGS OVER EUROPE was never released until the deluxe box set of WILD LIFE/RED ROSE SPEEDWAY came out in December of 2018. It was not issued as a stand alone, but had to be bought with the entire box.
Since there is only fan made bootlegs of the University tour (of very poor quality) this is earliest live album which was remastered from tapes on the soundboard.
# of Songs: 20
Songs of Paul (solo): 3 (15%)
Songs of Wings: 11 (55%)
Songs of Beatles (Lennon/McCartney): 0 (0%)
Songs the Beatles released (cover): 1 (5%)
Songs of Others: 3 (15%)
Unreleased Songs: 2 (10%)
1. “Big Barn Bed”
The opening track of their third album, RED ROSE SPEEDWAY. The band knocks this song out of the park, with the vocals as the highlights. Paul’s bass is deep and driving here and throughout the album. Henry handles the short solos easily. A wonderful way to start the set. Rating – 8.5
2. “Eat At Home”
A track from Paul & Linda’s RAM, with a new pre-song 1 minute intro that pops but offers no clue to the song which it breaks into…. Faithful to the original, but Henry’s solo is a mix of the two on the record, as the second one is cut. Rating – 7.5
3. “Smile Away”
Another rocker from RAM that is performed with slightly less intensity. The band sounds great, but it’s offered at a tad more mellow pace. Great solo by Henry, and Paul’s vocals at the end bring the cows home…. Rating – 8.5
4. “Bip Bop”
A track from WILD LIFE, that comes to life (no pun intended) live. A much better version of a very simple song with two guitarists and an edge the album version lacks. Rating – 8
Like “Big Bop”, this is another WILDLIFE track that grows some balls live. The jam was the opening track of that album, and here Paul turns it into a shake your ass delight. Rating – 8
6. “Blue Moon Of Kentucky”
A C&W standard by Bill Monroe that Paul has always loved (He did it as well on UNPLUGGED in 1993). Denny’s harmonica is the highlight. Another decent ass-shaker. Rating – 7.5
A song intended for the proposed double album RED ROSE, but never released in any form until this box set. A bluesy number with outstanding vocals that gets better with familiarity. Rating – 8.0
8. “I Would Only Smile”
Paul throws Denny a bone here with the Laine penned track. Wings recorded and intended for the double album, but cut when it was cut to one. Rating – 7
9. “Give Ireland Back To The Irish”
The first Wings single, banned for its political content. Faithfully performed, but not the best song to begin with. Rating – 7
10. “The Mess”
Cut also from proposed RED ROSE, but a different live version was issued as the b-side to the “My Love” single in 1973. A very interesting track that features more twists and turns than the roads they traveled on. But to the crowd, they had never heard this song, so they couldn’t react as this was brand new to their ears (like a few of the tracks). Rating – 8
11. “Best Friend”
Another casualty of the RED ROSE reduction, and never released in any form. A simple chug-a-long rocker with decent guitar work by Henry in the intro…. Rating – 7.5
Another song cut from RED ROSE and a studio version never released, this song would appear on the 1976 World Tour as the closer of the entire show…. That live version was altered from this version in 1972. This is slowed and has a more pedestrian beat. Rating – 7.0
13. “I Am Your Singer”
From WILD LIFE, it is slowed and the crowd loves it when Linda does her verse. Rating – 7.5
14. “Seaside Woman”
Linda’s first song writing credited to her alone, a reggae bopper that the studio version came out as a single in 1977 and credited as Suzy & The Red Streaks. God bless her, but Paul and the band must work their shaking bums to make this one fly. Rating – 7
15. “Wild Life”
The title track of the first Wings album, this live version is hit out of the park by Paul’s amazing lead vocals and outstanding backing. Rating – 8
16. “My Love”
The first “slow one” that was still a work in progress at this point, but mostly as we know the 1973 single. Linda response on the verse was eliminated on the studio track, for the better. Not a bad version, all in all. Rating – 7.5
17. “Mary Had A Little Lamb”
The third Wings single of 1972, and reproduced faithfully here. Rating – 6.5
18. “Maybe I’m Amazed”
Paul turns this tender ballad into a rocker, and it delivers on every level. Paul changed the way he performed this live, as heard on the WINGS OVER AMERICA album, and while it still is an amazing song, this version is the best live version I have ever heard. Rating – 9
19. “Hi Hi Hi”
Wings second single form 1972, also banned for sexual content, this is a much slower deliberate version than either the single, or any future live version, and features a different intro as well. It rocks, yes, but not off the walls. Rating – 7.5
20. “Long Tall Sally”
The only slight hint at anything Beatles, as they recorded and released this in 1964 on BEATLES FOR SALE and was a staple of Paul’s in their concerts.
Here, the fans were finally given something to link the man on stage to the icon he was with his former band. Paul gives it all to close the shows only encore and it leaves you wanting much more Rating – 8.5
Overall 1972’s WINGS OVER EUROPE live album grades out as 7.7/10. This album is an important aspect of this time in Paul’s career. This first version of Wings could rock and was not just a singles pop band.
Next…. December of 1976 and WINGS OVER AMERICA album, songs from the 1975-76 world tour.