Paul McCartney and Wings – Band on the Run

First Hit #1: June 8, 1974

While the albums McCartney II and Ram have recently received a critical reappraisal, I’ll still vouch for Band on the Run being the best album Paul McCartney ever did post-Beatles. Yes, that is not a controversial stance, but the album overall is strong from beginning to end, and more importantly it flows quite well between different moods and ideas. A miniature version of that is Band on the Run, the song, which follows McCartney’s grand tradition of shoving songs together and does a nice little suite out of it. It is like a good album in miniature, taking some central themes and sounds and combining them into a compelling whole, jumping from different ideas but keeping it consistent and fluid. It is, in effect, the best advertisement for the album one could imagine, since it summarizes its strengths, and gives you its name so you know what to buy in the store. That’s not to say it’s not a consistently strong track on its own, but it’s very much the greater album, distilled into concentrated form.

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