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2001-Apr-26: A Japanese Bonus Track

An interview with Tokyo's Daily Yomiuri Sir Paul revealed that a bonus track will be included on the Japanese release of his Wingspan CD. Sir Paul is also pleased with the timing of the release of the Wings project: "We couldn't have planned it better.  The Beatles 1 album wasn't even dreamed of when we started Wingspan. The timing is just lucky."

As always, Wings is always being compared the Beatles:

It was always in the shadow of the Beatles, even when we didn't realize what we were doing.  The critics gave us a hard time, and so we tended to believe them. If they tell you that enough times, you think maybe they are right. It was always like, 'We can never be as good as the Beatles because the Beatles were so good.' But we fought it. It was like a battle we had to fight to continue the music.

"In '76 we had a big tour of America, which was fantastic, much bigger than anything the Beatles had ever done.  Not that we were trying to outdo the success of the Beatles, but we did.  It was very gratifying to have two success stories and the second one was even outdoing the first one, which was amazing."

Sir Paul admits that this project helped him to rediscover his band:

"At first I didn't think there would be enough Wings stuff. We didn't realize how many successes we had.  People would say, 'I didn't realize that was a Wings track.'  It's interesting because it's not a well-documented period. It turned out there were 17 songs that sold over a million. That turned out to be enough time for one CD, the hits CD.  But there was still a lot on my list, so for the second CD I thought this could include the history; the stuff that wasn't a hit, but it's a good song, or it's important, or it's an unusual or historical recording. In the end there was more than enough for 2 CDs. I really like the two records and I play them in the car all the time."

Sir Paul also decided to include some of his solo work in the compilation:

"I thought it's a shame not to have songs like 'Pipes of Peace' and 'No More Lonely Nights,' which were big hits and from the period but were recorded solo. So the categories became Paul McCartney and Wings and (we included) any song that fitted into either of those categories. That gave us a bit more freedom.  That's why we called it Wingspan, which is just a period of time or actually the distance between bird's wings. The subtitle is The Hits and History of Paul McCartney, so it's not just Wings."

The story of Wings in intertwined with the story of the McCartney marriage.  Not only was Linda the only permanent member of the band, but she also served as the inspiration for most of Sir Paul's most popular tunes.  The Wingspan project gave him the opportunity to document their life together and to defend Linda's musical contributions to the group:

"Wingspan shows how cool Linda was, it really does.  That was a great reason to do it. As a woman she took a lot of flak. There weren't many women in groups. Now there are plenty of women; they are fully established. But they weren't then. It's great in the documentary to hear her talking. She has really great opinions on things."

In the interview Sir Paul shared some candid thoughts about his 1980 arrest at Japan's Narita airport:

"It was a strange thing. We'd come to Japan and we weren't very well prepared. I was worried because we hadn't rehearsed enough. Normally, we had rehearsed a lot, but with this new band, we hadn't.  We had a few days once we arrived when I hoped we could really rehearse. We had been warned repeatedly not to take drugs to Japan. We said 'We're not going to.'  I still don't know why I did it; I mean I must have been mad. At the last minute, like a maniac, I took some drugs. Which was an awfully big amount, it terrifies me. You see in the documentary the customs man's face, and you feel sorry for him. He just opened the suitcase and it's not even hidden underneath or anything.

"Now, looking back, it scares me. What was I on? It was very crazy. But I think I almost did it to myself because I was scared of this tour. In the end we didn't do the tour and we had to pay 1 million pounds in damages to the promoter, as it was sold out. It cost me a lot more than 10 days in jail.  At the time, it was very traumatic. It did end the tour and therefore did kind of end Wings. I'd become fed up with the whole thing so it gave me an excuse to get out of it."

Returning home to Britain, Sir recorded his experiences in a book:

"I wrote it for my children.  That castaway experience in a foreign country is so frightening. I wrote it all down when I got back, while it was fresh in my memory and called it Japanese Jailbird. I gave copies to my children and some friends. I figured one day, they'd wonder what it was like."

Sir Paul is proud of the tremendous success of the Beatles 1 album:

"I think it's fabulous, I think it's a great record. I played it a lot over Christmas, which is unusual for me. I was very impressed with the structure of the songs. That's what hit me--like an architect looking at buildings he'd made in the past.   And it's loads of new kids listening to it, which is great. It's reaching a whole new generation. The parents say the kids don't care what generation it comes from; its just good music to them. I actually signed seven copies of the record for Steven Spielberg's children."

Could this new popularity prompt a Beatles reunion?

"As I've said before, the Beatles can't reunite because John isn't here, and it's the same with Wings. They couldn't reunite because Linda isn't here."

And what kind of music does Sir Paul enjoy?

"Some people create barriers for music, they say they like only folk music or jazz or whatever. I like all fields of music. My record collection contains records from Chopin, Nat King Cole, Radiohead, the Beatles, and Indian music. I have very wide tastes.  Many people put these barriers in life. I've been very lucky to be liberated quite young in the '60s. My mind got free and I realized that it was possible to do many things if you want to."

And might there be another tour in the future?

"I don't see why not. I'm 58 and I can't believe it. I'm really enthusiastic and I love it and I feel exactly the same inside. I have so much energy. I feel really good.  I have had a very difficult period since Linda died; that was a very difficult couple of years. Dealing with her illness was very, very hard. But I feel like I'm coming out of that now. It's like coming out the other end of the tunnel. It feels nice. Springtime is coming and I've got a new album and I've got Wings."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)


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