Life at 33 1/3: Forgotten McCartney-classic


Wings: Back To The Egg (Parlophone/mpl)

An album whose existence most people aren’t even aware of and so underrated it is ridiculous.  The last and perhaps strongest Wings line-up delivers a fresh dish of neatly constructed and tightly executed pop music.  

The range is adventurous; there’s the breakneck speeding, rock’n’rolling “Spin It On”, the deliriously bloodshot “Old Siam, Sir”, the two powerhouse rock’n’roll superstar hall of fame Rockestra-offerings, Denny Laine’s folk rock “Again And Again And Again”, the overwhelmingly commercial and slightly over produced opening track “Getting Closer “ (with its insanely rotating finale), and the dead accurate and extremely feel-good crooner-pastiche “Baby ‘s Request” (with its lazy swinging jazz guitar-licks).

Between all these McCartney has fitted some unearthly beautiful ballad medleys and the exquisitely cool piece of soft soul “Arrow Through Me” (a sigh of beauty).

The sound of white noise and interference from a radio sweeping across frequencies opens the album and returns towards the end of the show, a deliberate “Sgt. Pepper” / “Band On The Run” trick that gives the illusion of a concept album.  It is not of course, but McCartney achieves what he’s after, the feeling of unity.

“Back To The Egg” deserves a higher standing.  It is a potent and brilliant album.  Unfortunately Wings disintegrated shortly after its release due to Paul McCartney being arrested in Japan for trying to smuggle weed through customs.  That put an end to a promising Wings line-up that never got the chance to fulfill a potential so obviously present on this album.

Released in June 1979, the month Paul McCartney turned 37.  Now he is 71 and has just released one of his best albums ever (“New”).  Amazing!  We are not worthy…


Released: June 1979

(All songs written by Paul McCartney, except “Again and Again and Again” by Denny Laine)


Side One – “Sunny Side Up”:

“Reception” – 1:08

“Getting Closer” – 3:22

“We’re Open Tonight” – 1:28

“Spin It On” – 2:12

“Again and Again and Again” – 3:34

“Old Siam, Sir” – 4:11

“Arrow Through Me” – 3:37


Side Two – “Over Easy”:

“Rockestra Theme” – 2:35

“To You” – 3:12

“After the Ball/Million Miles” – 4:00

“Winter Rose/Love Awake” – 4:58

“The Broadcast” – 1:30

“So Glad to See You Here” – 3:20

“Baby’s Request” – 2:49



Paul McCartney – lead and background vocals, bass, guitar keyboard, concertina on “Million Miles”, piano and harpsichord on “Winter Rose”

Linda McCartney – background vocals, keyboard

Denny Laine – lead vocal on “Again and Again and Again”, background vocals, acoustic guitar, rhythm guitar

Laurence Juber – lead guitar, guitar synth, 12-string guitar, acoustic guitar

Steve Holly – drums, percussion


Additional personnel:

Black Dyke Mills Band – horns on “Love Awake”

Dierdre Margary, Harold Margary – book readings

Rockestra line-up on “Rockestra Theme” and “So Glad to See You Here”:


Denny Laine, Laurence Juber, Dave Gilmour, Hank Marvin, Pete Townshend – guitars

Steve Holly, John Bonham, Kenny Jones – drums

Paul McCartney, John Paul Jones, Ronnie Lane, Bruce Thomas – basses

Paul McCartney, Gary Brooker, John Paul Jones – pianos

Linda McCartney, Tony Ashton – keyboards

Speedy Acquaye, Tony Carr, Ray Cooper, Morris Pert – percussion

Howie Casey, Tony Dorsey, Steve Howard, Thaddeus Richard – horns



Paul McCartney and Chris Thomas – producers

Phil McDonald – engineer

Mark Vigars – assistant engineer

John Shaw – front cover photo

Linda & Paul – back cover photo

Hipgnosis – design