Band on the Run was among my favorite albums as a teen. The Beatles were done. John, Paul and George were doing their own things. My friends and I were listening to Jethro Tull, Return to Forever, Pink Floyd and John McLaughlin. Venus and Mars, Ram, and BOTR were the three big releases from Paul and Linda in those times, better known as the Wings. Later, as a grown man, the 25th anniversary edition reminded me of how precious that album was to me.
On its cover, along with Paul, Linda and Denny Laine, were other “convicts” including Christopher Lee and James Coburn, caught in the beam of a searchlight, the inspiration for the poster of the animated film, Madagascar years later. The Apple label with its two sides (inside and outside of apple) mesmerized me as did the storytelling of the songs.
The Helen Wheels track, which showed up on the album only on the anniversary reissue, but was there on the US and International release, and the first US issues did not list it in the tracks, leading it to be called the hidden track. The 25th anniversary issue contained a lot of subtext and comments, and is of value only to completionists and students (I consider myself both) of music of our times. I felt it was a lot of time and attention to be demanded from a casual listener. Well, you do save time not having to turn the disc over, though.
The charm of the post Beatles music is how the four went on to live their lives, creative and otherwise, and the tweets that they left behind in their songs. Harrison had chosen a clear path, as had John and Yoko, and Ringo was happy behind his kit and out of the spotlight. Paul with his above average bass playing skills, set new benchmarks for popular socially aware song and songwriting. The who did it better game between the two namesakes of the phenomenon called Lennon-McCartney would last but a few years, as they continued to create their iconic oeuvre.
BOTR, Jet, Bluebird, Mrs Vandebilt, Let me roll it, Mamunia, No Words, Helen Wheels, Picasso’s last words, and 1985, and the 1974 B Side of Helen Wheels in the later reissue, Country Dreamer. A similar tight act many years later was Tug of War. BOTR easily remains a critical landmark album, in spite of not containing much of either his best or most popular songs.
Mom, Dad, and we recently learned what it meant, even if for a while, to be the band on the run. Hence it is a wonderful time to wait for the 3 CD 1 DVD combo Deluxe edition releasing on November 2, 2010. You can get it from amazon by clicking here
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