December 5, 1973



classic rock



Album Tracks:

  1. Band on the Run
  2. Jet
  3. Bluebird
  4. Mrs. Vandebilt
  5. Let Me Roll It
  6. Mamunia
  7. No Words
  8. Helen Wheels *
  9. Picasso’s Last Words (Drink to Me)
  10. Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five

* not on the original UK release

Sales (in millions):



1 4
1 7

Singles/Hit Songs:

  • Helen Wheels (11/3/73) #10 US, #12 UK
  • Jet (2/9/74) #7 US, #7 UK
  • Band on the Run (4/20/74) #1 US, #3 UK, #22 AC, sales: 0.5 m


A 1999 25th anniversary reissue adds a second disc of “radio-style program containing interviews with Paul, Linda Mac, Wings member Denny Laine, and other contributors, plus demos, rehearsals, assorted outtakes, and edited portions from the original album.” RG


Band on the Run

Paul McCartney & Wings


“The consensus of critics, as well as cold hard sales figures, says that Band on the Run was Paul McCartney’s most successful solo album.” RG “Neither the dippy, rustic Wild Life nor the slick AOR flourishes of Red Rose Speedway earned Paul McCartney much respect, so he made the self-consciously ambitious Band on the Run to rebuke his critics. On the surface, Band on the Run appears to be constructed as a song cycle in the vein of Abbey Road, but subsequent listens reveal that the only similarities the two albums share are simply superficial.” STE

“McCartney’s talent for songcraft and nuanced arrangements is in ample display throughout the record, which makes many of the songs – including the nonsensical title track – sound more substantial than they actually are. While a handful of the songs are excellent – the surging, inspired surrealism of Jet is by far one of his best solo recordings, Bluebird is sunny acoustic pop, and Helen Wheels captures McCartney rocking with abandon – most of the songs are more style than substance. Yet McCartney’s melodies are more consistent than any of his previous solo records, and there are no throwaways; the songs just happen to be not very good.” STE

“Still, the record is enjoyable, whether it’s the minor-key Mrs. Vandebilt or Let Me Roll It, a silly response to John Lennon’s ‘How Do You Sleep?,’ which does make Band on the Run one of McCartney’s finest solo efforts. However, there’s little of real substance on the record,” STE although it should be noted that the album is “an artistic triumph over very trying conditions – the defection of two-fifths of Wings.” RG Still, “no matter how elaborate the production is, or how cleverly his mini-suites are constructed, Band on the Run is nothing more than a triumph of showmanship.” STE

Review Source(s):

Related DMDB Link(s):

Helen Wheels (video)

Jet (live video)

Band on the Run (video)

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Last updated December 5, 2011.